Long ago, a man named Viktor Kovac lived in Romania. Viktor had a little garden behind his house. There he grew big turnips and even bigger beets. His wife Velma sold their vegetables in the village. The Kovacs led a simple life. But that was about to change.
After the turnip harvest, Mr. Kovac was so tired.
“Velma, let me sleep until summer.”
“No Viktor, we are going on a picnic.”
“A picnic? Where?”
“We are going to Cosmin Forest.”
Viktor heard scary stories about Cosmin Forest. Monsters lived there.
“People go in and are not coming out,” he whispered.
“Such nonsense!” laughed Mrs. Kovac.
After a long hike, the couple came to a meadow. Mr. Kovac spread out a blanket. Mrs. Kovac unpacked delicious food. Eggplants, cabbage rolls and chicken fritters.
“I make gogosi for dessert,” she smiled.
Mr. Kovac ate a turnip sandwich with relish. All at once, they heard crying.
“W-h-a-t was that?” said Mr. Kovac.
“It comes from the Forest,” said Mrs. Kovac. “Let us go see.”
“N-o-o! You go!” said Mr. Kovac.
Mrs. Kovac dragged her husband into Cosmin Forest. The crying got louder.
“It sounds like a baby,” said Mrs. Kovac.
“Or a m-m-monster!” added Mr. Kovac.
Soon the couple came to a bushy bush. The crying was even louder.
“Velma, look behind that bush,” whispered Mr. Kovac.
“No Viktor, you look!”
They both looked. And what do you think they found? There in a basket lay a beautiful baby. The baby looked up at the Kovacs. A smile spread across his little round face.
“Who leaves a baby in Cosmin Forest?” said Mrs. Kovac.
The Kovacs carried the baby home. They took him to the village. No one knew about a baby. The Kovacs decided to raise him themselves.
“Such a happy dumpling,” said Mrs. Kovac.
“We will name him Radu,” said Mr. Kovac.
The next day, nosy Mrs. Gall came calling. The Kovacs showed her their new baby. Radu’s thick black hair surprised Mrs. Gall. His dark eyes scared her. She left in a hurry.
Mrs. Gall told Postman Prattle.
“Radu’s eyes are black like night. His hair thick like fur.”
Postman Prattle told Mr. Blabber. “The Kovacs found a furry baby in Cosmin Forest.” Mr. Blabber’s eyes got big.
Mr. Blabber told Miss Tattle. “The Kovacs captured a forest creature.”
Miss Tattle told more people. The story spread all over the village. “A monster is hiding at the Kovacs'!”
The stories about Cosmin Forest were true. People were afraid. That night, villagers took up torches. They marched past Inspector Jabber’s office.
“What is going on?” he demanded.
“A hideous beast has captured the Kovacs!”
“I will investigate! Follow me!” shouted the Inspector.
The road was filled with angry villagers. Soon they arrived at the Kovac’s house.
“Come out monster!” they shouted.
Mrs. Kovac peeked out a window.
“Oh my! The entire village is in our yard!”
“And they are not happy,” said Mr. Kovac
“Viktor, go see what they want!”
“No Velma, you go!”
The Kovacs both walked outside.
“A monster is hiding here!” said Inspector Jabber. “I must search inside!”
The Kovacs looked at the Inspector. They looked at each other.
“Come, I show you something,” said Mrs. Kovac. Everyone followed her into the house.
Mrs. Kovac tiptoed to the bedroom. Ever so gently, she opened the door.
Inspector Jabber peeked inside. In the corner sat a little wicker crib. And inside the crib lay a sleeping baby. It was no terrible monster at all. It was Radu, the Kovac’s beautiful forest baby.