Grey Little Wolf
For instance, the wolf reference we mentioned earlier. It comes from a terrifying lullaby that is known by every Russian child:
Sleep sleep sleep
Don’t lie too close to the edge of the bed
Or a grey little wolf will come
And grab you by the flank,
Drag you into the woods
Underneath the willow root.
It’s totally understandable why a mother wouldn’t want a child to fall from the bed, but creating a fully fledged phobia is probably not the best way to prevent that! It’s like with the English “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Falling asleep definitely stops being the top priority in a kid’s mind.
In the Russian edition, the card is named Grey Little Wolf. While the name refers to the lullaby, the image is another layer of the joke. “Little wolf” sounds exactly like a “whirling (or spinning) top” in Russian. Additionally, if you’re affected by its Bad Stuff, the wolf “grabs you by the flank” and you lose a level. Thus, there is a clever visual and semantic entendre!
There was one big problem for the translation: no one outside of Russia would know about the lullaby, and even if we used the “grabs you by the flank” phrase, an English-speaking player wouldn’t understand the context.
So, for the translation, we had to abandon the lullaby reference and play with the remaining wolf and whirling top. You’ll see the result to the right.