...Antonina Ivanovna realized the guest was in danger:
"Don't take it in, Marina. The superstition has it that cattail brings bad luck if kept at home. It is not to be taken away from where it grows in wetlands."
Marina replied superstitious beliefs didn't work for her because she didn't believe in them. What does cattail have to do with malicious thinking?
Since then, every time Marina saw her neighbor she would challenge her by offering more information about cattail. A vacationer, she had plenty of time to search for it on the Internet, the latter made available to Kenozero shortly before her arrival.
On Monday, Marina reported that the Kenozero Lake was inhabited by two sub-species of cattail, one with narrow leaves and the other with wide.
"Which one isn't allowed in the vase?" she asked jestingly.
On Tuesday, she delivered a whole lecture to the women in the store about how cattail was a preferred food among the Romans and the Greeks.
"Did you know that cattail could be baked, dried, stewed and fried? They even added it to porridge and thin jelly," Marina was eager to enlighten them.
The women winked at each other and laughed:
"Right. Mishka got himself a bunch of these sticks just yesterday. There's a tiny leaf at their core that tastes like cucumber, they say. Kids stuff themselves with them and get laid down with stomach ache for half the evening…"
An interior designer and experienced manager, Marina had the perseverance the people of Zekhnova appreciated only later. Determined to fight superstitious beliefs, she browses Wikipedia to furnish herself with a list of diseases curable by cattail and links to videos about cattail being used as a material of baskets, ingredient of concoctions for gastritis and much more.