As soon as the first white snowflakes appear, both young and old begin to sing a favorite song. The verses about Snezhko (Snowy) and Sharo, who “anxiously shakes his head”, are a constant theme of the first snow and echo in our minds to this day. Tsvetan Angelov from Vratsa left us these magic words “The first snow quietly falls”.
The memories of the heirs of the sweet-spoken poet are told by Kalina Todorova of the Hristo Botev Regional Library – Vratsa.
The beloved children’s author had a difficult childhood. He was born on January 28, 1922, in the small and poor house of grandma Tsena in Vratsa. He was left an orphan very young. He inherited a real treasure from his mother and uncle. It was an old chest full of children’s books – “The wild Swans” by Andersen, the tales of Scheherazade from “A Thousand and One Nights” and many more unforgettable characters. He carried the unbearable burden on his shoulders – only an eight-year-old, the boy worked to overcome deprivation and adversity. He was loved by everyone in his neighborhood and they tried to help him. The kid was a shepherd, sold lily of the valley in pharmacies, collected and sold medicinal herbs, delivered delicacies to guests who came to Vratsa for the Second June celebrations. The future poet worked and studied, and so he managed to graduate from primary school, junior high, and high school in Vratsa. His first poems were published in the Vratsa newspaper “National Rise”.
His hardships continued during his military service. First in the 35th Infantry Regiment, and then in the Reserve Officers’ School. He refused to take part in the execution of Nikola Vaptsarov, suffered severe harassment, and fell ill. After being treated in various military hospitals, he was discharged. In 1943 Tsvetan Angelov became a teacher in the village of Erden, Mihaylovgrad region (modern-day Montana), and a year later – after September 9, 1944, he became a university student of Slavic philology in Sofia.
In 1946 he participated in a competition for a job at Radio Sofia. The famous writer Elin Pelin told him the good news that he had won and gave him 200 Leva to buy a new suit and shoes with which to come to work. Thus the young poet worked, studied, and wrote again.
Tsvetan Angelov became an editor in the newspaper Septemvriyche. He was the editor-in-chief of Druzhinka magazine from 1960 to 1980. He authored two books – “In minutes of reflection” (1964) and “A man comes to the world” (1976), in which he confessed his feelings and emotions, reflecting on his own place in life. Angelov was an extremely prolific children’s author with more than 60 children’s, including the popular “Honest Word”, “Laughter of Mistakes”, “Gold Minders”, “Tsvetushka”, “An Inscribed Chest”, “The Swing of Joy” ”. He published the novel for adults “Village in the Plain”. Tsvetan Angelov’s works excite with a deep look at the child’s soul and the thoughts, desires, and longings of the little ones, with his ability to communicate with his young readers through poetry. And most importantly: the desire to grow as a poet never left him until the end of his days, so he fulfills the promise made to Elin Pelin “to become an excellent painter.” And he really succeeds, as if everything he touches begins to breathe, to sound, to shine, to pour itself with life-giving juices, to speak in its own language.
Many of his books have been translated into German, Russian, Romanian, and other languages. The master narrator Angel Karaliychev defines his works, saying that Angelov’s “inspired, cheerful and clever verses” are not subjected to time. They are loved and read in the new century, too. His works are a part of the anthology published in 2002 by the publishing house “Pan” with Bulgarian classics for children, as a part of “The Golden Book of Bulgarian Children Poetry”. His poems are included, along with those of the all-time greats like Petko Slaveykov, Ivan Vazov, Uncle Stoyan, Grandpa Blago, Elin Pelin, Ran Bosilek, Vesa Paspaleeva, Kalina Malina, Atanas Dushkov, and others. The song “Sharo and the first snow”, based on verses by Tsvetan Angelov and music by Alexander Raichev, is invariably present today in all playlists with selected “unforgettable”, “favorite”, and “eternal” children’s songs, performed by the most popular vocal formations.
Tsvetan Angelov is one of the encyclopedic poets in Bulgarian children’s literature. He is the winner of the literary award of the Ministry of Education “Petko R. Slaveykov” for 1973. He was inscribed in the Honorary List of the International Children’s Book Council for “Tsvetushka” in 1979. According to his scripts – the play “Open the window” is played at the Ivan Vazov National Theater more than 100 times, always in front of a crowded hall.
In a conversation with his daughter-in-law Vesa Angelova in May 1981, the author shared that he had prepared another novel for adults. He failed to publish it – he fell ill and died on January 29, 1982, at the age of 60.