The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Russian Garland, by Various

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Title: The Russian Garland
       being Russian Falk Tales

Author: Various

Editor: Robert Steele

Illustrator: J. R. de Rosciszewski

Release Date: September 27, 2009 [EBook #30109]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by David Edwards, Sam W. and the Online Distributed
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The Russian Garland


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W.C. 1.

Prince Astrach rides his horse across the countryside

The horse grew restive, reared higher than the waving forest.
Page 18.



Foreword vii
Story of Lyubim Tsarevich and the Winged Wolf 1
Story of the most wonderful and noble Self-Playing Harp 16
The Seven Brothers Simeon 29
Story of Ivan, the Peasant’s Son 39
Story of the Golden Mountain 50
Iliya of Murom and the Robber Nightingale 61
The Renowned Hero, Bova Korolevich and the Princess Drushnevna 68
The Mild Man and his Cantankerous Wife 117
Story of the Duck with Golden Eggs 125
Story of Bulat the Brave Companion 131
Story of Prince Malandrach and the Princess Salikalla 142
Story of a Shoemaker and his Servant Prituitshkin 153
Emelyan, the Fool 166
The Judgment of Shemyaka 183
Story of Prince Peter with the Golden Keys, and the Princess Magilene 187
Sila Tsarevich and Ivashka with the White Smock 194
Story of the Knight Yaroslav Lasarevich and the Princess Anastasia 202



The Horse grew restive, reared higher than the waving forest Frontispiece
Instantly upstarted Lyubim Tsarevich, put on his armour and leapt upon his steed 4
At length they fell in with a cripple on the road 64
“Alas! my gracious mother, why have you put me in prison?” 74
The Judge thought that the bundle was full of roubles 184
And so saying, he stretched out his hand to take the sword 226



The special interest of this volume of Russian Folk Tales is that it is a translation from a collection of peasant Chap-books of all sorts made in Moscow about 1830, long before the Censorship had in great measure stopped the growth of popular literature. It is not necessary to dilate upon the peculiarities of Chap-books and their methods: in the conditions of their existence many of the finest qualities of the primitive stories are eliminated, but on the other hand certain essentials are enforced. The story must be direct, the interest sustained, and the language however fine, simple and easily understood.

It is to be hoped that some of these merits have been preserved in this translation: for this book is intended to appeal to a class of severe and incorruptible critics—the children of to-day. To older critics the matter is also interesting. Who on earth would ever expect to find in a Russian Chap-book printed in Slavonic type on a coarse broadside sheet the Provençal legend of “Pierre et Maguelonne” or the Old English tale of “Bevis of Hampton.” And the mystery deepens when [viii] one is told that Bevis of Hampton is ages old in Russia, however the names have been re-furbished by the printer to—not the English, but—the Italian form. Some of the tales are evidently of German origin—adopted and made Russian, like that of the “Seven Simeons” or “Emelyan, the Fool”; others are as evidently Eastern. A few date from the Russian Epics, like that of “Iliya of Murom” and “Ivan the Peasant’s Son”; others are of later date, like that of “The Judgment of Shemyaka,” who was a historic character who lived about 1446.

It is hardly necessary to dilate on the peculiar expressions here to be found; how that a child grows “not day by day, but hour by hour,” how that when the Tsar wants to drink “beer is not brewed nor brandy distilled,” seeing he is served at once, how the hero passes through “thrice nine lands to the thirtieth country,” how brothers are always in threes, and how the youngest always succeeds where his elders fail. Students of folklore will know all about them, and the rest of us must take them on trust. Do you know why you must never go under a ladder?

R. S.



IN a certain country there once lived a Tsar named Elidarovich, with his wife, Militissa Ibrahimovna, who had three sons. The eldest son was named Aksof Tsarevich, the second Hut Tsarevich, and the youngest, Lyubim Tsarevich; and they grew, not from day to day, but from hour to hour. And when the eldest son was twenty years of age, he begged leave of his parents to travel in other countries, and seek a beautiful princess for his wife. So his parents at last consented, gave him their blessing, and dismissed him to the four quarters of the earth.

Not long after this, Hut Tsarevich in like manner begged permission of his parents to travel; and Tsar Elidar and the Tsarina gave their consent with the greatest pleasure. And so Hut Tsarevich went out into the world too, and they wandered about a long while, until at length nothing more was heard or seen of them, and they were given up for dead.

As the Tsar and the Tsarina were troubled and wept for their lost sons, came the youngest son, [2] Lyubim Tsarevich, and likewise entreated them to let him go forth to seek his brothers. But his parents said to him: “Son, you are too young and cannot undertake so long a journey; and how can we part with you, our only child left to us? We are already in years, and to whom should we leave our crown?” But Lyubim Tsarevich would not be denied; he remained firm to his purpose, and said: “It is needful for me to travel and see the world; for if ever I am called to rule over the country, I must learn to do so with justice.”

When the Tsar Elidar and Tsarina Militissa heard these words from their son, they were overjoyed, and gave him their consent to travel; but only for a short time, and making him promise to have no companions, nor expose himself to any great dangers. Upon taking leave, Lyubim bethought him how to provide himself with a knightly steed and a suit of armour; and as he went musing thus to the city, an old woman met him, who said: “Why are you so sad, my dear Lyubim Tsarevich?” But he did not give her an answer, and passed by the old woman without saying a word. But then he bethought him that old folk are wiser than young ones, turned round, and going up to the old woman, accosted her. And Lyubim Tsarevich said to her: “At the first meeting, mother, [3] I disdained to tell you why I was sad, but it came into my mind that old folk must know more than young ones.” “There it is, Lyubim Tsarevich,” said the old woman, “you can’t easily get away from old folk. Say, why are you sad? Tell the old wife.” And Lyubim Tsarevich said to her: “I have no good horse and no armour, yet I must travel far and wide in search of my brothers.” Then the old woman said: “What think you? There is a horse and a suit of armour in your father’s forbidden meadow,[A] behind twelve gates, and this horse is fastened by twelve chains. On that meadow is also a broadsword and a fine suit of armour.”

[A] The “royal forbidden meadows” were those belonging to the Sovereign, the use of which was strictly forbidden to his subjects. When an enemy came into the country they first pitched their camp in these fields, as a declaration of hostilities.

When Lyubim Tsarevich had heard this, and thanked the old woman, he went straightway, overjoyed, to the forbidden meadow. On reaching the place where the horse was, he stopped, and bethought him, “How shall I break through the twelve gates?” At last he made the attempt, and presently broke down one gate; then the steed perceived by his scent the presence of the brave youth, and with a great effort burst his chains; [4] and then Lyubim Tsarevich broke through three more gates, and the steed trampled down the rest. Then Lyubim Tsarevich surveyed the steed and the armour; and put on the armour, but left the steed in the meadow; after which he went to his home, found his parents, and with great joy told them all that had befallen him, and how an old woman had helped him, and begged their blessing on his travels. So his parents gave him their blessing, and, mounting his good steed, he set forth on his journey. And he went his way, and travelled until he came at length to a place where three roads met; in the centre stood a column, with three inscriptions, which ran as follows: “He who turns to the right will have plenty to eat, but his steed will starve; he who goes straight forward will hunger himself, but his steed will have food enough; and whoever takes the left road will be slain by the Winged Wolf.”

When Lyubim Tsarevich read this, he pondered over it, and resolved to go no other road but to choose the left, and either be slain himself, or destroy the Winged Wolf, and free all those who might be travelling that way. So he journeyed on until he came to the open plains, where he pitched his tent to rest, when on a sudden he perceived in the west the Winged Wolf come flying toward [5] him. Instantly upstarted Lyubim Tsarevich, put on his armour, and leaped upon his steed. And Lyubim rode at the Wolf, which beat him so hard with his wings that he nearly fell from his horse; nevertheless, Lyubim kept his seat, flew into a violent rage, and with his battle-sword struck the Winged Wolf a blow that felled him to the ground, and injured his right wing so that he could no longer fly.

Lyubim raises his sword as the wolf runs towards him

Instantly upstarted Lyubim Tsarevich, put on his armour, and leapt upon his steed.

When the Wolf came to himself he said to Lyubim Tsarevich, in a human voice: “Do not kill me! I will be useful to you and serve you as your trusty servant.” Then Lyubim Tsarevich replied: “Know you where my brothers are?” And the Wolf answered: “They have long ago been slain; but we will bring them to life again when we have won the beautiful Princess.” “How shall we do that?” said Lyubim Tsarevich. “Hark ye,” replied the Wolf; “leave your steed here, and——.”

“How! What shall I do without my horse?” cried Lyubim.

“Only hear me out,” said the Wolf; “I will change myself into a horse, and carry you; but this steed of yours is not fit for the task we have to do; in the city where the Princess lives, there are strings from the walls to all the bells in the city; [6] and we must leap over all these without touching the smallest, otherwise we shall be taken.” Lyubim Tsarevich saw at once that the Wolf spoke wisely, so he consented, and exclaimed, “On then!”

Away they went, until they came to the white stone wall of the city; and when Lyubim Tsarevich looked on it he grew frightened. “How is it possible to leap over this high white stone wall?” said he to the Wolf. But the Wolf replied: “It is not hard for me to jump over this; but afterwards fresh obstacles will arise, from your falling in love; then you must bathe in the water of life, and take some for your brothers, and also some of the water of death.”

Thereupon they leaped safely over the city wall, without touching a stone. Lyubim Tsarevich stopped at the palace and went to the court of the beautiful Princess. And as he entered the first apartment he found a number of chamber women all fast asleep, but the Princess was not there; he found her not. Then went Lyubim Tsarevich into the second room, where he found a number of beautiful ladies-in-waiting, all fast asleep, but the Princess was still not there. Then Lyubim went into the third apartment, and there he saw the Princess herself, sleeping; and his heart was on fire with her beauty, and he fell so deeply in love [7] that he could not tear himself away from her presence. But at last, fearing he might be seized if he remained too long, he went into the garden to fetch some of the waters of life and of death. Then he bathed in the water of life, and taking with him bladders-full of both waters, he returned to his Wolf. And as he was sitting on his Wolf-steed, the Wolf said to him: “You have become very heavy. We cannot leap back over the wall, but shall strike against it and wake everyone up. Nevertheless you shall kill them; and when they are all slain, be sure to seize on a white horse. I will then help you to fight; and as soon as we reach our tent, take your own steed, and I will mount the white horse. And when we have slain all the warriors, the Princess herself will come to meet you and offer to be your wife, professing a violent love for you.”

Thereupon they attempted to leap over the high city wall; but they touched the strings, and instantly the bells rang an alarm through all the city, and the drums beat. Then every one jumped up and ran out of the court with their weapons, whilst some opened the gate that no misfortune might befall the Princess. Presently the Princess herself awoke; and, perceiving that a youth had been in the apartment, she gave an alarm, which soon [8] brought all the courtiers around her. There was speedily gathered a crowd of famous and valiant knights, and she said to them: “Now ye brave warriors, go forth and fetch hither this youth and bring me his head; so shall his boldness be punished!”

And the valiant knights promised her: “We will not rest until we have slain him, and brought his head to you, even if he were in the midst of an army.” So the Princess dismissed them, and went up into her balcony, and gazed after her army and after the stranger who had dared to intrude into the privacy of her court, and caress her in her sleep.

When the alarm was given, Lyubim Tsarevich had already ridden a great distance on his Wolf-steed, and was half-way to his tent before he could be overtaken. As soon as he saw them approach, he wheeled about and grew furious at beholding such an array of Knights in the field. Then they fell upon him; but Lyubim Tsarevich laid about him valiantly with his sword, and slew many, whilst his horse trod down still more under his hoofs, and it ended in their slaying nearly all the little knightlets. And Lyubim Tsarevich saw one single knight mounted upon a white steed, with a head like a beer-barrel, who rode at him; but Lyubim Tsarevich slew him also, leaped on the white horse, [9] and left the Wolf to rest. When they had rested they betook themselves to their tent.

When the beautiful Princess saw Lyubim Tsarevich overcome singly such a large host, she collected a still larger army and sent them forth against him, whilst she went back again to her balcony.

But Lyubim Tsarevich came to his tent, and there the Wolf transformed himself into a valiant knight, such as no one could imagine except in a fairy-tale. And presently the army of the beautiful Tsarevna was seen approaching—a countless host; whereupon Lyubim Tsarevich mounted his white steed, accompanied by his companion the Wolf, and awaited their attack; and when the army of the beautiful Tsarevna was near, Lyubim, taking the right wing, ordered the Wolf to attack the left, and they made ready for the charge. Then on a sudden they fell upon the warriors of the Tsarevna with a fierce onset, mowing them down like grass, until only two persons remained on the field, the Wolf and Lyubim Tsarevich. And after this dreadful fight was ended the brave Wolf said to Lyubim: “See, yonder comes the beautiful Tsarevna herself, and she will ask you to take her to wife; there is nothing more to fear from her; I have expiated my crimes through my bravery; dismiss me now, and let me return to my own kingdom.” So [10] Lyubim Tsarevich thanked him for his service and counsel and bade him farewell.

The Wolf thereupon vanished; and when Lyubim Tsarevich saw the beautiful Princess coming toward him, he rejoiced, and, going to meet her, he took her by her white hands, kissing her honey-sweet mouth, pressed her to his stormy heart, and said: “Did I not love you, my dearest fair Tsarevna, I should not have remained here; but you have seen that my love was stronger than your armies.” Then the fair Tsarevna replied: “Ah! thou valiant knight. Thou hast overcome all my powers, and my strong and famous knights, on whom my hopes relied; and my city is now desolate. I will leave it and go with you; henceforth you shall be my protector.”

“Joyfully do I take you for my wife,” replied Lyubim Tsarevich, “and I will guard and protect you and your kingdom faithfully.” Conversing thus they entered the tent, and sat down to rest and feast.

Early the next morning they mounted their horses and set out on their journey to the kingdom of Elidar; and on the way Lyubim Tsarevich said: “Ah! thou fair Princess, I had two elder brothers, who left our home before I did, in hopes of winning your hand; in these wilds they have [11] been murdered, and where their remains lie I do not know; but I have brought with me the waters of life and death, and will seek and restore them to life; they cannot be far distant from our road; do you therefore ride on to the pillar with the inscriptions, and wait for me. I shall soon rejoin you.”

So saying, Lyubim Tsarevich parted from his fair Princess, and went forth to seek his brothers’ remains. He found them at last among some trees; and after sprinkling them with the water of death, they grew together; then he sprinkled them with the water of life, and his two brothers became alive, and stood up on their feet. Then Aksof and Hut Tsarevich exclaimed: “Ah! brother! how long have we been sleeping here?” And Lyubim Tsarevich said: “Ay, indeed, and you might have still slept on for ever, had it not been for me.” Then he related to them all his adventures—how he had conquered the Wolf, and won the beautiful Princess, and had brought them the waters of life and death. Thereupon they repaired to the tent, where the fair Tsarevna was waiting for them; and they all rejoiced and feasted together.

When they had retired to rest, Aksof Tsarevich said to his brother Hut Tsarevich: “How shall we go to our father Elidar and our mother Militissa, [12] and what shall we say to them? Our youngest brother can boast that he won the beautiful Princess and awakened us from death. Is it not disgraceful for us to live with him? Had we not better kill him at once?” So they agreed, and took the battle-sword and cut Lyubim Tsarevich to pieces, and cast his remains to the winds. Then they threatened the Princess with the same fate if she betrayed the secret to anyone; and, drawing lots, the waters of life and death fell to Hut, and the beautiful Princess to Aksof Tsarevich.

So they journeyed on to their father’s kingdom; and when they reached the forbidden meadows, and had pitched their tents, the Tsar Elidar sent messengers to demand who had encamped there. Then Hut replied: “Aksof and Hut Tsarevich are come, with a beautiful Princess; and tell our father, the Tsar, that we have brought with us the waters of life and death.”

The messenger immediately returned to the Court and told this to the Tsar, who inquired whether all his three sons were come; but the messenger replied: “Only the two eldest, your Majesty; the youngest is not with them.” The Tsar, nevertheless, rejoiced greatly, and hastened to tell the Tsarina, his wife, of the return of their two eldest sons.

[13] Then Tsar Elidar and Tsarina Militissa arose and went to meet their sons in the way, and unarmed them, and embraced them tenderly. And when they returned to the palace a great banquet was made, and they feasted seven days and seven nights. At the end of this time they began to think of the wedding, and to make preparations, and invite the guests, boyars, and brave warriors and knights.

Now, the Winged Wolf, who knew that they had slain their brother, Lyubim Tsarevich, ran and fetched the waters of life and death, collected all the remains of Lyubim, and sprinkled them with the water of death; thereupon the bones grew together, and no sooner had he sprinkled them with the water of life than the brave youth stood up, as if nothing had happened to him, and said: “Ah, what a time I have slept!” Then the Wolf answered: “Ay, you would have slept on for ever had I not come to awaken you”; and he related to Lyubim all that his brothers had done; and, changing himself into a horse, he said: “Hasten after them—you will be sure to overtake them; to-morrow your brother Aksof Tsarevich is to marry the Princess.”

So Lyubim instantly set out, and the Wolf-steed galloped over hill and dale, until they arrived [14] at the city of the Tsar, where Lyubim dismounted. Then he walked through the market, and bought a gusli; and stationed himself in a spot which the Princess would pass. And, as she was being conducted to the church, Lyubim Tsarevich began to sing the events of his youth, accompanying himself on the gusli; and when the beautiful Princess drew nigh, he sang of his brothers, and how cruelly they had slain him and deceived their father. Then the Princess stopped her carriage, and ordered her attendants to call to her the stranger with the gusli, and to ask his name and who he was. But without answering a word, Lyubim went straight to the Princess; and when she saw him, she was overjoyed, and, seating him in her carriage, they drove off to his parents.

When the Tsar Elidar and his wife Militissa, beheld their son Lyubim, they were unspeakably glad; and the beautiful Princess said: “Lyubim Tsarevich it was, and not Aksof, who gained my hand, and it was he, too, who obtained the waters of life and death.” Then Lyubim related all his adventures; and the Tsar and Tsarina, after summoning their sons, Aksof and Hut, asked them why they had acted so unnaturally; but they denied the charge. Thereat the Tsar waxed wroth, and commanded that they should be shot at the [15] gate of the city. Lyubim Tsarevich married the beautiful Princess, and they lived in perfect harmony for many years; and so this story has an end.



IN a certain country there lived a king named Filon, whose wife Chaltura had an only son, named Astrach, who from his earliest years had a strong desire to render himself famous by knightly deeds. When he arrived at mature age, Astrach began to think of marrying, and he asked his father in what kingdom lived the most beautiful of all Tsar’s or King’s daughters. The King replied: “If it is your wish to marry, my dearest son, my noble child, I will show you the portraits of the daughters of the Tsars and Kings of all lands.” So saying, he led Prince Astrach to a gallery, and showed him the pictures. After examining them all closely, Astrach fell passionately in love with the Tsarevna Osida, daughter of Afor, the Tsar of Egypt. Then he besought his father’s blessing, and asked leave to repair to the Court of the Egyptian Sultan, to sue for the hand of Osida. King Filon rejoiced at the thought of his son’s marrying, gave him his blessing, and dismissed him.

Then Prince Astrach went to seek a goodly steed in the royal stables, but could find none there to his mind. So he bade farewell to his father [17] and mother, and started for his journey to Egypt alone on foot; and he wandered long, here and there, far and near, until at length he saw on the plain a palace of white marble, roofed with gold, which emitted beams of light, shining like the sun. Prince Astrach went up to the palace; and, on reaching it, he walked round the building, looking in at every window, to see if any persons were there; but he could discover no one. So he went into the courtyard, and wandered up and down for a long time; but there, too, he could see no living soul; then he entered the marble palace, and went from room to room, but all was silent and deserted. At length he came to an apartment, in which a table was spread for one person; and being very hungry, Prince Astrach sat down, and ate and drank his fill; after which he laid himself down on a bed and fell fast asleep.

As soon as he awoke, he wandered again through the palace until he came to a room, from the window of which he saw the most beautiful garden he had ever beheld, and it came into his mind to go for a walk in it. Then he went out of the palace and strolled about for a long time; and at length came to a stone wall, in which was an iron door, with a massive lock. As the Prince touched the lock he heard behind the door the neighing of a horse; [18] and, wishing to remove the lock, he took up a huge stone in his arms and fell to hammering the door. At the first blow it burst open, and there behind it was a second iron door, with a lock like the first. This, too, he broke open, and found behind it ten other doors, through all of which he forced his way in like manner; and behind the last he beheld a noble charger, with a complete suit of armour. Then he went up and stroked the horse, which stood still as if rooted to the spot.

Prince Astrach forthwith proceeded to saddle his horse with a Tcherkess saddle, put a silken bridle into his mouth, and leading him out, mounted, and rode into the open fields. But as soon as he applied the spur, the horse grew restive, reared higher than the waving forests, plunged lower than the flying clouds; mountains and rivers he left behind; small streams he covered with his tail and broad rivers he crossed at a bound, until at length Prince Astrach so tired out the brave steed that he was covered with foam.

Then the horse spoke with a man’s voice the following words: “O Prince, thou my noble rider, it is now three-and-thirty years since I served the dead Yaroslav Yaroslavovich—that stout and powerful knight—and I have borne him in many a single combat and battle; yet never [19] have I been so worn out as to-day; now I am ready to serve you faithfully till death.” Then Prince Astrach returned into the courtyard, put his brave steed into the stable, and gave him white corn and spring water; after which he went into the marble palace, ate and drank his fill, and then laid him down to sleep.

The following morning he rose early, saddled his good horse, and rode forth towards Egypt, to Tsar Afor, to sue for the hand of his daughter, the beautiful Tsarevna Osida. When he arrived at the court he announced himself as the son of King Filon, whereupon Tsar Afor received him with all honour, and enquired what purpose had brought him thither, to which Prince Astrach replied: “Great Tsar of all the lands of Egypt, I am not come to your Court to feast and banquet, but to ask for your lovely daughter to wife.”

“Brave Knight, Prince Astrach,” answered the Tsar, “I will gladly bestow my daughter on you; but one service you must render me. The unbelieving Tartar Tsar is drawing near, and threatens to lay waste my kingdom, to carry off my daughter, and slay me and my wife.” Prince Astrach replied: “My gracious lord, Tsar Afor, readily will I go forth to battle for the Faith with this unbelieving Tsar; and to protect your city from untimely [20] destruction.” Whereat Tsar Afor was glad at heart, and ordered a great banquet to be prepared for the bold and fair Prince Astrach; so there was great feasting, and the betrothal took place with all solemnity.

The next day the Busurman army of three hundred thousand men arrived before the city, whereat Tsar Afor was greatly alarmed, and took counsel with Astrach. Then the Prince saddled his steed, went into the royal palace, and offered up his prayers, bowing himself to all four quarters of the globe. After this he took leave of Tsar Afor and his wife, and his betrothed Tsarevna, the beautiful Osida, and rode straight to the enemy’s camp; and when he spurred his charger, the steed bounded from the earth higher than the waving forests, and lower than the drifting clouds; mountains and valleys he left beneath his feet, small streams he covered with his tail, wide rivers he sprang across, and at length arrived at the enemy’s camp. Then Prince Astrach fell upon the Busurmen with fearful slaughter, and in a short time cut them to pieces; and wherever he waved his arm, a way was opened, and where he turned his horse there was a clear space for him; so he routed and destroyed the whole army, took the Busurman Tsar himself prisoner, and brought him to Tsar Afor, who threw him into prison.

[21] Then there was great feasting and rejoicing, and the revels lasted for a whole fortnight. At the end of this time, Prince Astrach reminded Tsar Afor of his marriage contract with the Tsarevna Osida; and Tsar Afor ordered a great banquet to be made, and bade his daughter prepare for the wedding. When the Tsarevna heard this, she called Prince Astrach and said: “My beloved friend and bridegroom, you are in too great a haste to marry; only think how dull a wedding feast would be without any music, for my father has no players. Therefore, dear friend, ride off, I entreat you, through thrice nine lands, to the thirtieth kingdom, in the domain of the deathless Kashtshei, and win from him the Self-playing Harp; it plays all tunes so wonderfully that every one is bound to listen to it, and it is beyond price: this will enliven our wedding.”

Then Astrach, the King’s son, went to the royal stable and saddled his steed; and, after taking leave of Tsar Afor and his betrothed Princess, mounted his good horse and rode off to the kingdom of the deathless Kashtshei, in search of the Self-playing Harp. As he rode along he saw an old hut, standing in a garden facing a wood; and he called out with his knightly voice: “Hut, hut, turn about, with your back to the wood, and your [22] front to me!” And instantly the hut turned itself round. Then Prince Astrach dismounted and entered the hut, and there was an old witch sitting on the floor spinning flax. And the witch screamed with a frightful voice: “Fu! fu! fu! never before has the sound of a Russian spirit been heard here; and now a Russian spirit comes to sight!” Then she asked Prince Astrach: “Wherefore, good youngling, Prince Astrach, art thou come hither—of thine own free will or not? Hither no bird flies, no wild beast wanders, no knight ever passes my hut. And how has God brought you here?”

But Prince Astrach replied: “You silly old wife, first give me food and drink, and then put your questions.” Thereupon the old witch instantly set food before Prince Astrach, whipped him into the bath-room, combed his locks, made ready his bed, and then fell again to questioning him. “Tell me, good youth, whither art thou travelling—to what far country? and dost thou go of thine own free will or no?”

And Prince Astrach answered: “Willingly as I go, yet I go twice as unwillingly through thrice nine lands into the thirtieth kingdom, the domain of the deathless Kashtshei, to fetch the Self-playing Harp.”

“Ho! ho! ho!” cried the old witch. “You’ll [23] find it a hard task to gain the Harp; but say your prayers and lie down to rest; the morning is the time for such exploits, but the night for sleep.” So Astrach, the King’s son, laid himself down to sleep.

The next morning the witch awoke early, got up, and aroused Prince Astrach. “Bestir yourself, Prince Astrach, it is time for you to set out on your travels.” So Astrach arose and speedily dressed himself, pulled on his stockings and boots, washed, and said his prayers, bowing himself north, south, east, and west, and made ready to take leave of the witch. Then she said: “How! will you go away without asking an old woman like me how you can gain the Self-playing Harp?” And when he asked her she said: “Go your way, in God’s name, and when you come to the realm of the deathless Kashtshei, manage to arrive exactly at noon. Near his golden palace is a green garden, and in this garden you will see a fair Princess walking about. Leap over the wall and approach the maiden; she will rejoice to see you, for it is now six years since she was carried off from her father’s court by the deathless Kashtshei. Enquire of this maiden how you can obtain the Self-playing Harp, and she will direct you.”

Thereupon Prince Astrach mounted his good [24] steed and rode far and fast, and came into the kingdom of the deathless Kashtshei. Then he repaired to the golden palace, and heard the sound of the Self-playing Harp: he stood still to listen, and was absorbed by its wonderful music. At last he came to himself, leaped over the wall into the green garden, and beheld there the Princess, who was at first sight terrified; but Prince Astrach went up to her, quieted her fears, and asked her how he could obtain the Self-playing Harp. Then the Tsarevna Darisa answered: “If you will take me with you from this place I will tell you how to obtain the Harp.” So Prince Astrach gave her his promise. Then she told him to wait in the garden, and meanwhile she herself went to the deathless Kashtshei and began to coax him with false and flattering words. “My most beloved friend and intimate, tell me, I pray you, will you never die?”

“Assuredly never,” replied Kashtshei.

“Then,” said the Princess, “where is your death? Is it here?”

“Certainly,” he replied; “it is in the broom under the threshold.”

Thereupon Tsarevna Darisa instantly seized the broom and threw it into the fire; but, although the besom burned, the deathless Kashtshei still remained alive. Then the Tsarevna said to him: [25] “My beloved, you do not love me sincerely, for you have not told me truly where is your death; nevertheless, I am not angry, but love you with my whole heart.”

And with these fawning words, she entreated Kashtshei to tell her in truth where was his death. Then he said with a laugh: “Have you any reason for wishing to know? Well, then, out of love I will tell you where it lies; in a certain field there stand three green oaks, and under the roots of the largest oak is a worm, and if ever this worm is found and crushed, that instant I shall die.”

When the Tsarevna Darisa heard these words, she went straight to Prince Astrach, and told him how he must go to that field, and seek for the three oaks, dig up the worm under the biggest oak and crush it. So the Prince went forth, and rode on from morning to night, until at length he came to the three green oaks. Then he dug up the worm from the roots of the largest, and having killed it, he returned to the Tsarevna Darisa, and said to her: “Does the deathless Kashtshei still live? I have found the worm and destroyed it.” And she replied, “Kashtshei is still alive.”

Then said Prince Astrach, “Go again and ask him right lovingly where is his death.” So the Princess went, and said to him with tears: “You [26] do not love me, and don’t tell me the truth, but treat me as a stupid”; and at last King Kashtshei yielded to her entreaties, and told her the whole truth, saying: “My death is far from hence, and hard to find, on the wide ocean: in that sea is the island of Bujan, and upon this island there grows a green oak, and beneath this oak is an iron chest, and in this chest is a small basket, and in this basket a hare, and in this hare a duck, and in this duck an egg; and he who finds this egg, and breaks it, at that same instant causes my death.”

As soon as the Tsarevna heard these words she hastened back to Prince Astrach and told him all. And thereupon he straightway mounted his good steed, and rode to the seashore. There he saw a fisherman in a boat, and asked him to carry him to the island of Bujan; and, taking a seat in the boat, they speedily reached the island, where he landed. Prince Astrach soon found the green oak, and he dug up the iron chest, and broke it in pieces, and opened the basket, and took out of the basket the hare, and tore in pieces the hare, when out flew a grey duck; and as she flew over the sea, she let fall the egg into the water. Thereat Prince Astrach was very sorrowful, and ordered the fisherman to cast his nets into the sea, and instantly the man did so, and caught a huge pike. [27] So Prince Astrach drew the pike out of the net, and found in it the egg which the duck had dropped: and, seating himself in the boat, he bade the fisherman make for the shore. Then, after rewarding the man for his trouble, the Prince mounted his steed and returned to the Tsarevna Darisa.

As soon as he arrived and told her that he had found the egg, the Princess said: “Now fear nothing; come with me straight to Kashtshei.” And when they appeared before him, Kashtshei jumped up, and would have killed Prince Astrach; but the Prince instantly took the egg in his hand and fell to crushing it gradually. Then Kashtshei began to cry and roar aloud, and said to the Tsarevna Darisa: “Was it not out of love that I told you where my death was? And is this the return you make?” So saying he seized his sword from the wall to slay the Tsarevna; but at the same moment Astrach, the King’s son, crushed the egg, and Kashtshei fell dead upon the ground like a sheaf of corn.

Then the Tsarevna Darisa led Astrach into the palace, where was the Self-playing Harp, and said to him: “The Harp is now thine—take it; but in return for it, conduct me back to my home.” So Prince Astrach took up the Harp, and it played so gloriously that he was struck dumb with [28] amazement at its sounds, as well as its workmanship of the purest Eastern crystal and gold strings. After gazing at it for a long time, Prince Astrach left the palace, and mounting his gallant steed with Darisa, set out upon his return. First he carried the Tsarevna back to her parents, and afterwards went on his way to Egypt, to Tsar Afor, and gave the Self-playing Harp to his betrothed, the Tsarevna Osida. Then they placed the Harp on the table, and it fell to playing the most beautiful and merry tunes.

The next day Prince Astrach married the fair Tsarevna Osida, and in a short time left Egypt, and returned to his native country. When his father and mother saw their dear son again they rejoiced exceedingly. Not long afterwards King Filon died, and Prince Astrach wore his father’s crown, and lived with his beloved Queen Osida in all joy and happiness until they died.



THERE were once upon a time two old serfs, who lived together for many years without children; and in their old age they prayed for a child to keep them from want when they were no longer able to labour. After seven years the good woman gave birth to seven sons, who were all named Simeon; but when these boys were in their tenth year, the old folk died, and the sons tilled the ground which their father left them.

It chanced one day that the Tsar Ador drove past, and wondered sore to see such little fellows all busy at work in their field. So he sent his oldest boyar to ask them whose children they were, and why they were working so hard, and the eldest Simeon answered, that they were orphans, and had no one to work for them, and that they were all called Simeon. When the boyar told this to Tsar Ador, he ordered the boys to be brought along with him.

On returning to the palace, the Tsar called together all his boyars, and asked their advice, saying: “My boyars, you see here seven poor orphans, who have no kinsfolk; I am resolved to [30] make such men of them that they shall hereafter have cause to thank me; and therefore I ask your advice—what handicraft or art shall I have them taught?” Then the boyars replied: “Your Majesty, seeing that they are old enough to have understanding, it would be well to ask each brother separately what craft he wishes to learn.”

This answer pleased the Tsar, and he said to the eldest Simeon: “Tell me, friend, what art or trade would you like to learn? I will apprentice you to it.” But Simeon answered: “Please your Majesty, I wish to learn no art; but if you will command a smithy to be put up in the middle of your court, I will raise a column which shall reach to the sky.” By this time the Tsar at once saw that the first Simeon wanted indeed no teaching if he was so good a smith as to do such work; but he did not believe that he could make so tall a pillar; so he ordered a smithy to be built in his courtyard, and the eldest Simeon straightway set to work.

Then the Tsar asked the second Simeon: “What craft or art would you learn, my friend?” and the lad replied: “Your Majesty, I will learn neither craft nor art; but when my eldest brother has smithied the iron column, I will mount to the top of it, look around over the whole world, and tell you what is passing in every kingdom.” So the [31] Tsar saw there was clearly no need to teach this brother, as he was clever enough already.

Thereupon he questioned the third Simeon: “What craft or what art will you learn?” He replied: “Your Majesty, I want to learn neither craft nor art; but if my eldest brother will make me an axe I will build a ship in the twinkling of an eye.” When the Tsar heard this he exclaimed: “Such master workers are just the men I want! Thou also hast nothing to learn.”

Then he asked the fourth Simeon: “Thou Simeon, what craft or what art will thou learn?” and he answered: “Your Majesty, I need to learn nothing; but when my third brother has built a ship, and the ship is attacked by enemies, I will seize it by the prow, and draw it into the kingdom under the earth; and when the foe has departed, I will bring it back again upon the sea.” The Tsar was astonished at such marvels, and replied: “In truth you have nothing to learn.”

Then he asked the fifth Simeon: “What trade or what art would you learn, Simeon?” And he replied: “I need none, your Majesty; but when my eldest brother has made me a gun, I will shoot with it every bird that flies, however distant, if I can see it.” And the Tsar said: “You’ll be a famous hunter truly!”

[32] The Tsar now asked the sixth Simeon: “What art will you learn?” and he replied in like manner: “Sire, I will follow no art, but when my fifth brother has shot a bird in the air I will catch it before it falls to the ground, and bring it to your Majesty.” “Bravo!” said the Tsar; “you will serve in the field as well as a retriever.”

Thereupon the Tsar enquired of the last Simeon what craft or art he would learn. “Your Majesty,” he replied, “I will learn neither craft nor trade, for I am already skilled in a precious art.” “What kind of art do you understand then?” said the Tsar. “I understand how to steal better than any man alive.” When the Tsar heard of such a wicked art, he grew angry, and said to his boyars: “My Lords, how do you advise me to punish this thief Simeon? What death shall he die?” But they all replied: “Wherefore, O Tsar, should he die? Who knows but that he may be a clever thief, and prove useful in case of need?” “How so?” said the Tsar. “Your Majesty,” replied the boyars, “has for ten long years sued for the hand of the beautiful Tsarina Helena in vain, and has already lost many armies and great store of money. Who knows but that this thief Simeon may in some way steal the fair Tsarina for your Majesty.”

“Well spoken, my friends,” replied the Tsar; [33] and, turning to the thief Simeon, he said: “Hark you, friend, can you pass through thrice nine lands into the thirtieth kingdom and steal for me the fair Queen Helena? I am in love with her, and if you can bring her to me I will reward you richly.”

“Leave it to us,” answered Simeon; “your Majesty has only to command.”

“I do not order you, I entreat you then,” said the Tsar, “not to tarry longer at my Court, but take with you all the armies and treasure you require.” “I want not your armies nor your treasure,” said Simeon; “only send us brothers forth together; without the rest I can do nothing.” The Tsar was unwilling to let them all go; nevertheless he was obliged to consent.

Meanwhile the eldest Simeon had finished the iron column in the smithy of the palace-yard. Then the second Simeon climbed up it, and looked around on all sides, to see whereabouts the kingdom of fair Helena’s father lay; and presently he called out to the Tsar Ador: “Please, your Majesty, beyond thrice nine lands, in the thirtieth kingdom, sits the fair Tsarina at her window. How beautiful she is! One can see the very marrow of her bones, her skin is so clear.” On hearing this the Tsar was more in love than ever, and cried aloud to the [34] Simeons: “My friends, set out instantly on your journey, and come back as soon as possible; I can no longer live without the fair Tsarina.”

So the eldest Simeon made for the third brother a gun, and took bread for their travels; and the thief Simeon took a cat with him, and so they set out. Now thief Simeon had so accustomed this cat to him, that she ran after him everywhere like a dog; and whenever he stopped, she sat up on her hind legs, rubbed her coat against him and purred. So they all went their way, until they came to the shore of the sea over which they must sail. For a long time they wandered about, seeking wood, to build a ship with. At last they found a huge oak. Then the third Simeon took his axe and laid it at the root of the tree, and in the twinkling of an eye the oak was felled, and a ship built from it, fully rigged, and in the ship there were all kinds of costly wares.

After some months’ voyage they arrived safely at the place to which they were bound, and cast anchor. The next day Simeon the thief took his cat and went into the city; and walking straight up to the Tsar’s palace, he stood under the window of Queen Helena. Immediately his cat sat up on her hind legs, and fell to rubbing him and purring. But you must know that no cat had ever been seen [35] or heard of in this country, nor was anything known of such an animal.

The fair Tsarina Helena was sitting at her window, and observing the cat, she sent her attendants to inquire of Simeon what kind of animal it was, and whether he would sell it, and for how much. And when the servants asked him, Simeon replied: “Tell her Majesty that this creature is called a cat, but I cannot consent to sell her; if, however, her Majesty pleases, I shall have the honour of presenting the cat to her.”

So the attendants ran back and told what they had heard from Simeon; and when the Tsarina Helena knew it, she was overjoyed, and went herself to him, and asked why he would not sell it, but would only give it to her. Then she took the cat in her arms, went into her room, and invited Simeon to accompany her; and, going to her father, the Tsar Sarg, the Tsarina showed him the cat, and told him that a stranger had presented it to her. The Tsar gazed at the wonderful animal with delight, and commanded the thief Simeon to be summoned; and when he came, the Tsar wanted to reward him richly for the cat. But Simeon would not take anything; and the Tsar said: “Stay here in my palace for a time, and [36] meanwhile the cat will become better used to my daughter in your presence.”

Simeon, however, had no desire to remain, and answered: “Your Majesty, I would stay in your palace with pleasure had I not a ship, in which I came to your kingdom, and which I cannot entrust to anyone; but if your Majesty pleases, I will come every day to the palace and accustom the cat to your fair daughter.”

This offer pleased the Tsar: so every day Simeon went to the fair Queen; and once he said to her: “Gracious Lady, Your Majesty, often as I have come to visit you, I have not observed that you ever go out to take a walk. If you will come once on board my ship, I will show you a quantity of fine wares, diamonds and gold brocades, more beautiful than you have ever seen before.” Thereupon the Tsarina went to her father and asked his permission to take a walk upon the quay. The Tsar consented, bidding her take her attendants and lady’s-maids with her.

When they came to the quay, Simeon invited the Tsarina on board his ship, where he and his brothers displayed to her all kinds of wares. Then said Simeon the thief to the fair Helena: “You must order your attendants to leave the ship, and I will show you some more costly wares which [37] they must not see.” So the Tsarina ordered them to return to shore; and Simeon the thief instantly desired his brothers to cut the cable, set all the sails, and put out to sea.

Meantime he amused the Tsarina by unpacking the wares and making her various presents. In this manner hours passed by; and at last she told him it was time for her to return home, as her father would be expecting her back. So saying, she went up from the cabin and perceived that the ship was already far out at sea, and almost out of sight of land. Thereat she beat her breast, changed herself into a swan, and flew away. But in an instant the fifth Simeon seizing his gun, fired at her; and the sixth brother caught her before she fell into the water, and placed her on the deck, when the Tsarina changed back into a woman.

Meanwhile the attendants and lady’s-maids, who were standing on the shore, and had seen the ship sail away with the Tsarina, went and told the Tsar of Simeon’s treachery. Then the Tsar instantly commanded his whole fleet to go in pursuit; and it had already got very near to the Simeons’ ship when the fourth brother seized the vessel by the prow and drew it into the subterranean region. When the ship disappeared, all the sailors in the fleet thought it had sunk, together [38] with the beautiful Tsarina Helena, and went back to the Tsar Sarg and told him the sad tidings. But the seven brothers Simeon returned safely to their own country, and conducted the Tsarina Helena to Tsar Ador, who gave the Simeons their freedom as a reward for the services they had rendered, together with much gold and silver and precious stones. And the Tsar lived with the beautiful Queen Helena for many years in peace and happiness.



IN a certain village there lived a poor peasant with his wife, who for three years had no children: at length the good woman had a little son, whom they named Ivan. The boy grew, but even when he was five years old, could not walk. His father and mother were very sad, and prayed that their son might be strong on his feet; but, however many their prayers, he had to sit, and could not use his feet for three-and-thirty years long.

One day the peasant went with his wife to church; and whilst they were away, a beggar man came to the window of the cottage and begged alms of Ivan the peasant’s son. And Ivan said to him: “I would gladly give you something, but I cannot rise from my stool.” Then said the beggar: “Stand up and give me alms! Your feet are stout and strong!” In an instant Ivan rose up from his stool, and was overjoyed at his newly acquired power: he called the man into the cottage and gave him food to eat. Then the beggar asked for a draught of beer, and Ivan instantly went and fetched it; the beggar, however, did not drink it, [40] but bade Ivan empty the flask himself, which he did to the very bottom. Then the beggar said: “Tell me, Ivanushka, how strong do you feel?” “Very strong,” replied Ivan. “Then fare you well!” said the beggar; and disappeared, leaving Ivan standing lost in amazement.

In a short time his father and mother came home, and when they saw their son healed of his weakness, they were astonished, and asked him how it had happened. Then Ivan told them all, and the old folk thought it must have been no beggar but a holy man who had cured him; and they feasted for joy and made merry.

Presently Ivan went out to make a trial of his strength; and going into the kitchen garden, he seized a pole and stuck it half its length into the ground, and turned it with such strength that the whole village turned round. Then he went back into the cottage to take leave of his parents and ask their blessing. The old folk fell to weeping bitterly when he spoke of leaving them, and entreated him to stay at least a little longer; but Ivan heeded not their tears, and said: “If you will not give me your consent, I shall go without it.” So his parents gave him their blessing; and Ivan prayed, bowing himself to all four sides, and then took leave of his father and mother. Thereupon he went straight [41] out of the yard, and followed his eyes, and wandered for ten days and ten nights until at length he came to a large kingdom. He had scarcely entered the city when a great noise and outcry arose; whereat the Tsar was so frightened that he ordered a proclamation to be made, that whoever appeased the tumult should have his daughter for wife, and half his kingdom with her.

When Ivanushka heard this he went to the Court and desired the Tsar to be informed that he was ready to appease the tumult. So the doorkeeper went straight and told the Tsar, who ordered Ivan the peasant’s son to be called. And the Tsar said to him: “My friend, is what you have said to the doorkeeper true?”

“Quite true,” replied Ivan; “but I ask for no other reward than that your Majesty gives me whatever is the cause of the noise.” At this the Tsar laughed, and said: “Take it by all means, if it is of any use to you.” So Ivan the peasant’s son made his bow to the Tsar and took his leave.

Then Ivan went to the doorkeeper and demanded of him a hundred workmen, who were instantly given him; and Ivan ordered them to dig a hole in front of the palace. And when the men had thrown up the earth, they saw an iron door, with a copper ring. So Ivan lifted up this door with one [42] hand, and beheld a steed fully caparisoned, and a suit of knightly armour. When the horse perceived Ivan, he fell on his knees before him, and said with a human voice: “Ah, thou brave youth! Ivan the peasant’s son! the famous knight Lukopero placed me here; and for three-and-thirty years have I been impatiently awaiting you. Seat yourself on my back, and ride whithersoever you will: I will serve you faithfully, as I once served the brave Lukopero.”

Ivan saddled his good steed, gave him a bridle of embroidered ribands, put a Tcherkess saddle on his back, and buckled ten rich silken girths around him. Then he vaulted into the saddle, struck him on the flank, and the horse chafed at the bit, and rose from the ground higher than the forest; he left hill and dale swiftly under his feet, covered large rivers with his tail, sent forth a thick steam from his ears, and flames from his nostrils.

At length Ivan the peasant’s son came to an unknown country, and rode through it for thirty days and thirty nights, until at length he arrived at the Chinese Empire. There he dismounted, and turned his good steed out into the open fields, while he went into the city and bought himself a bladder, drew it over his head, and went round the Tsar’s palace. Then the folks asked him whence [43] he came, and what kind of man he was, and what were his father and mother’s names. But Ivan only replied to their questions, “I don’t know.” So they all took him for a fool, and went and told the Chinese Tsar about him. Then the Tsar ordered Ivan to be called, and asked where he came from and what was his name; but he only answered as before, “I don’t know.” So the Tsar ordered him to be driven out of the Court. But it happened that there was a gardener in the crowd, who begged the Tsar to give the fool over to him that he might employ him in gardening. The Tsar consented, and the man took Ivan into the garden, and set him to weed the beds whilst he went his way.

Then Ivan lay down under a tree and fell fast asleep. In the night he awoke, and broke down all the trees in the garden. Early the next morning the gardener came and looked round, and was terrified at what he beheld: so he went to Ivan the peasant’s son and fell to abusing him, and asked him who had destroyed all the trees. But Ivan only replied, “I don’t know.” The gardener was afraid to tell this to the Tsar; but the Tsar’s daughter looked out of her window and beheld with amazement the devastation, and asked who had done it all. The gardener replied that fool Know-nothing had destroyed the noble trees; but entreated her not [44] to tell her father, promising to put the garden into a better condition than it was before.

Ivan did not sleep the next night, but went and drew water from the well, and watered the broken trees; and early in the morning they began to rise and grow; and when the sun rose they were all covered with leaves, and were even finer than ever. When the gardener came into the garden he was amazed at the change; but he did not again ask Know-nothing any questions, as he never returned an answer. And when the Tsar’s daughter awoke, she rose from her bed, and looking out into the garden, she saw it in a better state than before; then, sending for the gardener, she asked him how it had all happened in so short a time. But the man answered that he could not himself understand it, and the Tsar’s daughter began to think Know-nothing was in truth wonderfully wise and clever. From that moment she loved him more than herself, and sent him food from her own table.

Now the Chinese Tsar had three daughters, who were all very beautiful: the eldest was named Duasa, the second Skao, and the youngest, who had fallen in love with Ivan the peasant’s son, was named Lotao. One day the Tsar called them to him and said to them: “My dear daughters, fair Princesses, the time is come that I wish to see you [45] married; and I have called you now to bid you choose husbands from the princes of the countries around.” Then the two eldest instantly named two Tsareviches with whom they were in love; but the youngest fell to weeping, and begged her father to give her for wife to Know-nothing. At this request the Tsar was amazed, and said: “Have you lost your senses, daughter, that you wish to marry the fool Know-nothing, who cannot speak even a word?” “Fool as he may be,” she answered, “I entreat you, my lord father, to let me marry him.” “If nothing else will please you,” said the Tsar sorrowfully, “take him—you have my consent.”

Soon after, the Tsar sent for the Princes whom his eldest daughters had chosen for husbands; they obeyed the invitation instantly, and came with all speed to China, and the weddings were celebrated. The Princess Lotao also was married to Ivan the peasant’s son, and her elder sisters laughed at her for choosing a fool for a husband.

Not long afterwards a great army invaded the country, and its leader, the knight Polkan, demanded of the Tsar his daughter, the beautiful Lotao, for wife, threatening that, if he did not consent, he would burn his country with fire and slay his people with the sword, throw the Tsar and Tsarina [46] into prison, and take their daughter by force. At these threats the Tsar was aghast with terror, and instantly ordered his armies to be collected; and they went forth, commanded by the two Princes, against Polkan. Then the two armies met, and fought like two terrible thunder-clouds, and Polkan overthrew the army of the Chinese Tsar.

At this time the Princess came to her husband, Ivan the peasant’s son, and said to him: “My dear friend Know-nothing, they want to take me from you; the infidel knight Polkan has invaded our country with his army and routed our hosts with his terrible sword.” Then Ivan told the Princess to leave him in peace; and, jumping out of the window, he ran into the open fields, and cried aloud:

“Sivka Burka! he!
Fox of Spring! Appear!
Like a grass blade, here
Stand before me!”

The horse galloped until the earth trembled: from his ears came steam, from his nostrils flames. Ivan the peasant’s son crept into his ear to change himself, and came out looking such a brave knight as no pen can write down or story tell. Then he [47] rode up to the army of Polkan, and laid about him with his sword, trod the army down under his horse’s hoofs, and drove it quite out of the kingdom. At the sight of this the Chinese Tsar came to Ivan, but knew him not, and invited him to his palace; but Ivan answered: “I am not your subject and I will not serve you.” And so saying, away he rode, let his horse run loose in the open fields, went back to the palace, crept again through the window, drew the bladder over his head, and lay down to sleep.

The Tsar gave a public feast for this great victory, and it lasted several days; until the knight Polkan once more invaded the country with a fresh army, and again demanded with threats the youngest Princess for his wife. The Tsar instantly assembled his armies again, and sent them against Polkan; but the knight defeated them forthwith. Then Lotao went to her husband, and everything happened exactly as before; and Ivan again drove Polkan and his army out of the empire. Thereupon the Tsar invited him to his palace; but without heeding him, Ivan turned off his horse in the fields, went back to the palace, and lay down to sleep. So the Tsar gave another feast, in honour of the victory over Polkan; but he marvelled what hero it could be who had so bravely defended his realm.

[48] After a while, Polkan a third time invaded the empire, and all fell out as before: Ivan jumped out of the window, ran into the fields, mounted his steed, and rode forth against the enemy. Then the horse said in a human voice: “Listen, Ivan Peasantson! we have now a hard task to perform; defend yourself as stoutly as possible, and stand firm against Polkan—otherwise you and the whole Chinese army will be destroyed.” Then Ivan spurred his steed, rode against Polkan’s host, and began to slay them right and left. When Polkan saw that his army was defeated, he flew into a rage, and fell upon Ivan the peasant’s son like a furious lion, and a fight began between the two horses, at the sight of which the whole army stood aghast. They fought for a long time, and Polkan wounded Ivan in the left hand. Thereupon Ivan the peasant’s son, in a fierce rage, aimed his javelin at Polkan, and pierced him through the heart: then he struck off his head, and drove the whole army out of China.

Ivan now went to the Chinese Tsar, who bowed to the ground, and invited him to his palace. The Princess Lotao, seeing blood upon Ivan’s left hand, bound it up with her handkerchief, and invited him to remain in the palace; but, without heeding her, Ivan mounted his steed and trotted [49] off. Then he turned his horse into the fields, and went himself to sleep.

The Tsar again ordered a great banquet to be prepared; and the Princess Lotao went to her husband and tried to awaken him, but all in vain. On a sudden she beheld with surprise golden hair upon his head, from which the bladder had fallen off; and, stepping up to him, she saw her handkerchief bound on his left hand; and now she knew that he it had been who had three times defeated and at last slain Polkan. Then she ran instantly to her father, led him into the apartment, and said: “See, my father! You told me I had married a fool; look closely at his hair, and at this wound which he received from Polkan.” Then the Tsar saw that it had been he who had thrice delivered his empire, and he rejoiced greatly.

When Ivan the peasant’s son awoke, the Emperor took him by his white hands, led him into the palace, thanked him for the services he had rendered; and being himself far advanced in years, he placed the crown upon Ivan’s head. Then Ivan mounted the throne, and ruled happily, and lived with his wife for many years in the greatest harmony and love.



IN a certain country there lived a Tsar with his wife, who had three handsome sons; the eldest was named Vasili Tsarevich, and the second Fedor Tsarevich, and the youngest son Ivan Tsarevich. One day the Tsar went out with his Tsarina for a walk in the garden, and on a sudden a violent storm came on, which carried off the Tsarina from his sight. The Tsar was very much grieved, and mourned a long time for his wife; and the two eldest sons, seeing their father’s sorrow, begged his blessing and permission to go forth and wander in search of their mother. So he consented, and dismissed them.

The two sons travelled for a long time, until at length they came to a wide desert, where they pitched their tents, and waited until some one should pass who might show them the way. For three whole years they waited, but saw no one.

Meanwhile the youngest brother, Ivan Tsarevich, grew up, and went likewise to his father, begged his blessing, and took leave. And he wandered for a long time, until at length he discerned [51] in the distance some tents, up to which he rode; and there he discovered his brothers. “What brings you to such a desolate place, brothers?” said he; “let us join company and travel in search of our mother.” The others followed his advice, and they all journeyed on together.

They rode on and on for many days, until at length they saw afar off a palace, built of crystal, and surrounded by a fence of the same material. So they rode up to the palace, and Ivan Tsarevich opened the gate, and entered the courtyard; and at the entrance-door he saw a pillar, into which were fastened two rings, one of gold and the other of silver. Then drawing his bridle through both these rings, he tied up his steed, and went up the stairs. At the head of the stairs the King himself came to meet him; and, after a long conversation, he found out that Ivan Tsarevich was his nephew. So he conducted him into his hall, and invited in his brothers also.

After remaining in the palace a long time, the King gave the brothers a magic ball, which they bowled away, and then rode after it, until they came to a mountain, so high and steep that they could not ascend it. Ivan Tsarevich rode round and round the mountain, until at last he found a cleft. He stepped into it and beheld an iron door, with [52] a copper ring; and on opening this he perceived some iron hooks, which he fastened to his hands and feet, and by their aid he climbed up the mountain. On reaching the top he was very tired, and sat down to rest; but no sooner had he taken off the hooks than they disappeared.

In the distance upon the mountain Ivan beheld a tent of fine cambric, upon which was represented a copper kingdom, and on its top was a copper ball. Then he approached the tent; but at its entrance there lay two huge lions, which allowed no one to enter. Ivan Tsarevich seeing two copper basins standing close by, poured some water into them, and quenched the thirst of the lions, who then let him freely enter the tent. And when he got in, Ivan beheld a beautiful Queen lying on a sofa, and sleeping at her feet a dragon with three heads, which he cut off at a single blow. The Queen thanked him for this service, and gave him a copper egg, in which was contained a copper kingdom, whereupon the Tsarevich took his leave and went his way further.

After travelling for a long time, he descried a tent of fine gauze, fastened to a cedar tree by silver cords, with knobs of emeralds; upon the tent was represented a silver kingdom, and on the top was a silver ball. At the entrance lay two immense [53] tigers, to which he in like manner gave to drink, and they permitted him to pass. On entering the tent he beheld, seated on a sofa, a Queen richly attired, who far surpassed the first one in beauty. At her feet lay a six-headed dragon, as large again as the other. Then Ivan Tsarevich struck off all the heads at a blow, and, as a reward for his valor, the Queen presented him with a silver egg, in which was enclosed a silver kingdom. Thereupon he took leave of the Queen and journeyed on.

After a time Ivan came to a third tent, made of silk, upon which was embroidered a golden kingdom, and on its top was placed a ball of pure gold. The tent was fastened to a laurel tree with golden cords, from which hung knobs of diamonds. Before the entrance lay two huge crocodiles, which breathed forth flames of fire. The Tsarevich gave them some water to drink, and thus gained an entrance into the tent, in which he beheld a Queen, who in beauty far surpassed the former ones. At her feet lay a dragon with twelve heads, all of which Ivan Tsarevich struck off at two blows. The Queen, in return for this service, gave him a golden egg, which contained a golden kingdom; and with the egg she gave him also her heart. As they were conversing together, Ivan asked the Queen whether she knew where his mother was; [54] then she showed Ivan her dwelling, and wished him success in his enterprise.

After travelling a great distance, Ivan Tsarevich came to a castle; he entered, and went through many apartments, but without finding anyone. At length he came to a spacious hall, where he beheld his mother sitting, arrayed in royal robes. Ivan embraced her tenderly, telling her how he had travelled far and wide with his brothers in search of her. Then the Tsarina told Ivan Tsarevich that a spirit would soon appear, and bade him hide himself in the folds of her cloak. “When the spirit comes and tries to embrace me,” she added, “try all you can to seize his magic wand with both hands: he will then rise up with you from the earth; fear not, but remain quiet, for he will presently fall down again, and be dashed to pieces. These you must collect and burn, and strew the ashes in the field.”

Scarcely had the Tsarina spoken, and wrapped Ivan in her cloak, when the Spirit appeared and offered to embrace her. Then Ivan Tsarevich started up, as his mother had directed, and seized the magic wand. In a furious rage the Spirit flew with him high up into the air, but soon fell to the ground and was dashed in pieces. Then the Tsarevich gathered up the remains and burned them, [55] and kept the magic wand; after which he took with him his mother and the three Queens he had rescued, came to an oak tree, and let them all slide down the mountain in a linen cloth. When his brothers saw him left alone on the mountain, they pulled the cloth from his hands, conducted their mother and the Queens back to their own kingdom, and made them promise solemnly to tell their father that it was the elder brothers who had found and rescued them.

Ivan Tsarevich was thus left alone on the mountain, and knew not how to get down. Lost in thought he wandered about; and, throwing by chance the magic wand from one hand to the other, on a sudden a man stood before him, who said: “What is your pleasure, Ivan Tsarevich?” Thereat Ivan wondered greatly, and asked the man who he was, and how he had come to that uninhabited mountain. “I am a Spirit,” replied the figure, “and was subject to him whom you have destroyed; but as you now possess his magic wand, and have changed it from one hand to the other—which you must always do when you have need of me—I am here ready to obey you.” “Good!” said Ivan Tsarevich; “then do me now the first service, and carry me back to my own kingdom.”

No sooner had Ivan uttered these words than he [56] found himself at once transported to his native city. He wished first to know what was passing in the castle; but instead of going in directly, he went and took work in a shoemaker’s shop, thinking that he should not be easily recognised in such a place. The next morning the shoemaker went into the city to buy leather, and returned home so tipsy that he was unable to work, and left it all to his new assistant. But Ivan, being quite ignorant of shoemaking, called the Spirit to his aid, ordered him to take the leather and make it into shoes, and then lay down to sleep.

Early the next morning, when the shoemaker awoke, he went to see what work Ivan had done; but, perceiving him still fast asleep, he flew into a rage, and exclaimed: “Up, you lazy loon! have I engaged you only to sleep?” Ivan, stretching himself slowly, replied: “Have patience, master; first go to the workshop, and see what you shall find.” So the shoemaker went to the shop; and what was his astonishment at beholding a quantity of shoes all made and ready! And when he took up a shoe, and examined the work closely, his amazement only increased, and he could scarcely believe his eyes, for the shoes had not a single stitch, but were just as if cast in a mould.

The shoemaker now took his goods, and went into [57] the city to sell them; and no sooner were these wonderful shoes seen than they were all bought in the twinkling of an eye. In a short time the man became so renowned that his fame reached the palace; then the Princesses desired him to be summoned, and ordered of him many dozens of pairs of shoes; but they were all to be ready without fail the next morning. The poor shoemaker in vain assured them that this was impossible; they only threatened that, unless he obeyed their will his head should be struck off, as they saw clearly that there was some magic in the affair.

The shoemaker left the castle in despair, and went into the city to buy leather. Late in the evening he returned home, threw the leather on the floor, and said to Ivan: “Hark ye, fellow, what a piece of work you have made with your devilish tricks!” Then he told Ivan what the Princesses had ordered him to do, and how they had threatened him unless he fulfilled their commands. “Do not trouble yourself,” said Ivan Tsarevich, “go to bed and sleep—an hour in the morning is worth two at night.” The shoemaker thanked him for his advice, threw himself on the bench, and soon began to snore aloud. Then Ivan Tsarevich summoned the Spirit, ordered him to have the work done and in readiness by the morning, and then lay down to sleep.

[58] Early the next morning, when the shoemaker awoke, he called to mind that he was to lose his head that day; so he went in despair to Ivan to bid him farewell, and asked him to come and have a drink so that he could bear up. But Ivan said: “Fear nothing, man; go into the workshop and take the work which was ordered.” The shoemaker went distrustfully into the shop; but when he beheld all the shoes ready made, he capered about, not knowing what to do for joy, and embraced his companion. Then he took all the shoes, and hastened to the castle.

When the Princesses saw all this they were more than ever convinced that Ivan Tsarevich must be in the city; and they said to the shoemaker; “You have well and truly fulfilled our orders; but there is another service which you must render us; to-night a golden castle must be built opposite to ours, with a porcelain bridge from one to the other, covered with velvet.” The shoemaker stood aghast on hearing this demand, and replied: “I am indeed only a poor shoemaker, and how can I possibly do such a thing?” “Well,” replied the Princesses, “unless you fulfil our wish your head shall assuredly be struck off.”

The poor fellow left the castle overwhelmed with grief, and wept bitterly. On his return home, [59] he told Ivan Tsarevich what a feat he had been ordered to accomplish. “Go quietly to bed,” replied Ivan; “the morning sun shall see it done.” So the shoemaker lay down on the bench and fell fast asleep. Then Ivan called up the Spirit, and desired him to fulfil the command of the King’s daughters, after which he went to bed.

Early the next morning Ivan Tsarevich awoke his master, and giving him a goose’s wing, bade him go on to the bridge and sweep off the dust. Meanwhile Ivan went into the Golden castle. And when the Tsar and the Princesses went out early on to the balcony they were amazed at beholding the Castle and the bridge; but the Princesses were out of their wits with joy, for they were now quite sure that Ivan Tsarevich was in the city; and presently after, indeed, they saw him at a window in the golden castle. Then they begged the Tsar and Tsarina to go with them into the castle; and as soon as they set foot on the staircase, Ivan Tsarevich came out to meet them. Thereupon his mother and the three Princesses ran and embraced him, exclaiming: “This is our deliverer!” His brothers looked down ashamed, and the Tsar stood dumb with amazement; but his wife soon explained it all to him. Thereat the Tsar fell into a passion with his eldest sons, and was going to put them all to [60] death; but Ivan fell at his feet and said: “Dear father, if you desire to reward me for what I have done, only grant my brothers their lives, and I am content.” Then his father raised him up, embraced him, and said: “They are truly unworthy of such a brother!” So they all returned to the castle.

The next day three weddings were celebrated. The eldest son, Vasili Tsarevich, took the Princess of the copper kingdom; Fedor Tsarevich, the second son, chose the Princess of the silver kingdom, and Ivan Tsarevich settled with his Princess in the golden kingdom. He took the poor shoemaker into his household, and they all lived happily for many years.



IN the famous city of Murom there once lived a countryman named Ivan Timofeyevich. Now Ivan had a son named Iliya, the joy of his heart, who was thirty years of age before he could walk; when all at once he acquired such strength that he could not only run about, but made for himself a suit of armour and a steel spear, saddled his steed, and went to his parents and begged their blessing. “Dear father and mother,” said he “grant me permission to go to the famous city of Kiev.” So his parents gave him their blessing and dismissed him, saying: “Go straight to Kiev, straight to the city Chernigov, but do no wrong upon your way, nor shed Christian blood in vain.”

Then Iliya of Murom took leave of his parents, and journeyed on, far into the depths of a dark forest, until he came to a camp of robbers. When the robbers saw him they longed to possess his noble steed, and conspired together to kill Iliya and seize the horse. So they fell upon Iliya of Murom, five-and-twenty men. But Iliya of Murom reined in his steed, drew an arrow from his quiver, [62] laid it on his bow, and shot the shaft deep into the ground till it scattered the earth far and wide over three acres. When the robbers saw this, they were struck dumb with terror, fell on their knees, and said: “Our lord and father, dear good youth, we have done you wrong: in punishment for our crime, take all our treasures and rich dresses, and as many steeds as you desire.” Iliya laughed and said: “What should I do with your treasures? But if you have any regard for your lives, beware in future how you run such risks.” And so saying he journeyed on to the famous city of Kiev.

On his way, Iliya came to the city of Chernigov, which was besieged by a countless Pagan army, threatening to destroy its houses and churches, and to carry off into slavery all the princes and voyevodes. Iliya of Murom was terrified at the sight of such an army; nevertheless, at last he summoned courage, and resolved to die for his religion. So with a brave heart and a stout spear he attacked the unbelieving host, scattered them to the winds, took their leader prisoner, and carried him in triumph to Chernigov. Then the citizens came out to meet him, headed by the governor and nobles, and offered him thanks for their deliverance; whereupon they conducted Iliya to the palace and gave him a grand banquet.

[63] After this, Iliya of Murom followed the straight road to Kiev, which the Robber Nightingale had held for thirty years, and on which he suffered no traveller to pass, on foot or horse; putting them all to death, not with the sword, but with his robber’s whistle. When Iliya came into the open fields, he rode into the Brianski forest, passing over swamps, on bridges of elder, to the river Smarodienka. Then the Robber Nightingale, seeing him approach at a distance, sounded his robber whistle. The hero’s heart quailed not, but when he was within ten versts the Nightingale whistled so loud that Iliya’s steed fell down upon his knees. Then Iliya of Murom went straight up to the nest, which was built upon twelve oaks, and the Robber Nightingale looked forth upon the Russian hero, whistled with all his might, and tried to slay him. But Iliya took his strong bow, and laying an arrow upon it, shot straight into the nest and hit the Robber Nightingale in his right eye; whereupon he fell down from the tree like a sheaf of oats.

Then Iliya of Murom bound the Robber Nightingale fast to his stirrup and rode off to the famous city of Kiev. On the road he passed the palace of the Nightingale, where he saw the daughters of the Robber looking out of the window. “See!” cried the youngest, “here comes riding our father, [64] bringing a peasant bound to his stirrup.” But the eldest daughter eyed Iliya more closely, and fell to weeping bitterly, exclaiming: “Nay, that is not our father, but some strange man, bringing our father prisoner.” Then they called aloud to their husbands, beseeching them to ride out and meet the stranger, and deliver their father. Now their husbands were famous horsemen, and they rode out with their stout lances to meet the Russian rider, and slay him. But the Robber Nightingale, seeing them approach, cried out: “My sons, bring not disgrace upon yourselves, by provoking so brave a rider to slay you; invite him rather to come to our palace and drink a glass of vodka.”

Iliya and Dobrinja meet the man and his dog

At length they fell in with a cripple on the road.

Then Iliya of Murom, at their invitation, turned to go into the palace, little anticipating the danger that awaited him, for the eldest daughter had drawn up by a chain a huge rafter to let fall and slay Iliya as he rode through the gate. But Iliya perceived her design, and slew her with his lance. Thereupon he rode on toward Kiev, and going straight to the palace, prayed to God and saluted the nobles. And the Prince of Kiev said to Iliya, “Tell me, brave youth, what is your name, and whence do you come?” “My lord,” replied Iliya, “my name is Iliyushka, and I was born in the city of Murom.” Then the Prince asked him which [65] way he had come; and Iliya answered: “I rode from Murom to Chernigov, where I slew a countless army of pagans, and delivered the city. Thence I came straight hither, and on my road have captured the mighty Robber Nightingale, and brought him prisoner bound to my stirrup.” But the Prince was wroth, for he thought Iliya was deceiving him. Then two of the knights, Alescha Popovich and Dobrinja Nikitich, rode forth to ascertain the truth of the matter; and when the Prince was convinced, he ordered a glass of vodka to be given to the brave youth, and begged to hear the famous whistle of the Robber Nightingale. So Iliya of Murom took the Prince and Princess under his arm, wrapped in his sable pelisse, and ordered the Robber Nightingale to sound his whistle softly. But the Robber whistled so loud that he stunned all the knights and they fell flat upon the ground, whereat Iliya of Murom was so enraged that he slew him on the spot.

Then Iliya formed a close friendship with Dobrinja Nikitich; and saddling their steeds they rode off, and journeyed on for three months without meeting any enemy. At length they fell in with a cripple on the road; his beggar’s cloak weighed fifty poods, his bonnet nine poods, and his crutch was six feet long. Then Iliya of Murom rode at [66] him to try his courage; but the cripple said: “Ah, Iliya of Murom, do you not remember me, and how we studied together at the same school? And have you now the heart to slay me, a poor helpless cripple? Know you not that a great calamity has befallen the famous city of Kiev? An unbelieving knight, with a head as big as a beer-barrel, eyebrows a span apart, and shoulders six feet broad, has entered it? He devours a whole ox at a time, and drinks off a barrel of beer at a draught. The Prince is lamenting your absence.”

Then Iliya of Murom drew the cripple’s cloak around him, rode off to the city of Kiev, and going straight up to the Prince’s palace, cried aloud, “Ho there, Prince of Kiev! give alms to a poor cripple.” And when the Prince heard this he said: “Come into my palace, and I will give you meat and drink, and money for your journey.” Then Iliya went into the palace, and seated himself near the stove; and close by sat the idolator, who called for food and drink. Thereupon the attendants brought him a whole roasted ox, which he ate up, bones and all; and seven-and-twenty men brought him a barrel of beer, which he emptied at a draught. Then said Iliya of Murom: “My father had once a greedy horse, which ate so much that he burst.” At this the idolator knight fell into [67] a violent rage and exclaimed: “How dare you provoke me with such talk, you miserable cripple? Are you forsooth a match for me? Why, look ye, I could set you on the palm of my hand, and squeeze you like an orange. You had indeed a valiant hero in your country, Iliya of Murom, with whom I would fain wage a battle; but you indeed——!”

“Here stands Iliya of Murom!” exclaimed the cripple; and so saying, he took off his hat, and struck him a blow on the head, which, although not hard, drove it through the wall of the palace. Then Iliya took up the body, and flung it into the courtyard. And the Prince rewarded Iliya richly, and retained him at his court as his boldest and bravest knight.



IN the famous city of Anton ruled the brave and mighty King Guidon; who heard so much from his own subjects, as well as foreigners, of the beauty of the Princess Militrisa Kirbitovna, that he longed to see her. So he set out, and travelled to the city of Dimichtian, where he saw her many times, and fell deeply in love with her.

When King Guidon returned home, he sent his servant Litcharda as ambassador to King Kirbit Versoulovich, the father of the Princess Militrisa Kirbitovna, with a letter written by his own hand, to ask for his daughter in marriage. When Litcharda arrived at the city of Dimichtian, he delivered to King Kirbit the letter from his master; and after Kirbit had read it through, he went at once to the Princess Militrisa, and said to her: “My dear daughter, the fame of your beauty has reached the brave and powerful King Guidon. He has been in the city to see you, and has fallen deeply in love with you. He has sent a messenger to demand your hand, and I have already given my consent.”

[69] As King Kirbit spoke these words, Militrisa fell to weeping; and her father seeing this said: “Grieve not, dear daughter, Guidon is powerful, renowned, and rich; he will be a good husband to you, and you will share the government with him. To refuse his request is impossible, for he would return with a large army, storm our city, and carry you off by force.”

When the Princess Militrisa heard this, she began to sob, fell on her knees, and said: “My lord and father, you have sovereign power over me, but let me confess the truth: I have seen Guidon, but his very look terrified me; I fear therefore to marry him. I entreat you, dear father, to alter your resolution, and to give me to Tsar Dadon, who is our neighbour, a faithful friend, and protector of our kingdom.” But Kirbit did not listen to her entreaties, and sent her to King Guidon to be his wife, in the city of Anton. Guidon rejoiced exceedingly at her arrival, ordered a great feast to be prepared for their wedding the following day, and set at liberty all the prisoners in his kingdom on this joyous event.

For three years Guidon lived with Militrisa, and they had one only son, named Bova Korolevich, who was of a powerful figure and handsome bearing, and he grew, not from day to day, but [70] from hour to hour. One day Queen Militrisa Kirbitovna called her faithful servant Litcharda, and said: “Do me a true service; I will repay you with gold and precious stones: take this letter to Tsar Dadon, without the knowledge of King Guidon: fail not to do my bidding, or you shall die a miserable death.”

Litcharda took the private letter of the Queen, mounted his horse, rode to Tsar Dadon, and delivered the letter to him. When Dadon read it through he laughed, and said to Litcharda: “Your Queen either jokes or wishes to affront me: she invites me to lead my army before the city of Anton, and promises to deliver up her husband to me; this cannot truly be meant, because she has a young son.” But Litcharda replied: “Mighty Tsar Dadon, let not this letter arouse your suspicion; put me in prison with food and drink, collect your army, and march to the city of Anton, and if the contents of the letter prove untrue, let me suffer death.”

When Tsar Dadon heard these words from Litcharda, he rejoiced, and ordering the trumpets to sound, he collected an army of thirty thousand men, marched upon the city of Anton, and encamped on the royal meadows. No sooner was Militrisa Kirbitovna informed that Tsar Dadon [71] was encamped before the city with his army, than, dressing herself in her best attire, she went to King Guidon, and, pretending to be ill, begged him to go out and slay a wild boar for her to eat. The King was glad to oblige his wife, and mounting his trusty horse, rode out to hunt.

As soon as he had left the city, Militrisa ordered the drawbridges to be raised and the gates to be shut. And hardly had King Guidon approached Tsar Dadon’s rearguard, when the latter instantly pursued him. Guidon turned his horse towards the city, but flight was in vain; when he came to the gates, and found them closed, and the drawbridges up, he was sad at heart, and exclaimed: “Most miserable of men! Now I see the cunning of my wicked wife, and the death she has prepared for me. But Bova, my dear boy, why did you not tell me of your mother’s treachery?” As he spoke these words Dadon rode at him, pierced him through the heart with his lance, and Guidon fell dead from his horse.

When Militrisa Kirbitovna saw this from the city walls, she ordered the gates to be opened and the bridges let down, and went out to meet Tsar Dadon, kissed him on the lips, took him by the white hands, and conducted him into the castle. Here they sat together at a table where a banquet [72] was spread, and they began to feast. But the little boy, Bova Korolevich, young as he was, when he saw his mother’s wicked conduct, went out of the castle to the stable, and sitting down under a manger was sad at heart. His attendant, Simbalda, saw him sitting there, and wept at the sight, and said: “My dear young master, Bova Korolevich, your cruel mother has let Tsar Dadon kill my good lord your father, and now she feasts and sports with the murderer in the palace. You are young, my child, and cannot avenge your father’s death; indeed, who knows but that she may kill you likewise? To save our lives, therefore, we will fly to the city of Sumin, over which my father rules.” And so saying, Simbalda saddled for himself a good steed, and for Bova a palfrey, took with him thirty stout young fellows, and hurried out of the city.

As soon as Dadon’s followers saw this, they went and told their master that Bova and Simbalda had escaped towards Sumin. When Tsar Dadon heard this he forthwith commanded his army to be collected, and sent in pursuit of Bova Korolevich and his protector Simbalda, whom they overtook at a short distance from Sumin. Simbalda at once saw their danger, and, setting spurs to his horse, galloped off to the city and shut the gates. [73] But Bova Korolevich, who was very young, could not hold his seat upon the horse, and fell to the ground. Then the pursuers seized Bova, and carried him to Tsar Dadon, who sent him to his mother, Militrisa; and, collecting all his army, he rode up to the city of Sumin, in order to take it by force, and put to death its inhabitants and Simbalda; and pitched his tent on the forbidden meadows around the city.

One night Dadon dreamed that Bova Korolevich pierced him through with a lance: and when he awoke he called to him his chief boyar, and sent him to Queen Militrisa, bidding her to put Bova to death. But when Militrisa Kirbitovna heard this message she replied: “I cannot myself kill him, for he is my own son; but I will command him to be thrown into a dark dungeon, and kept without food or drink, and so he will die of hunger.”

Meanwhile Tsar Dadon lay encamped before the city of Sumin for half a year, but could neither take it by force nor starvation; so at length he broke up his camp and returned to Anton. After his departure, Simbalda assembled an army of fifteen thousand men, marched upon the city of Anton, surrounded it on all sides, and demanded that Bova should be given up to him. But Dadon [74] collected an army twice as strong as Simbalda’s, and drove him back into the city of Sumin.

One day, as Queen Militrisa was walking in her garden, she by chance passed the prison where Bova Korolevich was confined. Then he cried aloud: “Alas! my gracious mother, fair Queen Militrisa, why are you so enraged against me? Why have you put me in prison and given me no food on purpose to let me die of hunger? Have I grieved you by any ill conduct or cruel words, that you treat me in this way, or have wicked people spoken evil of me to you?” Militrisa answered: “I know of nothing wrong in you, and have only put you in prison on account of your irreverence to Tsar Dadon, who defends our kingdom against our enemies, while you are young; but I will soon set you at liberty, and will send you now some sweetmeats and meat; you can eat as much as you like.”

Bova looks through the prison bars at his mother

“Alas! my gracious mother, why have you put me in prison?”

So saying, Queen Militrisa went into the palace and set to work to make two cakes, of wheaten dough and serpent’s fat, which she baked and sent to Bova Korolevich by a servant maid named Chernavka. But when the maid came to Bova she said: “Master, do not eat the cakes which your mother has sent, but give them to the dogs, for they are poisoned, here is a piece of my own [75] bread.” So Bova took the cakes and threw them to the dogs, and as soon as they tasted them they died. And when he saw Chernavka’s kindness and fidelity, he took her black bread and ate it, and begged her not to close the prison door: so she left it open, and when she came again to Militrisa she told her she had given the cakes to Bova.

As soon as the servant was gone, Bova escaped from his prison and went to the harbour to forget his sorrow. There some drunken people seized and carried him on board a ship, and the merchants on it asked him of what condition he was. Bova Korolevich told them that he was of the poor class, and that his mother got her living by washing linen for strangers. When the sailors heard this they wondered that he should look so handsome, and bethought them how they might keep him with them. They began to wrangle as to who should be his master, but as soon as Bova perceived their intention, he told them not to quarrel for his sake, for that he would serve them all in turn.

Then the shipmen left the city of Anton and sailed out to sea, to the Armenian kingdom of King Sensibri Andronovich. There they cast anchor, and went into the city to follow their business; whilst Bova went on shore, and wandered about, playing on the lute. Meantime the [76] port officers came on board the ship, whom King Sensibri sent to enquire whence the ship had come, who the merchants were, and what was their business. But when they heard Bova Korolevich playing, and saw the beauty of his features, they forgot what they had come for, and returning to King Sensibri, said only that they had seen a youth of unspeakable beauty on board the ship, who played on the lute so wonderfully that they were never tired of listening to him; adding, that they had quite forgotten to enquire what wares the ship contained. When the King heard this he went himself to the ship, and when he had seen Bova, he offered to purchase him, but the merchants would not sell him for any price, telling the King that he belonged to them all equally, and relating how they had picked him up on the seashore. At this King Sensibri flew into a rage, and instantly ordered them to be driven out of his kingdom, forbidding them ever to return. On hearing this order, the merchants agreed to sell Bova Korolevich for three hundred bars of gold.

When Bova was brought to the Court, the King called to him and said: “Tell me, young fellow, to what class do you belong, and what is your name?” And Bova replied: “Gracious King, Sensibri Andronovich, I am of the poor class, and [77] lost my father at an early age: my mother washes linen for strangers; and thus supports herself and me. My name is Anhusei, and I will serve thee henceforth faithfully.”

When the King heard this he said: “As you are of the lowest class and cannot remember your father, go into my stables, and you shall be the head over all my grooms.” So Bova made his bow and went into the stable.

Bova often drove out with his comrades to the forbidden meadows of the King, to get grass for the horses; but he never took a sickle with him, but pulled all the grass with his hands, and gathered himself as much as ten men together could mow. When the other grooms saw this they were amazed at his strength. His fame at length reached the King’s daughter, the fair Drushnevna, who went to see him: and as soon as she beheld Bova, she was enraptured with his uncommon beauty. And one day she said to the King: “My gracious father, you are indeed powerful and renowned, not only in your own kingdom, but in all countries far and near, and no King, Tsar, or Knight can compare with you; but, O King! you have no trusty and clever steward in your household. Now, I have heard that there is a young lad in our royal stables whom you have purchased [78] from some shipmen; his name is Anhusei. This lad will prove trusty and useful in your service; order him to be taken from the stable and employed in your household.”

King Sensibri replied: “My dear daughter, I have never refused to grant any one of your wishes, and in this matter too you are free to do as you will.” When the Princess Drushnevna heard these words, she thanked her father, made her obeisance, and went out. Then she ordered Bova to be called and desired him to leave his old task and to enter on his new employment in the household.

The next day she called Bova to her and said: “Hark ye, Anhusei, to-morrow my father will have a great feast, and all the princes, boyars, and knights will be present to eat and drink and sport; you must stand near me at the table to do my bidding.” Thereupon Bova made his bow and was going away, but the Princess Drushnevna called him back, and said: “Tell me the truth, young fellow, what class do you belong to—of boyar or kingly race? Or are you the son of some brave knight, or of a merchant from a foreign land? And what is your true name? I believe not that you are born of common folk as you told my father.” Then Bova replied: “Gracious Lady, I have told your royal father truly my name and condition, and [79] can only repeat it to you.” And so saying he left the room.

On the morrow the King held a great feast, and Bova had to hold a roasted swan to the Princess Drushnevna, which she began to carve; and, on purpose, she let fall a fork on the floor. Bova instantly picked it up, and as he held it out to her she kissed him on the head. As soon as the feast was ended, Bova lay down to sleep, and slept three days and three nights; no shaking could arouse him. The fourth day, when he awoke, he rode out into the open country, walked into the forbidden meadows, gathered some beautiful flowers, and, making a wreath, placed it on his head, and so went into the city. When the Princess saw him thus decked out, she called him before her, and bade him take the wreath from his head and place it on hers. Bova did not obey; but he took the wreath from his head, pulled it to pieces, and flung it on the ground; then he left the room, and shut the door after him with such force that he pulled out the silver handle, and a stone fell from the wall and wounded him on the head. The fair Drushnevna hearing this, cured his wound with her medicines; and when it was healed Bova lay down again to sleep, and slept five days and five nights.

[80] Now at this time King Marcobrun came from the kingdom beyond the Don, with many hundred thousand warriors; and surrounding the Armenian city with his army, he sent an ambassador to Sensibri to demand the Princess his daughter Drushnevna for wife; promising, in return, to reward and defend him; but threatening, in case of his refusal, to destroy the city with fire and sword, to throw him into prison, and carry off his daughter by force. Then King Sensibri answered: “Tell your Master, the renowned King Marcobrun that, until this day, I have never had any disagreement with him, but have lived in friendship and good-will; and that I have no desire now to quarrel with him; but better it had been to have sent you with a simple request instead of threats. I pardon him, however, on account of his youth, and invite him to my royal castle to eat bread and salt, and to celebrate the marriage with my daughter.”

King Sensibri dismissed the messenger, and commanding the city gates to be opened, went himself to meet King Marcobrun, took him by his white hands, led him into the marble palace, seated him at an oaken table spread with checkered tablecloths and sweetmeats, and they fell to eating and drinking and disport.

[81] Just then Bova Korolevich awoke from his five days’ sleep, and heard the confused sounds of men, and the neighing of horses, outside the city. Whereupon he went into the white marble palace to Princess Drushnevna, and said: “Gracious Lady, I hear the sounds of men and horses outside the city, and people say that Marcobrun’s nobles are amusing themselves with holding a tournament. I have a wish to join in it; command, I pray, a good steed to be given me, and allow me to go forth and see the sports.”

The Princess answered: “My little fellow Anhusei, how can you ride with Marcobrun’s nobles? You are still very young, and cannot sit fast on a horse. However, if you have so great a longing to go, choose a good horse and ride off to see the sport; but take no weapon, and do not mingle in their games.”

The instant Bova received this permission he went into the stable, straddled across a broom, and so rode out of the city. And as soon as Marcobrun’s nobles saw Bova Korolevich riding upon a broom, they began to laugh at him, and cried: “Look, look at King Sensibri’s groom! riding cock-horse upon a broom! to sweep the field and make us room!” But Bova did not relish their jokes, and riding up to them, he defended himself with his [82] broom, laying about him right and left, and knocking them down by twos and threes. When Marcobrun’s nobles saw this sport they rushed upon Bova, ten or more at once; but he took them as they came, and overthrew them all. Thereat the other knights were enraged, and attacked Bova, two hundred in a body, and tried to ride him down. Still Bova flinched not, but slew them all, one after another, to the number of two hundred thousand men. When the King’s daughter saw this from her window, she went to her father and said: “My gracious father, command your servant Anhusei to return. He has ridden forth to see the sports of Marcobrun’s nobles; but they are engaged against him, and are attacking him with great fury. It were a shame to let him be slain: he is still but a young child, and has little strength.” So King Sensibri Andronovich instantly sent to Bova, and ordered him to return to the city.

Bova obeyed the command, rode back to the city, lay down to sleep, and slept for nine days and nine nights. Meanwhile the powerful Tsar and knight Lukoper came to the Armenian kingdom: his head was as large as a beer-barrel, his eyebrows were a span apart, his shoulders an arrow’s length broad, and he was as tall as a journey. Never before had such a powerful knight been heard of; and [83] he came at the head of a host twice as strong as the army of Marcobrun. Then he surrounded the city of King Sensibri, and sent an ambassador to him, demanding the hand of the Princess Drushnevna; threatening, if he refused, to lay waste his city with fire and sword, to imprison all the inhabitants, to overthrow Marcobrun’s army, slay both Kings, and carry off the Princess Drushnevna. But if Sensibri assented to his demand, Lukoper promised him his aid and protection.

When King Sensibri heard this message he dared not refuse, and dismissed the ambassador without an answer. Then he called Marcobrun, and took counsel with him, and they agreed to attack Lukoper with all their forces. They forthwith ordered their horses to be saddled; each seized in his right hand a steel sword, and in his left a sharp lance, and they rode forth out of the city. When the Tsar Lukoper beheld them, he rode with the blunt end of his lance against Marcobrun and Sensibri, overthrew them one after another, took them prisoners, and sent them to his father, Saltan Saltanovich, who was encamped with his army on the seashore. Then Lukoper fell upon the armies of Sensibri and Marcobrun, and slew them without mercy, while his gallant steed trampled down still more than he killed; and in a short [84] time the royal forbidden meadows were covered with the dead.

Just at this time Bova Korolevich awoke from his sleep, and heard the noise of Lukoper’s army, and the neighing of the horses. Then he went to the Princess Drushnevna and said: “Gracious Lady, I hear the noise of Lukoper’s warriors, who are disporting in a tourney after the victory over your father and Marcobrun, whom he has sent prisoners to his father the Tsar Saltan Saltanovich, on the seashore. I am therefore come, as your faithful servant, to crave permission to take from the royal stable a good horse, with trappings, a sword, and a steel lance. Let me go forth against Lukoper’s army, measure my strength with him, and try the valour of his boasting warriors.” The Princess answered: “I will consent to your wish, young fellow; but you must first tell me truly of what rank of life you are, and what is your real name? You have not told my father the truth: your handsome figure and valorous deeds show clearly that you are no poor man’s son.”

“Lady,” replied Bova Korolevich, “I would not disclose to you my true rank and name, but that I am now going forth to a battle of life and death, and know not whether I shall return from it alive, or lose my head in rescuing my King from [85] prison; therefore I will confess the truth. My father was the renowned King Guidon, a mighty hero in the field, and a merciful prince to his subjects. My mother is Queen Militrisa, daughter of the Tsar Kirbit Versoulovich: my name is Bova. I left my country in early youth, when King Dadon laid waste our kingdom, treacherously murdered my father, and seized upon his dominions. He sought to kill me too; but I fled, sailed with some merchants to your kingdom, and was bought by your father.”

When the Princess heard this story she loved Bova Korolevich still more, and she said to him: “Brave Knight, you would engage in a fight of life and death with the Tsar Lukoper, but you do not know, perhaps, how powerful he is, and what an immense army he has with him; besides, you are still very young, and have not the strength of manhood. Stay rather in my city, take me for your wife, and protect my country and people against our foes.”

Bova, however, was unmoved by her words; and again entreated her to let him have a steed and armour. When the Princess Drushnevna saw how earnestly he begged, she took from the wall a battle sword, buckled it on him with her own hands, put on his armour, and led him to the stone stable [86] to fetch a steed, which stood there behind twelve iron doors and twelve huge locks. Then she commanded the grooms to strike off the locks; but as soon as the horse perceived a rider worthy of him, he began to burst the doors with his hoofs, broke them all down, ran out, set himself on his hind legs before Bova, and neighed so loud that the fair Drushnevna and all the bystanders were ready to fall down senseless.

When Bova took the horse by his black-grey mane and began to pat him, he stood still as if rooted to the spot; and Bova Korolevich seeing this, placed a Tcherkess saddle upon him, with girths of Persian silk and golden buckles. And when he vaulted into the saddle and took leave of the Princess Drushnevna, she embraced and kissed him. The royal Chamberlain, named Orlop, who saw this, began to reproach her, which angered Bova so much that he hurled him to the ground half-dead with the butt-end of his lance, and rode out of the city. Then Bova struck the flanks of his steed, which started, rose from the ground, and leaped over the city wall.

When Bova beheld the camp of the Tsar Lukoper, in which the tents stood as thick as trees in a forest, he drew his battle sword and mace, and rode straight against the mighty Tsar. The crash of [87] two mountains falling upon one another is not so great as was the onset between these two powerful knights. Lukoper struck at Bova’s heart with his lance, but Bova parried the thrust with his shield, and the lance was shivered in pieces. Then Bova struck Lukoper on the head with his sword, and cleft his body in twain to the very saddle; after which he fell upon Lukoper’s army, and many as he slew with his battle-axe, as many again were trodden down under his horse’s hoofs. Bova fought five days without resting, and overthrew well nigh the whole army; a small number only escaped, who fled to the Tsar Saltan, and said to him: “Our Lord Tsar Saltan Saltanovich, after we had taken prisoners Tsars Sensibri and Marcobrun, and had overthrown all their enemies, a young fellow of handsome look rushed out of Sensibri’s city, who slew your brave son Lukoper in single combat, and routed our whole army. He is even now in pursuit of us, slaying all whom he can overtake, and will presently attack you.”

On hearing this, Tsar Saltan was seized with terror, and hastened with his troops on board his ships, leaving all his tents and treasures behind, cut the cable, and instantly set sail from the Armenian kingdom. But hardly had he left the shore when Bova rode into the camp, and found [88] not a single living soul except the Kings Marcobrun and Sensibri, who lay bound hand and foot beside Saltan’s tent. Bova Korolevich freed them from their bonds, and rode with them back to the Armenian kingdom.

On the way Sensibri Andronovich said to Bova: “My trusty servant Anhusei, I see your fidelity and valour; I owe my liberty to you, and I know not how to reward you: ask of me whatsoever you desire—my treasures are at your command.” Then Bova answered: “My gracious lord King, I am rewarded by your royal favour, and ask no more; but I will serve you faithfully to the best of my power.” And as they conversed thus they came to the Armenian city, where they feasted and made merry. Then Bova lay down to sleep, and slept nine days and nine nights.

At length Kings Sensibri and Marcobrun, tired of feasting, rode out into the fields to hunt for three days. And meanwhile it happened that the Chamberlain, jealous of the favour that the King showed to Bova, called to him thirty young fellows and said: “My friends, you see that this rascal Anhusei has deceived our King and the Princess Drushnevna, and, turning their favour from us, drives us from their presence. Come with me into the stable where he sleeps; let us put him to [89] death, and I will reward you with gold and silver, with jewels and fine clothes.” When Orlop had told his plan, one of the thirty answered: “We are not strong enough to slay Anhusei in his sleep; should he awake he would kill us all. A better plan would be for one of us to lie in the King’s bed, whilst he is out at the chase, to summon Anhusei, and give him a letter to the Tsar Saltan Saltanovich desiring him to put Anhusei to death.”

When the Chamberlain Orlop heard this he leaped for joy, embraced the fellow who had given this wicked advice, and rewarded him more than the rest. And when the letter was prepared, Orlop went and lay down in the King’s bed, called Bova to him, and said: “Do me a service, Anhusei; take this letter and give it to the Tsar Saltan with your own hand. On your return I will reward you in any way you may desire.” Bova, who was half asleep, did not discover the cheat, but took the letter, went out and saddled a good horse, and rode off to the kingdom of the Tsar Saltan.

Bova rode for two months, until he came to a desert, where there was neither river, brook, nor fountain, and grew sore athirst. At length he met a pilgrim, who had a leather bottle full of water, and he begged him for a draught to quench his thirst. The old man secretly put a sleeping powder [90] into the water and gave it to Bova; but hardly had he drunk it than it took effect, and he fell from his horse and slept like one dead. Then the old man took the battle sword, mounted the horse and rode off, leaving Bova alone and unarmed in the midst of the desert.

Bova slept on for ten days; and when he awoke and saw that his steed, his sword, and battle-axe were all gone he wept bitterly and said to himself: “It seems that I am doomed to lose my life in this service, and that King Sensibri has sent me to Tsar Saltan only to meet death in return for my fidelity.” Then he went his way on foot, and his head hung lower than his shoulders.

When Bova Korolevich appeared before the Tsar Saltan he bowed to the ground, handed him the letter and said: “Long life to you, gracious lord and Tsar Saltan Saltanovich! I am sent by King Sensibri to your Majesty to bring news of his health, to enquire after yours, and to deliver to your Majesty this letter.” Then Saltan took the letter, broke the seal, and after reading it exclaimed aloud: “Where are my valiant knights, my faithful servants and warriors? Seize this messenger from King Sensibri, and lead him to the gallows, for he has slain my dear son and destroyed our mighty army.”

[91] Thereupon sixty of Saltan’s knights rode forth, surrounded Bova, and led him into the open fields to hang him. On the way Bova bethought him how he could have deserved such a shameful death, and to lose his life in the flower of his days. “Better had it been,” said he, “if my mother had killed me in the city of Anton, or if I had been slain by Marcobrun’s nobles or by Lukoper in the field.” And with that he rose up, overthrew all the sixty knights, and fled out of the kingdom.

When the Tsar Saltan heard this, he instantly commanded the trumpets to sound, and collected his knights to the number of a hundred thousand, pursued Bova Korolevich, and surrounded him on all sides. Bova had neither a good steed, a sharp sword, nor a steel lance—he had nothing with which to defend himself. Then he seized one of Saltan’s warriors, and began to fight with him; but he saw that he could not slay them all, and gave himself up prisoner. So they seized him, bound his hands, and led him before Saltan Saltanovich. As soon as the Tsar saw Bova he ordered the hangman to be fetched, to hang him.

Just then the Tsar’s daughter, the fair Princess Miliheria, fell on her knees before her father and said: “My gracious lord and father, do not let Bova be hung, but allow me to speak; his death [92] will not bring either my brother or your army to life again. Rather grant him his life, turn him to our faith, and make him the successor to your throne. Then will he be a defence in war to your old age.”

The Tsar answered: “My dear daughter, Miliheria, you comfort me with your tender words and wise advice; I give Bova into your hands, and if he embraces our faith he shall be my successor and your husband, and I will resign to him all my cities and villages, my treasures of gold and jewels.”

The Tsar’s daughter made her obeisance to her father, left the hall, and ordered Bova to be brought before her. Then she endeavoured with gentle speech to persuade him to adopt her faith; but Bova answered that neither for the whole kingdom, nor all the treasures of gold and jewels, would he consent to change his faith.

Then Miliheria commanded Bova to be led to prison, and the entrance to be stopped up with sand, and that he should have no food nor drink for five days. At the end of this time she put on a gold-embroidered dress, adorned with jewels, and went to the prison. Then she ordered the sand to be removed, and the door to be opened, and, going in, she said to Bova: “Now, young fellow, have you considered the matter? Will you change [93] your faith, and live, and rule over my father’s kingdom, or have you not yet overcome your obstinacy and will rather end your life on gallows?”

“Never, as long as I live, will I deny my faith,” answered Bova, “nor abandon it for yours. Tempt me not in vain with cunning words and promises; I will rather suffer death than be a despicable man.”

The Princess Miliheria was very angry at Bova’s answer; she went instantly to her father and said: “My lord and father, I confess to you my wrong in having interceded for the life of this unbelieving prisoner, in the hope of converting him to our faith, and making him a good subject of your Majesty. But now I see his obstinacy and hard heart, I no longer plead for him, but give him back into your hands; do with him as you will.” And so saying she went out.

Saltan Saltanovich, on hearing this, called to him thirty bold knights, and sent them to Bova’s prison; but when they came thither they could not remove the sand from the door as the Tsar’s daughter, in her anger, had heaped up too much; and they thought of taking off the roof and dragging Bova out. Then Bova Korolevich was sad at heart, and said, weeping: “Alas, I am the most unfortunate of men! I have neither sword nor battle-axe, [94] while my foes are numberless, and I am moreover weakened by five days’ hunger and confinement.” Then he sat down in a corner of the prison and felt close to him on the ground a sword of steel. He seized it, overjoyed, turned it round and round, and scarcely trusted his unlooked-for prize. Then he went to the spot where Saltan’s knights were letting themselves down into the prison; and cutting off their heads, one after the other as they came down, he laid them in a heap.

Meanwhile Saltan was awaiting the return of the knights whom he had sent after Bova; at last he was angered at their long delay, and sent as many more to their help; but Bova slew these likewise, and piled up their bodies in a heap; and climbing up this he escaped from prison and hastened to the harbour, where he saw a ship lying at anchor. Then he cried with a loud voice: “Ho, masters! take an honest young fellow on board your ship! Save me from a cruel death, and I will reward you richly.”

When the merchants heard this they sent a boat to the shore and took Bova Korolevich on board the ship. Presently his pursuers came galloping up in pursuit of Bova, and with them the Tsar Saltan Saltanovich himself. Then Saltan cried aloud to the sailors: “Ho! you foreign merchants, [95] surrender instantly yon malefactor, who has escaped from my prison and taken refuge in your ship! Deliver him up or I will never again allow you to trade in my kingdom, but command you to be seized and put to a miserable death.”

The merchants were terrified by these threats, and were about to send Bova back to shore; but he drew a sword from under his cloak, laid about him, and slew them right and left. At the sight of this the rest fell on their knees before him, and promised to sail with him wherever he wished. Then Bova ordered them to set sail and steer for the open sea. And after a voyage of three months they came to the kingdom over the Don; and not knowing it he enquired of a fisherman what country it was he saw in the distance. “Yonder lies the Sadonic kingdom,” replied the fisherman, “and the king of it is named Marcobrun.” Then Bova asked: “Can it be the same Marcobrun who went to seek the hand of the daughter of King Sensibri?” “The same,” replied the fisherman, “and he has not long returned home with his betrothed, the Princess Drushnevna; their wedding is speedily to be celebrated.”

When Bova Korolevich heard this, he staggered, and for a time could not utter a word. At length he came to himself, and said to the fisherman: [96] “Land me on the other side, my good fellow, and I will reward you handsomely.” Then he divided among the ship’s crew the property of the merchants he had slain, took leave of them, and went to the Sadonic kingdom. On landing, Bova directed his steps towards Marcobrun’s chief city. For two days he went on and on without meeting anyone. On the third day he met the pilgrim who had given him the sleeping powder and robbed him of his sword, his battle-axe, and steed. Then Bova seized and flung him on the ground, saying: “Villain! you robbed me with a pitcher of water, carried off my brave steed, and left me helpless in a desert, to be torn to pieces by wild beasts. Now take your reward and die.”

Then the pilgrim entreated Bova for mercy: “Brave knight, have pity and grant my life! I will give back your horse, your sword, and battle-axe, and, for my crime, three powders besides. Wash yourself with one of these and you will become old, so that no one will recognize you; if you wash with the second, you will grow young as before; and if you put the third powder into any person’s drink he will sleep as soundly as if he were dead for nine days.”

When Bova Korolevich heard this, he took the powders, the battle sword, and the battle-axe; [97] but gave back the horse and his clothes to the pilgrim. Thereupon he washed himself with the first powder, and went to the royal court and began to beg alms in the kitchen, in the name of Bova Korolevich. One of the cooks, hearing this, seized a brand from the hearth, beat Bova on the head, exclaiming: “Be off, you worthless fellow! don’t come begging here in Bova’s name: it is forbidden in this country to utter his name under pain of death.”

Bova did not feel the blow, but seized a brand, belaboured the cook, and said: “What mean you, scoundrel, to beat your betters? You might first have tried words before coming to blows.” But the poor cook had already given up the ghost, and this exhortation was thrown away upon him. When his comrades saw this they ran out and told the Seneschal, who went into the kitchen and asked Bova how the matter stood. Then Bova said to the Seneschal: “Noble sir, I know not the customs of this country, and have heard nothing of your prohibition. I begged alms of your cook, in the name of Bova Korolevich, knowing that he was everywhere honoured for his valour; but the man beat me with a cudgel, without saying a word; I returned the blows and have killed him unintentionally.”

When the Seneschal heard this, his anger was [98] turned into favour, and he said to Bova: “Hark ye, old man; from this hour on never more beg alms in Bova’s name, for we are commanded to slay anyone who speaks a word in his praise in this country; you are, however, pardoned for your ignorance. Go straight to the back court, where you will see the fair Princess Drushnevna, who gives alms to beggars like you. In three days her wedding with King Marcobrun is to be celebrated.”

Bova bowed to the Seneschal, and went to the back court, where he beheld Drushnevna; but there was such a crowd of beggars that he could not make his way up to her, and many of them beat and pushed about the old man. This annoyed Bova, and he began to push in turn, and soon made his way to the fair Drushnevna, and said: “Gracious Princess, betrothed to the renowned King Marcobrun, give me alms, in the name of Bova Korolevich!”

When the Princess heard these words her countenance changed: she let fall from her hand the dish with the money, and could scarcely stand. Then she ordered one of her maids to distribute the alms amongst the beggars, called Bova to her, and asked him why he had begged alms in that name. And Bova answered: “My gracious Lady, I know Bova Korolevich well, for I was with him [99] in the same prison, in the kingdom of the Tsar Saltan; we ate black bread and drank dirty water together, and I shared with him hunger and cold; he confessed to me that you, fair Princess, loved him dearly, and had pledged him your word to marry no one but him. Therefore I have had the boldness to beg alms in his name.”

“Ah, my good man,” said Drushnevna, “where did you leave Bova Korolevich? If I but knew where he was I would instantly go and seek him, were it through thrice nine lands to the thirtieth country.”

“He was released from prison with me,” replied Bova; “and I came to this kingdom in his company; he stayed behind, and whither he is gone I know not; but I wandered to this city.” As he spoke, King Marcobrun entered, and saw tears in Drushnevna’s eyes; he asked her why she wept, and whether anyone had offended her. “No, King Marcobrun, I wept on hearing from this man that my father is lying on his death-bed.” Then Marcobrun ordered Bova to go away, and tried to comfort the Princess. “My dear Drushnevna, grieve not for your father’s illness; he will recover; your grief cannot help him, and will only injure your health: your dark eyes will be dimmed with tears, and sorrow will destroy your beauty.”

[100] As the King was speaking, Bova went into the stable, where his trusty steed stood fastened with twelve chains. And when the horse heard his brave rider approach, he began to burst through the iron doors and break his chains; and having done so, and escaped into the open fields, he galloped up to Bova, seated himself on his hind legs, and tried to embrace him. Bova seized him by the mane and stroked his neck.

When the grooms saw this they went and told it all to Marcobrun. And the King hastened into the courtyard, and saw Bova and the horse; then, calling to him, he ordered him to serve in the stables of his court and to tend his war-horse. When the Princess Drushnevna heard this, she summoned Bova and asked him how he could undertake to tame this steed, which no one ever ventured to approach on account of his rage. And Bova answered: “Gracious Princess, this horse is restive and fierce to King Marcobrun’s grooms, who have never ridden on him; but he knows his former master in the kingdom of Sensibri Andronovich, and him he obeys. The horse recognized me at once, and you have thrice spoken with me, and have not discovered that I am Bova Korolevich!”

So saying, he was going away, but the Princess [101] held him back, and said: “Trouble me not with your prate, old man, nor mock my grief; I know Bova Korolevich; he is young and handsome, but you are old and grey-headed.”

“If you believe me not,” replied Bova, “order some water to be brought, and you shall see whether I speak the truth.” So they brought a basin of water, and Bova washed himself before the eyes of Drushnevna with the white powder, and instantly he was young and handsome as before. And when the Princess saw this she jumped from her seat for joy, threw her arms round Bova’s neck, and said: “My dear friend, Bova Korolevich, for your sake I have refused these three years to obey my father and listen to the suit of King Marcobrun; but not hearing any tidings of you for so long a time I thought you were dead, and was compelled, against my will, to come with Marcobrun to his kingdom. Here I have deferred the wedding from day to day, in the hope of hearing some tidings of you; but now that I see you face to face I can boldly dismiss Marcobrun and wander with you to the end of the world.”

“My dear Drushnevna,” replied Bova Korolevich, “you may rely on my valour; but we cannot now leave this place openly on account of the great number of Marcobrun’s warriors, and [102] the multitudes of people, whom not ten of the bravest knights could slay, especially in the heart of their city. But take this powder and mix it in Marcobrun’s drink: he will then sleep soundly for nine days, and in this time we can fly from his dominions.”

Hardly had he spoken, given her the powder, and gone away, when King Marcobrun came in. Then Drushnevna spoke with him softly and kindly, brought him a glass of sweet mead on a silver tray, and shook the sleeping powder into it: Marcobrun, charmed by her coaxing manner, instantly took the mead, drank it off, and presently fell asleep.

The Princess Drushnevna went out and ordered her faithful servants to bring her a good nag, and the kingly steed for Bova Korolevich. Then she gave him a suit of armour, and in the darkness of the night they fled out of the kingdom. For three days they rode on without stopping, and on the fourth they chose out a pleasant spot, halted by a clear brook, pitched a tent, and, tired with their journey, fell fast asleep.

It was a fine morning when Bova Korolevich took his steed to water, and on a sudden the horse began to neigh and stamp on the ground, and thus gave Bova to understand that an enemy was [103] advancing against him. Then he saddled his steed, donned his armour, girded on his battle sword, and went into the tent and took leave of Drushnevna saying: “My dear Princess, I am going out to fight with a great army, but grieve not for me. Before the sun goes down I shall have gained the victory and returned to you.” So saying, he rode forth against the enemy, and defeated them, so that only three men were left alive. And when he heard that the army was sent by Marcobrun in pursuit of him, he said to these three knights: “Tell King Marcobrun to beware of pursuing me lest he lose his whole army, for he knows well who I am.” Thereupon these three rode back to their King, and told him that Bova had slain the army of three hundred thousand men, and that they three alone survived. Then Marcobrun ordered the trumpets to sound, and assembled an army of four million men, and said to his boyars: “My faithful servants, pursue Bova, and bring him and Drushnevna alive to me.” And all the kingdom answered with one voice: “Our Lord and King, you have a knight Polkan who has been confined in prison for many years; perhaps he can overtake Bova, for he clears seven versts at a single leap. From his head to his waist he is a man—the rest of his body is in the form of a horse.”

[104] On hearing this from the knights, Marcobrun sent immediately for Polkan, and said to him: “Sir Polkan, pursue Bova Korolevich and bring him and Drushnevna to me; I will reward you richly.” So Polkan promised to fulfil his command, and hastened after Bova and the Princess.

One day Bova was walking in the fields near his tent when on a sudden he heard Polkan come running; he stepped into the tent and said to Drushnevna: “My dear Princess I can hear a powerful knight come riding this way in the direction from Marcobrun’s kingdom; but I do not know whether he will prove a friend or foe.” Then Drushnevna answered: “No doubt it is some one whom Marcobrun has sent in pursuit of us, and he must be the stout knight Polkan, who can leave behind him seven versts at a bound: he will soon overtake us.”

Bova took his battle sword, mounted his steed, and rode forth. Polkan met him, and cried aloud with a terrible voice: “Ha, rascal! you shall not escape out of my hands!” And so saying, he tore up by the roots an oak of a hundred years’ growth and struck Bova with it on the head; but Bova staggered not under the blow; with both hands he seized his battle sword, and aimed at Polkan to slay him; but he missed his blow, and the sword was struck [105] half-way up to the hilt in the earth, and Bova fell from his saddle. Then Polkan caught his horse; but the horse began to fight with his feet, and bite with his teeth, until Polkan fled. The horse followed him, until Polkan’s strength quite failed him and he dropped half-dead near the tent of Bova Korolevich. Then Bova went up to Polkan and asked him whether he had rather live or die; and Polkan replied: “Brother Bova, let us make peace with one another and be brothers, and there will not be our match in the wide world.” So Bova made a treaty with Polkan, and Bova was to be the elder and Polkan the younger brother.

Then Bova mounted his good steed and Drushnevna her palfrey, and Polkan followed them. Thus they rode for a long time, and at length they saw before them the city of Kostel, in which ruled the Tsar Uril. And when Uril heard of their approach he ordered the city gates to be closed and made fast. Then Polkan ran and leaped over the walls and opened the gates, whereupon Bova and Drushnevna rode into the city. The Tsar Uril came to meet them with the Tsarina, and conducted them with great honour into the palace, and they all fell to feasting and making merry.

Meanwhile King Marcobrun advanced against the city of Kostel with three times a hundred [106] thousand men, beleaguered the city, and sent an ambassador to the Tsar Uril, commanding him fiercely to deliver up to him Bova, Drushnevna, and Polkan. Then Tsar Uril assembled his army, took with him his two sons, and went out to fight with Marcobrun; they fought bravely, but Marcobrun overthrew their whole army, and took the Tsar and his sons prisoners. Then Uril promised King Marcobrun to deliver up Bova, Drushnevna, and Polkan, and left his sons as hostages. So Marcobrun dismissed the Tsar Uril, and gave him a million and a half men from his army, to fetch Bova and Polkan.

The Tsar Uril went into his chamber and lay down to sleep; but Polkan stepped to the door of his room and listened to what the Tsar should say of him to his wife. Then the Tsar told the Tsarina how he had left his sons as hostages with Marcobrun and promised to deliver up Bova, Drushnevna, and Polkan. And the Tsarina replied: “My dear husband, it is impossible to give them up.” At these words the Tsar struck her in the face, saying: “Women have long hair, but short wits.” When Polkan heard this he was enraged, opened the door, entered the room, seizing the Tsar by his head, flung him to the ground and killed him.

[107] Polkan now looked down into the courtyard and perceived that it was filled with Marcobrun’s soldiers; so, without more ado, he took Bova’s battle sword and slew ten thousand men, drove all the rest out of the city, closed the gates, and barred them fast, after which he returned into the castle, awakened Bova Korolevich, and told him all that had happened. Bova embraced him and thanked him for his faithful service; thereupon they armed themselves, and rode out of the city against Marcobrun’s army. Bova took the right side and Polkan the left, and they overthrew the whole army, and set free the children of the Tsar Uril. King Marcobrun fled into the Sadonic kingdom, and bound himself, his children, and his grandchildren with an oath never to pursue Bova.

Bova and Polkan now returned with Uril’s sons to the city of Kostel; and when they arrived at the castle Bova said to the Tsarina: “Here are your children, Lady!” The remains of the army he made swear allegiance to Uril’s sons, and left them to govern as before.

Then Bova rode with the knight Polkan and the fair Drushnevna to the city of Sumin, to his attendant Simbalda, in order to raise a small army to march against King Dadon and expel him from the city of Anton. They rode a long time, and at [108] length halted in a meadow, and pitched their white tent to rest. Drushnevna had two sons born here, and Bova named one Litcharda and the other Simbalda.

One day, as Bova was walking with Polkan around his tent, they beheld in the distance a thick cloud of dust; then said Bova to Polkan: “Hasten and see whether an army is advancing, or a bold knight comes riding this way, or a merchant’s caravan is on the road.” When Polkan heard this request, he rode forth and presently brought back some warriors bound. And Bova asked: “Tell me, you warriors, freely and without resistance, what power comes yonder, and from what country, who is your King, and wherefore are you sent out?” The soldiers answered: “Brave Knight, we are sent with a great army by King Dadon to the kingdom of Armenia to demand the stepson of our King who ran away in his youth, to be given up by the Tsar Sensibri Andronovich; his name is Bova.”

“Face about, and tell the commander of your army not to march into the Armenian kingdom, but await me on the spot where you meet him. I am Bova Korolevich, and will soon follow you to inspect your army.”

So saying, Bova dismissed the prisoners, and [109] said to Polkan: “Comrade, I will now ride out to fight with Dadon’s army which is sent against me: I pray you to remain near my white tent to protect my wife against enemies and wild beasts; but tell her not that I am gone out to battle; for I shall soon return to reward your faithful service, and if need be, to lay down my life for you.” So saying he took leave of Polkan, mounted his steed, and rode with all haste against Dadon’s army; and he speedily laid about him right and left, and slew them until the few who survived fell on their knees and begged for mercy.

Whilst Bova was thus engaged, and Drushnevna was sitting in the tent, two huge lions rushed out of the forest and flew at Polkan to tear him to pieces. Polkan attacked them bravely, and slew one with a single stroke; but the other lion he could not overcome so easily, and after a long fight Polkan and the lion at last both fell dead. Shortly after Drushnevna went out of the tent, and when she saw the dead bodies of Polkan and the lions she thought that Bova must also have been killed by these wild beasts. So she took her two sons, mounted her palfrey, which was tied up to the tent, and rode away from that fearful spot as fast as she could.

When Drushnevna arrived at the city of the [110] Tsar Saltan, she dismounted and turned her palfrey loose in the fields, saying: “Go your way, rove where you will, my trusty nag, until you find a good master!” Then she went to a brook, washed herself with the black powder, and became on a sudden dark-coloured and haggard; and thus she went her way to the city.

After Bova Korolevich had destroyed King Dadon’s army, he returned to the place where he had left his wife and Polkan, to take them with him to the city of Sumin. When he came to his tent, what was his horror at beholding the dead bodies of Polkan and the lions; and, not finding either Drushnevna or her children in the tent, he imagined that the lions had killed both Polkan and his wife. Then sorrow struck Bova to the heart, and after weeping long and bitterly upon that fatal spot, he rode off alone to his faithful attendant Simbalda.

When Bova arrived at the city of Sumin he was received with great honour by Simbalda; and he speedily ordered an army to be assembled, took with him Tervis, the son of Simbalda, and marched against the city of Anton.

At this time King Dadon was living in his city, without care or trouble, and awaiting from hour to hour the surrender of Bova by King Sensibri, little dreaming that the army he had sent to fetch [111] him had been destroyed. On a sudden messengers came running to him to announce that Bova Korolevich was besieging the city of Anton on all sides. When King Dadon heard this, he instantly commanded his whole army to be assembled; and he collected above thrice one hundred thousand men, and marched out to battle. But Bova did not wish to shed blood needlessly, and ordered all his warriors not to stir from the spot. Then he looked steadfastly at Dadon, rode at him full gallop, and struck him a sword-blow on the head which, though a light one, cleft his skull, and Dadon fell dead from his horse. Bova ordered the body to be taken up and borne into the city of Anton that Queen Militrisa should herself behold his end. Meanwhile he went to his father’s grave and wept over it, and then returned to the city of Sumin.

When Dadon’s body was brought before Militrisa, she fell to weeping bitterly; and, as she washed the blood off with her tears, she perceived that he was still living. Instantly she sent her faithful servants into all the kingdoms round about to fetch a doctor for King Dadon, promising to reward him richly.

Bova, on learning that Dadon was still alive, and had sent to seek a doctor, resolved to go himself to the city of Anton, disguised as a physician, [112] and to kill King Dadon. Thereupon he washed himself with the black powder, and was instantly changed into an old man, dressed himself like a doctor, and took with him Tervis and a sharp sword. On reaching the city, Bova sent word to King Dadon that some physicians had come from a foreign country to cure his wounds. When the King heard this he instantly commanded the strangers to be brought before him, and promised that if they healed his wounds they should be richly rewarded. Then Bova Korolevich bowed himself, and said that he would speedily cure the King; but that all the bystanders must go away, and leave the King alone with him. Dadon instantly assented; and as soon as they were alone, Bova seized him by his beard, drew the sword from under his cloak, and exclaimed: “Villain, take the reward for letting yourself be seduced by the beauty of Queen Militrisa treacherously to murder my father.”

So saying, Bova struck off King Dadon’s head, laid it upon a silver dish, covered it with a white cloth, and went to his mother Militrisa. When he entered her chamber he said to her: “My gracious Mother, I am come to inform you that your beloved husband Dadon is quite recovered from his wounds, and has sent us to announce the glad [113] tidings to you with this present.” Thereupon he gave into her hands the dish, with King Dadon’s head upon it. When Militrisa raised the cloth and beheld the head, she was so horror-struck that for some time she could not utter a word; at length she fell to tearing her hair and clothes, and took an oath to kill Bova Korolevich for slaying Dadon and having called himself her son.

Then Bova took some water, washed himself with the white powder, and in an instant was young and handsome as ever. Militrisa at once knew him, fell at his feet, and began to beg for pardon. But Bova ordered Tervis to take her and nail her up in a cask, and roll her into the sea. Then he called together the princes and boyars and announced to them that he was Bova Korolevich, the rightful heir to the throne of his father Guidon, returned from foreign lands, and required of them the oath of allegiance. Immediately all the princes, boyars and others swore fidelity to Bova, and wished him a happy accession to the throne; after which the King ordered feasts and rejoicings to be made for a whole month.

After the feasts Bova sent an ambassador with presents to Saltan, to demand his daughter, Miliheria in marriage, as he believed Drushnevna to have been torn to pieces by the lions. Then Saltan [114] sent for his daughter and said: “My dear child, I have just received a letter from the knight whom you shut up in prison and endeavoured to convert to our faith. He is a King’s son, and rules over his own kingdom: he has sent me presents, and sues for your hand. Tell me now whether you will give your consent.”

On hearing this the Princess Miliheria was glad at heart, and said that she was ready in all things to obey her father’s will. The same day Saltan received presents from the ambassador, and forthwith ordered everything to be prepared for the journey.

Whilst all this was passing, the Queen Drushnevna was living in the same city, and washed linen for her livelihood. And thus she maintained her two sons, who grew not from day to day, but from hour to hour, and surpassed all other children in beauty. She had no thought that Bova Korolevich was still alive; but when by chance she heard that an ambassador had been sent by him to the Tsar Saltan to demand the hand of his daughter, and that Saltan had consented to the match, she took with her her two sons, and went into the city of Anton where he ruled, travelling slowly and with great fatigue. At length she arrived, the very same day that Bova was to be married to Miliheria. [115] Then she washed herself with the white powder, and was as beautiful as ever; and she sent her sons to the castle to present themselves to Bova Korolevich, and inform him of their condition and adventures.

Litcharda and Simbalda (so the boys were named) stationed themselves in the passage through which Bova had to pass with his princes and boyars on his way to dinner. And as he was entering his apartment, his eye fell upon the lads, and he asked who they were, and for whom they were waiting. Then the elder son made his obeisance and said: “We are, O King, the children of the most renowned knight and hero in the wide world, Bova Korolevich, and the fair Queen Drushnevna; our beloved father left us when very young in the open country under a tent, with our mother and the knight Polkan, who was killed by lions. But we fled from the spot, with our mother, and have ever since been wandering about in various countries in search of our father.”

Then Bova Korolevich embraced them tenderly, exclaiming: “My sons, my sons! I am your father, and little had I hoped to have ever seen you again alive. But where is my beloved wife, your mother?”

Then Litcharda told him where they had left [116] Drushnevna; and Bova instantly sent some of his boyars to conduct her to the castle.

When Bova beheld her again he was overjoyed; and, for such unexpected happiness, he ordered the feasting to be doubled, and the taxes to be remitted to his subjects for the two whole months. His faithful servant Simbalda he rewarded with many towns; and to his son Tervis he gave the fair Miliheria Saltanovna; then he sent them to her father, bidding him to love and honour his new son-in-law, and adding, that it had been impossible for him to marry her after the return of his wife Drushnevna.

Then Bova sent Simbalda’s brother Ohen with an army into the Armenian kingdom to win it from Orlop, whom he ordered to be put to death. Bova gave the Armenian kingdom to Ohen and his successors; but he himself remained in the city of Anton, and ruled happily.



THERE lived once upon a time, in great poverty, a countryman and his wife: he was mild as a calf, and she as cunning as a serpent. She abused and drubbed her husband for every trifle. One day she begged some corn of a neighbour to make a loaf of bread, and she sent her husband with it to the mill to have it ground. The miller ground the corn, but charged them nothing on account of their poverty; and the countryman set out on his return home with his pan full of flour. But on a sudden there arose such a strong wind that in the twinkle of an eye all the flour was blown out of the pan, which he carried on his head. So he went home and told his wife; and when she heard it she fell to scolding and beating him without mercy; and she threatened him on and on, until at length she grew tired; then she ordered him to go to the wind which had blown away the flour and get paid for it, either in money or in as much flour as there had been in the pan.

The poor countryman, whose bones ached with [118] the blows he had received from his wife, went out of the house weeping and wringing his hands; but whither to turn his steps he knew not. And at last he came to a large and dark forest, in which he wandered here and there. At last an old woman met him and said: “My good man, where are you going, and how are you going to find your way? What has brought you into this country, where rarely a bird flies, and rarely does a beast run?”

“Good Mother,” replied the man, “force has driven me hither. I went to the mill with some corn, and when it was ground I shook the flour into a pan and went my way home; but suddenly a wind arose and carried off the flour out of the pan; and when I came without it to the house and told my wife, she beat me, and has sent me to seek the Wind, and ask him either to give me back the meal or to pay me for it in money. So now I go here and there to look for the Wind, and know not where to find it.”

“Follow me,” said the old woman: “I am the mother of the Winds, and have four sons; the first son is the East Wind, the second is the South Wind, the third is the West Wind, and the fourth the North Wind. Tell me, now, which Wind it is that has blown away your meal?”

[119] “The South Wind, Mother dear,” answered the countryman.

Then the old woman led the man deeper into the forest, and came to a little hut, and said: “Here I live, master woodman; creep on to the stove, and wrap yourself up; my children will soon be here.”

“But why should I wrap myself up?” said the peasant.

“Because my son the North Wind is very cold, and you would be frozen,” said the old woman.

Not long after, the old woman’s sons began to assemble; and when at length the South Wind came, the old woman called the countryman from the stove and said to her sons: “South Wind, my dear son, a complaint is brought against you; why do you injure poor folks? You have blown away this man’s flour from out of his dish; pay him now for it with money, or how you will.”

“Very well, Mother,” replied the Wind, “I will pay him for his flour.” Then he called the countryman and said: “Hark ye, my little farmer, take this basket; it contains everything you can wish for—money, bread, all kinds of food and drink; you have only to say: ‘Basket, give me this and that,’ and it will instantly give you all you desire. Go home now—you have here payment [120] for your flour.” So the countryman made his bow to the South Wind, thanked him for the basket, and went his way home.

When the man came home, he gave the basket to his wife, saying: “Here, wife, is a basket for you, which contains everything you can wish for—only ask it.” So the good woman took the basket, and said: “Basket, give me good flour for bread!” And instantly the basket gave her as much as ever she could desire. Then she asked again for this thing and that, and the basket gave her everything in the twinkling of an eye.

A few days after, it happened that a nobleman passed by the countryman’s cottage; and when the good woman saw him, she said to her husband; “Go and invite this lord to be our guest; if you don’t bring him here, I will beat you half dead.”

The countryman dreaded a beating from his wife. So he went and invited the nobleman to dinner. Meanwhile the good woman took all kinds of food and drink out of the basket, spread the table, and then sat down patiently at the window, laying her hands in her lap, awaiting the arrival of her husband and their guest. The nobleman was astonished at receiving such an invitation and laughed, and would not go home with the man; but instead, he ordered his servants who attended [121] him to go with the countryman, to dinner, and bring him back word how he treated them. So the servants went with the countryman, and when they entered his cottage, they were greatly amazed: for, to judge by his hut, he must be very poor, but from the dishes upon the table he was evidently a person of some consequence. Then they sat down to dinner, and made merry; but they remarked that, whenever the good woman wanted anything, she asked the basket for it, and obtained all she required. So they did not leave the room at once, and sent one of their comrades home to make as quickly as possible just such another basket and bring it to them, without letting the countryman or his wife observe it.

Thereupon the man ran as fast as he could, and got a basket just like the other; and when he brought it to the cottage, the guests secretly took the countryman’s basket and put theirs in its place. Then they took leave of the man and his wife, and returned to their master and told him how daintily the countryman had treated them.

The countryman’s wife threw away all the food that was left, intending to cook fresh on the morrow. The next morning she went to her basket and began to ask it for what she wanted; and when she found that the basket gave her nothing, she called [122] her husband and said: “Old Greybeard, what basket is this you have brought me? Likely enough it has served us once and for all; and what good is it now if it gives us nothing more? Go back to the Wind and beg him to give us back our flour, or I’ll beat you to death.”

So the poor man went back to the Winds. When he came to the old woman, their mother, he fell to complaining of his wife. The old woman told him to wait for her son, who would soon come home.

Not long after came the South Wind, and the countryman began to complain of his wife. Then the Wind answered: “I am sorry, old man, that you have such a wicked wife; but I will assist you, and she shall not beat you any more. Take this cask, and when you get home and your wife is going to beat you, place yourself behind the cask and cry: ‘Five! out of the cask and thrash my wife!’ and when they have given her a good beating, then say: ‘Five! back to the cask!’” Then the peasant made a low bow to the Wind, and went his way.

When he came home he said: “There, I have brought you here a cask instead of the basket.”

At this the good woman flew into a rage and said: “A cask, indeed! What shall I do with it? Why [123] have you brought back no flour?” And, so saying, she seized the poker, and was going to beat her husband. But the poor man stepped quietly behind the cask and cried: “Five! out of the cask! Thrash my wife instantly!” In a moment five stout young fellows jumped out of the cask and fell to cudgelling the woman. And when her husband saw that she was beaten enough, and she begged for mercy, he cried: “Five! back to the cask!” Then instantly they stopped beating her, and crept back into the cask.

The countryman thought over his loss and decided to go forthwith to the nobleman and challenge him to fight. The nobleman laughed outright at the folly of the man; nevertheless he would not refuse, as he wished to have some sport; so he told the man to go into the field. So he tucked his cask under his arm, betook himself to the field, and waited for the nobleman, who came riding to meet him with a number of attendants; and, when he drew near, he ordered his servants, for a joke, to thrash the peasant soundly. The man saw that they were mocking him, and he was wroth with the nobleman, and said: “Come, Sir! give me my basket back this instant, or it shall fare ill with you all, I promise!” Nevertheless they did not stop beating, so he cried out: “Out, Five [124] to each! thrash them soundly!” Immediately five stout fellows sprang out of the cask upon every man of them and began to beat them unmercifully. Then the nobleman thought that they would kill him, and roared out with might and main: “Stop, stop, my good friend and hear me!” So the countryman, upon this, cried: “Hold! you fellows! back to the cask!” Then they all stopped beating, and crept back into the cask again. And straightways the nobleman ordered his servants to fetch the basket and give it to the countryman, who took it and hied back home, and lived ever after with his wife in peace and harmony.



ONCE upon a time there lived an old man named Abrosim, with his old wife Fetinia: they were in great poverty and want, and had a son named Ivanushka, who was fifteen years of age. One day the old man Abrosim brought home a crust of bread for his wife and son to eat; but hardly had he begun to cut the bread than Krutchina (Sorrow) sprang from behind the stove, snatched the crust out of his hands and ran back. At this the old man bowed low to Krutchina, and begged her to give him back the bread as he and his wife had nothing to eat. Old Krutchina answered: “I will not give you back the bread; but I will give you instead a duck, which lays a golden egg every day.”

“Well and good,” said Abrosim; “at all events I shall go to bed without a supper to-night; only do not deceive me, and tell me where I shall find the duck.”

“Early in the morning, as soon as you are up,” replied Krutchina, “go into the town and there you will see a duck in a pond; catch it and bring [126] it home with you.” When Abrosim heard this, he laid himself down to sleep.

Next morning the old man rose early, went to the town, and was overjoyed when he really saw a duck in the pond: so he began to call it, and soon caught it, took it home with him, and gave it to Fetinia. The old wife handled the duck and said she was going to lay an egg. They were now both in great delight, and, putting the duck in a bowl, they covered it with a sieve. After waiting an hour, they peeped gently under the sieve and saw to their joy that the duck had laid a golden egg. Then they let her run about a little on the floor; and the old man took the egg to town to sell it; and he sold the egg for a hundred roubles, took the money, went to market, bought all kinds of vegetables, and returned home.

The next day the duck laid another egg, and Abrosim sold this also; and in this way the duck went on, laying a golden egg every day, and the old man in a short time grew very rich. Then he built himself a grand house, and a great number of shops, and bought wares of all sorts, and set up in trade.

Now, Fetinia had struck up a secret friendship with a young shopman, who did not care for the old woman, but persuaded her he did to make her [127] give him money. And one day, when Abrosim was gone out to buy some new wares, the shopman called to gossip with Fetinia, when by chance he espied the duck; and, taking her up, he saw written under her wing in golden letters: “Whoso eats this duck will become a Tsar.” The man said nothing of this to Fetinia, but begged and entreated her for love’s sake to roast the duck. Fetinia told him she could not kill the duck, for all their good luck depended upon her. Still the shopman entreated the old woman only the more urgently to kill and cook the duck; until at length, overcome by his soft words and entreaties, Fetinia consented, killed the duck and popped her into the stove. Then the shopman took his leave, promising soon to come back and Fetinia also went into the town.

Just at this time Ivanushka returned home, and being very hungry, he looked about everywhere for something to eat; when by good luck he espied in the stove the roast duck; so he took her out, ate her to the very bones, and then returned to his work. Presently after, the shopman came in, and calling Fetinia, begged her to take out the roast duck. Fetinia ran to the oven, and when she saw that the duck was no longer there she was in a great fright, and told the shopman that the duck [128] had vanished. Thereat the man was angry with her, and said: “I’ll answer for it you have eaten the duck yourself!” And so saying he left the house in a pet.

At night Abrosim and his son Ivanushka came home, and, looking in vain for the duck, he asked his wife what had become of her. Fetinia replied that she knew nothing of the duck; but Ivanushka said: “My father and benefactor, when I came home to dinner, my mother was not there; so, looking into the oven, and seeing a roast duck, I took it out and ate it up; but, indeed, I know not whether it was our duck or a strange one.”

Then Abrosim flew into a rage with his wife, and beat her till she was half-dead, and hunted his son out of the house.

Little Ivan betook himself to the road, and walked on and on, following the way his eyes led him. And he journeyed for ten days and ten nights, until at length he came to a great city; and as he was entering the gates, he saw a crowd of people assembled, holding a moot; for their Tsar was dead, and they did not know whom to choose to rule over them. Then they agreed that whoever first passed through the city gates should be elected Tsar.

Now just at this time it happened that Little [129] Ivan came through the city gates, whereupon all the people cried with one voice: “Here comes our Tsar!” and the Elders of the people took Ivanushka by the arms, and brought him into the royal apartments, clad him in the Tsar’s robes, seated him on the Tsar’s throne, made their obeisance to him as their sovereign Tsar, and waited to receive his commands. Ivanushka fancied it was all a dream; but when he collected himself, he saw that he was in reality a Tsar. Then he rejoiced with his whole heart, and began to rule over the people, and appointed various officers. Amongst others he chose one named Luga, and calling him, spoke as follows: “My faithful servant and brave knight Luga, render me one service; travel to my native country, go straight to the King, greet him for me, and beg of him to deliver up to me the merchant Abrosim and his wife; if he gives them up, bring them hither; but if he refuses, threaten him that I will lay waste his kingdom with fire and sword, and make him prisoner.”

When the servant Luga arrived at Ivanushka’s native country he went to the Tsar, and asked him to give up Abrosim and Fetinia. The Tsar knew that Abrosim was a rich merchant living in his city, and was not willing to let him go; nevertheless, [130] when he reflected that Ivanushka’s kingdom was a large and powerful one, fearing to offend him, he handed over Abrosim and Fetinia. And Luga received them from the Tsar, and returned with them to his own kingdom. When he brought them before Ivanushka, the Tsar said: “True it is, my father, you drove me from your home; I therefore now receive you into mine: live with me happily, you and my mother, to the end of your days.”

Abrosim and Fetinia were overjoyed that their son had become a great Tsar, and they lived with him many years, and then died. Ivanushka sat upon the throne for thirty years, in health and happiness, and his subjects loved him truly to the last hour of his life.



THERE was once upon a time a Tsar named Chodor, who had an only son, Ivan Tsarevich. Chodor gave him in his youth various masters to teach him the different knightly exercises; and when Ivan was grown up, he begged leave of his father to travel in other countries, in order to see the world. Tsar Chodor consented, and bade him show his skill and valour in foreign lands, and bring renown on his father.

Then Ivan Tsarevich went into the royal stables to choose a good steed; and he thought that if he could find one on whose back he could lay his hand, without the horse’s going on his knees, it would be just the one to suit him. So he looked in all the stalls, but found no horse to his mind, and he went his way with a heavy heart. Then he took his crossbow and arrows and roved about in the open fields to drive away his sadness. As he was walking thus along, he saw high in the air a swan, and he drew his bow and shot; but he missed the swan, and his arrow vanished from his sight. Then Ivan was sad at losing a favourite arrow, and with tears in [132] his eyes he sought for it the whole field over. At last he came to a little hill, and heard a man’s voice calling to him: “Come hither, Ivan Tsarevich!” Ivan wondered to himself not a little at hearing a voice and seeing no one. But the voice called again; and Ivan went toward the spot whence it came, and remarked in the hill a little window, with an iron lattice; and at the window he saw a man, who beckoned to him with the hand. Ivan came up, and the man said to him: “Why are you so sad, my good lad, Ivan Tsarevich?”

“How can I help grieving?” replied Ivan; “I have lost my favourite arrow, and can find it nowhere, and my sorrow is the greater because I can not discover a steed to please me.”

“That is no great matter to grieve for,” said the man; “I will get you a good horse, and give you back your arrow since it flew down to me here; but what will you give me for it?”

“Anything you ask,” replied Ivan, “if you will give me what you promise.”

“Nay,” said the man, “I want nothing more than that you will free me from this place.”

“And how and by whom were you caged up thus?”

“Your father imprisoned me here,” replied the man. “I was a famous robber, and was called Bulat [133] the Brave Companion. He was enraged against me, and ordered me to be taken and imprisoned; and here I have been confined for three-and-thirty years.”

“Hark ye, Bulat, brave Companion,” said Ivan, “I cannot set you free without my father’s consent; were he to hear of it he would be wroth.”

“Fear not,” replied Bulat; “your father will hear nothing; for as soon as you set me at liberty I shall go into other lands and not live here.”

“Well then,” said Ivan Tsarevich, “I consent, only on condition that you give me back my arrow and tell me where I can find a trusty steed.”

“Go into the open fields,” said Bulat the Brave Companion, “and there you will see three green oaks; and, on the ground under these oaks, an iron door, with a copper ring. Under the door is a stable, in which stands a good steed, shut in by twelve iron doors with twelve steel locks. Heave up this door, strike off the twelve steel locks, and open the twelve doors; there you will find a horse; mount him and come to me; I will give you back your arrow, and then you will let me out of this prison.”

When Ivan Tsarevich heard this he went into the open fields, saw the three green oaks, and found the iron door with the copper ring. So he hove up [134] the door, knocked off the twelve locks, and opened the twelve doors, and entered a stable, where he beheld a knightly steed and a suit of armour. Then Ivan Tsarevich laid his hand upon the horse, and the horse fell not upon his knees, but merely bent himself a little. And as soon as the horse saw a knight standing before him, he neighed loudly, and let Ivan saddle and bridle him. Ivan Tsarevich took the steed, the battle-axe, and sword, led the horse out of the stable, leaped into the Tcherkess saddle, and took the silken bridle in his white hand. Then Ivan wished to try his steed, and struck him on the flank: the horse chafed his bit, and rose from the ground, and away he went over the tall forests and under the flying clouds, left hill and dale beneath his feet, covered small streams with his tail, bounded over wide rivers and marshes; and so at last Ivan came to Bulat the Brave Companion, and said with a loud voice: “Now give me back my arrow, Bulat my brave fellow, and I will let you out of your cage.” So Bulat instantly gave him back his arrow, and Ivan set him free.

“I thank you, Ivan Tsarevich,” said Bulat, “for giving me freedom. I will, in return, render you good service; whenever you are in any difficulty, and want me, only say: ‘Where is my [135] Bulat, the Brave Companion?’ and I will instantly come to you and serve you faithfully in your need.”

So saying, Bulat cried with a loud voice:

“Sivka Burka! he!
Fox of Spring! Appear!
Like a grass blade, here
Stand before me!”

Instantly a steed stood before Bulat the Brave, who crept into his ear, ate and drank his fill, and then crept out at the other ear; and he became such a handsome youth as no one can imagine, no pen can describe, nor story tell. Then Bulat mounted his horse and galloped off, exclaiming: “Farewell, then, for the present, Ivan Tsarevich!”

Ivan now mounted his good steed and rode to his father, and with tears in his eyes, took leave of him; then, taking with him his squire, he rode forth into foreign lands. And after they had ridden for some time they came to a wood; the day was bright and hot, and Ivan Tsarevich grew thirsty. So they wandered all about the wood, seeking water, but could find none. At length they found a deep well, in which there was some water; and Ivan said to his squire: “Go down the well and [136] fetch me up some water; I will hold you by a rope to prevent you being drowned.”

“Nay, Ivan Tsarevich,” said the squire, “I am heavier than you, and you cannot hold me up; you had better descend, for I can support you.”

So Ivan followed his squire’s advice, and let himself down into the well. And when Ivan had drunk enough, he told the squire to draw him up; but the squire answered: “Nay, I will not draw you out until you give me your word in writing that you are my servant and I am your master, and that my name is Ivan Tsarevich; if you refuse this I will drown you in the well.”

“My dear squire,” cried Ivan, “do not drown me, but draw me up, and I will do all you desire.” “No, I don’t believe you,” said the squire; “swear me an oath.” So Ivan swore that he would be true.

Thereupon the squire drew him out, and Ivan Tsarevich took a piece of paper, wrote the writing, and gave it to the squire. Then he took off his own cloak, and exchanged it for the squire’s, and they went on their way. After some days they came to the kingdom of the Tsar Panthui. And when the Tsar heard of the arrival of Ivan Tsarevich he went out to meet him; and, greeting the false [137] Tsarevich, he took him by the white hands, conducted him into his marble halls, seated him at his oaken table, and they feasted and made merry. Then Tsar Panthui asked the false Tsarevich what had brought him to his kingdom, and he answered: “My gracious lord, I am come to sue for the hand of your daughter, the fair Princess Tseria.”

“Gladly will I give you my daughter to wife,” replied Panthui.

In the course of their talk the false Ivan said to the Tsar Panthui: “Let my servant, I pray, do the lowest work in the kitchen, for he has greatly annoyed me on my journey.” So the Tsar immediately commanded Ivan to be set to do the most menial work, whilst his squire feasted and made merry with the Tsar.

A few days after this an army was seen marching against the kingdom of Panthui, threatening to lay it waste and take the Tsar prisoner. Thereupon Panthui called the false Ivan and said: “My dear future son-in-law, a hostile army has come to attack my dominions: drive the enemy back and I will give you my daughter, but only on this condition.” And the squire answered; “Well and good, I will do as you desire; but only by night—in the day I have no luck in fight.”

As soon as night drew on and everyone in the [138] castle had gone to rest, the false Ivan went out into the open court, called to him the true Tsarevich, and said: “Ivan Tsarevich, be not angry with me for taking your place; forget it all, do me one service, and drive the enemy from this kingdom.” And Ivan answered: “Go and lie down to sleep—all shall be accomplished.” Then the squire went and lay down to sleep, and Ivan cried with a loud voice: “Where is my Bulat, the Brave Companion?” In an instant Bulat stood before him, and asked: “What service do you require now? What is your need? Tell me forthwith.” Then Ivan Tsarevich told him his need, and Bulat desired him to saddle his horse and put on his armour; and then cried with a loud voice:

“Sivka Burka! he!
Fox of Spring! Appear!
Like a grass blade, here
Stand before me!”

The horse bounded till the ground shook; from his ears rose a column of steam, and from his nostrils issued flames; but when he came up to Bulat he stood still. Then Bulat the Brave Companion mounted the horse, and Ivan Tsarevich seated himself upon his steed, and so they rode [139] forth from the courtyard. Meanwhile the Princess Tseria, who was not yet asleep, was sitting at the window, and overheard all that Ivan Tsarevich had spoken with the squire and Bulat the Brave Companion.

As soon as they reached the hostile army, Bulat said to Ivan: “Fall thou upon the enemy on the right, I will attack them on the left.” And so they began to mow down this mighty army with the sword, and to trample them down with their horses’ hoofs; and in an hour’s time they had stretched on the earth a hundred thousand men. Then the hostile King fled with the small remains of his army back into his own kingdom, and Ivan Tsarevich returned with Bulat the Brave Companion to the castle of the Tsar Panthui, unsaddled his steed, led him into the stable, and gave him white wheat to eat. After that he took leave of Bulat the Brave Companion, went back into the kitchen, and lay down to sleep.

Early the next morning the Tsar went out on to his balcony, and looked forth over the country where the hostile army lay; and when he saw that it was all cut down and destroyed, he called to him the false Ivan, and thanked him for having saved his kingdom; he rewarded him with a rich present and promised soon to give him his daughter to wife.

[140] After a fortnight the same Tsar marched again with a fresh army and besieged the city. And the Tsar Panthui in terror called again upon the false Ivan and said: “My dear friend, Ivan Tsarevich, save me once more from the enemy, and drive them from my kingdom, and I will immediately give you my daughter to wife.” And so it all fell out again exactly as before, and the enemy were quite driven away by Ivan and Bulat the Brave.

The hostile King, however, soon returned to attack Tsar Panthui a third time, and over and over again he was driven back, until at last he was himself killed. Then Ivan and Bulat the Brave Companion went back, unsaddled their steeds, and put them into the stable. Thereupon Bulat took leave of Ivan Tsarevich, and said: “You will never see me more.” With this he mounted his horse and rode forth; and Ivan went into the kitchen and lay down to sleep.

Early the next morning the Tsar went again on to his balcony, and looked forth over the country where the hostile army had been; and when he saw that it was all destroyed, he sent for his future son-in-law and said: “Now I will give you my daughter to wife.” Then all the preparations were made for the wedding; and a few days after, the squire married the fair Princess Tseria; and when [141] they had returned from church, and were sitting at table, Ivan Tsarevich begged the head cook to let him go into the banquet-hall and see his master and his bride seated at the table. So the cook consented, and gave him a change of dress. When Ivan entered the royal hall he stationed himself behind the other guests and gazed at his squire and the fair Tseria. But the Princess espied Ivan, and recognised him instantly; then she jumped up from the table, took him by the hand, led him to the Tsar, and said: “This is the true bridegroom and the saviour of your kingdom, and not yon man who was betrothed to me.”

Then the Tsar Panthui asked his daughter what it all meant, and begged her to explain the mystery. And when the Princess Tseria had related to him all that had passed, Ivan Tsarevich was placed at the table beside her, and his squire was shot at the gate for his treacherous conduct. Ivan married the Princess, and returned with her to his father’s kingdom. Tsar Chodor placed the crown upon his head, and Ivan mounted the throne, and ruled over the kingdom.



IN a certain country, in the city of Anderika there lived a Tsar, a clever man, named Abraham Tuksalamovich, with his wife for thirty years in peace and happiness, but they had no child. At last Tsar Abraham Tuksalamovich prayed, with tears, that Heaven would give them a son; their wish was fulfilled, and they had a brave little boy, whom they named Malandrach Abrahamovich. The little fellow grew, not by days but by hours; as buck-wheat dough rises with yeast, so did the Tsarevich grow and grow. The Tsar had his son taught all kinds of arts; and when the boy came to mature years, he went to the Tsar and said: “My lord and father, you have instructed me in various arts, but there is one which I have not yet learnt.”

“My bold and dear son, Malandrach,” said the Tsar, “tell me and let me know what art you desire to learn; I will provide you careful teachers.” And thereupon the Tsarevich answered: “My lord and father, yesterday I was reading a Swedish book, in which I found that there are [143] people able to fly in the air with wings. I have now a great desire to learn this art, and I entreat you to procure me masters who may teach it me.”

The Tsar replied: “My bold child, it is impossible that men should fly in the air; you must have been reading something silly, or a fairy-tale; do not believe such stories. Nevertheless, I will send into all foreign lands to make search for any such people; and if they can be found I will order them to be brought hither, and have you instructed in their art.”

When the Tsar wants them, he does not wait for beer to be brewed nor brandy to be distilled; so the Tsar instantly sent messengers into distant lands, commanding them to seek everywhere for flying men, and, if they found any, to bring them to his Court. So the messengers went forth into various countries, and after three years they found a master of the art in the city of Austripa, and brought him to the Tsar Abraham; and when Malandrach saw him he was overjoyed. Then the Tsar asked this person whether he understood the art of flying, and the man replied: “Gracious sovereign, although it is not for me to praise myself, yet in truth I am the first master in our country. If your Majesty desire me to teach Prince Malandrach to fly in the air only command a large [144] and lofty hall to be built, two hundred ells long and as many wide, and one hundred ells in height: this hall must be quite empty, have a great number of windows, and a little closet adjoining it.”

When the Tsar heard this, he instantly ordered such a palace to be built at once. And as soon as all was ready, the highflyer made two pairs of wings—one for himself and the other for Malandrach—and he began to teach the Tsarevich to fly in this hall, fastening the wings on to himself and Malandrach; and when he left off teaching, he laid the two pairs of wings in the closet, locked them up, and took the key with him. But one day it happened, when the Tsarevich had taken his lesson, and the master locked up the wings in the closet, that Malandrach observed this, and, without saying anything to his teacher, went with him to his father.

Now, just at this time the Tsar had a great feast prepared, and a large number of guests were invited. Then Malandrach, without saying a word to anyone, hastened to the large hall, took his wings from the closet, fastened them on to his shoulders, went into the courtyard, and began to flap his wings. Thereupon he flew up on to the lofty building, alighted upon it, and resting there, gazed with delight over his father’s kingdom. After [145] awhile he wished to descend upon the ground, but suddenly a shudder came over him, and he dreaded to let himself down from such a height; and, instead of descending, he mounted higher and higher, until at length the earth appeared only like an apple, he had flown so high.

Just then a strong wind arose, which carried Malandrach Tsarevich into an unknown country; and his strength failed him, so that he could not manage his wings, and he began to fall. Then he beheld the wide sea beneath him, and was exceedingly terrified; but, collecting his remaining strength, he rose aloft again, and looked around on all four sides to see whether any shore was to be seen. At length he descried in the distance a small island; so he flew towards it, and alighting, he took off his wings and took them under his arms. Thereupon he set out rambling about the island in search of food, for he was sorely pinched by hunger; and he found by chance a tree with sweet fruit upon it, of which he ate his fill. Then he lay down to sleep upon the grass, under a spreading tree, and slept there until daybreak.

In the morning Malandrach arose and was about to fasten on his wings; but his arms ached so much that he could not move them; so he was obliged to stay there ten long days. On the eleventh [146] day, however, he fastened on the wings, blessed himself, mounted high into the air, and looked around on all sides to seek for his father’s kingdom; he could not, however, discover it, but toward evening he espied a shore, upon which was a thick forest; so he alighted, took off his wings, and following a path, he came at last to the gates of a city. Then he concealed his wings under a bush, and going into the city, enquired for the market. And when they showed him the way, he went to it, and bought a long cloak. Then he returned to the forest, put his wings under his arm, and betook himself again to the city, where he met a man whom he asked: “Know you, friend, of any dwelling that is to be let?” The stranger replied: “You are doubtless a foreigner?”

“As you say,” replied the Tsarevich Malandrach; “I am a merchant from India, and have come hither in a ship with my wares. Our vessel was wrecked in a storm, and I was cast upon the shore of this kingdom upon a raft, to which I had made myself fast.”

“My friend,” said the stranger, “if you like, come and live with me; I will maintain you like my own son.” So Malandrach willingly consented, and went home with the stranger, and lived in his house more than a month, never going outside the [147] courtyard. His host, observing this, asked him: “Why do you never take a walk in the city and see the noble buildings and the old ruins?” Then Malandrach begged his host, whose name was Achron, to take a walk with him and show him the royal palace. So his host accompanied Malandrach about the city until evening, when they returned home and lay down to sleep.

The next day Malandrach Tsarevich awoke betimes, rose from bed, dressed and washed himself, said his prayers, and bowed to all four sides. And after breakfast he went alone to take a walk, till at length he came outside the city, and perceived an immense stone building, surrounded by a wall; he walked round this wall, and could see no gate, but only a little door, which was locked fast. Prince Malandrach marvelled greatly at this enormous building, and returning home, asked his host what it was. The man replied that it was a royal building, in which lived the daughter of the Tsar, named Salikalla; but the reason of her being shut up there he did not know.

When Malandrach Tsarevich heard this he took his wings and went back the next day to the stone building. There he waited until evening, then fastened on his wings, flew over the wall into the garden, and alighted on a tree. As he sat [148] perched upon the tree, he looked towards the window at which the Tsarevna Salikalla sat, which was far, far off.

Soon she lay down to sleep, and Malandrach watched her; and in an hour’s time he flew in at the window, which was left open. He went gently up to the Tsarevna, and saw that she was asleep; then he wished to awaken her with a kiss, but dared not. He stood gazing at her beauty and stayed there until near daybreak; then hastened home, fearing to awaken the Princess. So he silently took leave of her, and left behind a sign by which she might perceive that someone had been there. The sign was this: he laid her shoes on the bed, and then flew out of the window, went home, and lay down to sleep.

In the morning the Tsarevna awoke, and thought when she saw her shoes on the bed, that they had been laid there by her attendant, who slept in the adjoining room. Then she asked the servant, who replied that she had not done it, whereat the Princess wondered greatly.

In the evening Prince Malandrach went again to the stone palace, fastened on his wings, flew through the window, and gazed once more with delight on the beauty of the Tsarevna. Before daybreak, when he was obliged to return home, [149] he again took the shoes, laid them at the head board of the bed, then flew out of the window, went home, and lay down to sleep.

When Salikalla awoke the next morning, and perceived the shoes again on the head board of her couch, she asked the servant whether she had laid them there. But the servant replied that she had not seen them; whereat the Princess wondered still more than before; and she resolved not to sleep the next night, but to watch who laid the shoes upon the couch.

The Tsarevich Malandrach waited until evening, then took his wings under his arm and returned to the palace; and when he thought that the Princess was asleep, he bound on his wings and flew in at the window. But hardly had he approached the couch and attempted to kiss her than the Tsarevna suddenly seized him with both hands, and exclaimed: “Who art thou? How dost thou dare to come hither?” Prince Malandrach knew not what to answer for astonishment, and fell to entreating pardon of the Tsarevna. She would not, however, let him go, until by threats she had made him tell her who he was, and how he had come into the palace. Then he told her the whole truth, from beginning to end; and the Tsarevna Salikalla was so pleased that she kissed his sugar lips, and [150] begged him to remain, asking him to forgive her having been so rough and unkind.

“O my best beloved and most beautiful Tsarevna,” replied Malandrach, “tell me truly, I pray, why art thou shut up alone in this palace without any living creature near you?”

Then the Princess told him the story of her life. “When I was born,” she said, “my father summoned all the wise men to him, and asked them how long I should live; and they told my parents that until my fifteenth year I should live happily, but that then some evil should befall me, upon hearing which my father ordered this house to be built, and when I was ten years old he placed me here for ten years, and this is the sixth year I am here. My mother visits me once a month, and my father once a quarter, and a servant is given to attend upon me. My mother will be here in a week’s time; tarry, dear Prince, meanwhile, and cheer my solitude.”

The Tsarevich Malandrach readily consented, and the time passed quickly in various amusements and conversation, and at last they took an oath to marry each other. For more than a year they lived together thus, only separating when the time came round for the visits of the Tsarevna’s parents. One day the Princess saw her mother coming [151] unexpectedly to the palace to visit her. Then she called to Malandrach and begged him instantly to depart; but just at the moment when he had fastened on his wings and was flying out of the window the Tsarina observed him. Astonished at the sight, she asked her daughter what it meant, and pressed her so with entreaties and threats to tell her the truth, that Salikalla at last told her of the visit of Malandrach, and how he had come flying into her window.

When the Tsarina heard this she went straightway to the Tsar, and told him all that her daughter had related. Then the Tsar instantly sent a large body of men to seize Malandrach in the house of his host, and to bring him into his presence. And the soldiers went into the house where Malandrach lived, took him away and led him before the Tsar. Then the Tsar asked him whose son he was, from what country he had come, and what was his name. The Tsarevich replied, and told the plain truth. Thereupon the Tsar called his daughter Salikalla and said: “Tell me is this the same man who flew in through your window?” She answered that it was, and added that she loved him with her whole heart. Then the Tsar took his daughter by the hand and gave her to the Tsarevich Malandrach, saying to him: “My dearest son-in-law, [152] receive from my hand my only daughter for your wife, and live with her in happiness and love.” And, as when the Tsar wants it, beer is not brewed nor brandy distilled, the wedding was celebrated forthwith.

So Malandrach married the beautiful Princess Salikalla; and, after living with his father-in-law for half a year, he asked leave to go with his wife to his own father. Then the Tsar ordered a ship to be equipped and dismissed them with his blessing, and Malandrach sailed with his wife to his native country. When they arrived at the Court of his father, the Tsar Abraham was overjoyed at again seeing his beloved son, and asked him: “Where have you been this long while, and by what accident did you wander from my kingdom?” And Tsarevich Malandrach told his father the whole truth.

Tsar Abraham Tuksalamovich was now very old so he placed the crown on the head of his beloved son, and soon after died. Malandrach Abrahamovich lived with his beloved wife Salikalla many years in harmony and love.



THERE lived in a certain kingdom a renowned Prince, Mistafor Skurlatovich, who had a servant named Goria, the son of Krutshinin. And Mistafor gave him a skilful master to teach him the art of shoemaking that he should become the best and most skilful of all workmen in that craft. Goria went on learning for several years, and became so clever that he made shoes even better than his master. Then Mistafor Skurlatovich took him into his house and ordered him to make some shoes; so he set to work and made twenty dozen pairs, but not a single pair of them satisfied Mistafor Skurlatovich. So he beat him unmercifully till the shoemaker, Goria Krutshinin, was half dead, and lay sick for ten long weeks.

As soon as Goria began to recover, Mistafor Skurlatovich ordered him to make some more shoes. And when Goria had finished several pairs he took them to his master to try on; but not a single pair pleased him. Then Skurlatovich flung the shoes at his head, and beat him until his face was covered with blood. Goria Krutshinin, who [154] had one poor copper altine in his pocket, went to spend it in a public-house by the road-side, and, as he sat down, he said to himself: “I wish the devil would free me from this master of mine!”

Suddenly a stranger stood before him, and said: “Why are you in such a passion, my good lad?”

“How can I help it?” replied Goria, the shoemaker; “my master is as cruel as a mad dog; you see how he has dressed me down, and ten weeks ago he beat me even still more than now.”

“Why does he beat you so?” said the stranger. And Goria replied: “I have learnt the art of shoemaking better than my teacher, and I make shoes for my master, but though I work for him all I can, do what I will, I never can please him; and instead of thanking me, he beats me as you see.”

Then the stranger said: “I know your master well enough; you must be freed from his cruelty; and, if you like, I will marry Mistafor’s daughter to you instead of to the Prince to whom she is betrothed.”

“Are you mad?” said Goria; “what nonsense are you talking?” “Trust me,” replied the stranger, “I can bring it all about.” But the shoemaker could not believe him, and said: “You may talk and promise what you will, I do not [155] believe a word.” “Whether or no, you shall see that what I promise I can perform.”

So saying the stranger desired him to shut his eyes, throw himself on the ground facing the sun, and then retire two steps backwards. When Goria had done so, the stranger told him to look at himself. Goria was amazed at seeing himself attired in a costly dress, and said: “Without doubt you must be the devil in man’s form!”

“Certainly I am a devilkin; you called me, and on your summons I came. I will serve you, and marry you to Mistafor’s daughter.” “How is that possible?” said Goria: “I am known down yonder by every one—the very dogs know me.” But the stranger replied: “Nay, it is not so. No one, I promise, will recognise you: every one will mistake you for Prince Dardavan, to whom Mistafor’s daughter Dogada is betrothed.”

“Good, very good,” said Goria, “if what you say prove true.” “It shall all come to pass as I have said,” replied the other. And thereupon the stranger desired Goria to go three steps backward and shut his eyes, and then open them again. On a sudden Goria saw before him a splendid palace of white marble, and in amazement, he exclaimed: “You are in truth the devil himself, and no man, to do such marvellous things!”

[156] “I tell the truth, you see, and do not deceive you,” replied the stranger; “and now I make you a present of this marble palace, and will remain with you and serve you faithfully. Call me Prituitshkin!”

Thereupon the servant conducted his new master Goria, the shoemaker, into the courtyard, where he beheld a great throng of servants, horses, and carriages, in the most splendid array; and the servants all made their obeisance to him, as to the Prince, and the musicians played on all sorts of instruments; and when the music ceased, Goria the shoemaker went into the marble palace, where he saw a table covered with all kinds of dishes; so he seated himself at the table, ate and drank his fill, and lived in this palace like a great man.

Meanwhile Prince Dardavan, after his betrothal with Dogada, was travelling on business to another city; and the trusty servant Prituitshkin thought this a favourable opportunity to marry Goria the shoemaker to Dogada. So he went to his master, the shoemaker, and said: “Now is the time to settle this affair; we must contrive that Mistafor takes you for Dardavan.” So saying, he went out in front of the marble palace, raised a large tent, and ordered all the musicians to strike up. When Mistafor heard such a variety of beautiful sounds [157] he bethought himself that Prince Dardavan must be arrived, and sent to inquire. As soon as he was informed that the supposed Prince Dardavan had arrived, he sent a number of his people to invite his dear son-in-law to a feast. Then the messengers went to Goria, bowed humbly before him, and invited him in the name of their Prince Mistafor Skurlatovich to visit him and be his guest. “Go,” answered Goria, “and tell Mistafor Skurlatovich that I will soon come to him.” So the ambassadors bowed low to the shoemaker, and returned and related to their Prince what they had heard from the supposed Tsarevich Dardavan, and all they had seen.

After the departure of Mistafor’s messengers, Prituitshkin went to Goria the shoemaker and said: “Now is the time for you to go to Mistafor; listen to what I say: when you come to the courtyard of the palace, and dismount from your steed, do not fasten him up, nor give him to anyone to hold, but only cough loudly, and stamp on the ground with all your might. When you enter the hall, seat yourself on the chair numbered One. In the evening, when it is time to retire to rest, remain behind, and as soon as your bed is ready, do not lie down upon it, for Prince Dardavan always lies on his own bed, which weighs a hundred [158] poods. I will provide you with such a bed; and if I delay, strike me in the presence of Mistafor and his daughter. When you go to bed, and the servants bring you a number of lights, bid them take the lights all away, and order me to bring you a stone, which Prince Dardavan always lays on his table at night. I will bring you this stone, which shows more light than a thousand candles.”

When Goria the shoemaker heard these directions he promised to observe them all. So he went into the courtyard, and Prituitshkin brought him the horse saddled. Then Goria mounted the steed, and Prituitshkin another, and away they rode to Mistafor Skurlatovich; and when they entered the courtyard, Mistafor came out to meet his beloved son-in-law, the supposed Prince Dardavan. Then Goria the shoemaker dismounted from his gallant steed; but he did not fasten him up, nor did he give him to anyone to hold: he only coughed aloud and stamped upon the ground. The horse stood, as if rooted to the spot. Then Goria went into the hall and bowed to all four sides, kissed his host, and seated himself upon the chair with the number One. Mistafor went to his daughter Dogada, and bade her come and welcome her betrothed husband, Prince Dardavan; but Dogada was discreet and cunning, and replied; “My [159] gracious lord and father, this is indeed not Prince Dardavan, but our shoemaker Goria Krutshinin.” “Don’t talk nonsense,” said Mistafor; “I have seen Prince Dardavan face to face, and know him well; this is the Prince, and no shoemaker indeed.”

“Well and good,” said Dogada; “I will go and welcome him; but only bear in mind what I say: it is not Prince Dardavan, but our shoemaker Goria, disguised like him. Now mind one thing: when we sit down at table to eat, order white bread and brown bread to be brought to him: and if you observe that this guest cuts first a piece of the brown bread you will know that he is not Prince Dardavan but the shoemaker Goria, for Dardavan always eats first the white bread.”

“Good,” said Mistafor, “I will observe.”

Then he invited Goria the shoemaker to sit down at table; and, when they were all seated, and white and brown bread was brought, Goria first took of the brown bread, and Mistafor and Dogada remarked this. Then said Mistafor: “My dear and honoured son-in-law, Prince Dardavan, how is it that you cut so much brown bread and no white?”

When the servant Prituitshkin heard this, he went invisibly up to Goria and whispered in his ear: “Tell Mistafor that your father, when he sat at table, always gave first to the poor a piece of bread [160] to eat, and instead of salt, used to pour out to them a bag of gold: and so saying, order me to bring you the bag of gold.”

Then the supposed Tsarevich Dardavan repeated those words to Mistafor, cut some more slices of brown bread, and called to his servant Prituitshkin to bring him the bag of gold. In the twinkling of an eye Prituitshkin brought the money, which he had stolen from Mistafor’s treasury, and Goria desired him to collect a troop of beggars. So the servant ran out and returned in a trice with a crowd of hungry men, and Goria distributed the bread, giving to each a piece of gold out of the bag. And when he had given away all the bread and the golden coins, he himself fell to eating.

After dinner Mistafor said to his daughter: “What say you now—is not this Prince Dardavan?” “No, dear father,” replied Dogada, “this is not the Prince, but our shoemaker Krutshinin.”

“Why, have you lost your wits, child?” said Mistafor; “we have got rid of Goria Krutshinin long ago.” “Well, mark you,” replied Dogada, “I will prove that this man is not the Prince. Invite him to spend the night here, and order a bed to be made ready for him; and if he lies down upon it he is not Prince Dardavan, but the shoemaker Goria.”

[161] When the evening came, and it grew late, Mistafor ordered the best bed to be made ready for the shoemaker; then Mistafor asked the pretended Tsarevich whether, as it was growing late, he wished to retire to rest. So Goria went into the bedchamber, and, seeing that it was not the bed of which Prituitshkin had spoken, he instantly called his servant, as if in a passion, and giving him a box on the ears, said: “You rascal, why have you not made ready my bed? You know very well that I always sleep on my hundred-pood bed: go instantly and bring it to me!” Thereupon Prituitshkin ran as fast as he could and brought the hundred-pood bed, which he had stolen from Prince Dardavan.

Then Goria the shoemaker undressed, and lay down upon the bed; and Dogada, on purpose to try him, ordered a number of tapers to be lighted and taken into his bedchamber. But Goria instantly drove all the servants away with the lights, and ordered Prituitshkin to give him the stone, which the latter presently brought, having stolen this also from Prince Dardavan. Then Goria placed the stone on the table, and lay down to sleep; and the light shed by the stone was more dazzling than a meteor in the sky.

At midnight, Dogada sent one of her attendants into the bedroom of the shoemaker, desiring her [162] to steal away the stone from the table. But hardly had the girl entered the apartment, and was about to run off with the stone, than the servant Prituitshkin, who was lying by the door, jumped up and exclaimed: “Is it not a shame for you, pretty girl, to rob your future lord and master! You must leave me now a pledge for your conduct.” So saying, he drew off the maid’s slipper and head-dress and dismissed her. Then the girl went to her mistress and told her the whole affair; but Dogada did not despair, and, after an hour, thinking that Goria and his servant Prituitshkin would now be asleep, she sent another maid to steal the stone. When the girl entered the bedchamber, up jumped Prituitshkin again as before, pulled off her slipper, head-dress and jacket, and let her go. But after another hour had passed, Dogada, again thinking they must have fallen asleep, resolved to go herself and fetch the stone. Scarcely, however, had she entered the bedroom of the shoemaker Goria, and laid her hand upon the stone, than up jumped Prituitshkin, and, seizing her, exclaimed: “How! is it not a shame for your Grace to contrive such wickedness? It is not becoming the daughter of so renowned a father to be plotting such tricks; therefore, I must beg of you, fair lady, to leave me a pledge.” No sooner said than [163] done: Prituitshkin slipped off her jacket, slipper, and head-dress, and dismissed Dogada in shame and remorse.

Early the next day, when the shoemaker Goria arose, his servant Prituitshkin told him all that passed during the night, and advised him, when Mistafor should propose to him a riddle, to answer: “Riddle me no riddle, but I will give you a riddle, and then,” continued he, “propose to Mistafor this riddle: ‘I went to walk in your green meadows and caught three goats, and stripped from each of them three skins.’ If Mistafor doubts, and says that it is impossible for a goat to have three skins, call me and order me to bring the skins.”

When Goria received these directions from his servant Prituitshkin, he went to Mistafor, who at once began to propose to him a riddle, but Goria answered; “I will give you a riddle.” And he continued: “I went to walk in your green meadows and caught three goats, and stripped from each of them three skins.” Mistafor doubted greatly and said: “It is impossible for a goat to have three skins.”

“At all events ’tis quite true,” replied Goria; and so saying, he ordered Prituitshkin to bring the three skins which he had taken from the three goats. So the servant immediately brought them to him.

[164] When Mistafor beheld his daughter’s dress he was troubled, scolded her in his heart, and asked the pretended Tsarevich how Dogada’s dress had come into his hands. So the shoemaker told him all that had happened. Mistafor, enraged against his daughter, exclaimed: “Look ye, did you not say that this was not Prince Dardavan, but the shoemaker Goria Krutshinin? I have no longer patience—prepare instantly for your wedding.” And Goria the shoemaker married the Princess Dogada that very day.

Sometime after this the servant Prituitshkin came to Goria and said: “Now that I have made your fortune, do something for me in return: I have a request to make. In your garden is a pond, in which I formerly lived. A maiden was one day washing linen, and dropped a ring into the pond, and by that means she drove me from it. Order now the water to be let off and the pond to be cleaned out: desire that whoever finds the ring shall bring it to you, and when it is found, order the pond to be filled with clear water and a boat to be built; and in this boat sail with your wife and me. I will then throw myself into the water, and when your wife exclaims: ‘Ah! the servant Prituitshkin is drowned!’ only reply: ‘The devil take him!’”

When Goria the shoemaker heard this, he ordered [165] the pond in the garden to be emptied and cleaned, and that whatever was found in it should be brought to him. And when the pond was drained, the ring was found at the bottom by a boy, who brought it to Goria the shoemaker. Then Goria ordered the water to be let into the pond, and a boat to be built. As soon as all was ready, he seated himself, with his wife and servant, Prituitshkin, in the boat, and sailed out into the middle of the pond. But on a sudden Prituitshkin jumped into the water, and Dogada exclaimed: “Ah! see, the servant Prituitshkin is drowned!” Then said Goria: “The devil take him! I want him no longer.”

Prince Dardavan, the real affianced husband of Dogada, was sent out to battle, and there lost his life. Goria the shoemaker ever after went by his name, and lived many years with Dogada in great happiness, forgetting his former unhappy fate.



IN a certain village lived at one time a peasant, who had three sons, two of whom were clever, but the third was a fool, and his name was Emelyan. And when the peasant had lived a long time, and was grown very old, he called his three sons to him, and said to them: “My dear children, I feel that I have not much longer to live; so I give you the house and cattle, which you will divide among you, share and share alike. I have also given you each a hundred roubles.” Soon after, the old man died, and the sons, when they had buried him, lived on happy and contented.

Some time afterwards Emelyan’s brothers took a fancy to go to the city and trade with the hundred roubles their father had left them. So they said to Emelyan: “Hark ye, fool! we are going to the city, and will take your hundred roubles with us; and, if we prosper in trade, we will buy you a red coat, red boots, and a red cap. But do you stay here at home; and when our wives, your sisters-in-law, desire you to do anything, do as they bid you.” The fool, who had a great longing for a red coat and cap, and red boots, answered that he [167] would do whatever his sisters-in-law bade him. So his brothers went off to the city, and the fool stayed at home with his two sisters.

One day, when the winter was come, and the cold was great, his sisters-in-law told him to go out and fetch water; but the fool remained lying on the stove, and said: “Ay, indeed, and who then are you?” The sisters began to scold him, and said: “How now, fool! we are what you see. You know how cold it is, and that it is a man’s business to go.” But he said: “I am lazy.” “How!” they exclaimed, “you are lazy? Surely you will want to eat, and if we have no water we cannot cook. But never mind,” they added; “we will only tell our husbands not to give him anything when they have bought the fine red coat and all for him!”

The fool heard what they said; and, as he longed greatly to have the red coat and cap, he saw that he must go; so he got down from the stove and began to put on his shoes and stockings and to dress himself to go out. When he was dressed, he took the buckets and the axe and went down to the river hard by. And when he came to the river he began to cut a large hole in the ice. Then he drew water in the buckets, and setting them on the ice, he stood by the hole, looking into [168] the water. And as the fool was looking, he saw a large pike swimming about. However stupid Emelyan was, he felt a wish to catch this pike; so he stole cautiously and softly to the edge of the hole, and making a sudden grasp at the pike he caught him, and pulled him out of the water. Then, putting him in his bosom, he was hastening home with him, when the pike cried out: “Ho, fool! why have you caught me?” He answered: “To take you home and get my sisters-in-law to cook you.” “Nay, fool! do not take me home, but throw me back into the water and I will make a rich man of you.” But the fool would not consent, and jogged on his way home. When the pike saw that the fool was not for letting him go, he said to him: “Hark ye, fool! put me back in the water and I will do for you everything you do not like to do yourself; you will only have to wish and it shall be done.”

On hearing this the fool rejoiced beyond measure for, as he was uncommonly lazy, he thought to himself: “If the pike does everything I have no mind to do, all will be done without my being troubled to work.” So he said to the pike: “I will throw you back into the water if you do all you promise.” The pike said: “Let me go first and then I will keep my promise.” But the fool [169] answered: “Nay, nay, you must first perform your promise, and then I will let you go.” When the pike saw that Emelyan would not put him into the water he said: “If you wish me to do all you desire, you must first tell me what your desire is.” “I wish,” said the fool, “that my buckets should go of themselves from the river up the hill to the village without spilling any of the water.” Then said the pike: “Listen now, and remember the words I say to you: At the pike’s command, and at my desire, go, buckets, of yourselves up the hill!” Then the fool repeated after him these words, and instantly, with the speed of thought, the buckets ran up the hill. When Emelyan saw this he was amazed beyond measure, and he said to the pike: “But will it always be so?” “Everything you desire will be done,” replied the pike; “but I warn you not to forget the words I have taught you.” Then Emelyan put the pike into the water and followed his buckets home.

The neighbours were all amazed and said to one another: “This fool makes the buckets come up of themselves from the river, and he follows them home at his leisure.” But Emelyan took no notice of them, and went his way home. The buckets were by this time in the house, and standing in their place on the foot-bench; so [170] the fool got up and stretched himself on the stove.

After some time his sisters-in-law said to him again: “Emelyan, why are you lazying there? Get up and go cut wood.” But the fool replied: “Yes! and you—who are you?” “Don’t you see it is now winter, and if you don’t cut wood you will be frozen?” “I am lazy,” said the fool. “What! you are lazy?” cried the sisters. “If you do not go instantly and cut wood, we will tell our husbands not to give you the red coat, or the red cap, or the fine red boots!” The fool, who longed for the red cap, coat, and boots, saw that he must go and cut the wood; but as it was bitterly cold, and he did not like to come down from off the stove, he repeated in an undertone, as he lay, the words: “At the pike’s command, and at my desire, up, axe, and hew the wood! and do you, logs, come of yourselves in the stove!” Instantly the axe jumped up, ran out into the yard, and began to cut up the wood; and the logs came of themselves into the house, and laid themselves in the stove. When the sisters saw this, they wondered exceedingly at the cleverness of the fool; and, as the axe did of its own accord the work whenever Emelyan was wanted to cut wood, he lived for some time in peace and harmony with them. At length the wood [171] was all finished, and they said to him: “Emelyan, we have no more wood, so you must go to the forest and cut some.” “Ay,” said the fool, “and you, who are you, then?” The sisters replied: “The wood is far off, and it is winter, and too cold for us to go.” But the fool only said: “I am lazy.” “How! you are lazy,” cried they; “you will be frozen then; and moreover, we will take care, when our husbands come home, that they shall not give you the red coat, cap, and boots.” As the fool longed for the clothes, he saw that he must go and cut the wood; so he got off the stove, put on his shoes and stockings, and dressed himself; and, when he was dressed, he went into the yard, dragged the sledge out of the shed, took a rope and the axe with him, and called out to his sisters-in-law: “Open the gate.”

When the sisters saw that he was riding off without any horses, they cried: “Why, Emelyan, you have got on the sledge without yoking the horses!” But he answered that he wanted no horses, and bade them only open the gate. So the sisters threw open the gate, and the fool repeated the words: “At the pike’s command, and at my desire, away, sledge, off to the wood!” Instantly the sledge galloped out of the yard at such a rate that the people of the village, when they saw it, [172] were filled with amazement at Emelyan’s riding the sledge without horses, and with such speed that a pair of horses could never have drawn it at such a rate. The fool had to pass through the town on his way to the wood, and away he dashed at full speed. But the fool did not know that he should cry out: “Make way!” so that he should not run over anyone; but away he went, and rode over quite a lot of people; and, though they ran after him, no one was able to overtake and bring him back. At last Emelyan, having got clear of the town, came to the wood and stopped his sledge. Then he got down and said: “At the pike’s command, and at my desire, up, axe, hew wood; and you, logs! lay yourselves on the sledge, and tie yourselves together.” Scarcely had the fool uttered these words when the axe began to cut wood, the logs to lay themselves on the sledge, and the rope to tie them down. When the axe had cut wood enough, Emelyan desired it to cut him a good cudgel; and when the axe had done this, he mounted the sledge and cried: “Up, and away! At the pike’s command, and at my desire, go home, sledge!” Away then went the sledge at the top of its speed, and when he came to the town, where he had hurt so many people, he found a crowd waiting to catch him; and, as soon as he got into [173] the gates, they laid hold of him, dragged him off his sledge, and fell to beating him. When the fool saw how they were treating him, he said in an under voice: “At the pike’s command, and at my desire, up, cudgel, and thrash them!” Instantly the cudgel began to lay about it on all sides; and, when the people were all driven away, he made his escape, and came to his own village. The cudgel, having thrashed all soundly, rolled home after him; and Emelyan, as usual, when he got home, climbed up and lay upon the stove.

After he had left the town, all the people fell to talking, not so much of the number of persons he had injured, as of their amazement at his riding in a sledge without horses; and the news spread from one to another, till it reached the Court and came to the ears of the King. And when the King heard it, he felt an extreme desire to see him: so he sent an officer with some soldiers to look for him. The officer instantly started, and took the road that the fool had taken; and when he came to the village where Emelyan lived, he summoned the Starosta, or head-man of the village, and said to him: “I am sent by the King to take a certain fool, and bring him before his Majesty.” The Starosta at once showed him the house where Emelyan lived, and the officer went into it and [174] asked where the fool was. He was lying on the stove, and answered: “What is it you want with me?” “How!” said the officer, “what do I want with you? Get up this instant and dress yourself; I must take you to the King.” But Emelyan said: “What to do?” Whereat the officer became so enraged at the rudeness of his replies that he hit him on the cheek. “At the pike’s command, and at my desire,” said the fool, “up, cudgel, and thrash them!” Instantly up sprang the cudgel and began to lay about it on all sides. So the officer was obliged to go back to the town as fast as he could; and when he came before the King, and told him how the fool had cudgelled him, the King marvelled greatly, and would not believe the story.

Then the King called to him a wise man and ordered him to bring the fool by craft, if nothing else would do; so the wise man went to the village where Emelyan lived, called the Starosta before him and said: “I am ordered by the King to take your fool; and therefore ask for the persons with whom he lived.” Then the Starosta ran and fetched Emelyan’s sisters-in-law. The King’s messenger asked them what it was the fool liked, and they answered: “Noble sir, if anyone entreats our fool earnestly to do anything, he flatly refuses the first [175] and second time; the third time he consents, and does what he is required, for he dislikes to be roughly treated.”

The King’s messenger thereupon dismissed them and forbade them to tell Emelyan that he had summoned them before him. Then he brought raisins, baked plums, and grapes, and went to the fool. When he came into the room, he went up to the stove and said: “Emelyan, why are you lying there?” and with that he gave him the raisins, the baked plums, and the grapes, and said: “Emelyan, we will go together to the King: I will take you with me.” But the fool replied: “I am very warm here”; for there was nothing he liked so much as being warm. Then the messenger began to entreat him: “Be so good, Emelyan, do let us go! You will like the Court vastly.” “No,” said the fool “I am lazy.” But the messenger entreated him once more: “Do come with me, there’s a good fellow, and the King will give you a fine red coat and cap, and a pair of red boots.” When the fool heard of the red coat he said: “Go on before, I will follow you.” The messenger pressed him no further, but went out and asked the sisters-in-law if there was any danger of the fool’s deceiving him. They assured him there was not, and he went away.

[176] Emelyan, who remained lying on the stove, then said to himself: “How I dislike this going to the King!” And after a minute’s thought, he said: “At the pike’s command, and at my desire, up, stove, and away to the town!” And instantly the wall of the room opened, and the stove moved out; and when it got clear of the yard, it went at such a rate that there was no overtaking it; soon it came up with the King’s messenger, and went along with him into the palace. When the King saw the fool coming, he went forth with all his Court to meet him; and he was amazed beyond measure at seeing Emelyan come riding on the stove. But the fool lay still and said nothing. Then the King asked him why he had upset so many people on his way to the wood. “It was their own fault,” said the fool; “why did they not get out of the way?”

Just at that moment the King’s daughter came to the window, and Emelyan happening suddenly to look up, and seeing how handsome she was, said in a whisper: “At the pike’s command, and at my desire, let this lovely maiden fall in love with me!” And scarcely had he spoken the words when the King’s daughter fell desperately in love with him. Then said the fool: “At the pike’s command, and at my desire, up, stove, and away [177] home!” Immediately the stove left the palace, went through the town, returned home, and set itself in its old place. And Emelyan lived there for some time comfortably and happy.

But it was very different in the town; for, at the word of Emelyan, the King’s daughter had fallen in love, and she began to implore her father to give her the fool for her husband. The King was in a great rage, both with her and the fool, but he knew not how to catch him; then his minister proposed that the same officer, as a punishment for not succeeding the first time, should be sent again to take Emelyan. This advice pleased the King, and he summoned the officer to his presence, and said: “Hark ye, friend! I sent you before for the fool, and you came back without him; to punish you I now send you for him a second time. If you bring him, you shall be rewarded; if you return without him, you shall be punished.”

When the officer heard this, he left the King and lost no time in going in quest of the fool; and on coming to the village he called for the Starosta and said to him: “Here is money for you; buy everything necessary for a good dinner to-morrow. Invite Emelyan, and when he comes, make him drink until he falls asleep.” The Starosta, knowing [178] that the officer came from the King, was obliged to obey him; so he bought all that was required and invited the fool. And Emelyan said he would come, whereat the officer was greatly rejoiced. So next day the fool came to dinner, and the Starosta plied him so well with drink that he fell fast asleep. When the officer saw this, he ordered the kibitka (or carriage) to be brought; and putting the fool into it, they drove off to the town, and went straight to the palace. As soon as the King heard that they were come, he ordered a large cask to be provided without delay, and to be bound with strong iron hoops. When the cask was brought to the King, and he saw that everything was ready as he desired, he commanded his daughter and the fool to be put in it, and the cask to be well pitched; and, when this was all done, the cask was thrown into the sea, and left to the mercy of the waves. Then the King returned to his palace, and the cask floated along upon the sea. All this time the fool was fast asleep; when he awoke, and saw that it was quite dark, he said to himself: “Where am I?” for he thought he was alone. But the Princess said: “You are in a cask, Emelyan! and I am shut up with you in it.” “But who are you?” said the fool. “I am the King’s daughter,” replied she. And she told him why she had been shut up there [179] with him. Then she besought him to free himself and her out of the cask; but the fool said: “Nay, I am warm enough here.” “But grant me at least the favour,” said the Princess; “have pity on my tears, and deliver me out of this cask.” “Why so?” said Emelyan; “I am lazy.” Then the Princess began to entreat him still more urgently, until the fool was at last moved by her tears and entreaties, and said: “Well, I will do this for you.” Then he said softly: “At the pike’s command, and at my desire, cast us, O sea! upon the shore, where we may dwell on dry land; but let it be near our own country; and, cask! fall to pieces on the shore.”

Scarcely had the fool uttered these words when the waves began to roll, and the cask was thrown on a dry place, and fell to pieces of itself. So Emelyan got up and went with the Princess round about the spot where they were cast; and the fool saw that they were on a fine island, where there was an abundance of trees, with all kinds of fruit upon them. When the Princess saw this, she was greatly rejoiced and said: “But, Emelyan, where shall we live? there is not even a nook here.” “You want too much,” said the fool. “Grant me one favour,” replied the Princess: “let there be at least a little cottage in which we may shelter [180] ourselves from the rain”; for the Princess knew that he could do everything that he wished. But the fool said: “I am lazy.” Nevertheless, she went on entreating him, until at last Emelyan was obliged to do as she desired. Then he stepped aside and said: “At the pike’s command, and at my desire, let me have in the middle of this island a finer castle than the King’s, and let a crystal bridge lead from my castle to the royal palace; and let there be attendants of all conditions in the court!” Hardly were the words spoken, when there appeared a splendid castle, with a crystal bridge. The fool went with the Princess into the castle and beheld the apartments all magnificently furnished, and a number of persons, footmen and all kinds of officers, who waited for the fool’s commands. When he saw that all these men were like men, and that he alone was ugly and stupid, he wished to be better, so he said: “At the pike’s command, and at my desire, away! let me become a youth without an equal, and extremely wise!” And hardly had he spoken, when he became so handsome and so wise that all were amazed.

Emelyan now sent one of his servants to the King to invite him and all his Court. So the servant went along the crystal bridge which the fool had made, and when he came to the Court, the ministers [181] brought him before the King, and Emelyan’s messenger said: “Please, your Majesty, I am sent by my master to invite you to dinner.” The King asked him who his master was, but he answered: “Please, your Majesty, I can tell you nothing about my master (for the fool had ordered him not to tell who he was), but if you come to dine with him, he will inform you himself.” The King, being curious to know who had sent to invite him, told the messenger that he would go without fail. The servant went away, and when he got home the King and his Court set out along the crystal bridge to go and visit the fool; and, when they arrived at the castle, Emelyan came forth to meet the King, took him by his white hands, kissed him on his sugared lips, led him into his castle, and seated him at the oaken tables covered with fine diaper tablecloths, and spread with sugar-meats and honey-drinks. The King and his ministers ate and drank and made merry. When they rose from the table and retired, the fool said to the King: “Does your Majesty know who I am?” As Emelyan was now dressed in fine clothes, and was very handsome, it was not possible to recognize him; so the King replied that he did not know him. Then the fool said: “Does not your Majesty recollect how a fool came riding on [182] a stove to your Court, and how you fastened him up in a pitched cask with your daughter, and cast them into the sea? Know me now—I am that Emelyan.”

When the King saw him thus in his presence he was greatly terrified and knew not what to do. But the fool went to the Princess and led her out to him; and the King, on seeing his daughter, was greatly rejoiced, and said: “I have been very unjust to you, and so I gladly give you my daughter, to wife.” The fool humbly thanked the King; and when Emelyan had prepared everything for the wedding, it was celebrated with great magnificence, and the following day the fool gave a feast to the ministers and all the people. When the festivities were at an end, the King wanted to give up his kingdom to his son-in-law, but Emelyan did not wish to have the crown. So the King went back to his kingdom, and the fool remained in the castle and lived happily.



TWO brothers once lived upon a little plot of ground—one rich, the other poor. The poor brother went to the rich one to beg of him a horse that he might fetch wood from the forest. His brother gave him the horse; but the poor one begged of him likewise a horse-collar, whereat the other was angry and would not give it him. So the poor fellow in his trouble fastened the sledge to the horse’s tail and thus drove to the forest, and got such a load of wood that the horse had scarcely strength to draw it. When he came home, he opened the gate, but forgot to remove the foot-board, fastened to the side posts to keep the snow from coming in under the door; and the horse stumbled against the board and lost his tail. The poor fellow took the horse back, but when his brother saw the beast without a tail, he would not have him, and set out to go before the judge, Shemyaka, to make a complaint. The poor man saw that he would fall into trouble, and the judge would send for him: he considered for a long while that he had nothing to give, and he followed his brother on foot.

[184] On the way, as night came on, they stopped at the house of a merchant. The rich brother was taken in to supper and well treated, but the poor man was not given anything to eat, and had to take his night’s rest on the kitchen stove. All night he was tossing and rolling about hungry, and at last he fell off the stove on to a cradle lying beside it, and killed the merchant’s baby in the fall. So the merchant was very angry, and next morning went with him to get the poor man punished by the judge Shemyaka.

It so happened that on the way to town the party had to go over a bridge, and the poor man was so frightened at the thought of what the judge Shemyaka might do to him that he threw himself over the bridge, to put an end to his life; but just at that instant a young man was driving his sick father to the bath-house, and the poor man fell upon the sledge and crushed the old man. So the son went with the rich brother and the merchant to the judge to make his complaint that the poor man had killed his father.

The judge rules about the case of the two brothers and the horse

The Judge thought that the bundle was full of roubles.

The rich brother came first before the judge Shemyaka and complained that his brother had pulled off the tail of his horse. The poor man took a stone and tied it in a towel; and, standing up behind his brother, he held it up to the judge, [185] intending to kill him unless he decided in his favour. The judge thought that the towel was filled with roubles, and so he ordered the rich man to give back the horse to the poor one until his tail had grown again.

Then the merchant came up to complain of the death of his baby, and the poor man again brandished his heavy towel before the judge, and because he hoped for another bribe the judge said: “You must send your wife to the poor man’s house till she has another baby, and then you will be as well off as before.”

Then the son came and accused the poor man of having crushed his father to death, and asked the judge for justice. The poor man took up the stone again, and showed it as before to the judge, who fancied that the man would perhaps give him for this charge another hundred roubles. So he ordered the son to stand on the bridge while the poor man passed under it; and that the son should in like manner leap down upon the poor man and crush him.

So the poor brother came to the rich one to fetch the horse without a tail, according to the judge’s sentence, and to keep it until the tail grew again. The rich man was very loth to give up the horse, and instead, made him a present of five [186] roubles, three bushels of corn, and a milch goat, and thus they settled their quarrel.

So then the poor man went to the merchant to take his wife away from him, and the merchant offered him fifty roubles, a cow with her calf, a mare with her foal, and five measures of grain, which he willingly accepted.

Then the poor man went to the son and said: “Come, the judge has said that you must place yourself on the bridge while I stand under it, and you must throw yourself down on me and kill me.” Then the son thought to himself: “Who knows but that, if I throw myself from the bridge, I may, perhaps, instead of falling on this man, dash myself to pieces.” So he tried to make peace with the poor man, and gave him two hundred roubles, a horse, and five measures of corn.

But the judge Shemyaka sent his servant to the poor man to ask for the three hundred roubles. The poor man showed him the stone and said: “If the judge had not decided in my favour I should have killed him.” So the servant went back to the judge and told him what the poor man had said; whereat the judge, overjoyed, exclaimed: “Heaven be thanked that I decided in this man’s favour!”



IN France there once lived a high-born Prince named Volchvan, with his wife Petronida; and they had an only son named Peter. Now, Prince Peter had in his youth a great inclination for knightly prowess and deeds of war; and, when he came of age, he sighed after nothing so much as chivalrous feats. But it happened that at this time a knight named Ruiganduis arrived there from the kingdom of Naples, who, observing Peter’s bravery, said: “Prince Peter, there is a King in Naples who has a beautiful daughter named Magilene, and this King rewards richly all those knights who do battle in behalf of his daughter.”

Then Peter went to his father and mother and begged for their blessing that he might travel to the kingdom of Naples to learn there knightly feats, but especially to see the beauty of the King’s daughter Magilene. So they dismissed Prince Peter with great sorrow, exhorting him to make friendship with good men only; then, giving him three [188] golden rings with precious stones and a gold chain, they dismissed him in peace.

When Prince Peter arrived at the kingdom of Naples, he ordered a skilful workman to make him a coat-of-mail and a helmet, and to fasten to this two golden keys; then he rode to the tournament-lists, where the King and his knights were assembled. There he gave his name as Peter with the Golden Keys, and he placed himself behind the knights. First rode forth Sir Andrei Skrintor, and against him appeared the son of the King of England; and Andrei struck Henry so hard a blow that he was well-nigh thrown from his horse; whereupon Landiot, the King’s son, rode out and overthrew Andrei Skrintor. When Prince Peter saw this he rode at Landiot, and cried with a loud voice: “Long life and happiness to their Majesties and the beautiful Princess Magilene!” and he rode at Landiot so furiously that he threw both him and his steed to the ground, and thrust the lance through his heart. Peter was praised by the King for this exploit, and still more by the Princess Magilene and all present, and he became the foremost of the King’s knights.

When the Princess Magilene beheld the valour and handsome appearance of Prince Peter she fell in love with him, and resolved to be his wife. She [189] told her wish to her waiting-maid, and from that time Prince Peter visited the beautiful King’s daughter daily, and gave her the three golden rings, in token of his love, and rode with her out of the city.

And they rode off upon their goodly steeds, taking with them a quantity of gold and silver, and they journeyed on and on the whole night. Then Prince Peter came to an impenetrable forest, stretching among the mountains as far as the seacoast, where they stopped to rest; and the King’s daughter threw herself on the grass, from weariness, and fell asleep. But Prince Peter sat beside her and watched her while she slept. Then he observed a knot in a golden clasp, and unfastening it, he found the three rings which he had given her. He laid them on the grass, and, as chance would have it, a black raven flew past, picked up the rings and flew with them on to a tree. Peter climbed up the tree to catch the bird; but, as he was just about to seize it, the raven flew into another tree, and so from one tree to another, and then over the sea, and let fall the rings into the water, and itself lighted upon an island. Away ran Prince Peter after the raven to the seashore, and looked about till he found a small fishing boat to row to the island, but having no oars, he was obliged to [190] paddle along with his hands. On a sudden a violent wind arose, and carried him out on to the open sea. When Peter saw that he was far from land, he well-nigh despaired of being saved, and exclaimed, with sighs and tears: “Alas! woe is me, the most miserable of men! Why did I take the rings out of their place of safety? I have destroyed all my joy; I have carried off the fair Princess, and left her forsaken in a pathless wood. Wild beasts will tear her to pieces, or she will lose her way and die of hunger. Murderer that I am, that have shed innocent blood!” And with that he began to sink in the waves.

Now it happened that a ship from Turkey came sailing by, and when the sailors saw a man sinking in the sea they picked him up and took him half-dead on board their ship. Then they sailed on until they arrived at the city of Alexandria, where they sold Peter to the Turkish Pasha. But the Pasha sent Prince Peter as a present to the Sultan of Turkey, who, when he saw his discreet behaviour, and handsome mien, made Peter a great senator, and his uprightness and gracious behaviour won for him the love of everyone.

When the Princess Magilene awoke from her sleep in the wood, she looked around on all sides, but nowhere beheld Prince Peter: she wept with [191] grief and despair, and fell upon the ground. At length she arose, went into the wood, and cried aloud with all her strength: “Noble Prince Peter, whither are you gone?” And thus she wandered about for a long time, and met a nun, and begged for her dark dress, giving her in exchange her light-coloured one. At length she came to a harbour, where she hired a ship from the country in which Peter’s father lived. There she dwelt with a noble lady named Susanna; she chose a spot among the mountains for a harbour, and built a convent, to which she gave the name of Saint Peter and Paul, and established an hospital for the reception of strangers. Thus Magilene became celebrated by her piety and goodness. Then came Peter’s father and mother to visit her, and brought her three rings, saying their cook had bought a fish, inside which these rings were found; but, as they had given them to their son Peter, they feared that he had been drowned at sea, and they wept bitterly.

After Prince Peter had lived for a long time at the Court of the Turkish Sultan, he expressed a wish to travel to his native country. So the Sultan dismissed him with great presents, giving him much gold and silver and costly jewels. Then Peter hired a French ship, bought fourteen casks, [192] put at the bottom of them some salt, then laid over this gold and silver, and on this more salt, and told the sailors that the casks contained only salt. He sailed with a favourable wind to his native country, and anchored at an island, not far from the country of France, for Prince Peter suffered from sea sickness. Then he wandered about on the shore, and lost his way in the island; he lay down and fell fast asleep. The sailors sought for him everywhere for a long time, calling him by name; but not finding him, they went on their way. At length they came to the convent, and there deposited the casks of salt; and once when there was a want of salt in the convent, Magilene ordered the casks to be opened and found in them innumerable treasures.

Prince Peter was found by some other sailors upon the island, and carried to this convent, where he was placed in Magilene’s hospital and there he remained for more than a month, but did not recognize Magilene, for her face was concealed by a black veil. And Peter wept every day.

One day Magilene came to the hospital, saw Peter weeping, and asked him the cause of his tears; and he related to her exactly all his adventures. Then Magilene knew him again, and sent to inform his father Volchvan and his mother, [193] Petronida, that their son was safe and well. Soon came the father and mother to the convent, and the King’s daughter received them attired in princely robes. When Prince Peter saw his parents he fell at their feet, embraced them, and wept, and they wept with him. But Prince Peter stood up, took them by the hands, kissed them, and said: “My lord and father, and you my mother, this maiden is the daughter of the great King of Naples, to sue for whom I wandered so far.” Then they were married, and lived happily ever after.



THERE was once a Tsar, named Chotei, who had three sons—the first, Aspar Tsarevich; the second, Adam Tsarevich; and the third and youngest son, Sila Tsarevich. The two eldest brothers entreated their father’s permission to travel in foreign countries and see the world. Then the youngest brother, Sila Tsarevich, also begged the Tsar’s permission to travel with his brothers. But Chotei said: “My dear son, you are still young, and not used to the difficulties of travelling; remain at home, and think no more of this fancy you have taken.” But Sila Tsarevich had a great longing to see foreign lands, and entreated his father so much that at length the Tsar consented, and gave him a ship likewise. As soon as the three brothers embarked, each on board his ship, they all gave orders to set sail. And when they were out on the open sea, the eldest brother’s ship sailed first, the second brother’s next, and Sila Tsarevich sailed last.

On the third day of the voyage they saw a coffin with iron bands floating on the waves. The two [195] eldest brothers sailed past without heeding it, but as soon as Sila Tsarevich saw the coffin, he ordered the sailors to pick it up, lay it on board his ship, and carry it to land. The next day a violent storm arose, by which Sila’s ship was driven out of its course, and cast upon a steep shore in an unknown country. Then Sila ordered his sailors to take the coffin and to carry it on shore, whither he himself followed, and buried it in the earth.

Thereupon Sila Tsarevich ordered the captain to remain upon the spot where the ship was stranded, and await his return for three years; but adding that, should he not come back in that time, he should be free to set sail and return home. So saying, Sila took leave of his captain and his crew, and went forthwith, journeying on and on. He wandered about for a long while, without seeing anyone; at length he heard a man running after him, dressed all in white. Then Sila Tsarevich turned round and saw the man following him; whereupon he instantly drew his sword to be upon his guard. But no sooner did the man come up to him than he fell on his knees and thanked Sila for having saved him. And Sila asked the man what he had done to deserve his thanks. Then the stranger stood up and answered: “Ah, Sila Tsarevich, how can I thank you enough? There I lay in the coffin, which you [196] picked up at sea and buried; and had it not been for you I might have remained floating about for a hundred years.” “But how did you get into the coffin?” asked Sila. “Listen, and I will tell you the whole story,” replied Ivashka. “I was a great magician; my mother was told that I did great mischief to mankind by my arts, and therefore ordered me to be put into this coffin and set adrift on the open sea: for more than a hundred years I have been floating about, and no one has ever picked me up; but to you I owe my rescue, and I will therefore serve you, and render you all the help in my power. Let me ask you whether you have not a wish to marry: I know the beautiful Queen Truda, who is worthy of being your wife.” Sila replied that if this Queen were indeed beautiful, he was willing to marry her; and Ivashka told him she was the most beautiful woman in the world. When Sila heard this, he begged Ivashka to accompany him to her kingdom; so they set out and travelled on and on till they reached that country. Now, Queen Truda’s kingdom was surrounded by a palisade; and upon every stake was stuck a man’s head, except one, which had no head. When Sila saw this, he was terrified, and asked Ivashka what it meant; and Ivashka told him that these were the heads of [197] heroes who had been suitors to Queen Truda. Sila shuddered on hearing this, and wished to return home without showing himself to the father of Truda; but Ivashka told him to fear nothing and go with him boldly; so Sila went on.

When they entered the kingdom, Ivashka said: “Hearken, Sila Tsarevich, I will be your servant, and when you enter the royal halls, salute King Salom humbly: then he will ask you whence you came, and whose son you are, what is your name and business. Tell him everything and conceal nothing; but say that you are come to sue for his daughter’s hand; he will give her to you with great joy.” So Sila Tsarevich went into the palace, and, as soon as Prince Salom saw him, he went himself to meet him, took him by his white hands, led him into the marble halls, and asked him: “Fair youth, from what country do you come, whose son are you, what is your name, and what is your business?” “I am from the kingdom of my father the Tsar Chotei,” replied Sila; “my name is Sila Tsarevich, and I am come to sue for your daughter, the beautiful Queen Truda.”

King Salom was overjoyed that the son of such a renowned Tsar should be his son-in-law, and immediately ordered his daughter to prepare for the wedding. And when the day for the marriage [198] came, the King commanded all his princes and boyars to assemble in the palace; and they all went in procession to the church, and Sila Tsarevich was married to the fair Queen Truda. Then they returned to the palace, seated themselves at table, and feasted and made merry. When the time came to retire to rest, Ivashka took Sila aside and whispered to him: “Hark, ye, Sila Tsarevich, when you go to rest, beware lest you speak a word to your bride or you will not remain alive, and your head will be stuck on the last stake. She will in every way try to make you embrace her, but attend to what I say.”

Then Sila Tsarevich enquired why he warned him thus, and Ivashka replied: “She is in league with an evil Spirit, who comes to her every night in the shape of a man, but flies through the air in the shape of a six-headed dragon; now, if she lays her hand upon your breast and presses it, jump up and beat her with a stick until all her strength is gone. I will meanwhile remain on watch at the door of your apartment.”

When Sila Tsarevich heard this, he went with his wife to rest, and Queen Truda tried in every way to get him to kiss her, but Sila lay quite still and spoke not a word. Then Truda laid her hand upon his breast and pressed him so hard that he [199] could scarcely breathe. But up jumped Sila Tsarevich and seized the stick which Ivashka had laid there ready for him, and fell to beating her as hard as he could. On a sudden there arose a storm, and a six-headed dragon came flying into the room and was going to devour Sila Tsarevich, but Ivashka seized a sharp sword and attacked the dragon, and they fought three hours, and Ivashka struck off two of the dragon’s heads, whereupon the monster flew away. Then Ivashka desired Sila Tsarevich to go to sleep and fear nothing. Sila obeyed him, laid himself down, and fell asleep.

Early in the morning King Salom went to be informed whether his dear son still lived, and when he heard that Sila was alive and well, the King rejoiced, since he was the first who had been saved from his daughter; and he instantly ordered Sila to be called, and the whole day was spent in merrymaking.

The following night Ivashka gave Sila Tsarevich the same caution as before, not to speak a word to his wife, and he placed himself on watch at the door. Then it fell out as before, and when Sila Tsarevich began to beat the Queen, on a sudden the dragon came flying in, and was going to devour Sila Tsarevich. But Ivashka rushed from behind the door, sword in hand, and fought with the dragon [200] and struck off two more of his heads. Then the dragon flew away, and Sila Tsarevich lay down to sleep. Early in the morning the King commanded Sila to be invited, and they spent this day in the same pleasures as before. The third night the same happened again, and Ivashka cut off the last two heads of the dragon, and he burnt all the heads and strewed the ashes in the fields.

Thus time passed on, and Sila Tsarevich lived with his father-in-law a whole year, without speaking to his wife or gaining her love. Then Ivashka told him one day to go to King Salom and ask permission to return to his native country. So Sila went to the King, who dismissed him, and gave him two squadrons of his army to accompany him as an escort. Then Sila took leave of his father-in-law, and set out with his wife on their journey to his own country.

When they had gone half-way, Ivashka told Sila Tsarevich to halt and pitch his tent. So Sila obeyed, and ordered the tent to be put up. The next day Ivashka laid pieces of wood in front of Sila’s tent and set fire to them. Then he led Queen Truda out of the tent, unsheathed his sword, and cut her in twain. Sila Tsarevich shuddered with terror and began to weep; but Ivashka said: “Weep not, she will come to life again.” And presently all sorts [201] of evil things came forth from the body, and Ivashka threw them all into the fire. Then he said to Sila Tsarevich: “See you not the evil spirits which troubled your wife? She is now relieved from them.” And, so saying, he laid the parts of Truda’s body together, sprinkled them with the water of life, and the Queen was instantly sound and whole as before. Then said Ivashka: “Now, farewell, Sila Tsarevich, you will find that your wife loves you truly, but you will never see me more.” And so saying he vanished.

Sila Tsarevich ordered the tent to be struck, and journeyed on to his native country. And when he came to the place where his ship was waiting for him, he went on board with the fair Queen Truda, dismissed the escort which accompanied him, and set sail. And on arriving at his own kingdom, he was welcomed with salvos of cannon, and Tsar Chotei came out of his palace and took him and the beautiful Queen Truda by their lily-white hands, led them into the marble halls, placed them at table, and they feasted and made merry. Sila Tsarevich lived with his father two years; then he returned to the kingdom of King Salom, received from him the crown, and ruled over the country with his Queen Truda in great love and happiness.



IN a certain country lived a Tsar named Kartaus, who had twelve knights, and the Tsar had a chief over these knights, Prince Lasar Lasarevich. Prince Lasar and his wife, the Princess Epistimia, lived for seventy years and had no child; and they began, with tears, to sigh for one to cheer their old age, and to pray for their souls after death.

At length their wish was granted, and they had a son, whom Prince Lasar named Yaroslav. The little fellow had a rosy face, blonde hair, and bright eyes. His parents were overjoyed and made a great feast. When Yaroslav was fifteen years old he went often to the Tsar’s Court and played with the children of princes and boyars. Then the princes counselled together, and went to the Tsar and said: “Our lord and sovereign, grant us your imperial favour: your Majesty has a knight, Prince Lasar, whose son Yaroslav comes to your imperial Court and plays with our children; but his sports are mischievous, for whenever he takes anyone by the head, the head falls off, and this [203] causes us great trouble and grief. Now, O Tsar, show us your favour, and either send Yaroslav out of your kingdom or grant us leave to depart, for live we cannot with Yaroslav.”

Then the Tsar Kartaus immediately sent for Prince Lasar, told him the complaints the princes and nobles had made of Yaroslav, and commanded that he should leave the kingdom. When Lasar heard this command, he rode away sorrowfully, with his head hanging lower than his shoulders. Now Yaroslav came to meet his father, bowed to the ground, and said: “Long years of happiness to my lord and father! Why ride you so sorrowfully, my lord? Have you received an unkind word from the Tsar?” Prince Lasar answered: “My dear child Yaroslav, I have indeed received a cruel order from the Tsar. Other children are a joy to their father from their youth up, a support in his old age, and the guardian of his memory when dead. Not so, alas! with you, my son. You go to the Tsar’s Court and play mischievous tricks with the children of the princes and boyars, and they have complained to the Tsar Kartaus, and he has banished you from the kingdom.”

At this Yaroslav laughed and said: “My lord and father, grieve not for me that I am banished. I have only one trouble: I am now fifteen years [204] old, and have never been able to find in your stables a good horse that might serve me for ever and aye.” Then they went into the marble halls, and Yaroslav Lasarevich begged permission of his father and mother to travel about the world, to see men and to be seen. So his parents at length consented, and gave him twenty lads, and fifty skilful builders, to build a marble palace on the sea coast. These builders erected the palace in three days, and sent a messenger to Prince Lasar and the Princess Epistimia, to tell them that the splendid palace was ready. Then Yaroslav took leave of his parents, and Prince Lasar and his wife wept bitterly at parting with their son, and gave him their blessing.

So Yaroslav Lasarevich rode until he came to the marble palace on the seashore. His father and mother offered him gold, silver, jewels, horses, and attendants, but Yaroslav would have none of these: he took with him only an old horse, a Tcherkess saddle, a snaffle-bit, a blanket, and a leather whip. Thus came Yaroslav to his marble palace on the seashore, threw the blanket over him, placed the saddle under his head, and stretched himself out to sleep. Early the next morning Yaroslav arose, went out to walk on the seashore, and shot a number of wild geese, swans, and ducks. Upon these he fed, and lived thus one, two, and [205] three months. Then he went upon a road which was so broad that a shot could not reach across it, and so deep that it went to the ears of a brave steed. Yaroslav looked at the road, and said to himself: “Who travels this road, a great army or a stout knight?” It happened that an old man came riding up to him on his grey horse, and he dismounted and threw himself down with his face to the ground, saying: “Long life and happiness to you, Yaroslav Lasarevich! How goes it with you, my lord? and how comes it that you are in this desert spot?” “What is your name, old brother?” said Yaroslav. The man replied: “My name is Ivashka, master, and my horse is called Alotyagilei. I am a great shot and a mighty wrestler in the host of knights.” “But how do you know my name?” replied Yaroslav. Ivashka answered: “My Lord, I am an old servant of your father, and have tended his horses in the fields for three-and-thirty years, and I come to your father once every year to receive my wages. Thus it is that I know you.” Yaroslav answered: “I am going to the chase, and am wandering about in the open fields. He who has not tasted the bitter, does not relish the sweet. While still a young boy I ran about in the courtyard, and played with the children of the princes and boyars. But when I seize anyone by [206] the head, his head falls off, and, when I take him by the hand, his hand falls off. This was not agreeable to the Tsar, and he banished me from his kingdom; but this punishment was nothing in comparison to another greater grief which pains me sorely. I am already fifteen years old, but can find no horse in my father’s stable that might serve me for life.” Then said Ivashka: “My lord, Yaroslav Lasarevich, I have a horse, which is called Podlas: he must be caught, and he will serve you for ever and a day. If you do not catch him now you never will.” “But how can I see the horse, brother Ivashka?” Ivashka answered: “Yaroslav Lasarevich, you can see this steed early in the morning, when I take the horses to the sea to drink, but if, when you see him, you do not seize him on the spot, you never will.” Thereupon Yaroslav Lasarevich went into his marble palace, laid the horse-cloth under him, and the Tcherkess saddle and the bit under his head, and stretched himself out to sleep. The next morning he rose early, went into the field, and took the bridle, the Tcherkess saddle, and the leather whip with him. He concealed himself under an oak tree; and presently saw Ivashka driving the horses to the sea to water, and, as he gazed upon the sea, he observed that where a steed drank, the waves [207] foamed and roared fearfully. Above the oak tree screamed the eagles, and on the mountains roared the lions, and no one could approach the spot. Yaroslav wondered greatly, and when the horse came to stand opposite him, he leaped out from the oak and struck him with the back of his hand. The horse fell on his knees, and he seized him by his mane and said: “My trusty steed, who shall ride on you if not I your master?” Then he threw the bridle over him, put the Tcherkess saddle on his back, and rode to the marble palace, and Ivashka followed. Then said he to Ivashka: “What name shall I give this horse?” “How, my lord, shall a servant know better than his master to name such a horse?” So Yaroslav named him Uroshtch Veschei; and he said to Ivashka: “Ride to my father, Prince Lasar, and tell him I am well and have found a trusty steed.” Then Yaroslav Lasarevich rode off upon his good horse to Ivan the Russian knight, and behind him followed Ivashka at full gallop till he was lost to sight.

Ivashka returned to the kingdom of Kartaus, to Yaroslav’s father and mother, and carried the tidings that he was well. The parents rejoiced greatly to hear of their son, and dismissed Ivashka with rich presents. But Yaroslav Lasarevich rode on and on, for two and for three months, until at [208] last he came to a field where an immense army lay slain. Then he cried with a loud voice: “Is there here no man still alive?” Immediately a man stood up and said: “My lord, Yaroslav Lasarevich, whom dost thou seek?” “I want a living man,” said Yaroslav; and then he enquired to whom the army belonged, and who had slain it. “The army,” replied the man, “belonged to Feodul the Dragon Tsar, and it has been slain by Prince Ivan the Russian knight, who sued for the hand of Feodul’s daughter, the Princess Kandaula Feodulavna; and, as he would not give her of his free will, Ivan sought to take her by force.” Thereupon Yaroslav asked how far distant this Russian knight was; and the man replied: “Yaroslav Lasarevich, he has gone too far for you to reach him; ride round the army, and you will see the footsteps of Prince Ivan.” So Yaroslav rode round the army, and saw the tracks of the bounding of the steed; for wherever he had struck his hoofs, large heaps of earth were thrown up. He followed the track until he came to another slain army: here he cried with a loud voice: “Is there not one living man here who has survived the battle?” Then up rose a man and said: “My lord, Yaroslav Lasarevich, one steed is better than another, and one youth surpasses another.” Yaroslav [209] rode on, and he rode for one, two, and three months; when at length he came to an open country, where he descried a white tent and beside it a goodly steed, before which corn was poured out upon a white linen cloth. Yaroslav dismounted and led his horse to feed, and his horse drove the other way. Then Yaroslav entered the tent, where a comely youth lay fast asleep: he drew his sword, and was on the point of slaying him when he bethought himself that it would bring no honour to slay a sleeping man; so he lay down in the tent, on the other side, near Prince Ivan. When Ivan awoke he went out of the tent, and saw that his steed was driven away, and was grazing in the open fields, whilst a strange horse ate the corn. Then he returned to the tent and saw a youth lying fast asleep. Prince Ivan looked fiercely at him; but suddenly reflected that he should have little honour from killing a man asleep. So he cried: “Stand up, man, and save yourself. Why have you put your horse to feed on another’s corn, and lain down to sleep in another’s tent? For this you must answer with your life.” Then Yaroslav awoke, and Prince Ivan asked him his name, whence he came, and who his parents were. “I am from the kingdom of Kartaus,” answered Yaroslav, “the son of Prince Lasar and the Princess Epistimia [210] and my name is Yaroslav. Your steed has not been driven away by me, but by my horse, and good folk are not used to meet strangers with uncivil speech, but rather to treat them with hospitality. If you have a glass of water, give it to me, for I am your guest.” “You are young,” said Ivan, “and it befits me not to fetch your water; bring it to me rather.” “You pluck the bird before you have caught it,” replied the other, “and blame a youth ere you have tried him.” Then said Prince Ivan: “I am the prince of princes, and the knight of knights, and you are a cossack.” “Ay, indeed!” replied Yaroslav, “you are prince in your tent; but let us meet in the open field and we are equals.” Prince Ivan saw that he had no coward to deal with: he took a golden flask, fetched some cold water, and gave it to Yaroslav to drink. Then they mounted their horses and rode into the open country. And when they began to fight, Yaroslav struck Prince Ivan with the butt of his lance and hurled him to the ground: then he whirled round his horse, put the point of his lance to Ivan’s breast, and said: “Prince Ivan, wilt thou live or die?” And Ivan answered: “Yaroslav Lasarevich, be to me my elder brother—spare my life!”

Then Yaroslav dismounted, took Prince Ivan, [211] the Russian knight, by his hand and embraced him, calling him his younger brother; whereupon they mounted their steeds, rode off to the tent, and fell to feasting and making merry. And Yaroslav said: “My lord brother, Prince Ivan, as I was wandering in the open country I came upon two slain armies.” To which Ivan replied: “Brother Yaroslav, the first army, of the Tsar Feodul, I slew when he refused to give me his daughter Kandaula in marriage; and I am resolved to carry her off by force, for I hear there is no such beauty in the world. To-morrow I shall fight the last battle with him, and thou shall be witness of my valour.” The next morning Prince Ivan rose early, saddled his steed, and rode to the kingdom of Feodul, the Dragon Tsar; and Yaroslav went on foot, and concealed himself under an oak tree to witness the fight. Then Prince Ivan called upon the Tsar with a loud voice, and Feodul ordered the trumpets to sound, and an army of a hundred thousand men to assemble. The Tsar Feodul rode against Prince Ivan, and before and behind him rode an innumerable host of squires and knights. Ivan grasped his shield with one hand and his lance with the other. As the falcon swoops upon the geese, swans, and ducks, even so did Prince Ivan fall upon that terrible army; and his steed [212] trod to the ground twice as many as he himself slew. He destroyed the whole host, sparing only the lives of the old men and boys, who could not resist; and he took the Tsar Feodul prisoner, and put him to death. Then he hastened to his kingdom and carried off the Princess Kandaula. He took her by her white hands, kissed her on her soft lips, and led her into his tent. Soon after Yaroslav Lasarevich also arrived, and they all fell to feasting and making merry.

When Yaroslav went out of the tent Ivan said: “My beloved Princess, tell me, is there in the world a fairer one than thou art, or a braver knight than my brother Yaroslav Lasarevich? I have gone far and wide and have not found thine equal.” “Nay,” replied the Princess, “there are yet fairer than I am. In the open fields is a white tent, in which dwell the daughters of the Tsar Bogrigor. The eldest is named Prodora, the second Tivobriga, and the youngest Legia: they are ten times fairer than I; compared to them I am as night to day. Whilst with my parents I was still fair, but now I am wasted with sorrow. And on the road to the kingdom of India there is a knight, in the dominions of Tsar Dalmat, named Ivashka Whitemantle Saracen’s-cap. I have heard from my father that for three-and-thirty years he has [213] guarded the kingdom of India, and that no traveller or knight rides past, no animal runs by, and no bird flies past; I know no one braver than he, for I have never before heard of the valour of Yaroslav Lasarevich.”

Now Yaroslav overheard these words, and his chivalrous heart could not brook it. He saddled his steed, embraced Ivan the Russian knight, and the Princess Kandaula, and rode off towards the kingdom of the Tsar Dalmat, to engage in fight with Ivashka Whitemantle. He had journeyed for some time, when he bethought himself that he was bound on an enterprise of life and death, without having taken leave of his father and mother. So he turned and rode till he came to the kingdom of the Tsar Kartaus, where he encountered Prince Daniil the White, at the head of three thousand men, who boasted that he would subdue the kingdom of Kartaus, take prisoners the Tsar himself, Prince Lasar, and the twelve knights, and carry them off to his own country. Yaroslav rode straight to the city, and there beheld Prince Lasar assembling an army for battle. Then dismounting from his horse, he threw himself with his face to the ground and said: “Long life to my lord and father! How fares it with thee? Wherefore so sad, my lord?” And Prince Lasar answered: “My [214] dear son, whence art thou come like a sunbeam to cheer me? How can I help grieving? Prince Daniil has invaded our dominion with an immense army and threatens to seize it and carry off the Tsar and me and the twelve knights prisoners.” Then spoke Yaroslav Lasarevich: “My lord and father, give me the shield, and lance, and I will go out to fight the enemy.” But Prince Lasar answered: “My son, how canst thou combat such a host, who hast never been in battle? The cries of the Tartars will terrify thee, and they will slay thee!” “Teach not the goose to swim, father,” answered Yaroslav, “nor a knight’s son to fight with Tartars! Only give me what I demand, and fear nought.”

Like a falcon darting upon geese and swans, Yaroslav fell upon the armies of Prince Daniil the White; and he hewed down not so many as his horse trampled under his hoofs, and he took Daniil prisoner. Yaroslav made him pledge his word never again to set foot in the kingdom of the Tsar Kartaus—he nor his children, nor his children’s children; adding that if he fell again into his hands he should die a miserable death. Then Yaroslav sent him back to his own country, and rode into the city. Then Tsar Kartaus came out to meet him, and Yaroslav threw himself with his [215] face to the ground and said: “Long years of happiness to thee, my liege Tsar Kartaus!” “Sir Yaroslav Lasarevich,” answered Kartaus, “I have wronged thee in banishing thee from my kingdom. Abide here and choose the best city and the fairest villages. My treasures are open to thee—take what thou desirest, and thy place is at my side.” Yaroslav answered: “O Tsar, I am wont to rove about, to seek adventure and to fight.” So, after he had eaten salt and bread with the Tsar and with his parents, he took leave of them all and rode forth.

And Yaroslav rode one, two, and three months, till at length he came to a plain, on which was pitched a white tent, wherein sat the three fair daughters of the Tsar Bogrigor, of whose beauty there was not the like in the wide world; and they were busy at their work. Yaroslav stepped into the tent, and was so amazed at the sight, that he forgot to pray to the ikons of the Saints. Then he took the eldest daughter, Prodora, by the hand, and desiring the others to leave the tent, said: “My gentle and beautiful Princess Prodora Bogrigorovna, is there in the world a fairer maiden than thou, or a braver knight than I?” And Prodora answered: “Sir Yaroslav Lasarevich, how can you call me fair? In the city of Dobri lives the daughter of the Tsar Vorcholomei, the Princess [216] Anastasia, compared to her we are like night to day. On the way to the Indian kingdom of the Tsar Dalmat is a knight named Ivashka Whitemantle Saracen’s-cap, and I have heard from my father that he is very powerful, and has guarded the kingdom of India for three-and-thirty years; no one passes him on foot or horse, no animal runs, no bird flies past. But what a brave knight art thou indeed to drive us maidens from the tent!” At this Yaroslav was angered: he bowed the head of the Princess and struck it off with his sword. Then he took the second Princess, Tivobriga, by the hand and said: “Gentle princess, is there a more beautiful maiden in the world than thou, or a braver knight than I?” And she answered as the eldest had done; so he struck off her head in like manner. Then he took the third sister Legia by the hand and asked her the same question as her sisters. And Legia answered: “Sir Yaroslav, I am neither beautiful nor good. When I was with my father and mother I was so, but now I am wasted and no longer handsome.” Then she likewise told him of the Princess Anastasia, the daughter of the Tsar Vorcholomei, and of the knight Ivashka. “Fairest lady,” replied Yaroslav, “thou has comforted me with thy gentle words.”

Then he went out of the tent, took leave of [217] Legia, mounted his steed, and rode off to the kingdom of India, to see the Tsar Dalmat and Ivashka Whitemantle. And he rode on for one, two and three months; and when he came near the city, there upon the plain stood Ivashka, leaning upon a lance, with a Saracen’s cap on his head and a white mantle around him. Yaroslav rode up to him, struck off his cap with his whip, and said: “Lie down and sleep, there is no need to stand!” “Who art thou?” inquired Ivashka; “what is thy name, and whence comest thou?” Yaroslav answered: “I am come from the kingdom of the Tsar Kartaus, and my name is Yaroslav: I am preparing to journey to the kingdom of India to pay my respects to the Tsar Dalmat.” But Ivashka answered: “Never has man or animal passed this way, and thinkest thou to do so? First let us go into the plain and try the prowess of our arms!” The two knights made a furious onset; and after a long fight Yaroslav thrust his lance at Ivashka’s heart, and threw him from the saddle; and Ivashka fell upon the ground like a sheaf of oats, and Yaroslav slew him on the spot.

Then Yaroslav rode on his way to the kingdom of India, and on arriving at the city he went straight to the Tsar Dalmat; and, entering the palace, he made his obeisance and said: “Long years of [218] happiness to thee, O Tsar, to thy family, and all thy princes and boyars! Take me into thy service!” Then said Dalmat: “Man, whence comest thou, and what is thy name, and whose son art thou?” So Yaroslav told him, and the Tsar said: “Which way hast thou come, by land or by water?” Yaroslav replied: “By land,” and the Tsar said: “I have a knight who dwells upon the open plains, and has guarded my kingdom for three-and-thirty years; no man or animal has ever passed him, on horse, foot, or wing; and how hast thou ridden past?” Yaroslav answered: “I have vanquished this man, O Tsar; but I knew not that he belonged to thee.”

On hearing this the Tsar was terrified, and thought to himself: “If he has slain such a knight he can easily conquer my kingdom, and he only wants to rob me of my throne.” This thought made him sorrowful, and he commanded all honour to be shown to Yaroslav Lasarevich, and gave him drink from his own goblet. Then Yaroslav observed that the Tsar feared him: he went out of the castle, saddled his steed, and rode away out of the kingdom. Tsar Dalmat was rejoiced to be freed from Yaroslav, and ordered the gates to be closed fast behind him.

Yaroslav now resolved to go to the city of Dobri [219] to witness the beauty of the Princess Anastasia, and he rode on for one, two, and three months. Then he bethought himself: “I have come to a strange country, perhaps to marry this Princess, or meet death without having my parents’ blessing.”

And with that, away he rode to the kingdom of the Tsar Kartaus, which he found conquered, and laid waste with fire and sword. There remained one solitary hut standing, in which dwelt a one-eyed old man. Yaroslav stepped into the hut, bowed to the man, and said: “Old brother, what has happened to this kingdom?” The man answered: “Brave knight, whence art thou come, and what is thy name?” But Yaroslav replied: “Knowest thou me not? I was born in this kingdom, the son of Prince Lasar, and my name is Yaroslav.” On hearing this the old man fell to the earth, and said with tears: “Since thou hast been gone, long time has passed. Daniil the White returned, and with him five times a hundred thousand men; he fell upon this kingdom, laid it waste with fire and sword, and slew a hundred thousand brave warriors. Five millions of the common folk, with all the priests and monks, he burnt in the open fields, slew twelve thousand infants, took prisoners the Tsar Kartaus with his twelve knights, and put to death the Tsarina and [220] thy mother, the Princess Epistimia. I am the only one left alive, and have lain nine days here half-dead with fear.”

Yaroslav wept when he heard this, and mounting his steed, commended himself to the Saints, and rode to seek the Tsar Daniil the White. He came to the city at noon without being seen, except by some little boys playing in the streets: and he asked them where the Tsar Kartaus was, as he wished to give him alms; so they showed him the prison. At the gate a guard was standing, but Yaroslav struck him down, and broke open the doors. On entering the prison, he saw Kartaus, his father Lasar, and the twelve knights, all blinded; at which cruel sight he fell to the ground, and with tears exclaimed: “Long life to thee, O Tsar, to thee my father, and to you brave knights!” Then answered Kartaus: “I hear thy voice but cannot see thy face. Whence comest thou, what is thy name, and whose son art thou?” So Yaroslav told him who he was; but Kartaus replied: “Fellow, away! and mock me not.”

“Father,” replied Yaroslav, “I am indeed Yaroslav, and come to relieve you.” “Lie not, fellow!” said Kartaus; “if Yaroslav had been alive we should not sit here in prison and suffer such a cruel fate; but I should have been reigning [221] in my kingdom with Prince Lasar and my twelve knights. But since Yaroslav is dead we are punished for our sins, and sit here in sightless solitude. If, however, you are really the true Yaroslav Lasarevich, ride, I pray thee, beyond the Still Waters and the Warm Sea, to the city of Shtchetin, where rules the Tsar Fireshield. Slay him, and take some drops of his blood; and when you return, anoint our eyes with it and we shall then see and shall believe you.”

Yaroslav made his obeisance to the Tsar, mounted his horse, and rode forth. But the boys in the streets had observed him, and they told it to their fathers, who said to Daniil the White: “O Prince, there has been in our city a brave warrior; his horse was like a lion, and he was armed from head to foot, and he rode away from the prison where Tsar Kartaus and his companions are confined.” Instantly Prince Daniil sent his servant Mursa to enquire who had been in the prison. And when he came there he found the doors standing open, and the guard slain; then, entering the doors, he said: “O Tsar Kartaus, tell me who has been with you here? Prince Daniil sends me to inquire.” And Kartaus answered: “My good fellow how can we tell who was here? A man was in the prison who called himself Yaroslav, but we recognized not his voice.”

[222] Then Mursa returned to Prince Daniil, and told him what Kartaus had said; and forthwith Prince Daniil ordered the trumpets to sound and the drums to beat; and a host of Tartars assembled around him to the number of two hundred and fifty thousand men. And he commanded thirty horsemen to pursue and take Yaroslav and to bring him before him. So they went in pursuit, and after riding for some time they descried Yaroslav asleep under an oak tree, and his horse standing beside him. The horse perceived that the Tartars were in pursuit of his master, and neighed loudly. Thereat Yaroslav awoke, and seeing the knights afar, he mounted his steed and rode off, exclaiming: “First catch the wind on the wide plains and then look to catch me!”

So saying he vanished from their sight, and rode beyond the Still Waters and the Warm Seas to the Podolish Horde, to the city of Shtchetin. Then the Tartars took counsel together what they should say to the Prince, and they resolved to pretend that they had not seen Yaroslav.

Yaroslav Lasarevich arrived in half a year at the city of Shtchetin, before which lay the remains of an army slain, and in the midst the head of a knight as big as a large hillock. Then Yaroslav rode round this army, and cried with a loud voice: “Is there [223] not here one living man?” And the Knight’s head said: “Yaroslav Lasarevich, whom seekest thou?” At this Yaroslav marvelled greatly; but the Head spoke again: “Wonder not, but tell me whither thou ridest, and what thou seekest.” Then Yaroslav asked: “But who art thou? In what kingdom dost thou dwell, and who are thy father and mother?” And the Head answered: “I am a knight of the Sadonic kingdom, son of the Tsar Prochos, and my name is Raslanei.” And Yaroslav said: “Whose armies lie here slain?” “These hosts belong to the Tsar Fireshield,” replied Raslanei, “and a year has not passed since I came here and slew them. The cause of the war was that the Tsar had seized upon towns belonging to my father. But tell me, Yaroslav, how far are you journeying?” Then said Yaroslav: “I am riding to the city of Shtchetin to slay the Tsar Fireshield.” But the Head answered: “Sooner will you be slain yourself! I was indeed a powerful knight, feared by all Tsars and knights; at my birth I was six feet tall, and as stout as a man could compass. When I was ten years old no wild beast, no man on foot, or knight on horse, could stand before me. Now you see how I am grown: my body is sixty feet long, twelve feet between the shoulders, and a feathered shaft can lie between my eyebrows. My head is as [224] big as a brewer’s vat; my arms are twenty feet long, and I could not stand my ground against the Tsar. The Tsar is strong, and has a mighty host; sword and scimitar wound him not; fire does not burn, water does not drown him. Yet I have a sword which can wound him, but unluckily I could not wield it, and he struck me down. Nevertheless, I will do you good service, and give you counsel; when you come to the city of Shtchetin and the Tsar Fireshield sees and questions you, answer that you desire to serve him. Then he will bid you follow him; do so, and serve him faithfully, and when he goes out to the chase, accompany him. Then remind him of me, and he will grow sad, but tell him you can get the sword which lies under my head. He will not believe you, but pledge your word, and as soon as you can, come to me, I will lift my head and give you the sword.”

Then Yaroslav made his bow, mounted his steed and rode to Shtchetin; and, as he approached the city, the Tsar perceived and accosted him. Yaroslav dismounted, and falling with his face to the ground, said: “Long years of happiness to thee, O Tsar! Take me, I pray, into thy service.” Then the Tsar asked him whence he came, whose son he was, and what was his name. Yaroslav replied: “I have roamed far and wide, and now [225] seek the service of a good lord and master; I was born in the kingdom of the Tsar Kartaus, the son of Prince Lasar, and my name is Yaroslav.” Then said the Tsar: “Yaroslav Lasarevich, ride into my city—I want followers.” So Yaroslav rode into the city.

One day the Tsar rode out to the chase, and took with him the boyars and knights, and Yaroslav was among them. When they approached the Knight’s Head, Yaroslav stood and marvelled at the sight. Then said the Tsar: “Why standest thou there, Yaroslav?” And Yaroslav answered: “O Tsar, I see here a great army lie slain, and this Knight’s Head, under which rests a trusty sword.” The Tsar sighed and answered: “This Knight has destroyed my army, and I slew him; his sword lies under his head, and I cannot get it. No sword can wound me, no fire burn, no water drown me; this sword alone has the power to slay me.”

Then said Yaroslav: “O Tsar, permit me to bring thee the sword.” And the Tsar replied: “Do this service and I will set thee above all my knights; but if thou talkest idly, thou shalt be safe neither in water, nor under the earth, nor among the rocks.” And so saying, the Tsar returned into the city, and Yaroslav rode up to the Knight’s Head and said: “Sir Knight’s Head, I trust to thy love and [226] friendship to fulfil thy promise and give me up this sword; for I have given my word to the Tsar to take it to him, and shall die a cruel death if I perform not my promise.” But the Knight’s Head answered not a word. Then Yaroslav dismounted from his good steed, fell on his knees before him, and said: “Sir Raslanei, let me die not thus in vain—give me, I pray, the sword from under thee.”

Thereupon the Knight Raslanei raised himself, and Yaroslav took the sword, bowed to the Knight’s Head, and mounting his steed, rode off to the city of Shtchetin. And on the way he said to himself: “Hitherto I have been victorious over Tsars and knights, but now indeed I am forced to bend before a Knight’s Head, and entreat him to give me a sword!”

Raslanei heard this, and cried with a loud voice: “Ho, Sir Knight! return!” So Yaroslav turned round, and went back to the Head; and the Head reproached him, saying: “Thy sword could not touch my helm.” Then Yaroslav fell on the ground and said: “Sir Knight Raslanei, pardon me for having offended thee!” And the Knight’s Head answered: “Yaroslav Lasarevich, thy youth and want of understanding have made thee speak thus. Thou hast taken my sword indeed; but even with this thou mayest still lose thy life; [227] nevertheless, I wish thee well, and will teach thee understanding. When thou comest to the city, and the Tsar sees thee, he will descend from his throne for joy, welcome thee in the midst of his Court, and give thee gold and silver and precious stones. Then deal him a single blow upon his head with the sword; but beware of striking a second blow, or he will revive and kill thee.”

Yaroslav raises his sword to strike

And so saying, he stretched out his hand to take the sword.

Yaroslav bowed himself to the Knight’s Head, and rode to the city; and no sooner had he reached the castle, and the Tsar saw him bringing the sword, than he sprang from his throne, flung away his sceptre, received him in his Court, and said: “Yaroslav Lasarevich, in return for this service I grant thee one place opposite me, the second by my side, and a third where thou wilt. My treasures are open to thee—take towns and handsome villages, and if thou wilt have my daughter the Princess Nasaria for wife, I will give thee one-half of my kingdom.” And so saying, he stretched out his hand to take the sword; but Yaroslav struck him a blow which cleft his head, and the Tsar fell dead on the spot. Then all the princes and boyars cried aloud: “Yaroslav Lasarevich, strike him a second blow!” But he answered: “A knight deals one blow, and that is enough.” Forthwith a number of princes and boyars and the twelve knights fell upon him, [228] and were going to put him to death; but Yaroslav set his lance under his arm, seized the Tsar with his left hand, and clutching his sword with his right, he fell to slaying the princes and knights on all sides.

Soon the other princes and inhabitants of the city cried aloud: “O Yaroslav Lasarevich, cease killing and slaying! It is the will of fate—live with us and rule over our land!” But Yaroslav replied: “Choose a Tsar from among yourselves: I am no Tsar for you.” He ceased, however, slaying the people, and taking some of the Tsar’s blood, put it into a phial; then mounting his horse, he rode out of the city and away, until he came to Sir Raslanei, and, taking the headless body, he set the head upon it, and sprinkled it with the blood. Thereupon the Knight stood up, as if awakened from a dream; and Yaroslav embraced him, and they called one another brothers: Raslanei was the elder, and Yaroslav the younger. Then they parted, and each rode his way. Raslanei rode to his Sadonic kingdom, to receive his mother’s blessing, as he wished to marry the daughter of the Tsar of Shtchetin, and rule over that city. But Yaroslav rode on and on for half a year, until he came to the kingdom of Daniil the White. On entering the city he went straight to the prison, [229] before which a strong guard was posted: so he slew them all, broke open the gates, entered the prison, and said: “Hail, O Tsar Kartaus, and thou my father, Prince Lasar, and ye twelve knights! How does Heaven protect you?” But the Tsar Kartaus answered: “Man, whence are thou, and what is thy name?” “O Tsar,” replied Yaroslav, “I was born in thy kingdom, the son of Prince Lasar, and my name is Yaroslav. I have fulfilled thy commands and slain the mighty Tsar, and have taken some of his blood.” Then said Kartaus: “If thy name is indeed Yaroslav Lasarevich, and thou hast slain the Tsar and taken of his blood, anoint our eyes with it; then we shall see the light of heaven and shall believe thee.”

So Yaroslav took the blood from his phial and anointed their eyes, and they saw again; thereat they were overjoyed, and with tears exclaimed: “O Yaroslav Lasarevich, it is indeed he!” and they embraced him. Then the Tsar Kartaus asked him: “Where hast thou been so long?” “Wait an instant,” replied Yaroslav; and so saying, he left the prison, mounted his good steed, and rode out of the city.

Early the next morning Yaroslav cried out with a loud voice; and when Prince Daniil the White heard the shout, he ordered the trumpets to sound [230] and the drums to beat. Then the Murses and Tartars flocked around him, and divers warlike peoples, and Prince Daniil the White rode with them all out of the city.

Yaroslav Lasarevich took his shield and lance, and exclaimed: “As the falcon pounces upon white swans and grey ducks, so darts the brave Yaroslav Lasarevich upon the army of Daniil the White!” And many as he slew with his sword, his steed trod down yet more, and he killed ten thousand Murses, and a hundred thousand of the common Tartars; and he made Prince Daniil the White prisoner, and led him up to the city. He baptized all the little children up to the age of ten years into the true religion, and pronounced a curse upon theirs. Then he commanded the wife of Prince Daniil the White to be put to death, since she had killed his mother, the Princess Epistimia; but he spared the life of Prince Daniil and his nobles as he had not slain the Tsar Kartaus and Prince Lasar; he only put out their eyes, and threw them into prison under a strong guard. Then all the citizens came and fell with their faces to the earth, and entreated Yaroslav to reign over them; but instead, he seated the Tsar Kartaus on the throne, and Prince Lasar and the twelve knights were restored to their posts of honour. So there [231] were great rejoicings, and they fell to feasting right merrily.

When the tables were removed, Yaroslav Lasarevich stood up, praying to the ikons of the Saints, and took leave of his father and the Tsar Kartaus. All present followed him with their tears, and entreated him not to leave them, but he mounted his horse, and making his bow, rode off towards the city of Dobri, in the kingdom of the Tsar Vorcholomei, to see the beauty of the Princess Anastasia. Now, in this country there was a large lake, in which lived a huge three-headed Dragon guarding a precious stone, that every year came to the shore and devoured a number of men. The Tsar had proclaimed again and again that if anyone slew this monster he would give them plenty of gold and silver and towns. When Yaroslav came to the city and heard of this proclamation, he mounted his steed again and rode off to the lake. As soon as the monster espied him, he sprang ashore: Yaroslav’s horse trembled with fright, and fell on his knees, and Yaroslav was thrown to the ground. Then the Dragon seized and drew him into the lake. Yaroslav, who had nothing but his battle sword, leaped upon the back of the monster, and with one blow struck off his two heads, and was about to cut off the third, when [232] the Dragon turned round, and entreating him, said: “O Yaroslav Lasarevich, spare my life! From this time I will never more come on shore and devour men, but will remain at the bottom of the lake.” Then said Yaroslav: “Give me the stone, and I will set you free.” So the monster went down into the lake, with Yaroslav sitting upon his back; and Yaroslav received the precious stone, and desired the Dragon to set him again on shore; but no sooner had he done so, than Yaroslav struck off the Dragon’s third head, and mounting his steed, rode off to the city of Dobri, where the Tsar Vorcholomei came out to meet him. When the Tsar heard his name, and the exploit he had performed, he was overjoyed; and all the people of the city came and bowed to the ground, and all the little children jumped about, and there was great rejoicing in the city of Dobri. The Tsar in his rapture gave a great feast, and invited all his princes and boyars and people of different ranks, with their wives and children. Then he took Yaroslav by the hand, and seated him by his side at table and said: “Sir Yaroslav Lasarevich, thy will shall rule over me and my whole kingdom; my treasures are open to thee—take gold and silver, and towns and villages; and if thou wilt marry, I will give thee my daughter, the Princess [233] Anastasia, with one-half of my kingdom as her dowry.” Then Yaroslav, being merry and light-hearted, said: “Show me thy daughter, O Tsar Vorcholomei.” And the Tsar instantly ordered his daughter to appear before him, dressed in sumptuous attire, and she was more beautiful than any fancy could imagine. Then Vorcholomei took her by the hand and led her to Yaroslav. She reached to him a golden goblet of wine, and Yaroslav said: “Health to thee, dear Princess, the fairest in the wide world, long years of happiness to thee.” And he kissed her sugared lips. Then the Princess said to him: “Health to thee, too, my brave and dear knight!” Then Yaroslav went to the Tsar Vorcholomei, and said: “O Tsar, thy fair daughter pleases me, and I will take her to wife.” So Vorcholomei immediately commanded everything to be prepared for the wedding: and they all fell again to feasting and making merry.

Early the next morning the Tsar commanded another feast to be made ready, and taking Yaroslav by the hand, said: “Brave knight Sir Yaroslav Lasarevich, I give thee in marriage my dear and beauteous daughter Anastasia: love her well and truly, and live in harmony with her. And, that I may witness your happy life, I bestow on thee as her dowry my whole kingdom: only guard it [234] against enemies.” Then said the Tsar to his daughter: “Dear daughter, live with thy husband in peace and love, and honour him, for the husband is always the head over the wife.” Thereupon he ordered them to drive off to church and be married; and after the wedding they returned to the royal halls. Yaroslav took the bride by the hand and led her to the Tsar Vorcholomei, his father-in-law. All the princes and boyars, with their wives, brought to him costly presents; and the Tsar received them and said: “Long years of happiness to my lord Prince Yaroslav Lasarevich, my beloved son-in-law, and his wife, my daughter, the fair Princess Anastasia!” Then all the princes and boyars cried aloud with one voice: “Hail, Sir Yaroslav Lasarevich, with thy young bride the fair Princess!” and they bowed them to the ground. Then Yaroslav and the Princess Anastasia, with all the princes and boyars fell to eating and drinking and making merry.

One day, as Yaroslav was conversing with Anastasia, he said: “My dear Tsarina, fairest princess in the world, I have gone through many kingdoms to behold thy beauty, and have heard of it far and wide from every maiden; and now, dear, tell me truly, is there any fairer princess than thou, or any braver knight than I?” Then the Princess replied: [235] “My dear friend, there is no braver or handsomer knight in the world indeed than thou; but as for me—what is there fair and good in me? In the country of the Amazons, in the City of the Sun, there is a Tsarina Polikaria, who herself rules over the land; another such a beauty there is not in the wide world.”

When Yaroslav Lasarevich heard this, he could think only of the beautiful Polikaria; and one morning he arose early, and said to his wife: “My dear Tsarina, I am going a journey to a certain city in a distant country; keep this precious stone which I took from the Dragon. Farewell! if I live, I will return to thee, but if death overtakes me, have a Mass said for me.” Thereat the Tsarina wept bitterly, and fell to the ground as if dead with grief. Then Yaroslav went to the Tsar Vorcholomei and said that he wished to pay a visit to his father, Prince Lasar, and took his leave.

Yaroslav journeyed for nine months, until at last he came to the City of the Sun, and dismounted at the gates of the palace. When the Tsarevna Polikaria beheld a handsome knight in the courtyard, she was frightened at his appearance in the castle without her permission; and when he entered she said to him: “Brave knight, whence comest thou, and what dost thou seek in our kingdom?”

[236] He replied: “I am come from the kingdom of the Tsar Kartaus, the son of Prince Lasar and the Princess Epistimia, and my name is Yaroslav. I am come to pay my compliments to thee, and to behold thy unspeakable beauty.” At hearing this the Tsarevna Polikaria was rejoiced, took him by his white hands, led him into the royal halls, and said: “Sir Yaroslav Lasarevich, abide here and rule over my kingdom, and thy will shall be my will.” As Yaroslav gazed on her beauty he was troubled at heart, but he could not refuse her request, so he remained there and ruled over her kingdom.

Meanwhile the Tsarina Anastasia had a brave little son; her father was greatly rejoiced, and gave him the name of Yaroslav. He had rosy cheeks, eyes like saucers, and a stout body: he was the image of his father, and the Tsar, in his joy, ordered a great feast to be prepared.

When young Yaroslav reached his sixth year, he went to the Court of his grandfather the Tsar Vorcholomei, and the children laughed at him, crying: “Yaroslav, you have no father!” This angered him, and he began to beat them; and when he seized one by the head, his head dropped off, and when he seized a hand, the hand dropped off, and when he seized a foot, the foot dropped off; [237] nevertheless, the princes and boyars dared not complain to the Tsar. Then little Yaroslav went to his mother and said: “Mother, tell me the truth—have I a father or no?” At this the Tsarina Anastasia sighed deeply, and replied with tears: “Thou hast a father, child—the brave knight Yaroslav Lasarevich; he is gone a long journey to the City of the Sun, in the country of the Amazons.”

On hearing this, Yaroslav Yaroslavovich put on his armour to go in search of his father; and his mother gave him a golden ring with the precious stone. Then Yaroslav saddled his horse, took leave of his mother and grandfather, and rode forth to seek his father.

One morning, at early dawn, he arrived at the city of the Sun. Now, at that time Yaroslav, his father, was in the camp; and when he heard the voice of a strange knight, he cried: “Who comes riding this way? I will go out and slay him.”

With the swiftness of a falcon’s sweep, the two knights, father and son, rushed at each other, and Yaroslavovich struck his father with the butt-end of his lance, and well-nigh overthrew him. Then said Yaroslav, the father: “Young boy, go to! or I’ll punish thee!” So they made a second onset, and Yaroslav Lasarevich thrust the butt-end of [238] his lance at his son and unsaddled him. And Yaroslav, the father, aimed at him the sharp point of his lance, and was about to kill him; but young Yaroslav seized the lance with his right hand, and the precious stone sparkled on his finger. Then Yaroslav Lasarevich exclaimed: “Whence comest thou, boy? Whose son art thou, and what is thy name?” And the son answered: “I come from the city of Dobri, in the kingdom of the Tsar Vorcholomei; my father is Yaroslav Lasarevich, and my mother is the Tsarina Anastasia. But I know not my father; and for this reason I am come hither in search of him. My name is Yaroslav.”

On hearing this, his father leaped from his horse, raised his son, and pressed him to his heart. Then they mounted their steeds and rode to the city of Dobri, where they found all the people in lamentation, for the Tsar Vorcholomei was dead. But the people recognised the knights, and bowed before them and said: “Hail, our Lord Yaroslav Lasarevich with your noble son! Our Tsar has left the dominion of our kingdom to thee.” Then the Tsarevna Anastasia came forth from her palace, fell to the earth, and with tears exclaimed: “O my bright Sun, whence comest thou to warm and cheer us?” Then she took him by his white hands and led him into the royal apartments; and all the [239] people, the princes and boyars, made their obeisance to Yaroslav, and brought him rich presents.

Yaroslav mounted the throne with great pomp, took the sceptre, put on the purple robes, and set the golden crown upon his head. Then he called his son to him and said: “My dear child, take a war-horse, a suit of armour, a battle sword and lance, and ride forth. Sit firmly on thy horse, and be a brave knight, as I have been. Ride to the kingdom of Daniil the White, to the Tsar Kartaus, and thy grandfather Prince Lasar; then to my brother-in-arms, Ivan the Russian knight, who now rules in the kingdom of the Tsar Feodul the Dragon-King, and to the mighty knight, Raslanei, who rules in the kingdom of the Tsar Fireshield. Inquire after the health of them all, and return to me. Upon the journey be gentle and courteous, but brave.” So Yaroslav received his parent’s blessing, and set out on his travels.

In five years he had journeyed and paid all these visits, and returned to his father. And on the way a little old man met him and stopped up the road; but he asked him: “Old man, why dost thou place thyself in my way, and wilt not let me pass?” And so saying, he was about to ride over him, but the little old man saw his intention and said to him: “Poor knight, wouldst thou kill a little old [240] man? Thou canst get nothing from the old.” This did not please Yaroslav: he drew his sword to slay the man; but just as he was rushing at him the old man blew on him, and Yaroslav could not withstand even this mere breath of wind, and fell from his horse like a sheaf of corn. Then the old man took him by the arm and said: “Poor knight, wilt thou live or die?” Yaroslav was so terrified that he could not answer a word. Then the old man laid him on the ground and said: “No knight, no hero, above all, no man, can stand against me; but art thou not the son of the Tsar in the kingdom of Vorcholomei?” He answered that he was. Then said the old man: “Ride home, but say nothing of me in that kingdom.” And with that he vanished.

Yaroslav went to seek his father and mother, and they came to meet him, and the princes and boyars threw themselves with their faces to the ground before him. Then his father took him by his white hands, kissed him on his sugared lips, led him into the royal halls, seated him at the oaken tables spread with fine cloths, and gave a great feast. And the elder Yaroslav began to question his son, and said: “Thou hast travelled to thy grandfather Prince Lasar, tell me about him and how he is.”

Then Yaroslav delivered the following letter from the Tsar Kartaus to his father:—“The [241] Tsar Kartaus sends hearty greetings to the great Tsar and powerful knight Yaroslav Lasarevich! Health to thee and thy lady wife, Anastasia Vorcholomeievna, and to thy son, Yaroslav Yaroslavovich, and to thy princes and boyars and all thy subjects! I continue to rule happily in my kingdom!” Upon the same paper was written by Prince Lasar to his son: “To my dear son Yaroslav Lasarevich, and my dear daughter-in-law, Anastasia Vorcholomeievna, my grandson, Yaroslav Yaroslavovich, and thy whole kingdom, peace and blessing! Rule and govern happily, and mayest thou be prosperous for many long years!”

Yaroslav Lasarevich was greatly rejoiced, and said to his son: “Hast thou been to visit my brother-in-law, Prince Ivan the Russian Knight?” And young Yaroslav gave a letter likewise from him to his father, in which was written as follows:—“To the mighty Tsar of Tsars, and Knight of Knights, my elder brother Yaroslav Lasarevich, hearty greetings! Hail to thee, and happiness for many years, with thy lady wife, Anastasia Vorcholomeievna, and thy son, the valiant knight Yaroslav, and thy whole empire! Sire, when thy son entered my kingdom, I was returning from battle; I knew not thy son, and imagined he was a knight come to subdue my kingdom. I attacked [242] him, and was about to cut off his head with my battle sword; but he seized his long lance, and with the butt-end thrust so boldly at my heart that I could hardly keep my seat in my saddle; then said he: ‘I am the son of Yaroslav Lasarevich.’ When I heard these words I pardoned him; but the wound he gave me is not yet healed.”

Then Yaroslav delivered to his father another letter, from the knight, Sir Raslanei, which ran as follows: “I, the great Tsar Raslanei Prochorovich, to my younger brother, the great Tsar and powerful knight, Yaroslav Lasarevich, send hearty greetings! And, with this greeting, health and happiness to thee also, O Tsar, with thy fair lady wife, Anastasia Vorcholomeievna, and thy son the brave knight Yaroslav Yaroslavovich! Thy son has cleft my head and has pierced me through with the butt-end of his lance, and my wounds remain still unhealed; but I heard that he was thy son, and have pardoned him, and sent him back to thee uninjured.”

Then Yaroslav related to his father everything in order; and soon the feast was prepared, and they all made merry, and were in great joy at Yaroslav’s return. Then began Yaroslav Lasarevich to praise the bravery of his son, and to tell how he had overthrown Tsars and powerful knights; whereat all the princes and boyars marvelled at his [243] bravery, and declared there were no other such knights in the world as these, father and son, and that no one could stand against them.

Yaroslav Lasarevich subdued many cities to his dominion; and many others, when they heard of his bravery, surrendered voluntarily to his power. And he sat upon the throne in good health for twenty years, and his age was forty-and-nine years and three months when he died. His wife, Anastasia Vorcholomeievna, wept and was inconsolable for the loss of her husband, and she also soon died of grief. And her son Yaroslav wept for his father, the mighty knight Yaroslav Lasarevich, and long too wept for his mother. Soon after he mounted the throne of his father, and ruled with renown and glory.


Transcriber's Note

Inconsistent capitalisation has been preserved as printed.

Hyphenation has been made consistent.

Punctuation errors have been repaired.

Typographic errors have been amended as follows:

Page vi—highest amended to waving, for consistency—"The Horse grew restive, reared higher than the waving forest"

Page vi—in amended to on, for consistency—"At length they fell in with a cripple on the road"

Page 59—Tsarevitch amended to Tsarevich—"Early the next morning Ivan Tsarevich awoke his master, ..."

Page 68—Litscharda amended to Litcharda—"... he sent his servant Litcharda as ambassador ..." and "When Litcharda arrived at the city of Dimichtian, ..."

Page 75—Andronovitch amended to Andronovich—"... to the Armenian kingdom of King Sensibri Andronovich."

Page 113—Miltrisa amended to Militrisa—"When Militrisa raised the cloth and beheld the head, ..."

Page 113—Miltrisa amended to Militrisa—"Militrisa at once knew him, fell at his feet, ..."

Page 158—Prituishkin amended to Prituitshkin—"Then Goria mounted the steed, and Prituitshkin another, ..."

Page 162—Scarely amended to Scarcely—"Scarcely, however, had she entered the bedroom ..."

Page 186—jduge amended to judge—"But the judge Shemyaka sent his servant to the poor man ..."

Page 188—beaautiful amended to beautiful—"Long life and happiness to their Majesties and the beautiful Princess Magilene!"

Page 212—Bugrigor amended to Bogrigor—"... in which dwells the daughters of the Tsar Bogrigor."

Page 223—or amended to on—"... or knight on horse, could stand before me."

Page 238—cheeer amended to cheer—"... whence comest thou to warm and cheer us?"

Page 241—Yaroslavoich amended to Yaroslavovich—"... and to thy son, Yaroslav Yaroslavovich, ..."

Illustrations have been moved where necessary so that they are not in the middle of a paragraph. The frontispiece illustration has been moved to follow the title page.

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