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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? – michael.hor257k Oct 27 '18 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 '18 at 21:52
  • But B is too small to save anybody so they don't listen. he annoys them – sofyaorel Oct 27 '18 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. – michael.hor257k Oct 27 '18 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 '18 at 22:33
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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 '18 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 '18 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 '18 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. – Kate Bunting Oct 27 '18 at 8:52
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"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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