The Myth Behind the Gard: Kolobok

Updated: Feb 11

Fantastic write up on the origins of the Kolobok, everyone’s favorite card to hate, with a short story (and maybe a deck?) afterwards by Badaim (TESL4EVER).

The Kolobok is the main character in a number of fairy tales from Slavic, German, and Nordic traditions. The Kolobok's name is believed to be derived from a fusion of root words that describe a variety of round regional pastries like dumplings, donuts, and pancakes.


The stories themselves all follow a common plot that is most recognizable to English speaking audiences by its derivative: 'The Gingerbread Man', which first entered American Literature in 1875 (although the origin of the Kolobok tale is believed to be much older, possibly as old as 2000 B.C.).


In most tellings, the Kolobok magically comes to life and escapes by bouncing or rolling away from its elderly creators. After its initial escape, the Kolobok encounters a variety of animals that it proceeds to outwit to avoid being eaten. The Kolobok then usually sings a song to each that lauds its own elusiveness. The stories end when a clever animal manages to trick the Kolobok and eats it. The ending of the German version is distinct in this regard, as it has the Kolobok give itself up to be eaten by two starving children instead.


The Kolobok has since regained relevance in our modern era with the advent of emojis. 'Kolobok Smiles' is the official name for the various smiley emoticons in the ICQ cross-platform client used by a number of instant messaging services.

For all you culinarily adventurous battle chefs out there, I've included a few links below for recipes to make your own Kolobok at home! Bake at your own risk, as we claim no responsibility for any magical mishaps!


Swedish Kroppkakor dumplings

Russian Kolobki cheese donuts

Ukranian Kulebyaka pie

Polish Kolobok raisin cake

Czech Koblihy jelly donuts

German Pannekoeken pancake pie

Norwegian Pannekaken pancakes

And, it’s story time.


Penny and the Kolobok

'No Penny! Shoo!' Penny eagerly wiggled her nubby corgi tail as she looked up at Jenarieve briskly whisking away in her cluttered kitchen.


'Ugh, this recipe is so confusing! Why did namma have to run it through so many translators?' Jenarieve tried to brush away one of her rebellious locks with her shoulder while cradling the mixing bowl, but only succeeded in wiping flour onto her cheek.


'Is this even right?! How am I supposed to make the dough runny and crumbly?!' Jenarive puffed a jet of flustered air up at her rampant cowlick that teased her face as she squinted at the glowing letters that hovered above her tablet.


'Why is sugar listed twice, or is one supposed to be salt? Whatever, I'll just do both.' Penny tilted her head quizzically at Jenarive as she dumped in the ingredients before letting out a supportive yip.


'Not now Pen, Yanathan is on his way over and this needs to get in the oven to get...fried? Well which one is it? Can you oven-fry something?' Kator trotted into the kitchen with his sharp black ears perked to the commotion.


What's with mom? Kator licked his drooly chops as his tail whipped in anticipation.


No idea, but it smells delicious! Penny panted as she looked over her shoulder and released an anxious yawn.


'The title says it a pancake, but then the recipe itself switches between calling it a dumpling or a donut...it just says "make round." round like a ball or flat round!?' Jenarieve bit at her lip as she looked at the time.


'And this last part: "Achtyong! do not no fairy dust before sprinkle unless you/it want rolling"? Does that mean "attention" or "danger"? Am I supposed to add the fairy dust afterwards then? Do I want rolling?' Jenarive shrugged and shook her head as she poured the lumpy batter into the greasy mold and shoved it into the oven.


'Just my luck, I'm out of fairy dust! Ok guys, I'm going to have to run to Shyft Stahp real quick, hopefully it's still phased in. Be good, ok?' Jenarieve grabbed her bag as she ran out the door, leaving Penny and Kator in an abrupt silence that was pierced only by the errant tick of the warming oven.


She coming back? Kator scratched at the locked doggie door as he let out a confused whimper.


She always comes back. Chance sighed from atop his fluffy pillow. The old dog's golden tail swept the floor listlessy as he rolled over onto his other side.


*tic...tic, tic...bang* Penny's ears shot up. A low growl rumbled cautiously from her gullet as she paced around the oven. She could see the dough rising ominously from the pan through the small glowing window.


It's just the thing. Chase huffed dismissively, but his wise white whiskers still twitched instinctively at the accumulating aroma.


*tic, tic...bang...tic...BANG!* This wasn't just the oven heating, Penny was sure of it. She could see the dough throb from inside the oven, almost like it was breathing. As the dough puffed larger and larger it started to press upon the oven door, covering the window. The banging got louder and more frequent as the oven door rattled against the building pressure. Penny stepped back with growing apprehension as whatever was in the oven seemed to be taking on a life of its own.


*Bang!...BANG!...BOOM!!*


'Hot stuff comin' through!' The oven door clattered open as the puffy mass hopped out with a squishy bound. Jenarieve had baked all kinds of stuff before: cakes, muffins, scones, croissants; never with much success, but this...thing was different. It had crooked teeth encased within a crusty grin that matched its crispy complexion. Its bulbous nose seemed to sneer at it's own scent as its furrowed brow gave off an air of malicious mischief. Penny was far too astounded


*Wuhh! whuuu! whuu!* Kator burst into the kitchen with a chain of bellowing barks. His claws clattered frantically as he slid across the linoleum floor.


'Hell-o!' The thing bounced on the oven door, snapping it shut and launching itself onto the countertop. Kator could only nash at the edge of the counter in vain as the thing relished in his livid response.


'I know, I think I'm pretty sweet too! Want a taste?' The thing chuckled as it rolled across the counter, knocking the loose ingredients onto the dogs below.


'Whoops! Looks like I'm a little salty too!' The thing smacked its lips smugly. 'Ooh I'm pretty good, but I guess you'll just have to take my word for it!' Kator seemed content with lapping up the broken eggs off the floor, but Penny was more perplexed that she could understand what the thing was saying.


What are you? Penny lifted one of her stubby paws that propped her up against the oven door, her snout barely able to clear the edge.


'We'll aren't you a clever girl, I thought you'd never ask!' The thing honked its nose like a pitch pipe before clearing its throat.


OooOOooOh

I'm Kolobok

You see

I should be

Tasty

But if you want to

Taste me

You'll first have to

Catch me!

Gramma

Granna

Namma

Couldn't

Grampy

Pepaw

Pappy

Too

No one catches

Crafty Kolobok

What makes you think

It will be you?


The door is locked. She will be back soon. Chase could scarcely be bothered to lift his head, even for a dismissive yawn.


Holy Pierogi! The pup has a point! Not to mention It looks like I'm stuck…' The Kolobok looked around the kitchen for a bit before cracking a sly grin. 'I might not have legs, but I can still WOK!' The Kolobok bounced off the cookware that dangled on the rack above, and came back down with a large wok donned like a samurai's jingasa.


'What's going on in he- ooh my floors!' The Domovi covered his mouth as he fretted over the sight of the disaster-ridden kitchen. 'Naughty doggies! look what you've done! Out, out!!' The Domovi dragged Penny and Kator out of the kitchen by their collars and propped up the doggie gate so he could begin cleaning. Using the commotion as cover, the Kolobok discreetly squished itself down and hid underneath the wok.


There! It's up there! But Penny's barks from behind the gate were in vain as the domovi materialized a vacuum from a ethereal cloud and drowned them out with the enchanted machines drone.


'My goodness, what happened in here?' The Domovi peered into the oven as he furiously scoured the interior with a magic eraser.


Look out! but Penny's warning was of no use.


'Surprise!' The Kolobok leaped from its hiding place and slammed the oven door shut, trapping the Domovi inside. With a pirouette the Kolobock knocked down the broom that was nestled behind the fridge and jammed it against the oven door.


'Domo-vi Arigato!' The Kolobok said as it gave a deep facetious bow. Kator barked lividly behind the gate. 'Oooh! How do you like Mr. Roboto?' The Kolobok flicked the reverse switch on the abandoned vacuum and spat the collected debris into Kator's face. The din and dust was more than enough to send him whimpering behind the couch. Penny sneezed and shook herself off, but was not so easily deterred.


'Looks like it's just you and me now little lady, think you can wok the wok?' The Kolobok jumped over the gate, careful to keep his makeshift armor between the two as it made its way to the door.


*thunk*


The doggie door was locked, but Penny thought she'd try something different.

you don't fit.


'A size queen eh, I thought she might've used too much baking soda…'


There is disgusting butter on the counter. Penny hoped her little tail waggle didn't give her away.


'Is that so? Well excuse me while I go butter my buns!' The Kolobok bounced back into the kitchen and slathered himself on the butter dish, ignoring the Domovi's muffled pleas.

'Hello? it's getting a little uncomfortable here..' Domovi are more resilient than they look.

'Sorry things didn't PAN out for you bud, but if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen!' The wok slipped off the Kolobok's head as it bounded back towards the door.

'Hey! What gives?' The Kolobok pressed against the doggie door, but it would not budge. The Kolobok turned to see Penny and Kator standing ominously with their tongues dangling expectantly. Even Chase managed to rouse himself and hobble over to join the others with drooly grin.


'I'm so glad I caught you before I got back Yanathan, I've been trying t 5thhis new recipe and I wanted you to try it bef- OH MY GODS! GUYS!!! SERIOUSLY!?!' OFF! OFF THE CEILING NOW!!


Did you like the story? Make your own story by playing the Mythgard deck: Kolobok Bakery!

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