the context:

As the children walked home, they saw a pretty tree.

A: "Oh, what a pretty tree!"

B: "Then stay away from it!!!!"

A: "No, you're not gonna start again! This time it does not belong to the Sorceress!"

B: NO!!! Don't climb that tree, don't eat the fruits!!!

A: Who do you think you are? You're not our chief.

B: NO!!!!!...

(he told them to leave it alone, but they didn't listen. They climbed up into its branches which then snapped shut, trapping them. The tree ran off through the forest).

I looked it up in the dictionary. In Russian the word "then" means "тогда", "затем", "потом" (= next, at that time, in that case). That's why I don't get its usage in the given context.

  • An important part of the story seems to be missing. B is saying that the tree is dangerous because it is pretty (then is used to draw a conclusion). But we don't know why B is so suspicious of pretty things. -- BTW, is "gonna" the actual quote? Oct 27, 2018 at 21:38
  • The Children must listen to B beacuse he is very wise. They were told to do what he tells them, if they don't want to be eaten by the Sorceress.
    – sofyaorel
    Oct 27, 2018 at 21:52
  • But B is too small to save anybody so they don't listen. he annoys them
    – sofyaorel
    Oct 27, 2018 at 21:59
  • That's not the point. The question is what does B know to make him suspicious. If we weren't told that in the preceding part, then his behavior doesn't make sense to us. As noted by others, too. Oct 27, 2018 at 22:02
  • Ok. The tree is suspicious because it grows on the surface of the ground. Its roots grows out from the main trunk so it looks like tentacles = legs. But the children think that as long as they don't eat the FRUITS there's no danger.
    – sofyaorel
    Oct 27, 2018 at 22:33

2 Answers 2


The usage of "then" in this example is most closely related to your Russian dictionary's "in that case," or "because of that [reason]."

"Oh, what a pretty tree! We've never seen anything like it!"

"Then [because it's dangerous, you should] stay away from it!"

(Two things should be taken into account when seeking to understand grammar in any literature; namely:

a) an author's intentions and creative liberties

b) the time period in which the work was published, since grammar and style tend to be fluid concepts.

  • they must stay away from it because it is dangerous. "We've never seen anything like it!" is unnecessary
    – sofyaorel
    Oct 26, 2018 at 19:40
  • There you go. Without the rest of the story, I wasn't sure the of the [reason]. So insert it into "because of that [reason]" and you have the same construction.
    – Ty Conway
    Oct 26, 2018 at 19:47
  • They climbed up into its branches which then snapped shut, trapping them. The tree ran off through the forest - it is the reason.
    – sofyaorel
    Oct 26, 2018 at 19:52
  • 2
    A's next speech implies that they had had a previous bad experience with a 'pretty tree', so B is warning that this similar tree may be dangerous too. Oct 27, 2018 at 8:52

"Then" can be used to mean "therefore". See meaning (3) listed at Oxford Dictionaries.

3 In that case; therefore.

‘if you do what I tell you, then there's nothing to worry about’

Then (Oxford)

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