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Cornell University Library 
PZ 8.C97F2 

Fairy tales of eastern Europe 


3 1924 028 083 479 

The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



A dual interest attaches to this posthumous work of Jere- 
miah Curtin, — interest in the noted author no less than in the 
pleasing tales making up his last contribution to literature. 

Our young readers will find their chief delight in the stories, 
and indeed may never take the trouble to read this introduction 
at all ; but as a matter of recopi — simple justice to a remark- 
able man — ^no book ought to go forth bearing Mr. Curtin's 
name without some mention of his manifold activities, least of 
all this final product of his pen, recently brought to light among 
his papers. 

Jeremiah Curtin's gift of tongues — ^his ability to study 
many diverse peoples in the intimacy of their own speech — ■ 
came to him naturally. Dr. Charles W. Eliot, under whom he 
studied at Harvard says : "Seven months and a half before 
he entered Harvard, Curtin states that he did not know, one 
word of Latin or Greek, but at the admission examination he 
offered more of each language than was required. At the 
time of his death he knew more than sixty languages and dia- 
lects, and spoke fluently every language of Europe and several 
of the languages of Asia." As a further instance of his ex- 
traordinary facility in language, Dr. Eliot continues : "In Si- 
beria he studied the Buriat language with a Buriat who knew 



Russian, and hard as it was to acquire a strange language 
without the aid of books, he accomplished the feat in a few 
weeks. At sixty he learnt a new language as quickly as he 
did when a Harvard student. Having acquired a language, 
Curtin always wished to learn the history, principal achieve- 
ments, myths, folk-lore, and religious beliefs and usages of 
the people who spoke that language. Hence his great learn- 
ing, and his numerous publications on myths and folk tales." 

Mr. Curtin came honestly by his literary and linguistic 
genius, for centuries ago, when Ireland was her own, the Mac 
Curtins were hereditary historians of Thomond. Hugh Ogl 
Mac Curtin was a noted patriot poet in the isth Century, An- 
drew Mac Curtin a poet and historian of the period of i7oo,j 
and reputed "one of the best Gaelic scholars having tran-t 
scribed from the ancient manuscript the history of the wars 
of Thomond," and another Hugh Mac Curtin, described by 
Hyde as a "learned poet and lexicographer," was the author 
of an important Gaelic dictionary in 1732. 

Soon after coming to America the Curtins settled just out- 
side the present city of Milwaukee, Wis., where Jeremiah Cur-| 
tin was born, in 1838. Milwaukee was then two years old and 
a conglomerate of immigrants from half the nations of Eu- 
rope. With such surroundings it is easy to understand how 
the boy's natural bent for study was turned in the direction 
of races and languages. Schools were few and rudimentary, | 
the term being limited to three months in the winter and three 
in the summer. By making friends with the immigrants the 



boy learned a good deal of German, French and Norse, and 
laid the foundation of his later Indian studies by cultivating 
the acquaintance of the vagrant Potowatomi and Winnebago. 
No linguistic opportunity ever escaped him. Aside from per- 
sistence and hard study his success was largely due to his 
kindly, sympathetic nature so marked through life. He read- 
ily won the confidence of the simplest folk. After the death 
of his father he entered Carroll College at Waukeshaw, go- 
ing from there to Harvard, where he was graduated in 1863. 

Leaving college in his twenty-fifth year with a trained mind, 
a rugged constitution and the world before him, Mr. Curtin's 
life work was already chosen and its plan well matured. It 
was a purpose magnificently simple, but such as probably never 
came to a man before or since, — nothing less than to sweep 
the Aryan field of languages, — in other words to devote his 
life to a comparative study of the entire Indo-European race 
from the headlands of Ireland across the Balkans to the Cau- 
casus, and on down to the heart of the Hindu peninsula, and 
furthermore to study these languages among the people and 
the tribes in their ovra homes. This task he actually accom- 
plished. He did not stop with Aryan languages, but studied 
in the scope of his investigations, Hungarian, Turkish, Arabic, 
Chinese, Japanese, Mongol and the Maya of Central America. 
Nearly half a century was given by this painstaking man to 
systematic travel and the study of the languages of three con- 

In 1864 he was appointed Secretary of the American Le- 



gation to Russia, which office he held for several years, travel- 
ing and studying meanwhile. In 1883 he became connected 
with the Bureau of Ethnology and made a study of Indian 
languages. He was in active service till 1891 ; then feeling 
that he could not carry out his literary plans and work for the 
Bureau at the same time, he tendered his resignation. The 
Chief of the Bureau refused to regard it as a final severance 
of relations and asked him to consider himself an honorary 
member — which he did. 

The final years of his life were spent in traveling, writing, 
and studying indefatigably. He was equally at home in all 
lands and climes, and remote the tribes whose speech he did 
not understand. In 1900 he spent a year or more in Siberia, 
China, and Japan, making a circuit of the world. 

In addition to his books on folk-lore, he wrote an important 
history of the Mongols. His popular reputation was assured 
in the nineties by his brilliant translations of the works of 
Sienkiewicz, especially "Quo Vadis," but scholars and critics 
have long since recognized the peculiar value of his original 
work. Mr. Curtin died in 1906. 

Theodore Roosevelt, then President of the United States, 
paid this tribute to him : ^ "The death of Jeremiah Curtin 
robbed America of one of her two or three foremost scholars. 
Mr. Curtin, who was by birth a native of Wisconsin, at one 
time was in the diplomatic service of the Government ; but his 
chief work was in literature. The extraordinary facility with 

1 Introduction to "The Mongols.'' 



which he learned any language, his gift of style in his own 
language, his industry, his restless activity and desire to see 
strange nations and out of the way people, and his great gift 
of imagination which enabled him to appreciate the epic sweep 
of vital historical events, all combined to render his work of 
peculiar value. His extraordinary translations of the Polish 
novels of Sienkiewicz would in themselves have been enough 
to establish a first-class reputation for any man. In addition 
he did remarkable work in connection with Indian, Celtic and 
other folk tales." 

The present collection of "Fairy Tales of Eastern Europe" 
was gathered by him personally in the course of his travels. 
They were obtained by word of mouth in direct converse with 
the people in their daily lives — ^when stopping perhaps in some 
rude wayside cabin, or mingling as one of them in their fes-, 
tivals. In this way the author has preserved the quaint flavor 
of the original stories. He did this, as he himself averred, 
in order to find, back of the story, the common link in mythol- 
ogy uniting the people with other races. Writing on the sub- 
ject of folk-lore, he says: "Many of these tales are of re- 
markable beauty. They are of deep interest both to young 
and old, and nowhere do they enjoy more delicate appreciation 
than among the educated people in America and England. 
The delight in a beautiful and wonderful story is the very 
highest mental pleasure for a child, and great even for a grown 
man; but the explanation of it (if explanation there be) and 
the nature of its heroes (if that can be discovered) are dear to 



the mind of a mature person of culture. Much has been writ- 
ten touching the heroes of folk tales, as well as the characters 
in Aryan mythology, but it appears to have produced small 
effect; for to most readers it seems unproven, and founded 
mainly on the views of each writer. This is the reason why 
the chief, almost the only, value found in folk tales as yet is 
the story itself, with its simple beauty, incomparable grotesque- 
ness, and marvelous adventures. 

"The great majority even of the least modified tales of 
Europe have mainly substituted heroes — sons of kings, tsars, 
merchants, poor men, soldiers, — so that in most cases the birth, 
occupation, or name of the present hero gives no clue to the 
original hero of the tale; but incidents do. The incidents are 
often an indication of what kind of person the original hero 
must have been." 

"Fairy Tales of Eastern Europe" are drawn from four 
sources, — ^the Russian or Slavic, the Hungarian or Magyar, th^ 
Bohemian or Chekh, and the Serbian. The table of contents 
shows the general groups. The stories deal largely with ad- 
venturous deeds, and in this respect form an interesting parat< 
lei to the stories of "The Thousand and One Nights." The 
most striking example of this in "The Magic Lamp," which 
at once suggests our friend Aladdin, yet the author presents 
it just as he got it by word of mouth from the Hungarian 
peasants. One wonders if such similarities can be explained' 
by the waves of conquest such as that of the Mongols undef 
Genghis Khan, in the thirteenth century, or whether they dat<? 



back centuries further to some common cradle of the race! 
It is just such secrets as this that Mr. Curtin spent his lifetime 
in trying to discover; and although such a herculean task 
must necessarily be left incomplete, the reward comes with the 
doing, and the thanks of readers into whose hands fall these 
old world stories of potent charm. 

J. Walker McSpadden 




The Twelve Months .... 
The Cat and the Fox . . ., 
Dawn, Twilight, and Midnight 
The World's Reward .... 
The Town of Nothing . . . 
The Ambitious Old Woman 
Ivan Tsarevich and Bailoi Polyanyin 





The Apples of Youth 61 

The World-Beautiful Sharkan Roja .... 79 
The Golden Fish, the Wonder- Working Tree, 
and the Golden Bird 91 


Fate 141 

The Waters of Life and Death 151 

The Water of Endless Youth 175 

The Magic Lamp 195 


The Three Golden Hairs of Grandfather 

Know All 213 

The Laughing Apples and the Weeping Quinces . 227 
Long, Broad, and Swift Glance ........ 243 


The Stork and the Heron 



'Stretched himself and went thirty miles at a step" Frontispiece 


"At the edge of the lake he found the earthen vessel and 
filled it with water" io6 

"On the seventy-seventh island of that sea stands, on golden 

duck legs, the castle of wondrous fair Ilona" .... 182 

"At that moment a tremendous dragon flew up and dropped 

to the ground in front of her" .., ,. .. 232 




A WOMAN had two daughters, one was her own, 
the other was a step-daughter. She loved 
Holena, her own daughter, but hated Marushka, the 
step-daughter, for she was prettier and smarter than 



Holena sat around in idleness, while'Marushka had to 
cook, wash, spin, weave, bring grass and take care of 
the cow. She was willing to work, she didn't know 
why her mother hated her, but she bore reproaches with 

At last the step-mother and her daughter thought 
only of how 'to get rid of poor Marushka. They tor- 
tured her with hunger, and beat her, but she endured 
it all and grew more beautiful each day. 

pne day, in the middle of winter, Holena pretended 
to want violets, and she said to Marushka, — 

"Go to the woods and get me some violetsJl want to 
put them in my belt and enjoy their perfume." 


"But, sister, what has come to your mind? I have 
never heard of violets blossoming in winter," answered 

"How do you dare to question when I command? 

Worthless creature, toad! If you do not go this min- 
ute to the woods and get me violets I will kill you," 
threatened Holena. 

The step-mother seized Marushka, pushed her out of 
the house, and closed the door, ^he girl went to the 
forest, weeping bitterly. Deep snow was on the ground ; 
there was no trace of a path. Long she wandered, ^he 
was hungry and cold, and prayed to God to take her out 
of the world. 

At last, off in the distance, she saw a bright light. 
She went toward it and ascending a hill she came to a 
fire; around the fire on twelve stones, sat twelve men; 
three old men with long white beards, three somewhat.' 
younger, three in years of manhood, and three beautiful 
youths. They were sitting in silence and looking calmly 
on the fire. They were the Twelve Months. 

December sat in the first place; his hair and beard 
were white as snow ; he held a scepter in his hand. 

Marushka stood in astonishment, but after a time, 
summoning courage, she drew near, and asked, — 

"Kind men, will you let me warm myself at the fire? 
I am shivering with cold." 


December nodded his head. When the maid was 
warm, he asked, /^hy are you here?" 

"I am looking for violets," answered Marushka. 

"But there are no violets in winter; everything is 
covered with snow." 

'T know that," answered Marushka, sadly; "but my 
mother and sister have sent me for violetsj if I do not 
get them they will kill me. Tell me, good shepherds, 
is there any place where I can find violets ?" 

/December rose from his seat, went to the youngest 
month, and said, — 

"Brother March, sit in the first place." J 

March took the highest place /and waved the scepter 
above the fire; that instant the fire burned more power- 
fully. The snow thawed; biids appeared on the 
branches and grass grew green, beneath the trees; 
flowers began to open — Spring had come. In the 
thickets violets were blooming; there were so many that 
they were like a blue carpet. 

"Quick, Marushka, pluck them!" said March. 

Marushka gathered a great bouquet, thanked the 
Twelve Months, and hurried home.l 

Holena and her mother were astonished when they 
saw Marushka coming with a large bunch of violets in 
her hand./ They opened the door; she entered and the 
whole house was filled with the perfume. 


rVVhere did you find them?" asked Holena. 
"On a hill f there are many of them under the trees." 
Holena took the violets, put them in her belt and en- 
joyed their perfume; she didn't offer even one of them 

to Marushka. 

'^ . . — 

/The next day they sent Marushka for strawberries, 
Long she wandered around in the cold, praying God to 
take her out of the world; then she came to the Twelve 
Months and again met with a kind reception. Learn- 
ing what she wanted, December left his place and going 
to the month sitting just opposite, gave him the scepter, \ 
and said, — -. 
"Brother June, sit in the first place." 

) June sat in the highest place and waved the scepter 
above the fire; that instant the flames leaped high/the 
snow melted, the earth was covered with grass, the trees 
with leaves; the birds began to sing; many-colored 
flowers bloomed in the forest — Summer had come. 
Little white blossoms gleamed, like stars, in the grass, 
as if some one had put them there on purpose. Before 
Marushka's eyes the flowers became fruit, and the 
berries were ripe. She could not look around befor^ 
the grass was dotted with them as if some one had 
sprinkled it with blood-drops. 

'Marushka gathered many berries and took them to 
her sister. 


Helena ate some of them and gave her mother some, 
but did not offer even one to Marushka. j 
/The next day Holena wanted apples/ and she sent 
Marushka for them. The unfortunate girl waded 
through deep snow and wandered around in the cold 
praying God to take her out of the world. At last she 
found the Twelve Months sitting in front of their fire as 
formerly. When she told them what she had been sent 
for, December gave the scepter to his brother September, 
who sat in the first place and waved the scepter over the 
fire. The fire burned brighter and the snow vanished, 
but Nature had a solemn face ; leaves were falling from 
the trees, a fresh wind drove them hither and thither over 
the dry and yellow grass. Marushka saw no flowers, 
but she saw an apple tree loaded with red fruit. 

"Shake the tree quickly," said September. 

She shook it; one blushing apple fell. She shook it 
again; another fell. 

"Now hurry home," said September. 

She obeyed, and carried home the two apples. 

Holena ^wondered at their beauty and so did her 

"Where did you get them?" 

"On a hill; there are many there yet." 

"Why didn't you bring more?" asked Holena, angrily. 
"No doubt you ate them on the road." 


"I did not. I shook the tree once — one appk fell; I 
shook it again — another fell. They wouldn't let me 
shake it again; they told me to go home." 

"May lightning strike you!" screamed Holena, and 
she wanted to beat her sister. 

The poor girl began to cry. Holena ate an apple; it 
seemed to her wonderfully sweet. She finished, and said 
to her mother, — 

"Give me my cloak, I'll go into the forest myself. If 
that good-for-nothing girl goes she will be sure to eat the 
apples. I'll shake off every apple whether they permit 
me to or not, it's all the same to me," 

She put on her cloak, tied a shawl over her head and; 
went out. 

The snow was deep, there was no trace of a human ^ 
foot anywhere. She wandered long, and at last she 
came to the Twelve Months. Without asking leave 
Holena walked straight to the fire and began to warm 
her hands. 

"What do you want; why are you here?" asked De- 
cember, severely. 

"Why ask, old man? What business is it of ycjurs; 
where I am going?" answered Holena, and turned to go 
into the forest. December frowned and raised his 
scepter. That moment the fire died down, the heavens 


grew dark, snow fell in great flakes, as if some one were 
shaking feathers out of a tick; and a cutting, all-chilling 
wind whistled through the forest. Holena could not see 
one step before her ; she felt that her limbs were growing 
stiff. She cursed Marushka, and stumbled on. 

The mother, waiting at home, looked through the win- 
dow, and ran to the gate ; but hours passed by, one after 
another, and no Holena came. 

"Most likely she found the apples so good that she 
can't stop eating them. I'll go myself and look for her," 
said the mother. 

She put on her cloak, threw a shawl over her head and 
went in search of her daughter. 

Time passed. Marushka got supper ready, and fed 
the cow, but neither Holena nor her mother came. 

"Where are they stopping so long?" thought 
Marushka, and she sat down to spin. The spinning was 
finished, then night came, but still they were not at 

"Lord be merciful to us! What has happened to 
them?" said the kind-hearted girl. 

She looked out. The heavens were gleaming with 
stars, the earth glittering with snow, but no human be- 
ing was visible anywhere. She closed the door, made 
the sign of the cross, repeated "Our Father" for her 


step-mother and sister, and then lay down to sleep. The 
next day she looked for them at breakfast, waited for 
them at dinner ; but in vain — ^they came not again to the 
house of living man. 


ONCE there was a peasant who had a cat so mis- 
chievous that there was no living with him. The 
peasant was tired of him; he put him in a bag, tied the 
bag up firmly and carried it to the forest. There he 
opened it, pulled the cat out and throwing him away, 
said : "Let the wretch perish !" 

The cat wandered about till he came to a forester's 
cabin. As there was no one living in the cabin he 
crawled into the garret and lay there at his ease. If 
he wished to eat he went into the forest and caught birds 
and mice, and after eating his fill went back to the garret. 

Once when he was strolling around in the forest a 
fox met him. She looked at him and wondered, think- 
ing to herself, "How many years have I lived in this 
forest, and I have never seen such a beast !" She bowed 
down before him and said, — 

"Tell me, good youth, who you are; by what chance 
you come here, and how you are honored by name." 

The cat raised the hair on his back, and said, "I am 
from the Siberian forests; I have been sent here to be 
Mayor of the place, and Kotof ei Ivanovitch is my name." 



"Oh, Kotofei Ivanovitch," said the fox, "I had not 
heard of your arrival, but come and dine with me. Be 
my guest." 

The cat went home with the fox and she entertained 
him with every kind of game. At last she asked, "Ko- 
tofei Ivanovitch, are you married or single?" 

"I am single," answered the cat. 

"And I am a maiden," said the fox. "Will you marry 

The cat consented and they had a wedding with feast- 
ing and gladness. 

The next day the fox went out to get provisions that 
she and her husband might have something to live on — 
but the cat stayed at home. 

As the fox was running through the forest she met a 
wolf. The wolf spoke loving words to her, and said, 
"I have looked everywhere for you, but could not find 
you. Where have you been all this time?" 

"Stop!" said the fox; "none of your soft words to me, 
I was a maiden, but now I am married." 

"Whom have you married, Lisevata Ivanovna ?" 

"Haven't you heard that Kotofei Ivanovitch f rbm the 
Siberian forests has come to us as Mayor? I am the 
Mayor's wife." 

"I had not heard of it, Lisevata Ivanovna. How can 
I get a look at him?" 


"Oh, my Kotofei Ivanovitch is terribly fierce. If you 
don't please him at first sight he will eat you. See that 
you get a sheep ready and make him a present. Put the 
sheep down near our place and hide lest he sees you. 
If he sees you, you will come to grief." 

The wolf hurried off to get the sheep. 

The fox went farther and met a bear, who spoke lov- 
ing words to her. 

"Stop! bow-legged Mishka," said she. "I was a 
maiden, but now I am married." 

"Who is your husband, Lisevata Ivanovna ?" 

"The Mayor who has been sent to us from the Siberian 
forests. His name is Kotofei Ivanovitch." 

"Could I have alSok^t him?" asked the bear. 

"Oh, my Kotofei IvanoHtch is very fierce. If you 
don't please him at first sight^iie'll eat you. But bring 
an ox as a present; the wolf is going to bring a sheep. 
You must be careful. Put the ox down near our house, 
then hide so that Kotofei Ivanovitch will not see you. 
If he sees you, you'll come to grief." 

The bear went for the ox. 

The wolf brought the sheep, put it down andstoedrin 
deep thought. He looked, and be hpld aJbeV^as coming 
along tugging an ox. 

"Good morning, brother Mihail Ivanovitch" said the 


"Good morning, Levon," answered the bear. "Have 
you seen Lisevata Ivanovna and her husband?" 

"No, I am waiting to have a look at him." 

"Go, and call them." 

"No, Mihail Ivanovitch, I am afraid; you go, you are 
braver than I am." 

"No, brother Levon, I'll not go." 

All at once, from wherever he came, a hare ran along. 
The bear shouted, "Come here, you crooked-legged ras- 

The hare, terrified, ran up. 

"See here, crooked legs, do you know where Lisevata 
Ivanovna lives ?" 

"I know, Mihail Ivanovitch." 

"Well, go quickly and tell her that Mihail Ivanovitch 
and his brother, Levon Ivanovitch, have come to pay 
their respects and have brought an ox and a sheep." 

When the hare started oflf at full speed the bear and 
the wolf began to think about hiding themselves. 

"I'll climb this pine tree," said the bear. 

"But what can I do? Where shall I go?" asked the 
wolf. "I can't climb a tree. Hide me somewhere, 
brother. Help me in my trouble." 

The bear hid the wolf in bushes, covered him with 
dry leaves, and then climbed to the top of the pine tree.v 


Once safe he looked around to see if Lisevata Ivanovna 
and her husband were coming. 

Meanwhile the hare had knocked at Lisevata Ivanov- 
na's door and delivered the message. "We'll be there 
directly," said she. 

As the cat and the fox walked out from among the 
trees, the bear saw them and called to the wolf. "They 
are coming, brother. But don't be afraid; Kotofei 
Ivanovitch is a little fellow." 

When the cat saw the carcass of the ox, his hair stood 
straight on his back. He sprang onto the carcass and 
began to tear the flesh with teeth and claws, crying, 
"Small, small!" 

The bear thought, "He's a little fellow, but what a 
stomach he has ; four bears couldn't eat that ox, and it's 
small, not enough for him. If we are not careful he'll 
eat us, too." 

The wolf, wanting to see Kotofei Ivanovitch, began 
to move the leaves to get an opening for his eyes. The 
cat heard the rustling and, thinking it was a mouse, 
sprang onto the leaves and fastened his claws and teeth 
onto the wolf's nose. 

The wolf jumped up and, praying" God to give him 
swift legs, ran into the forest. The cat, frightened half 
to death, ran up the tree where the bear was. 


The bear thought, "This terrible Kotofei Ivanovitch 
has seen me ; there is no time to slip down. My death is 
coming !" 

Resigning himself to the will of God he dropped to the 
ground. It nearly shook the liver out of his body, but 
he sprang up and ran ofif for dear life. 

The fox screamed after them, — "Oh, my Kotofei 
Ivanovitch will settle with you! Wait awhile, you'll 
find out who my Kotofei Ivanovitch is !" 

But they ran all the faster. 

From that time, all of the beasts of the forest were in 
mortal terror of the cat. Lisevata Ivanovna and her 
husband had provisions for the whole winter and prob- 
ably they are still living in affluence. 


IN a certain kingdom lived a king who had three 
beautiful daughters. The king guarded them more 
carefully than his own eyes. He built an underground 
palace in which he placed them, like birds in a cage, 
so that neither the boisterous winds might blow on them, 
nor the bright sun burn them with its rays. 

Once, by some chance the princesses read in some book 
that there was a wondrous white world, and when the 
king came to visit them, they straightway began to im- 
plore him : "Gosudar, our father, let us look upon the 
white world, let us walk in the green garden." 

The king tried to dissuade them ; but the more he re- 
fused the more they insisted. Nothing to be done ! He 
granted their prayer. 

The princesses went into tfie garden to walk". They 
beheld the bright sun, the trees and the flowers. They 
were unspeakably delighted that the white world was 
free to them. They ran through the garden, amused 
themselves, admired every little blade of grass, but all 
at once, a stormy whirlwind seized them and bore them 
high up and far away, it was unknown whither. 



The nurses and governesses were in terror. The 
king sent his most trusty servants in every direction, 
promising a great reward to him who would find his 

The king's messengers journeyed and traveled, but 
discovered nothing. With what they went, with that 
they came back. 

The king summoned a council and asked his boyars if 
any of them would undertake to find his daughters. He 
asked once, all was silent ; a second time — no answer ; a 
third time ; not half a word. 

The king wept bitter tears, and said, "It is evident I 
have no friends or defenders." Then he ordered a 
proclamation to be made to the whole kingdom, hoping 
that some one might be found among common men to 
do the deed. 

In a certain village there lived a poor widow, who had 
three sons, strong, mighty heroes. They were all born 
in one night; the eldest at twilight, the second at mid- 
night and the third at dawn. On this account they were 
named Twilight, Midnight and Dawn. 

As soon as they heard of the king's proclamation they 
took their mother's blessing and set out for the capital 
city. They came to the king, bowed down before him, 
and said, — 

"Hail, Gosudar ! be well for many years. We have 


come, not for the sake of feasting, but to do a good deed. 
Permit us to go and find your daughters." 

"Honor to you, good youths. How do men call you 

"We are three brothers — Dawn, Twilight and Mid- 

"What can I give you for the road?" 

"We need nothing for ourselves, Gosudar, but we pray 
you not to desert our mother. Care for her in her pov- 
erty and old age." 

The king sent for the old woman, lodged her in the 
palace, and gave orders that meat and drink should be 
furnished her from his own table, and clothing from his 
own storehouses. 

The three young men went their way. They traveled 
one, two and three months, till they came to a broad 
desert steppe. Beyond the steppe there was a forest, at 
the edge of the forest, a hut. They knocked, no answer. 
They went in, but no one was there. 

"Well, brothers," said Twilight, "let us stop here for a 
time; let us rest after the road." 

They said their prayers and lay down to sleep. The 
next morning the youngest brother. Dawn, said to Twi- 
light, the eldest, — 

"Midni^t and I will go out hunting, but do you stay 
here and get something ready to eat." 


Twilight consented. Near the hut was a pen full of 
sheep; so, not thinking long, Twilight took the best 
sheep, and killed, dressed, and roasted it, for their dinner. 
When everything was ready he lay down on a bench to 

All at once there was a thumping and thundering, the 
door opened and a little old man came in, an ell tall him- 
self, his beard seven ells long. He looked angrily at 
Twilight and screamed, — 

"How did you dare to play the master in my house? 
How did you dare to kill my sheep?" 

"Grow up first," answered Twilight, "I can't see you. 
rU take a spoonful of soup and a bit of bread and blind 

The little old man was terribly enraged. 

"I am small, but I am strong," said he. 

He seized a club and began beating Twilight with it. 
He beat him till he was almost dead, then he threw him 
under the bench; ate the roasted sheep and went into the 

Twilight bound up his head with a cloth and lay down 
on the bench, groaning. His brothers came home and' 
asked, — 

"What has happened?" 

"Oh, brothers," said he, "I heated the stove and my 


head began to ache from the great fire; I could neither 
roast nor stew, the heat wouldn't let me." 

The next day Dawn went to hunt with Twilight, and 
left Midnight at home to cook the dinner. He made a 
fire, picked out the fattest sheep, killed, dressed and 
roasted it, then lay down on the bench. Suddenly there 
was a thumping and thundering and a little old man en- 
tered, himself an ell in height, his beard seven ells long. 

"How dare you play the master in my house and kill 
my sheep ?" screamed he, and flying at Midnight, he beat 
and pounded him, till he was barely alive; then he ate 
the sheep and went into the forest. Midnight bound up 
his head and lay groaning under the bench. When his 
brothers came home they asked, — 

"What has happened?" 

"When I kindled a fire in the stove, the heat stifled me. 
I could neither roast nor stew, so there is nothing to 

The third day the eldest brothers went to hunt, and 
Dawn stayed at home. He selected the best sheep, killed, 
dressed and roasted it for dinner, then lay down on the 
bench. Suddenly there was a thumping and thundering 
and the little old man walked into the yard with a bundle 
of hay on his head and a pail of water in his hand. He 
put down the pail, scattered the hay over the yard, and 


went to count his sheep. Soon he found that one was 
missing. He flew into a rage, rushed to the hut, hurled 
himself at Dawn and struck him heavily on the head. 
Dawn sprang up, seized the little old man by the beard 
and pulled and dragged him over the floor. As he 
tugged he kept saying, — 

"Before sounding the ford, don't jump in," 

The old man himself an ell in height, his beard seven 
ells long, began to beg and pray, — 

"Have mercy on me, mighty hero, do not give me to 
death. Let my soul repent." 

Dawn dragged him to the yard, took him to an oak 
post, to which he fastened his beard with a great iron 
wedge, then he went into the hut and waited for his 
brothers. When they came Dawn said, — 

"I have caught 'heat' and fastened it to a post." 

They went to the yard and found that the little old man 
had run away, but half his beard was there on the post. 
Along the path he had gone there were drops of blood. 
The brothers followed till they came to a deep opening. 
Dawn made a long rope, from the inner bark of trees, 
and commanded his brothers to let him down to the . 
under world. They did so. When he reached the 
underworld he freed himself from the rope and went 
whither his eyes looked. 

After traveling for a long time Dawn saw out before 


him a copper palace. When he came to the palace a 
young princess met him with kindly greeting, and 
asked, — 

"How have you come here, was it of your own free 
will, or against your will?" 

"The king sent us to find you and your sisters," said 

Straightway she seated him at a table, gave him to eat 
and to drink, and brought a flask of the Water of 

"Drink of this water," said she. "Your strength will 

Dawn emptied" the flask and felt in himself mighty 

"Now," thought he, "I can overcome anything." 

That moment a terrible wind rose up. The princess 
was frightened. 

"The serpent that stole me from my father will fly in 
here directly," said she. 

She took Dawn by the hand and hid him in another 
room. A three-headed serpent came, hit the damp earth, 
and cried out, — 

"There is a Russian odor here. Who is visiting you ?" 

"Who could come to this place?" asked the princess. 
"You have been flying through Russia, there's where you 
got the odor," 


The serpent asked for meat and drink. The princess 
brought him different kinds of food and drink, and into 
the wine she poured a few drops of the Water of Sleep. 
The serpent ate and drank his fill, then fell asleep. The 
princess called to Dawn. He came and straightway he 
drew his sword and cut off the serpent's heads. Then 
they burned up the body and scattered the ashes over the 
open field. 

Dawn left the princess and journeyed till he saw a 
silver palace. In that palace was the second princess. 
There Dawn killed the six-headed serpent, scattered his 
ashes and went farther. Whether it was long or short 
he made his way to a golden palace, and there he found 
the eldest princess, and killed the twelve-headed serpent. 
The princess rejoiced and made ready to go home with 
the hero. She went to the broad court and waved her 
bright kerchief ; the golden kingdom folded into an egg, 
she put the egg into her pocket and went with Dawn 
for her sisters. They did as she had done; they folded 
the silver kingdom and copper kingdom into eggs and put 
them into their pockets, and set out for the opening. 
Twilight and Midnight drew up their brother and the 

When the brothers came to their own country, the 
sisters unrolled the three eggs on a broad, open space, 


and behold the three kingdoms appeared — the copper, the 
silver and the golden. 

The king was so delighted that his joy could not be 
told. Straightway he had Twilight, Midnight and 
Dawn married to his three daughters, and he made 
Dawn heir of his Kingdom. 


ONCE upon a time when a peasant was carrying 
wood from a forest he got tired and throwing the 
wood on the ground he sat down on a stone to rest. 
That minute he heard a cry, and some one called, — 

"Oh, good man, take pity on me ! Roll off the stone 
and save my life. Free me, and I will pay you as the 
world pays best !" 

The peasant rolled the stone away, and out of the 
hole a great snake crawled, wound himself into a spiral, 
raised up his head, and said, — 

"Know, man, that I am Yaza ! Get ready, you must 

The peasant was terribly frightened, and lamenting 
he reproached the snake with ingratitude. 

"Didn't you call for help? Haven't I saved your 
life?" asked he. 

"Of course," replied the snake, "but I am only doing 
what I promised; I am paying you as the world pays 

After a long discussion the snake agreed to let another 
settle the dispute, and they went together in search of 



a judge. After a while they came to where an old dog 
was tied to a fence. 

"How are you, faithful guardian of a house?" asked 
the peasant. 

"As you see," replied the dog. 

"Be so kind as to be our judge; we have a dispute." 
And the peasant told the whole story. "Wasn't it so 
and so?" asked he, turning to the snake. 

"It was," answered the snake. 

The dog thought a while, then said to the man, "My 
friend, you must die, for this is just how the world pays 
best. When I was young I was my master's favorite. 
He wore the skins of the wolves and foxes which I 
caught; I guarded his house ftom thieves. My master 
was fond of me. When offered a carriage and horses 
he refused to sell me. But now, when I am old and 
weak and can neither run nor bark, he has led me out 
here and tied me to the fence to stay till some man kills 
me for my skin. This is the world's reward." 

The peasant, seeing that he had lost his case, begged 
to look for another judge. The snake consented and 
they went through forests and across fields till they 
came to an old half -starved horse. His head was hang- 
ing down, his sides had fallen in, and he was covered 
with flies which he had not strength to drive away. . 

"How are you, noble beast?" asked the peasant. 


"As you see," replied the horse. 

The peasant told him the story and begged him to 
decide for them. 

The horse listened patiently to the man's complaint, 
then decided in favor of the snake, saying: "This is 
the world's reward." 

"When I was young," said he, "I had every comfort. 
When I was led out of the stable every one admired me. 
I carried my master to war. More than once, by my 
swiftness, I saved his life and helped him to fame. Two 
men cared for me; they curried me twice each day and 
gave me the best of oats and hay. My stable was like 
a parlor. In summer they covered me with a net that 
flies might not bite me. My master wouldn't have sold 
me for a whole village. But when I grew old he starved 
me, didn't even give me straw to eat. And now he has 
led me out to this barren field to be killed by the wolves. 
This is how the world pays best." 

"What more do you want, man?" asked the snake. 

The peasant begged the snake to let him try a third 
and last judge. He consented and they went on till at 
the edge of a forest they sa\y a fox, running along. 

"Oh, Master Fox, wait and be our judge!" called the 
peasant. "We have a question to decide." 

The fox, a cunning fellow, listened to the story, then 


winked to the peasant, and whispered, aside, "If you 
will give me all of your hens I will help you out of your 

"What are hens !" said the man. "I will give you the 
geese too, and if need be all I have in the world." 

The fox, pretending to be an impartial judge, said: 
"This is an important case : one of life and death. The 
first who judged, judged lightly. In justice the case 
can only be decided on the spot where everything took 
place. We will go there." 

When they came to the place, the fox said: "We 
must begin at the beginning. Do you, man, sit down on 
the stone, and you, snake, crawl into the hole where you 
were lying." 

When they had done as he told them, and the snake 
was back in the hole, he winked at the man, and said: 
"Roll the stone over, quickly." 

The peasant didn't wait to be told twice. When the 
hole was covered, and the snake couldn't get out, the 
peasant thanked the fox for salvation from death. 

The fox answered : "But do not forget that I have 
earned the hens. To-morrow before daylight, I will 
come for my breakfast." 

The peasant went home as delighted as if he had 
been born a second time. He told his wife what had 


happened, praised the wisdom of the fox, and added 
that he had promised him all the hens, and that the next 
morning he would come for them. 

The woman was glad that her husband was saved, but 
she was very sorry to lose her hens. 

The next morning, early, she went to the window 

and seeing a fox in the yard she called to her husband: 

"Do you hear, old man? There is a fox in the yard!" 

"Oh, that is the fox that saved me. He has come for 

the hens !" 

"Just as if I were crazy enough to give him my hens !" 
cried the woman. "The Lord be praised that you are 
alive; but take the gun and kill the fox. You will get 
good money for his pelt." 

The peasant obeyed his wife. He took the gun and 
firing from the window killed the fox. 

Dying, the fox said in a mournful voice: "This is how 
the world pays best." 


THERE was a very rich merchant and he had a 
grown-up son. When the merchant died the son 
remained with his mother and began to manage his 
father's business; but he had luck in nothing. What 
the father had gained in three years the son lost in three ' 
days. He traded ever3^hing away. Of all his wealth 
there was left only one old house. He was born luck- 
less to be sure. 

When the fine fellow saw that he had nothing to live 
on, nothing to eat, he sat down on a bench under the 
window, scratched his stormy head, and thought, — 

"With what shall I nourish myself, and with what 
nourish my own mother?" 

He sat not long; he rose, begged a blessing of his 
mother, and said, — 

"I will go and hire with a rich peasant, as a laborer." " 

The mother consented, and behold the son hired with 
a rich peasant for fifty rubles for the whole summer. 
He began to work; though he had plenty of good will 
he understood nothing; how many axes did he break, 
how many scythes did he dull ? He brought thirty rubles' 



loss to his master. The peasant was hardly able to keep 
him till mid-summer. 

The good youth went home, sat on a bench under the 
window, scratched his stormy head, and wept bitterly. 
"How shall I keep the life in my own head," thought he, 
"and how in my mother's ?" 

"Why art thou weeping, my child?" asked his mother. 

"Why should I not weep when I have no luck in any- 
thing? Give me thy blessing, I will go and hire as a 

His mother consented. In a certain village he en- 
gaged to herd a drove o£ cows, for a hundred rubles for 
the summer. He did not stay till mid-summer ; he lost 
more than ten of the cows and then people drove him 

He went home, sat on the bench under the window, 
sci;atched his stormy head, and cried bitterly. He cried 
a long time, then he asked a blessing of his mother, and 
said, — 

"I will go wherever my head will take me." 

His mother dried cakes for him, put them in a bag, and 
blessed him to go in all four directions. He took the bag» 
and went whithersoever his eyes looked. Whether" it 
was near or distant, he went to another kingdom. The 
Tsar of that land saw him, and asked, — 

"Whence dost thou bear thyself?" 


"I am looking for work, all the same what kind, I am 
glad to do anything." 

"Hire with me to work in my distillery ; the work will 
be to carry wood and put it under the cauldrons." 

The merchant's son was glad, and he hired with the 
Tsar for one hundred and fifty rubles a year. Half a 
year was not spent and he had burned up almost all of 
the distillery. The Tsar summoned him to his presence, 
and asked, — 

"How did it happen that the distillery was burned?" 

The merchant's son told how he had spent his father's 
property, and how he had no luck in anything. "Wher- 
ever I hire," said he, "I cannot stay more than half my 

The Tsar took pity on the poor fellow; he did not 
punish him for his offense, but calling him Bezdolni 
(Luckless) , he gave command to put a stamp on his fore- 
head so that wherever he went no tribute or tax could 
be demanded, and food, drink and lodging would be given 
him, but in no place was he to be kept longer than twenty- 
four hours. 

Straightway the Tsar's officers put a stamp on Bez- 
dolni's forehead, and the Tsar dismissed him. "Go," 
said he, "wherever thou wilt, know that no one will arrest 
thee, and that thou wilt be fed and no pay will be asked." 

Bezdolni went his way. Wherever he came no on^ 


asked a question; he was given food, drink and lodging 
for one night, but the next morning he was driven away. 

Whether he wandered long or short over the white 
world it happened to him to go into a dark forest; in 
that forest stood a cabin and in the cabin an old woman 
was living. He went to the cabin ; the old woman gave 
him food and drink, and then proper directions. 

"Walk along the path," said she, "and thou wilt reach 
the blue sea ; thou wilt see a large house. Go in and do 
this way, and that way." 

The merchant's son started along the path and did 
what he had been told to do, as if it had been written 
down. He reached the blue sea and saw a great house. 
He entered the first chamber. In that chamber a table 
was laid and on the table was a piece of white bread. 
Bezdolni took a knife, cut off a bit of the bread and ate 
it, then he climbed on the stove, hid himself under the 
wood, and waited for night to come. As soon as it 
began to grow dark thirty-three beautiful maidens, full 
sisters, came in, all equal in stature, all dressed in like 
garments, all equal in beauty. The eldest sister went 
first to the table, she looked at the bread, and said, — 

"It seems that the odor of Russia is here." 

"Why sayest that, sister?" cried the youngest of the 
thirty-three maidens. "We have traveled over Russia 
and have caught the Russian odor," 


The maidens sat down at the table, supped, talked, and 
then went to different chambers. In the first chamber 
only the youngest sister remained. She undressed, lay 
on the bed and slept soundly ; then the good youth crept 
down from the stove and stole her clothes. 

Early the next morning the maiden rose up and looked 
for something to dress in ; she rushed here and there but 
in no place were her clothes. The other sisters dressed, 
turned to doves, flew out over the blue sea and left her 
alone. Then she called in a loud voice, — 

"Whoever has taken my clothes give answer, fear not. 
If an old man be my grandfather ; if an old woman be 
my grandmother; if a man of ripe years be my uncle; if 
a woman of ripe years be my aunt ; if a youthful young 
man be my fated one." 

The merchant's son came down from the stove and 
gave her the clothes. She dressed, took him by the hand, 
kissed him and said, — 

"Now, my heart's friend, no time for us to sit here. 
Time for us to make ready for the road, and arrange 
our own house." 

She gave him a bag for his back, took another for her- 
self and led him to a cellar. She opened the door; the 
Cellar was full of copper coins. Bezdolni was happy; 
he seized a handful of coins and thrust them into the 


The fair maiden burst into laughter, caught hold of 
the bag, emptied the coins out, and closed the cellar. 

"Why didst thou throw the coins back?" asked Bez- 
dolni. "They would have served us." 

"What sort of money is that? We shall find better." 
She led him to another cellar and opened the door. The 
cellar was full of silver. Bezdolni rejoiced more than 
before, and hurried to put silver into the bag. 

Again the maiden laughed. "What sort of money is 
that?" asked she. "Pour it out; we will find something 

She led him to a third cellar and opened the door; 
the cellar was full of gold and pearls. 

"This is best," said the maiden ; "we will fill our bags." 

They took gold and pearls, and went their road and 
way. Whether it was near or distant, high or low, a 
story is soon told, but a deed is not soon done; they came 
to that same kingdom where the merchant's son had 
worked in the distillery. The Tsar knew him, and 
said, — 

"Ah, that is thou, Bezdolni, and thou hast a wife. See 
what a beauty thou hast found! If it please thee, live* 
in my kingdom." 

The merchant's son took counsel with his wife, and she 
said, — 


"Do not hasten to honor, do not flee from honor. It 
is all the same to us where we live. If it please thee we 
will stay here." 

They furnished a little house and lived in harmony. 

Soon a voevoda, a friend of the Tsar, grew envious. 
He went to an old witch, and said, — v 

"Listen to me, grandmother ; tell me how to put an end 
to the merchant's son. He is called luckless, but he lives 
twice as well as I ; the Tsar favors him more than boyars 
and men of his counsel ; and his wife is a beauty beyond 

"This affair can be remedied," said the witch. "Go to 
the Tsar and say that Bezdolni promises in this way and 
in that way to go to the Town of Nothing and bring 
back No One Knows What." 

The voevoda went to the Tsar, and the Tsar sent for 
the merchant's son. 

"How is it, Bezdolni, that thou art boasting to stran- 
gers and say not a word to me? To-morrow thou wilt 
take the road, go to the Town of Nothing and bring back 
No One Knows What. If thou doest not this service 
thou shalt lose thy wife." 

Bezdolni went home and cried bitterly. His wife, see- 
ing him, asked, — 

"Mj; heart's friend, why art thou weeping? Has 


some one put offense on thee, or has the Tsar sent a cup 
around thee, not seated thee in thy place, or has he put 
upon thee difficult service?" 

"Oh, such a service !" cried Bezdolni, "that to think of 
it is hard, much rnore to accomplish it. He has ordered 
me to go to the Town of Nothing and bring back No 
One Knows What." 

There is no help ; there is no arguing. She brought a 
towel and a ball, gave them to her husband, and told him 
/ how and where to go. 

The ball rolled straight toward the Town of Nothing. 
It rolled over open fields and mossy swamps, along rivers 
and lakes, and after it walked Bezdolni. Whether it was 
near or far, low or high, he came to a cabin standing on 
a hen's foot on a dog's leg. 

"Cabin, cabin !" said he, "turn thy back to the woods, 
with thy front to me." 

The cabin turned; he opened the door and entered. 
On a bench sat a gray-haired old woman. 

"Fu ! fu !" said she, "hitherto nothing Russian has been 
heard with hearing or seen with sight, and now the Rus- 
sian odor is present of itself. Well, good youth, thou, 
hast come in time, I am hungry. Knowest thou that I 
want to eat? I'll kill thee and eat thee up, I'll not let 
thee off alive." 

"What, thou old fiend ! wilt thou go to eating a man 


on the road? A man on the road is bony and black. 
First of all, heat the bath, let me steam and wash myself, 
then eat me to thy good health." 

Bezdolni washed himself, took out the towel his wife 
had given him, and began to wipe his face. 

"Whence hast thou that towel !" cried the old woman^ 
"My niece embroidered that towel !" 

"Thy niece is my wife." 

"Oh, dear son-in-law, with what can I entertain thee ?" 

The old woman put all kinds of food on the table, all 
kinds of wine and mead. Bezdolni neither hesitated nor 
stood on ceremony ; he sat down at the table and food dis- 
appeared. When he lay down to sleep the old woman sat 
at the bedside and questioned him, — 

"Where art thou going, good youth? Art going of 
thy own will or against thy will?" 

"What sort of will! The Tsar has commanded me 
to go to the Town of Nothing and bring back No One 
Knows What." 

The next morning the old woman roused Bezdolni, and 
called her dog. "Here," said she, "is a dog for thee; 
he will lead thee to that town." 

The dog started off and Bezdolni followed. After 
traveling a whole year he came to the Town of Nothing. 
There wasn't a living soul in that town, everywhere emp- 
tiness. He made his way into the castle and hid behind 



the stove. In the evening an old man came, a nail in 
ength, his beard an ell long. 

Ei No one!" cried he, "feed me!" 

In one moment every kind of food and drink was 
there. The old man ate and drank his fill, then went 
away. Bezdolni crept out from behind the stove and 
called, — 

"Ei No one ! Give me to eat !" 

No one gave him food. 

"Ei No one ! Give me to drink!" 

No one gave drink. 

"Ei No one ! Come with me !" 

No one did not refuse. 

Bezdolni turned for his homeward journey; he trav- 
eled and traveled. All at once a man was in front of 
him, leaning on a club. 

"Stop !" cried the man to the merchant's son. "Give 
food and drink to a traveler." 

"Ei No one, give us a dinner," commanded Bezdolni. 

That moment a table appeared and on the table all 
kinds of food, wines and meads, as much as the soul de- 

The stranger ate and drank his fill, then said, — 

"Give me No one in exchange for my club." 

"What is thy club good for?" 

"Only say to it; 'Ei, dear Club, overtake and beat that 


man to death.' That moment the Club overtakes and 
kills the man, no matter how strong he is." 

Bezdolni exchanged No one for the Club, went off a 
short distance, then said, — 

"Ei, dear Club, overtake that man, beat him to death 
and bring back my No one." 

The Club went like a wheel, from end to end it turned^ 
overtook the man, struck him on the head, killed him and 
came back. Bezdolni took the Club and traveled on; 
he traveled and traveled. All at once a man, with a 
dulcimer in his hand, came toward him, 

"Stop !" cried the man to the merchant's son. "Give 
food and drink to a traveler." 

He gave him food and drink in abundance. 

"God save thee, good youth," said the stranger. 
"Give me thy No one in exchange for my dulcimer." 

"But what is thy dulcimer good for ?" 

"My dulcimer is not a common one. If thou touchest 
one string the blue sea will come ; if thou touchest a sec- 
ond string ships will sail; if thou touchest the third 
string men will fire cannon from the ships." 

Bezdolni had faith in his Club. "Very well," said he, 
"let us trade." 

He traded and went his way. But soon he said, "Ei, 
dear Club, overtake and beat that man to death; bring 
back my No one." 


The Club turned like a wheel, overtook the man and 
beat him to death. 

When Bezdolni was near his own town he thought he 
would play a trick: He opened the dulcimer and 
touched one string; the blue sea was there; he touched a 
second string; ships were sailing near the town; he 
touched a third string and from all the ships cannonad- 
ing began. 

The Tsar, greatly alarmed, gave orders to collect an 
army to drive back the enemy. 

Bezdolni came now, and said to the Tsar, — 

"Your majesty, I know how to save the city. Give 
command to cut the right foot and the left hand from 
thy friend, the voevoda, and the moment that is done the 
ships will disappear." 

At the Tsar's word they cut off the hand and foot 
of the voevoda. Bezdolni closed his dulcimer — ^that 
moment, wherever they went to, neither sea nor ships 
were there. The Tsar gave a great feast; there was 
nothing to be heard but "Ei, No one, give us this, give us 

The voevoda hated the merchant's son more than ever' 
and tried in every way to undermine him. He took 
counsel of the old witch, then went on crutches to the 
palace, and said, — 

"Your majesty, Bezdolni is boasting that he can go to 


the thrice ninth land to the thirtieth kingdom and bring 
from there the tale-teUing Tom Cat that sits on a pillar 
seventy-two feet high, and kills a multitude of people." 

The Tsar called Bezdolni, gave him a glass of green 
wine, and said, — 

"Go to the thrice ninth land, to the thirtieth kingdom 
and get me the tale-telling Tom Cat. If thou doest not 
this service thou shalt lose thy wife." 

The merchant's son went home and wept bitterly, 
whereupon his wife asked, — 

"Why art thou weeping? Has some one given thee 
offense? Has the Tsar passed thee by with the cup, 
seated thee in the wrong place, or put a difficult service 
on thee?" 

"He has given such a service that it is hard, not only 
to do it, but to think of it. He has commanded me to 
get for him the tale-telling Tom Cat." 

"Well, pray to the Savior, and lie down to sleep." 

Luckless lay down to sleep and his wife went to the 
blacksmith's shop and forged three iron caps; prepared 
three iron cakes, three iron claws, and three rods, one 
iron, one copper and one tin. In the morning she roused 
Bezdolni, and said, — 

"Here are three caps for thee, three iron cakes, and 
three rods. When thou art within three versts of the 
tale-telling Tom Cat he will send powerful sleep to over- 


come thee. Be on thy guard, sleep not; throw out thy 
arms, draw foot after foot, sometimes roll like a cylin- 
der, for if thou sleepest the cat will kill thee." 

Whether it was long or short, near or distant, Bez- 
dolni came to the thirtieth kingdom. When three versts 
away sleep began to overpower him ; he put on the three 
iron caps, threw out arm after arm, and rolled like a 
cylinder. In one way and another he held out and 
reached the pillar. The tale-telling Tom Cat sprang on 
to his head, broke one iron cap, broke the second, and 
was about to break the third, when the good hero caught 
him with claws, pulled him to the earth, and began to 
belabor him with the rods. He cut him with the iron 
rod ; the rod broke ; he cut him with the copper rod ; the 
rod broke; then he took the tin rod; that bends and 
doesn't break, but winds over his back. The Cat began 
/to tell tales about deacons and priests, but the mer- 
chant's son did not listen. The Cat could not endure 
the blows and when he could not stop Bezdolni with 
stories, he entreated him, — 

"Leave off, good man, I will do for thee all that thou 

"Wilt thou go to the Tsar's palace with me?" 

"Wherever thou pleasest I will go." 

Bezdolni loosened his hold. The Cat invited him as 


a guest, seated him at a table and placed bread before 
him. The merchant's son ate three or four pieces ; that 
was enough, more would not enter his throat. The Cat 
grumbled and found fault. 

"What kind of hero art thou if thou canst not eat 
as much bread as I ?" 

"I am not used to thy bread," said Bezdolni. "I have 
in my pack Russian cakes for the road. They are the 
things for a hungry stomach." He took out an iron 
cake and acted as if he were about to eat it. 

"Let me see what Russian cakes are like," begged the 

The merchant's son gave him an iron cake ; he ate it. 
He gave him a second ; he gnawed that ; he gave him the 
third; he gnawed till he broke his teeth, then he threw 
the cake on the table, and said, — 

"Thy Russian cakes are very hard." 

Bezdolni made ready and started for home; the Cat 
followed him. They went and went, and went and 
went till they came to the Tsar's palace. 

When the Tsar saw the Cat he said, — 

"Now, tale-telling Cat, show me a great terror." 

The Cat put out his savage claws, aimed them at the 
Tsar, was going to tear his white breast in two and take 
out his living heart. 


The Tsar was terrified, and began to entreat Bezdolni 
to take away the tale-telling Cat. "Take away the Cat, 
I'll do everything for thee," cried he. 
y "Wilt thou have the voevoda buried alive?" 

"I will." 

That moment they took the wicked voevoda, bore 
him to the court and buried him alive in the damp earth. 
Bezdolni and his wife lived in the palace, with the Tsar. 
No one served them; the Cat obeyed them, and they 
lived long and happily. This is the story ; no more can 
be told. 


IN a poor little cabin an old man lived with his old wife. 
One day the man went into the forest to cut fire- 
wood. He sought out a large tree and raised his ax 
to strike. That instant the tree spoke with a human 
voice, saying, — 

"Do not cut me, old man; what you want that I will 

"Will you make me rich ?" asked the old man. 

"I will. Go home ; you will have everything in abun- 

When the old man reached home, he found, in place 
of his cabin, a large house as well furnished as a full 
cup, grain stored up to last for years, and so many cows, 
horses and sheep that you couldn't count them in three 

"Where did all this come from?" asked the old 

"You see, wife, off in the forest I found a tree that 
whatever you ask f or> it gives." 

For a few weeks the old couple rejoiced in their new 
abundance; then life became irksome for the woman and 
she said to her husband, — 



"Though we live richly, what sense is there in it all 
if people don't show us honor? If the village elder 
wishes he can send us to work, or, if he takes it into his 
head, he can arrange to have us flogged. Go to the 
tree and ask to be village elder." 

The man went to the tree and raised his ax as if to 
strike at the roots. 

"What do you want ?" asked the tree. 

"Make me village elder." 

"Very well," said the tree. "Go your way with 

When the old man reached home soldiers were wait- 
ing for him, "Where have you been?" cried they. 
"Give us quarters at once, and good ones too. Stir 
around, old man!" ordered they, pushing and striking 

The old woman saw that an elder was not always 
sure of honor, so she said: "What profit is there in be- 
ing an elder's wife? The soldiers beat you. But to a 
noble nothing can be said. What he commands is done. 
Go to the tree and ask to be a noble." 

The old man took his ax and went to the tree as if 
to cut it down. 

"What do you want?" asked the tree. 

"Make me a noble." 

"Yery well. Go your way with God." 


The old woman lived a while as a lady, then she grew 
dissatisfied and said to her husband: 

"What good is it for me to be a lady? If you were a 
Colonel, it would be another thing, every one would envy 
us," and she drove him off again to the tree. 

When he raised his ax as if to strike, the tree asked : 

"What do you want?" 

"Make me a Colonel." 

"Very well. Go your way with God." 

He went home and was appointed Colonel. 

"What good is there in all this ?" said the old woman. 
"If the General wants to, he can put you under arrest. 
Go to the tree and ask to be a General." 

The old man went to the tree and asked. As soon 
as he reached home he was raised to the rank of Gen- 

Some time passed, then the woman grew tired of be- 
ing a General's wife. 

"A great affair indeed to be a General!" said she. 
"If the Tsar wishes he can send you to Siberia. Go to 
the tree and ask to be made Tsar." 

He went and raised the ax. 

"What do you want ?" asked the tree. 

"Make me Tsar and my wife Tsaritsa." 

"Very well. Go your way with God." 

When the old man reached home deputies were al- 


ready there. They saluted him with profound respect 
and said: 

"Our Tsar is dead. You have been chosen to fill his 

The old man and woman did not reign long. To be 
a sovereign seemed too small a matter to the woman. 

"A great affair indeed to be a Tsar !" said she. "If 
God wishes He can send death to us, then people will 
hide us away in the damp earth. Go to the tree and ask 
it to make us gods." 

The old man went to the tree, which, as soon as it 
heard his senseless request, shook its leaves and said : 

"Be you a male bear, and your wife a female bear !" 

That minute the old man and woman became bears 
and ran oif into the deep woods. 


IN a certain kingdom, in a certain land, there lived a 
Tsar who had three daughters and one son, Ivan 

The Tsar grew old and died and Ivan Tsarevich took 
the crown. When neighboring kings heard of this they 
collected a countless army and went against him with 

Ivan Tsarevich knew not what to do ; he went to his 
sisters and asked, "My dear sisters, what am I to do? 
All o£ the neighboring kings have risen against me." 

"Oh, thou brave warrior!" said the oldest sister. 
"Why dost thou fear ? Look at Bailoi Polyanyin ; he is 
fighting with Baba Yaga, Golden Leg, thirty years; he 
never gets off his horse, he lives without rest, but thou 
art frightened at nothing." 

Ivan Tsarevich saddled his good steed, put on his 
armor of war, took his sword, Kladyenets, his lance of 
long measure, and his silken whip, prayed to God, and 
rode out to meet the foe. 

He killed not so many with the sword as he trampled 
with his steed. He destroyed the hostile army, went 



home, lay down to rest, and slept three days and nights 
without waking. On the fourth day he woke up and 
went out to look at the open field. The kings had col- 
lected more men than before; their army was under the 
walls of the city. 

Ivan Tsarevich knew not what to do ; he went to his 
sisters, and asked, "Oh, my sisters, what am I to do? 
I destroyed one army, now another stands under the 
city walls and threatens me worse than the first one 

"What sort of a warrior art thou, to fight one day and 
sleep three days and nights without waking? Look at 
Bailoi Polyanyin; he fights with Baba Yaga, Golden 
Leg, thirty years; he never gets off his steed, he lives 
without rest, but thou art frightened at nothing." 

Ivan Tsarevich went to the white-walled stable, sad- 
dled his good steed, his heroic steed, put on his battle 
armor, and girded on his magic sword. In one hand he 
took his lance of long, measure, in the other, a silken 
whip. He prayed to God, and went to meet the foe. 

Not a bright falcon flies on a flock of geese, swans and 
gray ducks as Ivan Tsarevich bore down on the enemy's 
army. He killed not so many himself as his steed 
trampled. He slew a great warrior force ; then he went 
home and lay down and slept six days and six nights 
without waking. 


On the seventh day he rose and went out to look on 
the open field. The kings had collected a greater force 
than before and had surrounded the city. It was a fear- 
some sight. 

Ivan Tsarevich went to his sisters, and asked, 
"Dear sisters, what am I to do? I have destroyed two 
mighty forces, now the third one stands under the walls 
and threatens me worse than the first and the second 

"Oh, what a brave warrior ! Thou hast fought one 
day and slept six days and nights without waking. 
Look at Bailoi Polyanyin; he wars with Baba Yaga, 
Golden Leg, thirty years ; he never gets off his steed, he 
lives without rest." 

This was bitter for the Tsarevich to hear. He 
hastened to the white-walled stables, saddled his good 
steed, put on his battle armor, girded on his magic 
sword, took in one hand his lance of long measure, in 
the other, his silken whip, prayed to God, and rode out 
to meet the foe. 

That was not a bright falcon flying on a flock of 
geese, swans and gray ducks, but Ivan Tsarevich com- 
ing down on the hosts of the enemy. Not so many did 
he slay himself as his good steed trampled. He killed 
a mighty warrior force, then returned to his castle, lay 
down to sleep, and slept nine days and nine nights with- 


out waking. On the tenth day he rose up, called his 
ministers and officers, and said, — 

"My ministers and officers, I have decided to visit 
strange lands. I am going to look for Bailoi Polyanyin. 
I ask ye to give judgment, govern and settle all questions 
in truth." 

Then he took leave of his sisters, mounted his steed 
and rode forth on his way and path. Whether it was 
long or short he came to a dark forest, in that forest 
was a cabin, and in the cabin lived an old man. Ivan 
Tsarevich went to him and said, — 

"Hai'l, grandfather!" 

"Hail, Russian Tsarevich ! Whither is God bearing 

"I am seeking Bailoi Polyanyin ; dost thou know where 
he is?" 

"I know not myself, but I will summon my faithful 
servants and ask." 

The old man went to the door of the cabin and began 
to play on a silver flute. Straightway birds flew to him 
from every side; there flew together seen and unseen of 
them ; they covered the heavens with a dark cloud. The 
old man cried with a sounding voice and whistled a 
hero's whistle, — 

"My faithful servants, passing birds, have ye not seen, 
have ye not heard of Bailoi Polyanyin?" 


"With seeing we have not seen, with hearing we have 
not heard," answered they. 

"Well, Ivan," said the old man, "thou must go now 
to my brother ; maybe he will tell thee something. Take 
this ball, let it go before thee, and whither it rolls there 
turn thy horse." 

Ivan Tsarevich mounted his good steed and dropped 
the ball to the ground. It rolled on and he rode after 
it. Whether it was long or short he came to a cabin; 
in the cabin sat an old man as gray as a kite. 

"Hail, grandfather !" said Ivan. 

"Hail, Russian Tsarevich, whither art thou holding 
thy way?" 

"I am seeking Bailoi Polyanyin. Knowest thou 
where he is ?" 

"I know not, but I will call my trusty servants and ask 

The old man went to the door and blew his silver 
horn ; straightway beasts gathered to him from all sides. 
He whistled a hero's whistle, then cried with a mighty 
voice, — 

"My faithful servants, racing beasts, have ye heard 
of Bailoi Polyanyin?" 

"With sight we have not seen him, with hearing we 
have not heard of him," answered the beasts. 

"Count up, maybe ye are not all here." 


The beasts counted themselves; the crooked she- wolf 
was not there. The old man sent a messenger for her 
and soon she came. 

"Tell me, crooked she-wolf, dost thou know where 
Bailoi Polyanyin lives ?" 

"Why should I not know if I live near him. He slays 
armies and I feed on the dead." 

"Where is he now ?" 

"He is on a great mound in the open field, sleeping in 
his tent. He has been fighting with Baba Yaga, Golden 
Leg, and after the fight he has laid down to sleep for 
twelve days and twelve nights." 

"Guide Ivan Tsarevich to him." 

The she-wolf ran on and after her galloped Ivan. 
He came to the great mound and entered the tent. 
Bailoi Polyanyin was resting in a firm sleep. Ivan 
said, — 

"My sisters told me that this hero fought without 
rest, but he has lain down to sleep for twelve days and 
nights. Shall I sleep meanwhile?" 

He thought and thought, and at last he lay down at 
the side of Bailoi Polyanyin. A small bird flew into the . 
tent, fluttered around the pillow, and said these words, — 

"Rise! wake up, Bailoi Polyanyin, and give my 
brother, Ivan Tsarevich, to a cruel death. If not he 
will slay thee !" 


Ivan Tsarevich sprang up, caught the bird, tore off 
her right leg, threw her out of the tent, and again lay- 
down at the side of Bailoi Polyanyin. 

He had not fallen asleep when another small bird flew 
in, fluttered around, and said, — 

"Rise! wake up, Bailoi Polyanyin, and give my 
brother, Ivan Tsarevich, to a cruel death. If not he 
will slay thee !" 

Ivan Tsarevich sprang up, caught the bird, tore off 
her right wing, threw her out of the tent, and lay down 

A third small bird came flying and fluttering around, 
and said, — 

"Rise! wake up, Bailoi Polyanyin, and give my 
brother, Ivan Tsarevich, to a cruel death. If not he will 
slay thee !" 

Ivan sprang up, caught the bird, tore off her bill, 
threw her out, and then lay down and slept soundly as 

The time came, and Bailoi Polyanyin woke up. He 
saw that at his side was lying an unknown hero. He 
seized his sharp sword and was going to give him to a 
cruel death, but he halted. 

"No," thought he, "this hero came while I was sleep- 
ing, and he did not put blood upon his sword. It would 
not be honor and praise to me to destroy him now. A 


sleeping man is the same as a dead one. I will rouse 

He roused Ivan Tsarevich, and asked, "Art thou a 
good or a bad man? Speak! How do they call thee 
by name, and why hast thou come?" 

"They call me Ivan Tsarevich, and I have come to look 
at thee and try thy strength." 

"Thou art bold, Ivan Tsarevich; unbidden thou hast 
entered my tent, without asking thou hast slept at my 
side ; I might have given thee to death for that." 

"Ah, Bailoi Polyanyin, boast not before thou hast 
cleared the ditch. Thou mayest stumble ; thou hast two 
hands, and my mother did not bear me with one. We 
will fight." 

They mounted their heroic steeds, rushed at each 
other, and struck with such force that their lances flew 
into splinters and their good steeds fell on their knees. 
Ivan Tsarevich knocked Bailoi Polyanyin out of his 
saddle and raised his sharp sword above him. Bailoi 
Polyanyin implored, — 

"Give me not to death, give me life. I will call myself 
thy younger brother, I will honor thee in place of a 

Ivan Tsarevich took him by the hand, raised him from 
the earth, kissed him and called him younger brother. 


"I have heard, my brother," said he, "that thou art 
fighting thirty years with Baba Yaga, Golden Leg. 
Why this war?" 

"She has a daughter, a beauty. I want to marry 

"If we are friends, then one should give aid to the 
other. Let us go against Baba Yaga." 

They mounted their steeds and rode to the field. 
Baba Yaga, Golden Leg, had put out a numberless fight- 
ing force. Those two were not bright falcons flying at 
a flock of doves, they were strong mighty heroes rush- 
ing down on an army of enemies. Not as many did they 
slay with swords as they trampled with their steeds. 
Baba Yaga rushed off in flight, but Ivan Tsarevich pur- 
sued her. He had almost caught her, when suddenly 
she ran into a deep ravine, raised an iron slab and dis- 
appeared under the earth. 

Ivan Tsarevich and Bailoi Polyanyin bought a great 
herd of oxen, killed them, took- oflf their hides and made 
straps of them. They fastened the straps together and 
made a strap so long that one end of it was in this world 
and the other in the underground world. 

Ivan said to Bailoi Polyanyin, "Let me down quickly 
and don't pull up the rope till I jerk it." 

Ivan reached the underground world, looked around, 


and went in search o£ Baba Yaga. He journeyed an 
traveled, walked and walked on, looked, and lo ! behin 
a grating tailors were sitting. 

"What are ye doing there?" asked Ivan. 

"We are sitting and sewing an army for Baba Yag£ 
Golden Leg." 

"How do ye sew an army, brothers?" 

"This is how. What we prick with a needle is a Cos 
sack with a pipe. He mounts his horse, stands in lim 
and goes to make war on Bailoi Polyanyin." 

"Oh, brothers, ye do it quickly, but not firmly. Stan( 
in a row and I will show ye how to sew firmly." 

They stood in a row. Ivan Tsarevich drew his swor( 
and the heads flew. He killed the tailors and walkei 
on and on. Whether it was long or short he came to i 
grating and lo ! behind it shoemakers were sitting. 

"What are ye doing?" asked Ivan Tsarevich, 

"We are sitting and making an army for Baba Yaga 
Golden Leg." 

"How do ye make an army, brothers?" 

"This is how. What we prick with an awl is a war 
rior with a sword. He mounts a horse, stands in line 
and goes to war against Bailoi Polyanyin." 

"Oh, brothers, ye do it quickly, but not well. Stand ii 
a row and I'll show you how to do better." 

They stood in a row. Ivan Tsarevich drew his swon 


and the heads flew. He killed the shoemakers and went 
on. Whether it was long or short he came to a great 
city. In the city was a Tsar's castle, and in the castle 
sat a maiden of indescribable beauty ; when she saw Ivan, 
his dark curls, his falcon eyes, and his heroic bearing 
pleased her. She asked whence he came and why. 

"I am seeking Baba Yaga, Golden Leg," said Ivan. 

"Know, Ivan Tsarevich, that I am her daughter. She 
has lain down to rest for twelve days and nights." 

Ivan Tsarevich went to Baba Yaga, Golden Leg; he 
found her asleep, struck her with his sword and cut off 
her head. The head rolled, and said, — 

"Strike again, Ivan Tsarevich." 

"A single blow from a hero is enough," answered the 
Tsarevich and went back to the castle to see the beauti- 
ful maiden. He sat with her at the oaken table at the 
spread cloth; they ate and drank, then he asked her, — 

"Is there in the world any one stronger than I, or 
fairer than thou?" 

"Oh, Ivan Tsarevich, what sort of a beauty am I? 
Beyond the thrice ninth land in the thirtieth kingdom 
lives, with the Tsar of the Serpents, a maiden of un- 
speakable beauty; she washed her feet and I bathed in 
that water." 

Ivan Tsarevich took the white hand of the maiden 
and led her to the palace where the rope was hanging. 


He gave the sign, and Bailoi Polyanyin pulled and pulled, 
and drew out the Tsarevich and the maiden. 

"Hail, Bailoi Polyanyin !" said Ivan Tsarevich, "here 
is thy bride. Live and be happy. I am going to the 
Serpent Kingdom." 

He mounted his heroic steed, took farewell of Bailoi 
Polyanyin and his bride, and galloped away beyond the 
thrice ninth land to the thirtieth kingdom. 

Whether it was long or short, high or low, a tale is 
soon told, but a deed is not soon done. Ivan Tsarevich 
came to the Serpent Kingdom, slew the Tsar of the 
Serpents, liberated the beautiful Tsarevna and married 
her. After that he came home, lived with his young 
wife and won wealth. 


THERE was once a king who ruled, wisely and well, 
over broad lands. That king had a wife and three 
sons, but he was not happy. When Spring came and the 
earth grew young he was sad beyond measure, because 
the spring time of his life had long since passed and 
would never return. On the contrary, his face was 
growing paler and his arm weaker. 

As time went by, his life became so dear to the king 
that day and night he was thinking how to prolong it. 
You can imagine his joy when he heard that in a certain 
land there were golden apples of such virtue that if a man 
ate three of them he regained his youth as if born anew. 

Straightway the king sent messengers to every coun- 
try of the world to search for those golden apples, but 
one messenger after another returned empty-handed. 
When the last one came the king cried out in anguish, — ■ 

"Oh, is there no man in the kingdom who can bring me 
the golden apples ?" 

"We will go for them," said his two elder sons. 

"You cannot go," said the king. "Who would reign 
in my place if I should die in your absence ?" 



"Our brother Yanek is here." 

"What of that," said the king, shaking his head, as 
i£ to say that Yanek was of no account. 

The princes explained how useful it would be for the 
kingdom if the king grew young and strong, and they 
talked till the good father was persuaded. 

The princes could not conceal their joy. For them it 
was not so much a question of restoring their father's 
youth as it was of gaining liberty to lead a dissolute life 
from which they were restrained by the stern old king. 
They were soon ready for the road, but in their hurry 
they did not forget to take as much gold as possible, 
and the best horses, with the richest trappings in the 
king's stable. 

They set out quickly, for they were afraid that their 
father might change his mind. When outside of the 
city they forgot the golden apples ; they thought only of 
how to have the most pleasure. As they knew of no 
great city they went wherever chance led them. They 
rode at a swift gallop until they came to the boundary 
of their father's kingdom where the road branched off 
in three directions. They didn't know which road to 

"Maybe," said the younger brother, in whom a spark 
of love for his father was still smoldering, "we had 
better part here; we might find the apples more quickly." 


"We should have a joyous meeting!" said the elder 
brother. "It might please you to go alone, but I'll not 
let you." 

The younger yielded. They took the left-hand road 
and traveled many days. At last they saw some great 
object gleaming in the distance. On drawing nearer 
they found that it was a castle made of ruddy gold in- 
laid with precious stones. Since they were born they 
had not seen such wealth, but all was nothing compared 
with the beauty of the princess who appeared on the 
balcony and, smiling graciously, beckoned them in. 

Returning her salute the princes sprang from their 
horses and, tying them to a pillar of gold, hurried up the 
broad marble steps. The princess conducted them 
straightway to a banquet hall where the choicest of food 
and drink was served. Wine was poured for the broth- 
ers till they lost their wits ; then the princess, taking the 
elder brother by the hand, led him to the next chamber 
and seated him on a downy couch. She pressed a 
spring hidden in the floor ; the couch flew apart and the 
prince fell into a deep dungeon. 

Smiling with satisfaction the princess conducted the 
other brother to the chamber and treated him in like 

The brothers were not alone in the dungeon; many 
other princes were there, but most of them were too 


feeble to speak, for the wicked princess gave them verj 
little to eat; no one could escape, for the doors of thi 
dungeon were of iron and the vaults were of mightj 

The old king waited with anxious desire for the re 
turn of his sons. Every evening he stood for a lonj 
time gazing in the direction which they had taken whei 
going away ; each day his sadness increased and at las 
he was sick from anxiety. 

The youngest son, Yanek, sat whole days by his fa 
ther's bedside and comforted him with the assuranc( 
that his sons would come soon, and would bring th( 
golden apples. 

When they came not and the illness of the old kinj 
increased, Yanek said, "I will go for my brothers and thi 
golden apples." 

The king consented, for he thought that when Yand 
got to the boundary he would turn back. 

But Yanek had resolved to find his brothers and th 
apples. Straightway he made ready for the road. H 
chose the most wretched horse in the stable, one kep 
there from pity ; he took no rich armor or weapons, an 
only a little gold. He parted from his father and mothe 
and rode away leisurely. 

When Yanek was outside of the city the horse spol: 
to him in a human voice, and said, — 


"Get down, Yanek, I will feed a little in this field." 

Yanek was greatly surprised when the horse S]^oke, 
and, thinking at once that it was no common-hprse, he 
dropped the bridle and sprang to the ground. The 
horse went to the field, ate eagerly and then came back. 
Yanek could not believe his own eyes. Instead of the 
wretched little nag which could barely stand on its legs, 
a powerful crow-black steed stamped the earth impa- 
tiently, with his golden shoes; his hair was like satin, 
his mane was like silk, sparks of fire seemed to flash 
from his eyes. 

"Thou didst well to choose me," said he. "Sit on my 
back and we will fare farther." 

Yanek was not long in deciding; he sprang to the 
saddle and the crow-black steed rushed on with such 
speed that his golden shoes scarcely touched the earth, 
and soon they were at the boundary where the road 
branched off in three directions. Yanek was about to 
ask which road to take, but before he could do so the 
steed turned to the right and rushed on still more 

Yanek and the steed spent the night in a cave and in 
the morning went farther. Before the sun went down 
on the third day they came to a great city draped in 
black. As it was getting dark Yanek stopped at a lone 
cottage on the edge of the city. An old grandmother 


came to meet him and was not a little surprised wh€ 
Yanek asked for a night's lodging. 

"I haven't much," said she, "but what I have I give 
Yanek left his horse in the yard and followed tl 
grandmother to a room where she placed before hii 
what she had. 

"Why is the city draped in mourning?" asked Yanel 
"A terrible misfortune has come to us," sighed the o] 
woman. "Not long ago three dragons came here, Gc 
knows whence, and those monsters have destroye 
many people. To-night the king's daughter will be d* 
voured. If any man could kill the dragons and fr( 
the princess he would get her in marriage with half tl 
kingdom, and the whole kingdom after the death of tl 

Hearing these words Yanek grew thoughtful, ar 
soon he started off toward the city. In the distance 1 
saw a light. As it drew nearer he saw that attendan 
were conducting the princess outside the city to be d 
voured by the dragons. When the attendants lei 
Yanek went up to the maiden and saluting he 
said, — : 
"Go home in health, I will kill the dragon." 
The princess obeyed. That moment a nine-head( 
dragon rushed at Yanek, Yanek drew his sword ar 
yrith three blows cut off the nine heads of the drago 


then he went to the old woman's cottage and lying down 
slept soundly. 

The next morning the old grandmother told him, with 
great joy, that some brave knight had killed one of the 
three dragons, and that most likely he would kill the 
other two. 

Yanek said nothing, but when night came he went 
again to the place where the dragons came for their 
prey. Again attendants led out the princess and has- 
tened away. Yanek sprang from his hiding place and 
told her to go home. Straightway a dragon with eight- 
een heads stormed at him furiously. Yanek's hand 
was beginning to fail, but he summoned his last strength 
and struck so mightily that he cut off the dragon's 
heads. Then he went to the cottage and slept soundly. 

In the morning the old grandmother could not suffi- 
ciently praise the courageous knight who had killed the 
second dragon, and would, she was sure, kill the third 
one. Yanek smiled, but he was afraid of the third 
one; he hung his gloves over the old woman's bed, and 
said, — 

"I must go out to-night. If blood drops from these 
gloves loosen my crow-black steed." 

When night came Yanek went out against the last 
dragon. The princess came and he sent her home. 
That moment a twenty-seven headed dragon rushed at 


him with such force that he could scarcely keep on hi 
feet. He fought manfully, but he might have failed i 
his good steed had not come to his aid. The stee 
stamped on the dragon so fiercely, with his golden shoe; 
that he stunned him and Yanek was able to cut off hi 
heads. Yanek was about to go to the old woman's col 
tage when the princess stood before him. 

"My liberator," said she, "if thou carest not for m 
at least let my father thank thee." 

Yanek saluted the princess, placed her on his stee 
and went to the palace. 

Now there was rejoicing. The black drapings wer 
taken down and a rich feast was ready in the king' 
palace. At that feast the first places were occupied b 
the princess and Yanek. But Yanek determined not t 
marry the princess till he found his brothers and th 
golden apples. 

When the feast was over Yanek wanted to go awa 
at once. 

"Dost thou refuse the hand of my daughter?" aske 
the king, standing before him. 

"No," answered Yanek, "but I am bound by a dut 
which I cannot neglect." 

"Whenever thou mayest come I shall be glad to giv 
thee my blessing," said the king and taking a ring frot 
the princess's finger he put it on Yanek's finger. 


"If I come not before a year and a day the princess 
will be free from every promise," said Yanek, and taking 
a friendly leave he sprang on his steed and galloped to 
the cottage on the edge of the city. He rewarded the 
old grandmother and rode away. 

"Thou didst well not to marry the princess," said the 
steed. "Now we will go for the golden apples." 

Yanek was surprised when his crow-black steed took 
the road by which they had come. When they reached 
the boundary of the kingdom, wliere the roads branched 
off in three directions the steed turned, took the middle 
road, and before the sun had reached the mountains on 
the third day the steed stood in front of a golden castle. 
On the southern side of the castle was a beautiful garden, 
and in the middle of that garden was a tree on which the 
golden apples of youth were hanging. 

When Yanek saw the apples he sprang to the ground 
and wished to pluck them at once. 

"Hurry not," said the steed, "for from every apple 
goes out an invisible string which makes a terrible noise 
as soon as any one touches the apple. Take my bridle 
and go to the castle. In one of the chambers thou wilt 
find a beautiful princess who will greet thee with kind- 
ness beyond measure. Be not enticed by her beauty; 
bind her feet together with my bridle, otherwise she will 
pursue and kill thee." 


Yanek took the bridle and went to the castle. He 
had never seen such splendor before, but he forgot it all 
when he opened the door of the third chamber and saw a 
golden-haired princess. He was as if gazing at the sun ; 
his eyes were dazzled. When he recovered his senses he 
drew near and bowed down before the maiden. She 
smiled on him graciously and greeted him with wel- 
coming words. Remembering the command of his steed 
he paid no heed to her words, but catching hold of her 
feet he bound them with the bridle and hastened away. 
He mounted his steed; the steed sprang over the wall 
into the garden and told Yanek to pluck three apples. 

As soon as Yanek touched the apples there was such 
a noise that it was a wonder he did not lose his hearing, 
but the good steed sprang over the wall and rushed on 
like a whirlwind. At last he stopped and said, — 

"Now we have nothing to fear; we are beyond the 
boundary of the princess's land." 

Yanek heard not these words, for the princess was so 
beautiful that he was sorry for having treated her so 
cruelly. When he remembered the golden apples he 
strove to drive her face from his mind, but could not. 

The steed rested, then they went farther and in no 
long time reached the place where the road branched off 
in three directions. Yanek was so sunk in thought 
that he did not notice that the steed turned and took the 


left-hand road. It was only when they had gone a good 
distance that he saw this and asked, — 

"Where are we going?" 

"For thy brothers," answered the steed. 

When they came to the castle in which his brothers 
were imprisoned the steed said, — 

"Here also thou wilt find a beautiful princess, but she 
is cruel. The princess will entertain thee, then she will 
conduct thee to a chamber and tell thee to sit on a couch 
that is there. Do thou, as a gallant knight, ask her to 
be seated first. When she sits down press a spring in the 
floor in front of the couch. She will drop to the dungeon 
where thy brothers are ; then go thou to the rear cham- 
ber and bring away the largest key that is there." 

When Yanek rode up to the castle a beautiful maiden 
appeared on the balcony, but Yanek thought that he 
knew a more beautiful maiden. He tied his steed to a 
golden pillar and went up the broad marble steps. He 
returned the maiden's greeting then followed her to the 
banquet hall. He partook of the food and drink mod- 
erately, then let the princess lead him to the next cham- 
ber; when she asked him to sit on the couch he 
said, — 

"How could I be so rude?" 

He took her by the hand and seated her on the couch, 
and the same moment he pressed the spring in the floor. 


In the twinkle of an eye the couch opened and the prin- 
cess fell to the dungeon below. 

Yanek went to the rear chamber, took the largest key 
he could find there and returned to his steed. 

"We will go now," said the steed, "to the rear of the 
castle and dig down till we find the door of the dungeon," 

Yanek dug for a long time, then the steed pawed_and 
dug with him till an iron door was seen. 

"When the door is open," said the steed, "the princess 
will try to come out, but do not let her. Liberate only 
thy brothers and the other princes." 

Yanek, after a long struggle, opened the door. The 
first person who tried to push out was the princess, but 
Yanek drove her back without mercy and called to his 
brothers and the other princes. They didn't wait for a 
second call. When all were free Yanek, not heeding the 
prayers of the princess, locked the iron door and carried 
the key away. 

The strange princes thanked Yanek for their deliver- 
ance, and sat on their horses and hurried toward home; 
but Yanek's brothers looked at each other and were 
ashamed of themselves in presence of Yanek. 

"Now let us go home," said Yanek, "I have the golden 
apples of youth." 

The brothers were frightened, but they mounted their 


horses and followed Yanek. On the way the eldest 
brother said to the second, — 

"We must get those apples," 

The second brother said, — 

"When we come to an inn we will make Yanek drunk, 
then we'll get the apples." 

When they came to an inn they offered Yanek wine to 
drink; he would not take it, but, being tired from the 
road, he lay down on a bench and straightway fell 
asleep. The brothers were not long in taking the golden 
apples from his bosom and putting others in their place. 
When Yanek woke up, they traveled on till they came to 
their father's city. 

The steed said to Yanek, "Stop outside and let me eat 
a little grass." 

Yanek did this, but when the horse came from the field 
he was no longer a fiery steed, he was the same wretched 
little nag that Yanek took from the king's stable. Yanek 
sat on him and wished to overtake his brothers, but they 
were already in the palace. They gave the apples to 
the king and boasted not a little of having overcome 
numberless perils before getting them. 

The king ate the apples and straightway became as 
young and handsome as when he had married the queen. 
From joy he knew not what to do first. All the courtiers 


and the people of the city came to congratulate their 
king and wish him happiness. The king went to the 
balcony and, presenting his two sons to the people, de- 
clared that both would reign after his death. The peo- 
ple greeted the deceitful princes and praised their 

When Yanek appeared on his wretched little nag the 
people laughed secretly, but they roared loudly when, 
with great enthusiasm he cried out, — 

"Rejoice, my father, I have brought the apples of 
youth which thou hast so much desired." 

The king was ashamed of Yanek, and his brothers 
ridiculed him. 

Taking the apples from his bosom he presented them 
to the king, who refused to touch them and appeared to 
be enraged beyond measure. The queen sent for 
Yanek, and, since she was no less anxious for youth 
than the king was, she ate the apples with greediness. 
But an hour passed, two hours, a whole day, three days, 
and she did not grow young. The king was angry in 
earnest, but after a while he began to laugh at poor 

The deceitful brothers enjoyed their father's love and 
the praise of the people ; but their glory was short-lived. 
The story of the renewed youth of the king went far and 


wide, and at last it came to the ears of the princess from 
whom Yanek had stolen the apples. 

She summoned a great army and set out to find Yanek, 
not to get the apples back but to offer her hand to him, 
for he was a handsome youth and his bravery had 
pleased her. 

When the king heard that an army was approaching 
his capital he was alarmed, and he sent swift messengers 
to ask the reason of its coming. 

"Tell your king," said the princess, "to send me the 
man who took the apples of youth from my garden ; if he 
does not I will turn his capital into dust and ashes." 

The messengers hastened back to the king and told 
him what the princess had said, adding that her army 
was numerous beyond calculation. 

The king sent his two elder sons to the princess. 
They were greatly frightened, and the princess was as- 
tonished when she saw two instead of one. 

"Were ye both at my palace ?" asked she. 

"We were," answered one of the brothers, with a 
trembling voice. 

"Then ye both know how to go there?" 

"We do," answered they. 

The princess went with them to the boundary of the 
kingdom where the road branched off in three directions. 


There she halted and told the princes to go on toward 
her castle — ^but they were so confused that one turned 
to the left, the other to the right. 

"Deceivers!" cried the princess, angrily, and she or- 
dered them to be seized and bound. Then she returned 
to the city and announced to the king that unless he sent 
that prince who had been at her castle she would destroy 
his capital that very day. 

The king was frightened, and sending for Yanek he 
ordered him to go to the princess. 

Yanek mounted his miserable little nag ; he let it feed 
in the meadow till it became a fiery crow-black steed, 
then he hastened to the princess. 

"Thou didst come to me for the apples of youth," said 
the princess, with welcoming voice. 

"I did," said Yanek, looking at her timidly. 

"I think that thou art speaking the truth," said she, 
"but I must try thee." 

Then she went with him to the boundary of the king- 
dom and told him to go to her castle. 

Yanek, putting spurs to his steed, took the middle 

"Come back," cried the princess. 

Yanek obeyed. 

"What punishment shall I put upon thee?" asked she 
in a threatening voice. 


"I'll submit to anything," answered Yanek. 

'T sentence thee to give me thy heart and hand !" 

"Oh, beautiful princess," answered Yanek, "my heart 
was thine long ago, and my hand I am glad to give thee 
now. But one favor I beg : judge not my brothers, let 
me judge them." 

She granted the favor. They put spurs to theii: 
horses and were soon at the king's palace. 

In good truth the king was angry when the princess 
told him that it was Yanek and not his brothers who 
stole the apples of youth. She had the brothers called 
and they confessed. 

"Wretches!" cried the king in a rage. "Now I will 
pass such a sentence as never before." 

"Not so," said the princess, "they are my prisoners. 
It is for me to judge them, but I have given them to 
my bridegroom. Let him judge them." 

Yanek went to his chamber and returning with an 
enormous key and a ring, said, — 

"I will not treat you as ye have treated me. On the 
boundary of my father's kingdom, as ye know, the road 
branches off in three directions. Do thou, my elder 
brother, take this ring and go by the right-hand road, 
and thou, my second brother, take this key and go by the 
left-hand road. Ye will each arrive at a castle in which 
you will find a princess waiting for me." 


The brothers shed tears and embraced him. Not onl} 
the brothers, but the king and queen and, above all, the 
princess were delighted with kind-hearted Yanek. 

Feast followed feast, then Yanek with his princess and 
his brothers, started off. When they came to the bound- 
ary, Yanek and the princess took the middle road, one 
brother took the right-hand road, the other the left. 

The princess whom Yanek saved from the dragons 
was not a little grieved when the eldest brother gave her 
Yanek's ring, but when she knew that Yanek was mar- 
ried she gladly gave her hand to his brother. The prin- 
cess whom Yanek left in the dungeon lost forever, dur- 
ing the time she was there, her desire to delude and im- 
prison people. When Yanek's brother liberated her she 
gladly married him. 


THERE was once in the world a great myth king- 
dom, and in that kingdom a sorrowful king, who 
had a still more sorrowful wife. The king and queen 
were sorrowful because the Lord had not given them 
children; though it was written word for word in the 
magic book that the Lord would give them a son with 
golden teeth and magic power. 

"God be good to me!" cried the queen once. "If I 
had a golden-toothed son with magic power none other 
would be his wife save the world-beautiful Sharkan 

Seven years later the Lord gave her a golden-toothed 
son of magic power. No sooner was the boy born when 
he spoke, saying, — 

"Father, I want to learn; send me to school, and give 
me a master." 

When the boy was seventeen years old he had finished 
every school in the world, and then he said to his 
mother, — 

"My mother, knowst thou what thy promise was be- 
fore I was born?" 



The queen had forgotten the promise, she remem- 
bered nothing about it. 

"Well, mother," repeated the magic youth, "try to 
think what thou didst promise before I was born. I will 
ask thee once more. What didst thou promise before I 
was born ?" 

The third time the queen gave no answer, for think as 
hard as she could, she couldn't remember what she had 

"Well, mother," said the magic youth, "I cannot help 
it, I must bring thee to thy memory." 

He took an ax in his hand, struck the chief pillar of 
the palace and split it open with a blow; then he fastened 
his mother's hair in the crack of the pillar and left her 
there, saying, — 

"Well, my mother, thou wilt stay there until thou dost 
tell me what thou didst promise before I was born." 

No one opposed the magic youth, though the king was 
there, and with him were renowned heroes, for it was 
known that a thousand fold woe would come to the man 
who dared to raise a word, for the mighty youth had 
strength to crush them all with his little finger. 

At last it came to the queen's mind what she had prom- 
ised before her son was born, and she said, — 

"Now, my dear son, I know what I promised; I cried 
out : 'God be good to me, if I had a golden-toothed son 


of magic power none other should be his wife save the 
world-beautiful Sharkan Roja.' " 

"Well, mother, thou shouldst have told that before to 
save disgrace, but I could not help it; now forgive me." 

Then the magic youth drove the ax into the pillar, 
spread it open, and took out his mother's hair, and lib- 
erated her. 

"But, my dear mother, why didst thou promise what 
thou art not able to give ? Why promise me the world- 
beautiful Sharkan Roja who possesses immortal youth 
and unfading beauty, and who is in the great dragon 
kingdom with her husband the King of the Dragons, 
who carried her oflF with violence from beautiful Won- 
derland? My own mother and my father who reared 
me, this is my word and speech to you. I shall travel, 
if I wear my legs to the knees, while I see with my eyes, 
till I find the Dragon Kingdom. I shall bring hence the 
world-beautiful Sharkan Roja, or ye will never rejoice 
at sight of me, for easily I may leave my life in that 

Then in the midst of tear-shedding the golden-toothed 
magic youth took leave of his own father and of the 
mother who bore him and of his dear friends, and set 
out to look for the world-beautiful Sharkan Roja. He 
journeyed and traveled across forty-nine kingdoms till 
once, when darkness had settled down, he saw a light 


in the midst of a slough. He went toward the shining 
and beheld a wondrously fair woman sitting in a little 
golden coach to which six white squirrels were attached, 
but the coach was fast in the mud, the squirrels could 
pull it neither one way nor the other. 

The king's son was not slow ; he went quickly to help 
the six white squirrels, and with his aid they got the 
coach out of the slough. When the golden coach was 
on the dusty road, the wondrously fair lady turned to 
the magic youth and found this to say, — 

"Well, fair son of the king, expect good in return for 
good. What dost thou wish of me, the Queen of Won- 

"I wish only this," answered the king's son. "Give 
me as wife the world-beautiful Sharkan Roja." 

"Ah, prince, thou art moving a big tree, for if thou 
hast not said who thou art still I know. Great is thy 
power, great thy knowledge, but thou wouldst be a small 
breakfast for the King of the Dragons, for know that 
he kneads iron as I do dough, and crushes a rock as I 
do a bit of fresh cheese, and breaks down the largest 
tree of the forest with a stroke of his fist as easily as I 
break a hemp stalk. Therefore, thou art moving a great 
tree ; thou wilt break thy knife in it, and may easily lose 
thy life." 

"I am not concerned about my life. If the Dragon 


King were seventy-seven times as strong, still I would 
measure strength with him for Sharkan Roja." 

"If thou art so determined then, know that Sharkan 
Roja is my daughter, and that dog's meat, the King of 
the Dragons, stole her from me. And know also that 
if thou canst bring her thence, I will take thee as son and 
beautiful Wonderland will be thy dwelling place; thou 
wilt sit in the first seat, and the world-beautiful Sharkan 
Roja will be thy wife. Here are three golden hairs and 
a ragged strip of linen. Strike the three golden hairs 
with the ragged strip of linen and thou wilt see what a 
splendid wind-bred, fire-eating, magic steed thou wilt 
have to carry thee to the great Dragon Kingdom. The 
ragged bit of linen will become such a golden saddle that 
thou wouldst have to search for the like of it and then 
not find it. When on thy good steed, go to such and 
such a place where from the foot of a great mountain a 
spring is gushing forth; bathe in that spring and thou 
wilt find that though thou wert strong thou wilt be seven 
times stronger ; no weapon will wound thy body and thy 
hair will be golden. When thou hast finished bathing 
thou wilt find, in the grass near the spring, a sword 
grown of the earth, point upward ; pluck this sword, for 
it has the virtue that if thine arm grows weary from 
great fighting it strikes, thrusts and kills of itself. If 
thou dost all this perhaps thou wilt conquer the King of 


the Dragons. But i£ thou shouldst feel thy strength 
decreasing here are three vials, in each of them is a 
strengthening mixture; drink from the smallest first, 
then from the middle, and then from the largest one. 
From this drink thou wilt regain thy seven-fold 

The Queen of Wonderland struck her squirrels with 
a golden whip and vanished from the eye, like a dream- 
vision, like a breath. 

The prince struck, with the ragged piece of linen, the 
three hairs grown from one root, and behold like to 
swiftest lightning there stood before him an iron-gray, 
six-legged, dragon-suckled, fire-eating, wind-bred magic 
steed ; the ragged linen became a golden saddle. 

The king's son sat on the good steed and never stopped 
till he reached the foot of the great mountain where he 
found a spring gushing forth. He bathed in the spring 
and his strength increased seven-fold. When he had 
finished bathing he looked for the sword growing out of 
the earth and found it. Then he sat on his good steed 
and went in search of the great Dragon Kingdom. 

He traveled and journeyed across forty-nine king- 
doms, till he came to a copper bridge. That bridge led 
to the kingdom and on it two dragons stood guard. 

The king's son rested his good steed, then rushed to 
the bridge. The dragons met him, but it was not long 


till the golden-haired, golden-toothed youth sent them to 
the other world; they were that much for him that they 
would have been small for his breakfast. 

Now the magic steed danced on the copper bridge and 
his golden shoes clattered. In this manner the golden- 
toothed hero entered the great Dragon Kingdom, but 
that no created thing might see him he said, "Cloud 
before me, cloud behind me that no one might see 


And no one saw him though he saw all things. Each 
dragon had his own palace of granite or marble, 
one more beautiful than another. Each dragon had 
a wife stolen from a king, a count, or from Won- 
derland. In those palaces were great mountains of 
plundered treasure ; gold, silver, precious stones, all kinds 
of costly weapons, swords with golden hilts, axes with 
boxwood handles — three days would not suffice were I 
to enumerate the plundered things piled up in the Dragon 

In the middle of the kingdom stretched out a silken 
meadow, in the meadow was a garden where all the 
flowers of the round earth bloomed without fading. 
Just then dragons were cutting the silken grass with 
golden scythes, turning it with silver forks and gathering 
it with golden rakes. The silken grass was to be eaten 
by golden-haired steeds. In the middle of the garden 


was the golden-pillared diamond palace of the King of 

The king's son found the world-beautiful Sharkan 
Roja under a weeping willow. With eyes and mouth he 
could not gaze on her shining beauty sufficiently. How 
could he? Her golden hair, plaited in two braids, 
touched her white feet and reached the earth ; her form 
was like a bending reed; her mild look, like the look 
of a dove; when she smiled roses opened on her tender 
face; when she wept true pearls fell from her eyes, 
and when she took a step gold streamed from her 

The king's son put spurs to his good steed, rushed to 
Sharkan Roja, and said, — 

"Why dost thou grieve, my heart's beautiful love? I 
have come to liberate thee." 

With that they kissed each other, saying: "I am 
thine, thou art mine." 

"My heart's heart," asked the king's son, "is that dog 
of a dragon here ?" 

"My heart's beautiful love," answered Sharkan Roja, 
"he is not here, but he will come at midday." 

"If he were here I would measure strength with him, 
but, my heart's heart, wilt thou answer one question of 

"I will answer," said Sharkan Roja, 


"Ah, my heart's golden love, my question is nothing 
else save this, canst thou tell me where the dragon's 
strength is?" 

"O, no ! my heart's beautiful love, had I known where 
it was thou wouldst not have found me here." 

"Canst thou tell me where his strengthening drink is ?" 

"In the cellar is a stone barrel. What it contains I do 
not know, surely, but I can say on my true faith that 
each midday the King of the Dragons goes to that barrel 
and drinks." 

"My heart's beautiful love, if I were to ask thee en-, 
treatingly wouldst thou bring me some of that drink?" 

Sharkan Roja took a golden cup in her hand, ran to 
the cellar and brought it back full of wine from the stone 
barrel. The prince took a good draught and if he had 
been strong before he was now seven times stronger. 

At midday the King of the Dragons came home with 
a mighty clatter. When still far away he shouted, "I 
smell a strange odor ! I smell a strange odor !" When 
he stopped in the court foam was dripping from his 
horse ; it couldn't have dropped faster. He did not enter 
his palace, but called out in great anger, "I have always 
heard the fame of the golden-toothed magic prince, I 
(Should like to fight with him were he here." 

"I am here!" cried the prince. 

"If you are here, you find me in good humor. Come 


to my lead pavement and we will make trial of each 

They went to the lead pavement. The King of the 
Dragons took a piece of rock and cut it in two with a 
wooden knife; one-half he kept himself and the other 
half he gave to the prince, saying, — 

"If thou canst crush this stone as I do, then I shall 
believe that thou art strong." 

Here the dragon squeezed the stone till it was like 

"That is nothing!" cried the golden-toothed hero, "I 
will squeeze the rock so that not only will it become flour, 
but water will drop from it." 

With that he squeezed the rock till it was not merely 
dust", but water dropped from it. 

"Now I see," said the dragon, "that thou art strong 
and worthy to fight me. I'll go to the cellar for my 
sword, then we'll meet." 

"Thou wilt not carry thy dog shirt out of here! If 
thou hast no sword, I'll throw mine away and we'll fight 

What was the dragon to do? He saw with sight that 
he had come upon a man. He seized the king's son by 
the waist and struck him into the lead pavement so that 
he sunk to his knees, but the prince was not slow. He 


sprang out of the hole, caught the dragon by the waist 
and thrust him into the lead pavement up to his knees. 

The dragon was not slow ; he sprang out of the hole, 
caught the golden-toothed hero by the waist and thrust 
him in up to his chin. But the golden-toothed hero was 
not slow; he sprang out of the hole, caught the dragon 
by the waist and thrust him in up to the tip of his nose. 

When the dragon could not get out the hero said to 
him, — 

"Well, King of the Dragons, dost thou believe now 
that I am strong? I can take thy life, but I'll spare thee 
on one condition." 

"What is it?" 

"That thou wilt give me the world-beautiful Sharkan 

"Let her be thine," said the dragon. 

The golden-toothed hero wanted no more. In a mo- 
ment he sprang on his good steed, took Sharkan Roja in 
his arms, and rode away. But he had barely reached the 
gate when the King of Dragons, who was out of the hole, 
and had taken a good drink from the barrel, called, — 

"Come back, golden-toothed hero, the world-beautiful 
Sharkan Roja is not thine yet. I was playing with thee, 
now we'll have a true trial." 

The prince's chin fell, for then did he know with whom 


he had to deal. He turned back and they closed with 
one another, but first the prince took a good drink from 
the three vials given to him by the Queen of Wonderland. 
Much time had not passed when the King of the Dragons 
bit the dust. Then the world-beautiful Sharkan Roja 
struck the diamond palace three times with a golden rod 
which she had in her hand, and all the treasures, the 
flowery garden, and the silken me3,dow turned into a 
diamond apple. She hid the apple in her bosom and sat 
on the magic steed by the side of her true love. 

The golden-toothed magic youth took Sharkan Roja 
to his father's kingdom. Great was the joy in that broad 
kingdom when the hero returned with his bride, but it 
was still greater when the world-beautiful Sharkan Roja 
took the diamond apple from her bosom, put it down in 
the most beautiful part of the kingdom, struck it three 
times with the golden rod, and behold, in a flash, the 
silken meadow stretched out before them, in the middle 
of the meadow was the garden where all the flowers of 
the round world bloomed without fading, and in the 
middle of the garden was the gold-pillared diamond 

Then there was a we3ding. And the golden-toothed 
magic hero and the world-beautiful Sharkan Roja live 
in that palace yet, if they are not dead. 


BEYOND distant times reigned somewhere a power- 
ful king. Yarboi, his son, was heir to the throne, 
and the young man was trained befittingly in all things 
needful to a king in governing his land and making his 
people happy. 

Every man, even the simplest, takes delight in some 
special thing; Prince Yarboi loved fish beyond measure. 
Each day he walked along his fishpond, which was not 
far from the king's castle, and watched the fish as they 
darted around here and there, up and down in the water, 
or sprang out to catch flies. He brought food and was 
delighted when the fish splashed near him and took 
crumbs, almost from his hand. 

Though a prince, Yarboi did not lead a holiday life; 
his father kept him at work and the more strictly because 
it was a question of the happiness of his people. 

One day Yarboi went as usual to the fishpond ; the fish 
darted here and there, up and down in the water, but to 
no purpose; Yarboi remained thoughtful and, without 
looking at his beloved fish, lay- down under the thick 



bushes that skirted the pond. He knew that something 
afflicted him, but what it was he could in no way imagine. 

All at once he heard glad conversation beyond the 
bushes. He rose quietly and still more quietly opened 
the bushes. In the field, where young wheat was as 
green as pond grass, he saw three maidens. The first 
was as beautiful as a spring day, the second was still 
more beautiful, but the third was three times as beautiful 
as the first two together. 

The maidens had been cutting grass, the sun was high 
and they were weary from heat as well as from work, 
they were resting and talking. They were young and 
naturally they talked about marriage, for they thought 
that no one was listening. But the prince listened care- 
fully, scarcely breathing. 

"It was foretold me," said the first maiden, "that I 
would marry a widower, but that I would have golden 
times with him." 

"It was foretold me," said the second maiden, with a 
sad voice, "that I would never marry and that I would 
have an evil time." 

"And what will be thy fate?" asked the first laugh- 
ingly of the third maiden. 

*'The prince will marry me," said she in a serious 
voice, "and God will give us twins, a prince atxd princess. 


The boy will have a golden sun on his breast and the girl 
a golden moon." 

The maidens, without saying another word, took up 
the grass they had cut and putting it on their shoulders 
went to their homes, in a neighboring village. 

Prince Yarboi was astonished at the maiden's words, 
but he was well pleased and willing that the prophecy 
should be fulfilled. He followed the maidens cautiously 
to discover where the third one lived. When he found 
out he returned to the castle, but a longing seized him 
and increased continually ; nothing made him either sad 
or joyful; he was indifferent to everything. Each day 
he went to the fishpond, lay down under the bushes and 
listened, but no maiden came to the field. 

The king and queen noticed the change in their son, 
but could not discover the cause, therefore they called 
him to their presence and asked what ailed him. "Tell 
me," said the king, "and I promise by my crown that 
thou shalt have it." 

"I wish not to force thee to anything," said the prince, 
"but if I receive not the maiden whom I love I will re- 
main free forever." 

The king looked at the queen, and when she had as- 
sented, he said, — 

"It will be as thou wishest." 


"I want to marry a maiden from the neighboring vil- 

The king and queen were silent for a while, then the 
king said, — 

"Thou art man grown ; act according to thy mind." 

The prince kissed the hands of his father and mother, 
and soon set out, in a carriage drawn by six horses, for 
the village. When the ^ieople saw the king's carriage 
they were not surprised, for the king often passed 
through the village, but when it stopped in front of one 
of the cottages all heads were puzzled. 

The prince got out of the carriage and asked the man 
and woman sitting by the door : — 

"Where is your daughter?" 

Instead of answering they gazed at him. He went 
into the cottage and found the maiden at work. He 
took her hand, placed a ring on her finger, kissed her on 
the forehead and led her to the carriage. "This is my 
bride," said he to the astonished parents. "Ye will not 
refuse your consent and blessing?" 

The parents stretched forth their hands and blessed 
them. Yarboi, with his chosen one entered the carriage, 
and soon they were at the king's castle. 

When the king saw the bride he was satisfied ; in his 
eyes were clear tears, for he thought, "My son has 
chosen well." 


Straightway the bride was arrayed in rich robes and 
messengers were sent to the four sides o£ the world to 
invite kings and princes to the wedding. When all had 
assembled there was a joyous feast, then the wedding, 
and again feasting. Prince Yarboi was happy. He 
wished for no more in this world. But this unspeakable 
happiness was the cause of long suffering. In thinking 
of his bride he forgot to invite a neighboring king and 
this so offended the king that he declared war. At this 
time the old king died; Yarboi inherited the throne and 
he had to defend it. 

How unwillingly did he go to war, not because he was 
a coward, but because he had to leave his young wife. 
But when he heard how his enemy was destroying the 
country and slaying the people he did not delay. He 
gave his power to his mother and with tears in his 
eyes, begging her to love his wife as her own daughter, 
he set out for the field. He fought bravely, but the 
fortune of war turned now; to one side, now to the 

Yarboi did not lose courage; he fought unceasingly. 
He thought that his cherished wife was safe in the care 
of his mother. Happy was Yarboi in having such 
thoughts, but how his hands would have dropped if he 
had known the truth. 

The old queen was skilled in the black art. She had 


only an assumed love for the young wife. When the 
king was at home she could not injure the queen with 
even a word, but now the best chance possible came to 
ruin her completely. 

The Lord gave the queen twins, as had been foretold, 
a boy and a girl ; the boy had a golden sun on his breast, 
and the girl had a golden moon. The old queen stole 
the children and told the mother that they died at birth. 
Who can describe the sorrow of the poor mother ? No 
one suspected the awful deceit. The old witch had a 
wicker basket ; she put the children into it, together with 
gold and a letter saying, "Whoso finds these children let 
him keep the money and rear the children ; they are not 
christened," then she pushed the basket out onto the 
wide sea. 

She did not care so much for the destruction of the 
children; the queen was the thorn that pricked her eye. 
Therefore she wrote a letter to the king in which she 
told only lies about his young wife. When the messen- 
ger came the king was in battle and the victory inclined 
to his side, but when he read the letter his courage fell 
and the battle was lost. He wrote to his mother to do 
nothing before his return. 

This answer did not please the old queen, so she wrote 
another letter in which she used all of her power to 
destroy her daughter-in-law, and she succeeded. The 


king wrote to put the young queen in prison. His 
orders were carried out at once. 

The war lasted long, but at last Yarboi conquered his 
enemy. Mournfully did he return to his castle, mourn- 
fully did he remain there. The old queen tried in every 
way to remove the image of his wife from his memory, 
but he was unable to forget her. Meanwhile the guilt- 
less woman was groaning in prison. 

But what had become of the children ? 

Not far from the sea shore was a cottage and in the 
cottage lived a fisherman and his family. One night the 
fisherman had a wonderful dream : A woman came to 
his cot, took him by the hand, and said: "Go to the 
island where to-day thou hast caught a big fish; great 
fortime awaits thee there." 

The fisherman wakened and wondered not a little at 
his strange dream. He had never succeeded in any- 
thing. He worked the whole blessed day; he drank 
only pure water, and was so thankful when he had a 
chance to sleep that he slept soundly; no dream had ever 
come to him before, hence he was sure that this dream 
had significance. Unable to interpret it with his own 
mind he roused his wife to take counsel with her. But, 
angry because he snatched her from sleep, she did noth- 
ing but scold. At last she pushed him rudely and told 
him to keep still and go to sleep. The fisherman obeyed. 


Scarcely was he asleep when again it seemed to him 
that a woman was standing by his bed and begging him 
to go to the island. He wakened and wanted to take 
counsel with his wife; he was afraid to rouse her, but 
he tumbled around so long that she wakened of her own 
accord. He told her the dream again; she snarled at 
him angrily, ordered him to give her peace, and was so 
cross that the poor man was glad to keep quiet and go to 

Again he was barely asleep when the pale woman stood 
by his bed and begged him to go to the island. The 
moment the vision disappeared the fisherman wakened; 
he slipped out of bed, with both feet, quietly, so as not 
to disturb his wife, stole out of the house and hastened 
to the sea. He seized the oars and sprang into his boat; 
the boat went, almost of itself, to the island. 

As soon as the fisherman touched land he heard the 
wailing of a child. He went toward the sound and saw, 
by the light of the moon, a basket, and in the basket he 
found two children. "This is fine luck," thought he. 
"My wife does nothing now but what our children want, 
and since we have three it will not be so bad when we 
have five." 

He put the basket in his boat, and, thinking how the 
pale woman had promised him good luck, he rowed for 
the mainland. Just as he touched the sand of the beach 


he saw a package in the bottom of the boat; he opened it 
quickly and found a large number of gold pieces. The 
dream had come true; luck had met him. 

The woman was standing on the threshold when her 
husband came back. When she saw the basket and the 
two children she greeted him angrily, but the moment 
he showed her the gold she changed completely. She 
kissed the orphans and knew not what to do first for 

"First," said the fisherman, "thou must take them to 
be christened, then I will go and report to the authori- 

The woman did as her husband proposed. The fisher- 
man went to the authorities and said that he had found 
two children, a boy and a girl, but he did not mention 
the gold pieces. They decided to let him keep the chil- 

The children were christened in proper form, but he 
who christened them knew not that he was christening 
the children of a king. 

The brother and sister grew as if growing out of 
water, and when six years old they began to go to school 
with the fisherman's son. They learned so easily that 
the teacher had only joy from them. The fisherman 
loved them as well as he did his own children, but his 
wife, whenever she forgot the gold, turned her heart 


from them, gave them poor food and clothing, and 
crossed them in all things. 

The fisherman's son was a dunce at school, at home he 
did nothing but mischief. Once, on the way to school, 
the orphans reproached him for this. He said nothing, 
but that night he complained to his mother. "The next 
time they reproach thee," said the mother, "tell them that 
they are foundlings, that they need not boast." 

The worthless son resolved to obey his mother. To do 
so quickly he played in school till the teacher flogged him. 
On the way home the orphans reproached him a second 
time, and that was what he wanted. 

"Oh, foundlings," sneered he. "Ye wish to command 
me. Ye are foundlings; my father picked up a basket 
and ye were in it." 

"We know," said the boy, "that we do not belong to 
thy family." Though they were yovmg they had more 
sense than other children of their age. "We will go 

The fisherman's son ran home to tell his mother what 
had happened and when the orphans reached the cottage 
the hard-hearted woman had tied up their scant clothing; 
she gave them the bundle and said, — 

"Be off ! Maybe ye want me to ask you to stay longer, 
but I'll not do it." 

The children thanked the woman for rearing them; 


looked once and a second time at the cottage, then walked 
on, hand in hand, into the wide world. The fisherman 
met them and asked where they were going. They told 
him everything and said that they could not stay longer. 
They thanked him for rearing them, and then wished 
to go. The fisherman cried and begged them to stay, 
but they insisted so firmly that at last he let them 


The fisherman went home and reproached his wife for 
her action, but the orphans went where their eyes led 

In the evening they came to a forest through which 
they hoped to pass quickly, but hope deceived them ; they 
went hither and thither, lost the road, and night came 
on ; everywhere there was darkness. The children were 
so tired they could scarcely bend a knee. They sat down 
on soft moss, put their arms~ around each other, nestled 
up closely, and right away they were fast asleep and they 
slept till the white morning; then, freshened by sleep, 
they went on their way. They had gone only a short 
distance when they saw under a rock an enormous num- 
ber of gold pieces. 

"Brother, that is gold !" cried the girl. 

"It must be," said the boy, and he took up a piece and 
weighed it in his hand. 

"Can we take some of it?" 


"Why not ? If it belonged to any man surely he would 
not leave it here." 

They took some of the coins and went on. Soon the 
forest began to grow thin and in a short time they came 
to a town. The children seemed larger and older than 
when they left the fisherman's cottage. The boy went 
to an inn and said to the innkeeper, "I want two cham- 
bers, one for myself, and one for my sister, I will pay 
thee well," and he gave him a gold piece as earnest 
money. When he had the chambers the boy said to the 
innkeeper, — 

"Get ready a wagon and strong horses." 

The boy drove to the forest and put all of the gold into 
the wagon — the horses were barely able to draw it. He 
took the gold to the inn and his chamber. 

Now the brother and sister lived grandly; the boy 
soon became a splendid youth and the girl a glorious 

Reports of the youth and his wealth spread over the 
whole land ; everybody wanted to know him. The owner 
of a vast domain had a special desire to know him, for 
the domain, in fact, belonged to creditors. This man 
made a feast and invited the youth and his sister. When 
all of the guests had gone away except the brother and 
sister the host said that nothing gave him pleasure; he 
did not care for the domain or the palace. The youth 


offered to buy the domain and, because he gave three 
times what it was worth, the bargain was concluded. 

The youth and his sister went to the palace to live 
and soon they gave a splendid feast. An invitation was 
sent to Yarboi, the king; but the old queen, by means of 
her knowledge and magic was able to gain true tidings, 
and thus she knew that that rich youth was none other 
than the son of the king, and she tried in every way pos- 
sible to dissuade the king from going. But all of her 
arguments were without effect. Some mysterious feel- 
ing urged the king to go to the feast. Then the queen 
had recourse to other means. She prepared a potion and 
when the king partook of food she put it secretly into his 
wine. He had barely drunk it when he dropped on a 
chair and fell asleep. 

Then the old queen disguised herself in the king's 
clothes and went to the feast. She entered the banquet 
hall just as the guests were sitting down to the table. 
The youth led her to the place intended for King Yarboi 
and no one suspected that she was the mother of the king. 

They feasted till the sun went behind the mountains, 
then the guests departed and each went to the place he 
had come from, only the old queen stayed behind. The 
youth conducted her through the palace and the garden, 
and at last to the fishpond, for above all things he loved 
fish and fishponds. 


The old queen praised everything beyond measure, 
but when she came to the fishpond she contracted her 
eyes and said, — 

"Oh, what is this beautiful fishpond good for, when 
there are no golden fish in it?" 

"But could I get golden fish ?" asked the youth. 

"You could," answered the queen, twisting her face 
with a malicious smile, "In the Glass Mountain beyond 
the Crimson Sea there are plenty of them." 

The youth grew thoughtful and the queen prepared to 
go. She had barely left the palace when, by means of 
her magic, she was in the king's chamber. The king was 
still sleeping, but barely had she taken off his clothes 
when he wakened, and was not a little astonished that he 
had slept so long; the queen said, "It is better for thee 
to sleep than to weary thyself on the road." 

After the feast the youth was thinking night and day 
about the golden fish and at last he determined to go for 
them. He gave the management of the palace to his 
sister and taking but one servant, set out on the journey. 

He traveled and traveled till he reached the Crimson 
Sea. So far he had good luck, but when he looked at 
the unquiet sea and saw how high the waves were his 
courage fell ; he wanted to turn back with work undone. 
All at once he heard a strange voice say, — 

"I greet thee, rich youth." 


Looking around he saw a hermit on whose face were 
the marks of former faults and the penitence of years. 

"I know thee well," said the hermit, "but what art 
thou seeking?" 

"I am going to the Glass Mountain for golden fish, 
but I know not how to cross the sea." 

"Be satisfied with what thou hast," urged the hermit. 

But the youth implored him for assistance till he led 
him to a boat and they started for the Glass Mountain. 
They crossed the Crimson Sea and drew up the boat on 
land, then the hermit gave the youth a rod, and said, — 

"Go directly east till you come to an immense rock. 
Strike the rock thrice with the rod and the Glass Moun- 
tain will open to thee. But give now a careful ear to 
what I say, and g^ard thyself to a hair according to my 
words, otherwise it will go ill with thee. 

"Thou wilt go on great steps to the Glass Mountain. 
First thou wilt pass through a pear garden; where the 
trees will be covered with golden pears, but do not pluck 
even one. Then thou wilt come to an apple orchard, 
the trees will be covered with golden apples, but touch 
them not. Beyond the orchard is a lake, in that lake 
are the golden fish. On the shore thou wilt find a small 
earthen vessel; take up water in it, but be careful not 
to take even one tiny fish, they will come to thy hand, 
but be not confused. I will wait for thee here." 


When the youth came to the rock he lashed it three 
times with the rod; the rock opened, and, on broad 
white steps, he went down to the underground world. 
When he came to the pear trees he wanted to stretch 
forth his hand and pluck the golden fruit, but he re- 
membered the hermit's words. When he came to the 
apple orchard, involuntarily he stretched forth his arm, 
but it dropped to his side and he went on. 

At the edge of the lake he found the earthen vessel 
and filled it with water; though the fish were beautiful 
and came to his hand as if wanting to go with him, he 
left them and hurried back; barely had he reached the 
white world when the rock closed behind him. 

The hermit was waiting on the shore, he greeted the 
youth joyfully, seated him in his boat, and they crossed 
the Crimson Sea. On the way the hermit said, — 

"When thou shalt reach home pour this water into thy 
fish lake, leave the vessel on the shore. On waking in 
the morning go to the lake and look in the water." 

The youth took farewell of the hermit, and hurried 
home. Whether it was long or short he reached his 
castle, poured the water into the lake and went to tell 
his sister of the events of the journey. Early the next 
morning he hurried to the lake to see if the hermit had 
spoken the truth. How rejoiced was he when from a 
distance he saw a golden gleam on the lake. When he 


drew near and saw the beauty of the fish he could rest 
his eyes on them. 

Straightway he sent messengers to the four sides of 
the world to invite kings and princes to come and gaze 
on his golden fish. He sent an invitation to King Yar- 
boi. Again the old queen tried in every way to dissuade 
the king and when all of her arguments failed she had 
recourse to a sleeping draught ; then instead of the king 
the queen went to the feast disguised in his clothes. 

She entered the banquet hall as the guests were sitting 
down to the table; straightway all began to talk about 
the golden fish. After the banquet the kings and princes 
went to the lake and were unable to admire sufficiently 
the beauty of the golden fish. After that the guests dis- 
persed, pnly the old queen stayed behind. "Now I have 
everything," said the youth, triumphantly. 

"You have much, it is true," answered the queen, 
"but what are golden fish when they do not dance?" 

"Can fish dance?" asked the youth, eagerly. 

"Of course they can," said the queen. 

"But how?" 

"If you had the music tree it would play to the fish 
and they could not help dancing." 

"Can I get that tree?" 

"You can. It grows beyond the Crimson Sea, in the 
Glass Mountain." 


The youth grew thoughtful, and the queen went home. 
In one moment she was in King Yarboi's chamber, but 
she barely had his clothes off when he wakened. Again 
he was angry that instead of going to the feast he had 

Without delay the youth started in search of the music 

On the shore of the Crimson Sea he found the hermit. 

"Why comest thou?" asked the hermit. 

"Beyond the Crimson Sea there is a music tree; I 
want that tree," 

"Be satisfied with what thou hast," said the hermit. 
But when the youth implored him unceasingly he took 
him to the boat and in silence they crossed the sea; 
when they reached the farther shore the hermit said, — 

"Take this rod again and do as thou didst before. 
When thou hast crossed the gardens and the lake thou 
wilt see the music tree ; take a knife and cut a rod from 
it. Then start back, walk quickly and look neither to the 
right nor to the left, nor behind thee. All thy friends 
and acquaintances will call thee, but be not deceived, 
they will not be there. Leave that underground world 
without stopping, otherwise it will be ill for thee." 

The youth went on and everything happened as the 
hermit foretold: The rock opened, he descended the 
white steps, and passed the gardens with the golden 


fruit. From a distance he heard beautiful music and 
when he had passed the lake he saw the wonder-working 
tree. He cut a rod from it, and turned back; then he 
heard his sister calling behind him, he heard his foster- 
father, the fisherman, and his family; he heard the inn- 
keeper; he heard his friends; above all he heard King 
Yarboi, as he thought, but it was not the king's voice, 
it was the voice of the old queen ; each voice called him 
emphatically, alluringly, plaintively. A hundred times 
he wanted to turn, but remembering the words of the 
hermit he resisted every temptation and at last reached 
the steps. There his sister called once more, so beseech- 
ingly that he was going to turn, but some unseen power 
pushed him forward ; he sprang into God's white world, 
the rock came together with a noise like thunder, and 
the illusion vanished. 

The hermit was sitting in his boat; he was gloomy, 
for he was thinking that the youth would not return. 
How delighted was he when he saw him and saw also, 
in his hand, a branch of the wonder-working tree ! 

"Thou hast borne thyself bravely," said he; "when 
thou art home plant that branch in the ground at the 
edge of the lake, and look there the next morning." 

They reached the opposite shore of the Crimson Sea ; 
the youth gave heartfelt thanks to the hermit, and has- 
tened home. When he reached his palace he went to the 


lake and planted the branch of the music tree. Early 
the next morning he went to see if the hermit had spoken 
the truth. From a distance he heard delightful music 
and when he came to the lake he saw that his golden 
fish were dancing. 

Straightway he sent messengers to the four sides of 
the world to invite the kings and princes to gaze at the 
music tree. He sent an invitation to King Yarboi. The 
king wished to see the golden fish and the music tree, 
but the old queen gave him a sleeping draught, put on his 
clothes and went in his place. 

The youth was joyful beyond measure, for he thought 
that now he had everything that his heart could desire. 

After the feast the guests went to listen to the music 
of the wonder-working tree, and to see the golden fish 
dance and there was no end to their astonishment; then 
they said good-by to the king and each went to the 
place he had come from, but the old queen stayed behind. 

"Thou hast obtained the music tree," said she, "but 
the tree is not a living thing. It does not play for the 
fish according to their desire." 

"Who could do that?" asked the youth. 

"The golden bird in the golden cage," answered the 

"Where is that bird ? Can I get it ?" 


"You can get it. It is beyond the Crimson Sea, in the 
Glass Mountain," 

The youth became thoughtful and the queen set out 
for home; in a twinkle she was in the king's chamber. 
The king wakened, but pretended to be asleep; he saw 
that the queen was wearing his clothes and that she 
undressed in a hurry; the mist fell from his eyes, he 
knew that his mother had deceived him. 

"Oh, how long I have slept," said he at last, and the 
queen was sure of her safety. 

Now the youth bade his beloved sister farewell, and 
set out to find the golden bird so that nothing in the 
world should be wanting to him. When he came to the 
Crimson Sea the hermit was there, on his face appeared 
at one moment joy, at the next moment sorrow. 

"Be satisfied with what thou hast!" urged he. 

But the youth begged till at last the hermit led him to 
the boat and took him to the opposite shore. On the 
way the hermit was one moment joyful and the next 
moment sad and when they touched the shore, he said, — 

"111 hast thou done to come for the golden bird in the 
golden cage. I will help thee with what's in my power, 
but swerve not a hair from what I tell thee: With 
this rod thou wilt enter the Glass Mountain by the road 
which thou knowest; when thou hast passed the gardens 


and the lake thou wilt see on the right a splendid castle. 
In the first chamber thou wilt not find anything, in the 
second thou wilt see a cat; she will rub up to thee; mind 
her not, speak not to her, touch her not, but go to the 
third chamber. On the right-hand wall of that chamber 
hangs a golden cage, in that cage is the golden bird. 
Just before midday the cage will open of itself and the 
bird will fly around the room till wearied it falls on the 
table; catch it that moment, pull from its left wing a 
quill, and with it touch thrice each of the ten stones thou 
wilt see there on the floor." 

The youth promised to do everything to a hair, and 
started off. He reached the Glass Mountain; went 
through the gardens unharmed, passed the lake, entered 
the castle and went to the third chamber; there he saw 
the golden cage and in it the golden bird. It was early 
and he had to wait, that tormented him greatly, but at 
last the cage opened and the bird flew out and flew so 
quickly through the room that the youth's eyes danced. 
It flew till drops of foam were coming out of its beak, 
then suddenly it dropped to the table, as if dead. But, 
as the youth reached out to pick it up, it rose on the 
wing and flew away ; the youth turned to stone and rolled 
on the ground toward the ten other stones. 

The hermit waited long; he was gloomy and sad. 
At last when the sun went down, he lost all hope of the 


youth's return and exclaiming, "Unfortunate, Unfor- 
tunate !" he went alone to the opposite shore. 

The youth's servant was waiting; when the hermit 
told him what had happened he set out for home. 

The sister had barely heard the servant's story when 
she took the road to free her brother. She came safely 
to the Crimson Sea and from a distance saw the hermit 
whom her brother had told her about. As he ap- 
proached she saw that he was sad beyond measure. 

"I greet thee, sister of the good youth," said he. 
"Thy brother has perished; put not thyself in danger 
from which thou wilt hardly escape." 

"Dear father," said the sister, with decision, "I am 
glad to give my life for my brother, and if I perish I 
shall at least lie near him. Only give me counsel and 
aid such as thou hast given to him." 

When the sister ceased not to implore aid the hermit 
took her by the hand and led her to the boat. Labori- 
ously he worked the oar, laboriously he reached the op- 
posite shore, then he told the girl what she must do if 
she wished to liberate her brother. Not one word was 
lost. She reached the Glass Mountain, in safety she 
went through the gardens, in safety she passed the lake. 
It did not occur to her to look at anything, not to men- 
tion taking anything. She entered the castle, in the 
second chamber the cat sidled up to her coaxingly, tried 


in every way to attract her attention, but the loving sis- 
ter was so occupied with the Uberation of her brother 
that she did not notice the cat. In the third chamber 
she found a golden cage and in it a golden bird. 

Just before midday the cage opened of itself and the 
bird flew through the chamber, back and forth, like a 
flash, but the maiden didn't look at it, she looked only at 
the table and held her apron in readiness ; when the bird 
fell she covered it quickly, grasped it firmly and pulled 
out a quill, then she put the bird in the cage and tied 
the cage up in her apron. 

She took the quill and full of expectance, struck the 
first stone with it three times. She had barely struck 
the third blow when a beautiful prince stood before 
her. He inclined courteously and with heartfelt words 
thanked her for his liberation, then he fled from the 
castle and from the Glass Mountain. So it happened 
with the second and the third, and all ten of the stones ; 
they became princes, bowed courteously, and, thanking 
the maiden with heartfelt words for their liberation, 
hurried out of the castle and away from the Glass 

But what good was this to the poor sister since she 
had not freed her brother? She saw no other stone. 
Weighed down with grief she sank to the floor and then 
she saw, under the table, another stone; she struck it 


three times with the quill and her brother stood before 

They embraced each other, then the sister grasping 
the golden cage, and seizing her brother by the hand 
hastened with him from the castle and the Glass Moun- 
tain. Only when they were in God's white world did 
they begin to talk, and hand in hand they hurried to the 
hermit to thank him for his counsel and his aid. 

The hermit knew that the maiden had liberated her 
brother, for all those princes whom she had liberated he 
had taken across the Crimson Sea; they no longer 
wanted the golden bird. When the brother and sister 
came to him, he said, — 

"Ye have what ye want, arid for the ages of ages de- 
sire no more, when you get home hang the golden cage 
on a tree near the lake and look that way in the morn- 

msf. ' 

They wished to fall at his feet, but the hermit raised 
them, and said, — 

'T have aided you, now aid me. I have suffered 
here for fourteen years, every hope of liberation had 
vanished, but ye have fulfilled all of the conditions, 
therefore my suffering will end, if ye are thankful 
enough to do me a small service." 

They promised in one voice and begged him to tell 
what he wanted. 


He took a sword from under his garment, handed it 
to the brother and said, with an imploring voice, — 

"Cut off my head." 

The sister turned away, but the brother, taking the 
sword, cut off the hermit's head with a blow. From the 
body there flew out a white bird which, after flying three 
times joyfully around the brother and sister, rose to the 
sky and disappeared. Then the brother took his sister 
by the hand, led her to the boat and they crossed the 
Crimson Sea. 

When they reached home they were greeted with 
great joy. The brother hung the golden cage on a tree 
by the lake, and the next morning he heard such music 
as he had never heard before. 

Straightway he sent to all four sides of the world 
to invite kings and princes to come and hear the golden 
bird sing, and learn how a sister liberated a brother. 
He sent an invitation to King Yarboi also. The old 
queen knew what had happened and with all her living 
power she tried to keep the king at home, but the king 
sat on his horse and galloped away as if the castle were 
falling on him. 

Before the feast began the guests went to look at 
the golden bird; the bird sang, the tree played, and the 
fish danced. Every one declared that their host was the 


happiest man under the sun, and at the banquet one 
interrupted another in drinking to his health. 

But King Yarboi was silent, he watched his host 
carefully. When the young man was responding to the 
good wishes of his guests the clothing on his breast fell 
apart and King Yarboi saw there a golden sun. Rising 
from the table the king called the young man "son," 
kissed him ardently and shed tears of delight. 

All present^ wondered greatly, the young man more 
than others, for he was not aware that he had a golden 
sun on his breast and that his sister had a golden moon 
on her bosom. He wished to ask questions, but the 
king would not permit him to utter a word; he said, — ■ 

"Thou art my son; no one but a son of Yarboi can 
have a golden sun on his breast." 

"If I am your son," said the young man, and he took 
his sister by the hand, "then this maiden is your daugh- 
ter, for she is my sister." 

"My dear children !" said the king, and he embraced 
one after the other. 

When the first onrush of feeling had .passed, the 
young man related his adventures, even down to his life 
in the fisherman's cottage. When he had listened to 
everything King Yarboi prepared for the road to free 
his wife from prison as soon as possible, but before he 


started he invited all the guests present to come to his 
palace. He also sent messengers to persons not present 
telling them to appear at once, for he was going to cele- 
brate the home-coming of his children. But in his own 
mind the king determined that the assembled kings and 
princes should sentence his mother for the misery she 
had caused. Meanwhile he had her thrown into the 
same prison from which he liberated his wife. 

Who can describe the poor mother's joy when she 
saw God's light and her children, after twenty years 
of imprisonment? 

On the appointed day the kings and princes came 
together. The feast could not have been more splendid, 
all were beside themselves, as it were, with joy, but 
King Yarboi was dignified and gloomy. After the feast 
was over he brought a sheet of paper, placed it before 
himself on a table, and said, — 

"Mighty kings and princes, what punishment would 
the person deserve who, with evil intent and magic 
should break up a happy marriage, put innocent children 
out on the sea to perish, and, with deceitful tongue, in- 
duce a husband to put his innocent wife in prison?" 

The kings and princes decided that such a person 
should be burned on the public square. The king then 
asked that each man should write his opinion and con- 
firm it with his name and seal. 


The kings and princes did as requested, then they 
asked what reason he had for making the request. 
King Yarboi was silent a moment, then he said, "My 
mother is the unhappy person against whom ye have 
uttered sentence. I, as king, must act with justice. 
My mother with evil words and magic separated me 
from my wife, and had her thrown into prison. My in- 
nocent children she pushed out onto the broad sea." 

Then Yarboi told in detail his life from the time of 
his marriage till he recognized his son. When he ended 
some of the princes begged mercy for the old queen, but 
the king, taking the paper they had signed, pointed to 
it, and said, — 

"Here ye have given your judgment and strengthened 
it with your names and seals, now it must be executed, 
no matter whom it may touch." 

The old queen was brought to the square and exe- 
cuted. King Yarboi was. gloomy, but in time he re- 
gained his cheerfulness at the sight of the happiness of 
his wife and children. 

Whenever the young prince gave a feast his guests 
stood by the lake, and marveled at the beauty of the 
golden fish, at the music of the wonder-working tree, 
and the enchanting songs of the golden bird. 

When King Yarboi died his son became king. 


WHERE it was, or where it was not, there was once 
in the world a magic kingdom. In the center of 
that kingdom was a great forest, in the center of the 
forest was a flowery meadow, in the center of the 
meadow was a silvery river, and in the center of the 
silvery river was a velvety island, and in the center of 
the velvety island was an old well from which I took out 
a story brought from the Operantsia Sea, and whoever 
will not listen to the story with attention, or interrupts 
it without request, may he be struck by lightning as 
many times as there are sand grains in the Danube 
and the Tisa. 

There was once a poor man who had as many chil- 
dren as there are trees in the forest or stars in the sky; 
he had so many that he couldn't find god-parents for 

"Well," thought he, "if I cannot find god-parents in , 
my own village, the world is wide, maybe I'll find them 
somewhere else." 

The poor man put a loaf in his basket and went out 



into the world, but he didn't go far, for God brought to 
him a rich merchant who hadn't as many children as 
there are lumps on swamp grass. 

"Where art thou going, poor man?" asked the mer- 

"I am seeking a god-father for my twins." 

"If thou wilt accept of my services, don't trouble thy- 
self to go farther." 

"I'll accept not only with one hand but with both, 
for there has been a birth in my cabin, and if I didn't 
care whether the god-father were a gipsy or a pagan, I 
couldn't find one in my village." 

The merchant became the god-father of the poor; 
man's twins, a boy and a girl, then he took them home 
and reared them as his own children. 

When it was, when it was not, I cannot tell exactly, 
but it is enough that on a certain day when neither the 
merchant nor his wife was at home, the brother and sis- 
ter sat down to play cards. They played till the brother 
won all of his sister's money and she began to cry. 

"Don't cry," said the brother, "I'll give thee thy 
money and some of my own, too." And he did 

Again they played. The dice turned, for luck has 
wings and to whom it flies he is all right, this time the 
girl was the winner ; she won her brother's last coin, but 


she was not tender-hearted; she wouldn't give back the 

"Give me my money," said the brother. 

"I'll not do it," answered the girl. 

"Didn't I give back thine?" 

"What do I care? thou wert a fool." 

"Give it back." 

"I won't." 

"Then I'll take it." 

Word followed word till the brother and sister caught 
each other by the hair, then the sister cursed the brother, 
and said, — 

"Thou art not my brother." 

"If thou deniest me then I'll deny and curse thee," 
screamed the brother. 

At these words a dragon appeared, seized the girl, 
and bore her away. 

The brother could not stay at home ; he was afraid of 
his foster parents, and he wanted to find his sister whom 
he loved, therefore he put on his traveling boots, had a 
talk with Paul Wind and set out to wander around the 
world. He traveled and journeyed across forty-nine 
kingdoms till he came to a king's castle. He went to 
the king and spoke to him as was fitting, — 

"God give a good day to your majesty." 


"God receive thee, serving man, what journey art 
thou on?" 

"I am looking for service; will your majesty take me?" 
"Thou hast come in good time, my son, I need a 
herder. I'll hire thee and thou wilt have nothing else 
to do but to take care of three vicious horses. Each 
morning thou wilt go with them across the water to an' 
island, but thou must not lead them over a bridge or 
swim them through the water ; the horses must not have 
a drop of water on them. Each evening thou must 
bring them back by the same road and in the same 


Well and good, the poor man's son became a horse- 
herder. In the morning he drove out the three vicious 
horses, sat on the mare, and led them to the water. 
When they came to the edge of the water he began to 
wonder how he could lead them so that they should not' 
go on a bridge, should not swim, and there would not 
be a wet spot on them the size of a small nail. But 
he needn't have wondered about it, for the three horses 
crossed of themselves so that not even their feet were 
wet, but there was no wonder in that, for they were 
magic horses; as true as I live, I was there where they 
were, and I had my eyes as I have them now. 

Miklosh, for that was the name of the poor man's 


son, took off the horses' bridles, fettered their feet, 
and let them out to graze on the silken meadow, then he 
lay down at the foot of a golden apple-tree to sleep for a 
while. But all at once he heard a beautiful song. 
Where could it come from? He looked around and 
saw thirteen snow-white swans flying toward him. 
They settled down on the silken meadow near the golden 
apple-tree, shook themselves and became maidens. 

Twelve of the maidens were beautiful, but the thir- 
teenth was far more beautiful. She went to Miklosh 
and sat down on the silken grass, near him. 

"Thou art here, my world beautiful love, Miklosh," 
said the maiden. "Long have I waited for thy coming, 
my heart has yearned for thee, and this I find to say. 
During the circle of the year that thou art serving the 
king thou must not let any one, not even the king, know 
that I come to meet thee. Here is my soft white hand, 
it will be thine, and this silken meadow and the golden 
apple-tree on it will be thine and mine, but if thou be- 
trayest me, thou wilt not see me again on the silken 
meadow, or in any other place." 

Our Miklosh promised by all that is in heaven and 
on earth that he would be as silent as a fish, that he 
would not say a word to any man. 

And who was happier than Miklosh, for who had so 
beautiful a sweetheart? Every God-given day when he 


drove the horses to the silken meadow and let them out 
to graze, the thirteen swans appeared and, shaking 
themselves, became beautiful maidens. 

Ton my word, what came of the affair and what 
didn't, the king gave a great ball to his household. 
When he came among, the rejoicing people and did not 
see Miklosh, he asked, — 

"Where is my dear horse-herder, Miklosh?" 

"He's in the corner near the door," said some one. 

Then the king saw that Miklosh was alone and as sad 
as an orphan. 

"Well, Miklosh," said he, "how is it that thou dost 
neither eat nor drink, nor dance when the music is sound- 

"Your majesty," said Miklosh, "I do not dance for I 
have no fitting partner." 

"Do not grieve, I'll soon send thee a partner." 

The king went to his daughter, and said, — 

"My daughter, go to the ball and dance with Miklosh, 
who guards the magic horses, for he is very sad." 

The king's daughter didn't let this be said twice ; one 
reason was that her feet were itching to dance, the 
other was that she could dance with Miklosh, for he 
was not a handsome fellow for nothing, and the heart 
of the princess was not stone. She dressed in a minute 
and went to the ball. 


"Miklosh, I am here," called she. "Come, let us 
dance together." 

"I'll not dance," said Miklosh, shrugging his shoul- 
ders ; "I have a sweetheart a hundred times fairer than 

The king's daughter, as if she had received a cuff 
on the ear, drew up her mouth, and weeping went with a 
complaint to her father. 

"Why art thou crying?" asked the king. 

"Why should I not cry, why should I not weep, when 
Miklosh says he will not dance with me, for he has a 
sweetheart a hundred times fairer than I?" 

"Did he say that?" 

"He said nothing else." 

"Don't cry, my daughter. I'll make what Miklosh 
said so bitter to him that he won't say it again." 

With that the king called : "Come forth, Miklosh." 

"Here I am," said Miklosh, respectfully. 

"Didst thou tell my daughter that thou wouldst not 
dance with her, for thou hadst a sweetheart a hundred 
times fairer than she is?" 

"What is the use of denying? I did indeed find that 
to say to the princess. Come to the island to-morrow at 
the hour I will set, and your majesty will see with your 
own eyes that it is not otherwise, for my sweetheart is a 
magic queen." 


The king made no answer to this, but the next day, 
to know what was in the affair and what was not, he 
went to the island. 

He saw that a magic queen, white as a dove, red as an 
opening rose and as beautiful as the dawn, was talking 
to Miklosh, and that on the silken meadow twelve maid- 
ens were playing ball with a golden apple. 

The magic queen saw that she had been betrayed. 

"Well, Miklosh," said she, "God be with thee, whether 
thou wilt ever see me again the good God alone knows, 
for since thou hast betrayed me I must go hence. 
Wait for me no more on the silken meadow or under 
the golden apple-tree." 

"But," said she, turning to the king, "let not a hair 
of this young man's head fall, for it was not for thee 
that I made this silken meadow, not for thee that I 
planted the tree that bears golden apples, but for him." 

The magic queen and the twelve maidens shook them- 
selves, became swans, and flew away. 

There was a magic queen, there is no magic queen; 
there was, but there is not. Only then did Miklosh drop 
his chin, only then did he shake his head, and where he 
wasn't sore he was sorry. 

Therefore he hung the world on his neck with the 
intention of traveling till he found his magic queen. 

Miklosh journeyed and traveled across forty-nine 


kingdoms till he came to a magic mill. The mill was 
turned by the river of kindness. He saluted the miller, 

"God's good day to thee, master miller." 
"God receive thee, Miklosh, whither art thou going?" 
"I am seeking the magic kingdom ; hast thou heard the 
fame of it, my friend ?" 

"Have I not heard of it? Perhaps not when I grind 
flour for that kingdom. But, Miklosh, as long as the 
world stands, as thou art now thou wilt not get there, 
for that place is farther from here than the sky is from 
the earth. But don't grieve, I will remedy thy trouble. 
A griff bird carries flour from my mill to the magic 
kingdom. The bird takes two sacks at a time. I'll put 
thee into one sack, and the same weight of flour into the 
other, for the sacks must be of equal weight, otherwise 
the bird couldn't carry them." 

The miller packed Miklosh in one sack and in the 
other he put an equal weight of flour. When the griff 
bird came it took a sack in each claw and rose in the 
air, but the bird could not fly rapidly, for it carried a 
heavier burden than usual. A black cloud was drawing 
near and the beautiful magic kingdom was still far 
away. The griff bird flew faster and faster, but the 
black cloud overtook the bird, and rain fell as if it were 
poured from a cask. The sack holding the flour became 


heavier than the other sack, that side of the griff bird 
sank lower and lower. What could the bird do? It 
couldn't carry the two sacks to the magic kingdom; it 
put down the lighter one in a great wild wood and went 
on with the other. 

Now Miklosh was in trouble; he took out his gleaming 
knife, cut the sack open and went into the great wild 
wood. He traveled on and on till he came to a tree 
under which a youth was sleeping. He pushed the 
youth with his foot, to rouse him; the youth was up at 
once, and when he saw Miklosh, he said, — 

"You have come, my dear master. I have waited 
long. If you do not say it still I know where you are 
going. Only follow me; I will lead you where your 
heart wishes." 

The youth led Miklosh to a great forge. 

"Is the master at home?" asked the youth. 

"I am here," answered the blacksmith. 

"Canst thou make for us four and twenty pairs of 
iron shoes and four and twenty pairs of iron gloves; 
twelve pairs for my master and twelve for me ?" 

While the blacksmith was making the gloves and 
shoes, Miklosh and his armor-bearer, for he made him 
that, went into the blacksmith's house, where his wife, 
who it may be said, was a witch, busied herself with get- 
ting food and drink for her guests. Our fair Miklosh 


pleased her, therefore she wanted him for her pock- 
marked daughter. When the little armor-bearer went 
outside she followed him and put questions in this man- 
ner, — 

"Wilt thou tell me, little servant, where thou art go- 

"Why shouldn't I tell ! I think no good or harm will 
come of it. Dost thou see that great mountain there 
before us, which holds up the sky? Well, we are going 
there, for every God-given day the magic-queen, who 
is my master's sweetheart, comes to that mountain to 
bathe in magic milk." 

"If thou wilt do as I tell thee," said the witch, "thou 
canst make the magic queen love thy master seven times 
as well as she does now. I will give thee a blow-pipe 
and a vase of ointment. When thy master reaches the 
mountain top and sits down to wait for his sweetheart, 
take out the pipe and blow a whiff toward him. When 
the queen goes away anoint his forehead with the oint- 
ment that is in the vase. Do this for three days in 
succession, but tell not a living soul about it, for if 
thou dost, such and such things will happen." 

The youth, for one reason or another, took the blow- 
pipe and the vase, and promised the witch that he would 
do as she told him. 

The blacksmith finished the four-and-twenty pairs of 


shoes and the four-and-twenty pairs of gloves. Mik- 
losh and his armor-bearer took them and began to climb 
the unmercifully high mountain. When they reached 
the top of the mountain the four-and-twenty pairs of 
shoes and the four-and-twenty pairs of gloves were 
worn out, but Miklosh wasn't troubled about that. 
They crossed three forests; the first was of copper, the 
second of silver, the third of gold, then they came to a 
silken meadow ; in the center of the silken meadow was a 
golden apple-tree and under the tree was a golden tub 
and in the tub was sweet fresh milk, for the magic 
queen's bath. Miklosh had long been striving to reach 
that spot, and when at last he was there he was so tired 
that he lay down under the apple-tree to wait for the 
beautiful queen. While he was thinking that she was 
long in coming, the youth blew from the blow-pipe a 
light whiff of wind, and that minute Miklosh fell asleep 
so that of himself he would not have wakened till the 
day of judgment. Just then, in the distance, were seen 
thirteen swans. When they reached the golden apple- 
tree they settled on the silken meadow, shook them- 
selves, and became maidens. 

The magic queen only then saw that her dear Miklosh 
was there. She spoke to him, but he did not hear ; she 
pushed him, but he did not waken ; she kissed him, but 
he did not feel the kiss. At last she cried out, — 


"Wake up, my heart's beautiful love ! Rise up from 
thy dream, my golden one ! For I can only come twice 
more, another time I cannot come." 

But Miklosh did not waken; he slept heavily. When 
the time came for the queen to go she kissed her sweet- 
heart, the thirteen maidens shook themselves, became 
swans, and flew away. 

The little armor-bearer rubbed Miklosh's temples 
with ointment he took from the vase the witch gave 
him, and straightway Miklosh sprang up saying, — 

"Oh, I slept well and I had a beautiful dream! I 
dreamed that the magic queen came and sat by me ; that 
she spoke to me, but I did not answer ; that she pushed 
me, but I did not waken ; that she kissed me, but I did not 
feel the kiss. At last she cried out, 'Wake up, my 
heart's beautiful love! Wake Up from thy deep sleep! 
Rise up from thy dream, my golden one ! For I can only 
come twice more, another time I cannot come.' Isn't 
it true that that was a beautiful dream?" 

"It was not a dream, my dear master," said Yanchi, 
for that was the armor-bearer's name, "the magic queen 
was here, she spoke to thee, pushed thee and kissed thee, 
but thou didst not waken." 

Miklosh was confused and sad; he couldn't explain 
why he had not wakened, but he resolved not to lie 
down again lest sleep should overpower him. 


The next day Miklosh did not lie on the soft grass un- 
der the branches of the golden apple-tree, but he walked 
up and down on the silken meadow. Suddenly he felt 
a gentle breath strike his face; his eyelids grew heavy, 
his knees knocked together, he dropped to the ground, 
stretched out slowly on the soft grass, and fell asleep. 

The thirteen swans came to the tree, shook themselves, 
and became maidens. The magic queen spoke to Mik- 
losh, he did not hear; she shook him, but he did not 
waken ; she kissed him, but he did not feel the kiss. At 
last she cried out, — 

"Wake up, my heart's beautiful love! Wake up, my 
heart's heart, fair Miklosh ! For only once more can I 
come, after that I come not." 

But Miklosh did not waken; he slept heavily. When 
the magic queen saw that in no way could she reach the 
soul of Miklosh, she kissed him, shook herself, became a 
swan and flew away. 

The armor-bearer rubbed Miklosh's temples with 
the ointment the blacksmith's wife had given him. 
Straightway Miklosh sprang up and found this to say, — 
"Oh, I slept well and I had a beautiful dream!" Then 
he told what he had seen. 

"My dear master," said the armor-bearer, "that was 
not a dream, that happened." 

Miklosh was confused and sad, but he comforted 


himself with the thought that the magic queen would 
come once more, and this time he would not sleep. 
But his poor head could do nothing, for when the hour 
came a gentle breath struck his face, his eyelids grew as 
heavy as stones; his knees came together; he fell, and 
slowly stretched out on the soft grass. 

Again the thirteen swans came to the golden apple- 
tree, shook themselves and became maidens. The 
queen went to Miklosh, she spoke to him, but he did not 
answer; she pushed him, but he did not waken; she 
kissed him, but he did not feel the kiss. At last she 
cried out, "Wake up, my heart's beautiful love ! Wake 
up, fair Miklosh, for I am here for the last time !" But 
Miklosh did not waken. 

When the queen saw that in no way could she reach 
the soul of Miklosh she turned to the youth and found 
this to say, — 

"Tell thy master that I take kind farewell of him, 
that if he had hung his arms from a smaller nail onto 
a larger, he would not have to wander again in a strange 

The queen kissed Miklosh, shook herself, became a 
swan and flew away, followed by the twelve other swans. 

She had barely gone when the youth rubbed Miklosh's 
temples with the magic ointment. That moment he 
sprang up, saying, — 


"Oh, I've slept well, and I've had a beautiful dream!" 

"That was no dream," said the youth, "that all hap- 
pened. The magic queen came, and when she could not 
waken thee she found this to say. Tell thy master that 
I take a kind farewell of him, that if he had hung his 
arms from a smaller onto a larger nail he would not 
have to wander again in a strange land.' " 

Only then did the scales fall from Miklosh's eyes, 
only then did he understand why he had slept, only then 
did he know that the youth was at fault. Therefore, 
drawing his good sword, he shouted at him in great 

"Thou son of a beast ! What didst thou do to me ?" 

"Have mercy on my head !" cried the youth. "I am 
the cause of nothing. The blacksmith's wife deceived 
me; she gave me this little pipe and told me to blow a 
soft breath on thee, and when the magic queen went 
away to rub thy temples with ointment from this vase." 

Miklosh was so angry that he would not have spared 
his own brother. He drew his sword and punished the 
wicked youth. Then he went down the unmercifully 
high mountain and again he hung the world on his neck 
and gave his head to wandering. 

Miklosh journeyed and traveled across forty-nine 
kingdoms, and beyond the Operantsia Sea, and beyond 
the Glass Mountain, and still beyond that till he reached 


a broad valley in the middle of which was a king's castle. 
In a window of the castle he saw a beautiful woman, 
and she was no other than his own sister, Tlonka, whom 
the dragon had carried away. They recognized each 
other at once. 

Miklosh needed no more; he ran up the twelve 
marble steps, took the golden key, opened the boxwood 
door, and greeted his sister. Tlonka had just become 
the mother of a wonderful boy. As soon as he came 
into the world he could talk and walk, but that wasn't 
strange, for he was a magic boy. 

"My mother," said he, "I will free thee from the 
dragon, for I know well where his strength is. Give me 
the key of the cellar. In the seventh niche of the cellar 
is a stone jar; in the stone jar is an iron jar; in the iron 
jar is a copper jar; in the copper jar is 'a silver jar; in 
the silver jar is a golden jar ; in the golden jar is a crystal 
jar ; in the crystal jar is a diamond jar, and in that jar is 
the wine of life. If I pour it out the dragon will lose 
his strength and die." 

The mother found the key, the magic boy took it, 
and the three went to the seventh niche of the cellar. 
The boy, where he got it or where he didn't, took a large 
hammer, and saying, "Stone hoops burst, stone jar 
empty!" struck the jar such a blow that it fell apart; 
he struck the iron jar, saying, "Iron hoops burst, iron 


jar empty !" The iron jar fell apart. Saying, "Copper 
hoops burst, copper jar empty!" he struck the copper 
jar a hero's blow and it fell apart. The silver, the 
golden, the crystal and the diamond jar were broken in 
the same way. In the diamond jar the wine of life 
was seething. 

Where it came from or where it didn't the magic 
boy had a dipper ; he took a good draught of the wine of 
life and then he gave some to his mother and uncle, 
and what little was left he drank himself. From this 
drinking the magic boy, his mother and Miklosh were 
seven-fold stronger than before. They closed the 
seventh niche of the cellar and went out under the cleai: 

The dragon was struggling home, so weak that he 
could barely move, just as if he were not his own, but 
had borrowed himself. 

"Thy day is finished!" said the magic boy. "Thou 
wilt not torment my mother longer, and thou wilt not 
torture a living soul." 

"Leave me my life!" begged the dragon. 

"I'll not destroy thy life, but I'll nail thee up as a 
spectacle," said the boy. He pulled the dragon to the 
three hundred and sixty-sixth chamber of the castle and 
nailed him to the wall. He put one nail in the right 
wing of the dragon, another in the left wing, and a 


strong one in the tail; then he closed the great iron 
door, locked it seven times with the key, and fastened it 
with nine bolts. 

To Miklosh the boy found this to say, "Now I'll 
tell thee where to find the magic queen. She has been 
enchanted, but if thou wilt act according to my words 
we can waken her. If thou dost not thou wilt never 
see the bright sun again. Thou seest that unmerci- 
fully high mountain which holds up the sky. In the 
very middle of that mountain sleeps the magic queen. 
When we are walking along inside of the mountain do 
nothing but step in my tracks. If thou steppest else- 
where, the entrance will close behind us and we shall 
fall under the same spell that is over the magic queen. 
On the road we travel are every kind of creeping, crawl- 
ing things, snakes and toads. Take care not to step 
on one of them, for if one hisses we are lost. In the 
middle of the mountain are thirteen couches, on each 
couch a beautiful maiden is lying. Thy mind will tell 
thee which one of the thirteen maidens is the queen. 
Thou wilt kiss her three times, the first time she will 
move, the second time she will breathe, the third time she 
will waken. In the room where the thirteen are sleep- 
ing there is a cupboard, open the door and take out 
a golden rod which thou wilt find there. With the rod 
strike each one of the maidens saying: 'Rise up ! Rise 


up, dawn is coming!' They will spring to their feet. 
In like manner strike the first snake or toad which thou 
dost see and say to it, 'Wake up ! Rise up ! Come out 
of thy snake or toad skin !' One after another will cast 
oflf their skins and take human forms, for they are all 
magic youths and maidens who are under a spell." 

The boy turned and circled around and wherever he 
got them, it is enough that in his arms were three hun- 
dred and sixty-six pitch-pine torches ; he gave half of the 
torches to his uncle, and then they traveled toward the 
unmercifully high mountain. 

When they reached the mountain the magic boy, after 
searching for a certain place, struck the rocks, and said, 
"Open before us !" 

In the twinkle of an eye the rocks opened with a 
crash, then Miklosh and the boy went in. There was 
such V darkness in the passage that it might be bitten, 
but what was the ocean-great number of torches for, 
if not to light up the place? The boy went ahead and 
after him walked Miklosh, who strove unceasingly to 
step in his nephew's footprints. On every side, and al- 
most under their feet, were snakes and toads which they 
had to avoid, for had they stepped on any one of them 
it would have hissed or made a noise. 

After crawling and climbing a long distance they came 
to the center of the mountain and found there a spacious 


chamber. In the chamber slept the thirteen maidens. 

The magic boy vanished, as if the earth had swallowed 
him. Miklosh kissed the magic queen once, she moved; 
he kissed her a second time; she began to breathe; he 
kissed her a third time; she opened her eyes and saw 
at her side none other than her sweetheart, Miklosh the 

Miklosh went to the cupboard, opened the door and 
took out the golden rod. Then he struck each maiden 
three blows, saying, "Wake up! Rise up; for dawn is 
coming!" The maidens wakened and sprang to their 
feet. Miklosh struck the first snake that came near 
him, and the first toad, and said, "Wake up ! Rise up ! 
Come out of thy snake, toad skin, take thy human 
form !" All the snakes and toads shook themselves and 
became men and women. 

Miklosh found himself in a wonderful palace. The 
magic people bathed him in milk, wiped him with a 
golden towel and deftly combed his golden hair. They 
clad him in a purple robe and crowned him king of the 
magic people. On his right stood the magic boy, on his 
left the magic queen. So the son of the poor man be- 
came a king, and such blessings came on his old father 
and mother that they couldn't have been better. 


TWO brothers lived together. One of them worked 
all of the time, and the other did nothing but lie 
around and eat and drink what was prepared for him, 
still God blessed him in everything. 

At last the industrious brother thought, "Why- 
should I work so hard for that lazy fellow? I'll work 
for myself, and let him do as he likes." 

That evening he said to his brother, "It is not well to 
live in this way. I do everything, and you do nothing 
but eat and drink. I will go away." 

"Don't go," said his brother. "We are well off as we 
are. You manage our affairs, and I am satisfied with 
what you do." / 

When the other would not listen, they divided their 
property and each took his own. 

The indolent brother hired herdsmen, shepherds and 
pigdrivers, and saying to them, "I leave everything to 
God and to you," he stayed at home as before. 

The industrious brother worked hard, but did not 
prosper. Each day things grew worse till be became 
so poor that he was barefoot. Then he said to himself, 



"I will go and see how my brother is getting along." 

On the road he came to a pasture where a flock 
of sheep were grazing. He saw no shepherd, but a 
beautiful maiden was sitting there spinning golden 

"God save you," said he, and then he asked, "Whose 
sheep are these?" 

"They and I belong to the same man," answered the 

"And who are you?" 

"I am your brother's fortune." 

"Where is my fortune?" asked the man. 

"Your fortune is far away from you." 

"Can I find it?" 

"Yes, if you search for it." 

He saw that his brother's sheep were fine, they could 
not be better. He looked no farther but went directly 
to him. 

His brother wept, and asked, "Where have you been 
all of this time?" And seeing his bare feet and his 
ragged clothes he gave him shoes and money. 

After they had spent some days eating and' drinking 
the poor brother went home. He put a bag on his back, 
took a stick in his hand, and went out into the world 
to seek his fortune. 

When he had traveled a long time he came to a great 

FATE 143 

forest, where he found a gray-ha^ired woman sleeping 
under a clump of bushes. He raised his stick and struck 
her on the back. She moved, and opening her bleared 
eyes, said, 

"You may thank God that I was asleep, for had I been 
awake you would not have those shoes." 

"Who are you that you should take my shoes from 

"I'm your fortune." 

When the man heard this he beat his breast, and 
cried, "If you are my fortune, may God kill you. Who 
gave you to me?" 

"Fate gave me." 

"Where is Fate?" 

"Go and find him," answered the woman. She dis- 
appeared and the man went in search of Fate. 

After traveling a long time he came to a house where 
a fire was burning and over the fire a huge kettle was 
boiling. The master of the house sat by the fire. The 
man entered and said, "Good evening, God be with you." 
The master greeted him and enquired whence he came 
and whither he was going. 

The man told him how he had been a proprietor, and 
how he had grown poor and was now going to Fate to 
find out what made him so unfortunate. Then he asked 
his host why he was cooking such a quantity of food. 


"Oh, brother," answered he, "I have plenty of every- 
thing but I cannot give my servants enough to eat. 
Every one of them eats like a dragon, as you will see 
when supper begins." 

Presently the servants came in and sat down to eat. 
One snatched food from another, and in no time the 
great kettle was empty, and they had not enough to eat. 
After supper came the housekeeper, who gathered up 
the bones and threw them behind the stove. Then two 
old, withered figures appeared and began to suck the 

"Who have you there behind the stove?" asked the 

"My father and mother, they are as if chained to this 
world ; they will not leave it," 

In the morning as the man was starting his host 
said, — 

"If you find Fate, think of me and ask him why I 
cannot give my men enough to eat, and why my father 
and mother do not die." 

"I will ask," said the man, and he went farther to look 
for Fate. 

After traveling a long time he came to another vil- 
lage. At a large house he asked for a night's lodging 
and received it. When his host enquired where he was 
going he told him just as it was, what and how, then the 

FATE 145 

host implored him, "For God's sake, brother, when you 
find Fate ask him why my cattle do not thrive, but grow 
worse each year." 

He promised, and the next day continued his journey. 
After a long time he came to a dense forest and there 
he found a hermit. He asked the hermit if he could tell 
him where Fate lived. The hermit answered, "Cross 
that mountain over there and you will see his palace. 
But when you are in Fate's presence say nothing, do 
whatever he does, and wait for him to speak to you." 

The man thanked the hermit, and crossed the moun- 
tain. When he came to Fate's house he found some- 
thing worth looking at. It was like the palace of a 
great king; there were attendants and servants of every 
kind. Fate himself sat at the table and supped ; the man 
sat down at the table and began to eat. 

When through eating, Fate lay down to sleep. The 
man lay down, too. At midnight there was a terrible 
racket and some one called in a loud voice, "Fate, Oh, 
Fate! so many and so many souls were born into the 
world to-day. Give them what you like." 

Thereupon Fate rose up, opened a chest, and began to 
throw golden ducats around the room, saying: "As I 
fare to-day let them fare till death." 

When daylight came the great palace had vanished. 
In its place stood a large house and in that house was an 


abundance of everything. When evening came Fate sat 
down to eat, and the man sat with him, but spoke not a 
word. At midnight there was a terrible racket and a 
voice called, "Fate, Oh, Fate ! so many souls were born 
into the world to-day. Give them what you like." 

Fate rose up, opened a chest and took out, not ducats, 
but silver coins, and here and there a ducat. As he 
threw them around the room he said, "As I fare to-day, 
let them fare till death." 

When daylight came the large house had disappeared, 
and a smaller one stood in its place. Fate acted in like 
manner each night, and each morning his dwelling was 
smaller till at last it was only a hut. Then Fate took a 
spade and began to dig. The man took one, too, and 
dug all day. In the evening Fate took a crust of bread, 
broke it in two and gave the man half; that was their 
supper. At midnight there was a terrible racket, and a 
voice was heard calling, "Oh, Fate, Oh, Fate! so many 
souls were born into the world to-day. Give them what 
you like." 

Then Fate opened the chest and scattered around a 
few coins such as laborers receive as wages, saying, "As 
I fare to-day, let them fare till death." 

When morning came the hut had disappeared and in 
its place stood the magnificent palace of the first day. 
Then Fate asked the man: "What do you want?" 

FATE ' 147 

He told him all from beginning to end, and said that 
he had come to ask why misfortune had been given to 

Then Fate said, "The first night you saw how I threw 
ducats around, and you saw what happened afterward. 
As I fare on the night any one is born, so he fares till 
death. You were born on a poor night and will remain 
poor till your death; your brother was born on a rich 
night and will be rich till his death. But since you have 
been so resolute and have endured so much I will tell 
you how to help yourself. Your brother has a daughter, 
Militsa; she, like her father, was born on a rich night. 
Take Militsa to your house and whatever you get say 
that it belongs to her." 

The man thanked Fate, and said, "In a certain village 
there is a rich man. He has an abundance of every- 
thing but he can never give his servants enough to eat, 
no matter how much he cooks. That man's father and 
mother are as if chained to this world, they are old and 
black and withered, but they cannot die. I spent a night 
at his house and he begged me to ask you the reason for 
all this." 

Fate answered, "It is because he does not honor his 
father and mother; he throws their food behind the 
stove. If he seated them at the head of the table and 
gave them the first glass of liquor and the first glass of 


wine, his men would not eat half so much as they do now, 
and the two old people would go to rest." 

Then the man said to Fate, "In a certain village there 
is a man whose cattle do not thrive, but grow poorer each 
day. I promised to enquire of you why this is." 

Fate answered, "On festivals he kills the worst ani- 
mals he has. If he would kill the best his cattle would 

The man thanked Fate and bade him good-by. When 
he came to the village of the man whose cattle did not 
thrive, the man cried out, "For God's sake, brother, did 
you remember me ?" 

"1 did, and Fate said that on festival days you kill the 
worst animals you have. If you kill the best the rest 
will thrive." 

Hearing this the man said, "Stay with me, brother ; my 
name's day will come soon ; if what you say is true I will 
pay you well." 

He remained. When the festival came the man killed 
his best ox. From that moment his cattle began to 
thrive. He made the poor man a present of five oxen, 
and thanked him for his aid. 

When the poor man reached the village of the rich 
man who could not feed his servants enough, the rich 
man cried out, "For God's sake, brother, how is it, what 
did Fate say?" 

FATE 149 

"Fate said that you do not honor your father and 
mother. You throw their food behind the stove. If 
you put them at the head of the table, and give them the 
first glass of liquor and the first glass of wine, your 
servants will not eat half so much, and your father and 
mother will go to rest." 

When the man heard this he told his wife to wash, 
comb, and dress her father-in-law and mother-in-law, 
and at supper he seated them at the head of the table and 
gave them the first glass of liquor and the first glass of 
wine. From that moment the servants were not able to 
eat half so much as before, and the next day the old 
people died. 

The rich man gave the poor man two oxen ; he thanked 
him and drove them home. When he came to the village 
and his friends asked, "Whose cattle are these?" he 
answered, "They belong to my niece, Militsa." 

To his brother he said, "You have many children, give 
me Militsa, let her be my daughter." 

His brother said, "I am willing that she should go 
with you." 

He took Militsa home and afterward acquired much 
property, and always said that it belonged to Militsa. 
But one day, when he was in the field looking at his grain 
which was so fine that it couldn't be better, a certain poor 
man, who was going along the road, asked, "Whose 


grain is this?" he forgot, and answered, "It is mine." 
No sooner were the words spoken than the grain was 

on fire. He ran after the poor man, and cried, "Stop, 

brother, the grain is not mine. It belongs to Militsa, my 

brother's daughter." 

Right away the grain stopped burning. The man 

never forgot again. He shared MiUtsa's good fortune. 


THERE was once a king who had a son of whom 
even envious men could only speak well, and every 
one loved him as a pigeon loves pure wheat, or even 
better. The king's son had such a kind heart that he 
was always called the "good youth," People named and 
called him in this way till at last they forgot his title and 
his real name. 

Now, 'pon my soul, the queen died and the good youth 
was an orphan, and the king a widower. Soon courtiers 
began to advise the king to marry the widow of a neigh- 
boring king who had recently died. "Marry her," said 
they. "She has but one son and the kingdoms can be 
ruled together." So the marriage took place. 

But, creator of my soul, the widow had barely come 
to the palace when she saw that everybody loved the 
good youth, while everybody talked over the shoulder 
with her dunce of a boy; hence she conceived a terrible 
hatred for her step-son and began to endeavor in every 
way to injure him and turn his father's heart from 

And what didn't she invent against him? She told 


the king that his son had done this kind of disgraceful 
thing, and that kind of disgraceful thing. The king was 
enraged and straightway he told the good youth not to 
come before his eyes again, to leave the kingdom within 
twenty-four hours, and never return. 

What was the good youth to do? He could not ap- 
pear before his father, for the step-mother kept the door 
closed against him. He started out to wander over the 
world. As he journeyed and traveled he came to a nice 
shady place at the edge of a forest, and since he was tired 
he put down his bundle, stretched himself out on the 
grass, and went to sleep quietly. 

He was sleeping and sleeping, when from wherever he 
came there appeared a magic steed which stood by him 
and stamped the earth gently. Thereupon the good 
youth wakened, sat up and looked at the steed. 

"Rise up, my dear master," said the steed, "for there 
is a long road before us. Sit on my back and tell me 
how I shall go with thee ; shall it be as a roaring whirl- 
wind, or as the swiftest bird of flight can go?" 

"Only that way, my dear horse, only that way so that 
there should be no fault in me and none in thee." 

"This I must say to thee," said the magic steed, "that 
till we get to the farthest boundary of the kingdom 
through which we are traveling, thou must not see any- 
thing, must not hear anything, must not say or know 


anything, but must always look around my two ears." 

The good youth sat on the back of the magic steed and 
they journeyed and traveled across forty-nine kingdoms, 
through the air. Once, as they were going and travel- 
ing, the good youth forgot and looked down, and he saw, 
lying on the ground, a beautiful diamond plume. 

"Oh, dear horse," said he, "I see a beautiful plume set 
in gold ; shall we pick it up or leave it ?" 

"I told thee not to see anything, not to hear anything, 
say anything, or know anything, but only look around my 
two ears. It is misery if we take Up the plume but it is 
still greater misery if we leave it." 

The good youth picked up the plume and they traveled 
farther and still farther. Again the good youth forgot 
and looked down to the earth, again he saw a diamond 
plume so beautiful that the first plume couldn't be its 

"My dear horse," said he, "I see a beautiful plume set 
in gold. Shall we take it or leave it?" 

"I told thee," said the magic steed, "that thou must not 
see an3^hing, must not hear anything, must not say or 
know anything, but must always look around my two 
ears. It is misery if we take up the plume, but it is still 
greater misery if we leave it." 

The good youth took up the second plume, and they 
went farther, they traveled and traveled, and again the 


king's son looked down and he saw a diamond plume 
lying on the ground. 

"My dear horse," said the good youth, "I see a beauti- 
ful diamond plume lying on the ground. Shall we take 
it up or leave it ?" 

"I told thee," said the magic steed, "that thou must not 
see anything, must not hear anything, must not say or 
know anything, but must always look around my two 
ears. It is misery if we take up the plume, but it is still 
greater misery if we leave it." 

The good youth took up the third plume and they went 
farther, again they crossed forty-nine kingdoms, and 
then they came to a great town. 

"My dear master," said the magic steed, "a hunter 
lives in this town. Go to him in a hunter's dress and 
tell him thou art seeking service. He will go with thee 
to the king, who will employ thee as a hunter. Take serv- 
ice with him, but do not forget me ; beg the king to let 
me live on the dirt heap, and if need be let him take pay 
for it out of thy wages." 

The good youth went to the ocean-great town. Mean- 
while the magic steed shook himself and turned into such 
a shaggy, mangy colt that a dog wouldn't have eaten him ; 
then he went to the edge of the town and lay down on a 
dirt heap. 


The king's son found the hunter, stood before him and 
saluted him properly : 

"God give a good day to my lord, the hunter," said he. 

"God receive thee, good youth. What journey art 
thou on?" 

"I am seeking service." 

"You are here in good time. The king is looking for 
a hunter. I will conduct thee to the palace, but first thou 
must put on a rich dress." 

The hunter gave the good youth fine clothing and went 
with him to the king, who gave him service at once. 

The youth did not forget his horse, he made the condi- 
tion that, even if pay for it were taken out of his wages, 
the king would permit the shaggy colt to make himself 
comfortable on the dirt heap. 

Here, 'pon my word, what came of the affair or what 
didn't, the Blue King, for it may be said between us that 
this was the name of the good youth's master, ordered 
a great hunt so that his new hunter might show what he 
could do. They hunted and hunted, but the Blue King 
and his guests found nothing, and though the short rib 
of a wild beast isn't much, they didn't get that much; 
they couldn't discharge their guns unless they wanted to 
shoot the air. But the new hunter, our good youth, 
found so many wild beasts that he couldn't shoot them, 


he had to kill them with the butt of his gun. At last he 
captured them, empty handed, and tied them to a tree. 
But it was no wonder ; the magic steed in the form of a 
hound was driving them toward him. 

When the Blue King and his guests saw what the new 
hunter had done they didn't cease glorifying him. The 
Blue King made the good youth master of hunters and 
seated him at his own table. But we all know that it 
is not well to eat cherries from one dish with great lords, 
and so it was now, for what came of the affair or what 
didn't, the king, during a hunt, lost the plume from his 
hat and therefore gave his head to great sorrow; he 
neither ate nor drank, but sat alone, like a man whose 
father and mother are dead. 

The good youth was sorry for the Blue King, and he 
said, — 

"If I do not offend your majesty, will you tell me what 
has caused you so much grief?" 

"Oh, my good man, why should I not grieve when I 
have lost my diamond plume?" 

"If that is your majesty's only trouble," said the good 
youth, "then we can cure it, for I have three diamond 
plumes set in gold, let your majesty choose the one that 
suits you best." 

With this the good youth took the three diamond 
plumes from his bosom and placed them before the king. 


The eyes and mouth of the Blue King gaped, for 
neither his father nor his grandfather had seen such 
plumes as those three were. 

"Where did you get these plumes, the price of which 
cannot be known ?" asked the king. 

"I got them in my traveling and wandering. I found 
them here and there." 

The king looked and looked and he saw that a golden 
hair was wound around the stem of each plume. Then 
this thought rose in his head: "If a single hair is so 
beautiful what must be the beauty of its owner?" He 
wrinkled his brow in anger, turned to the good youth, 
and said, — 

"Dost hear, this kind and that kind of a hunter, if 
thou dost not bring me the owners of these three hairs, 
if thou hadst a thousand lives, thou wouldst die an evil 

The good youth was as if he had received a blow ; he 
rose up sadly and crying bitterly, wandered off to his 
magic steed. 

"Why dost thou cry and why dost thou weep so bit- 
terly, my dear master?" asked the steed. 

"Why shouldn't I cry, why shouldn't I weep when my 
master commands me to bring to him the owners of the 
three golden hairs wound around the diamond plumes, or 
if I had a thousand lives, I would die an evil death?" 


"I told thee when we were crossing the thrice ninety- 
nine kingdoms not to see an3rthing, not to hear anything, 
not to say or know anything, but always to look around 
my ears. Now that we are in trouble let not tears flow 
from thy eyes, but go back to the Blue King and tell him 
to make ready for thee a ship in which there will be pro- 
visions for seven years, and for me seven measures of 
glowing coals," 

The good youth went back to the Blue King, and said : 

"Your majesty, it is needful to do by me as by one 
going to die. If I must bring the owners of those three 
golden hairs, then let your majesty have such a ship made 
that it will hold provisions for seven years, and have 
measured out for my shaggy colt seven measures of 
glowing coals." 

The Blue King straightway ordered his ship builders 
to make a ship which would hold provisions enough to 
last for seven years, then he told his attendants to meas- 
ure out to the shaggy colt seven measures of glowing 

The colt swallowed down the coals at seven breaths, 
as if the earth had swallowed them, so that for gold it 
would have been impossible to find a coal the size of a 
poppy-seed eye. 

When the ship was ready the good youth went on 
board, taking his trusty steed with him, then they moved 


across the world to seek the owners of the three golden 

"If I stamp once," said the magic steed to his master, 
"come to me even if thou hast to rise from the table." 

They traveled and journeyed on the smooth sea till the 
magic steed stamped once. The good youth heard this 
and hurried straightway to the stable. 

"My dear master," said the steed, "dost thou hear a 
roaring coming to us, of the noise and traveling of the 
twelve Truths ? They are coming to thee, and thou must 
do everything according to their desire. If they ask for 
food give them food, if they ask for drink give them 
drink, but if they ask, 'How much shall we pay?' let 
this be thy word and speech: Tt is already paid for.' 
Then they will offer gold and silver, but take not even 

one coin." 

Well, what came of the affair or what didn't, I was 
there where they were speaking and was looking as I am 
now. All at once, with great thundering and rattling 
and noise, the twelve Truths came onto the ship like 
birds, and asked for food and drink. The good youth 
gave them all their skins could hold, so much that the 
provisions for seven years disappeared. Then they 
asked, — 

"How much do we owe thee, good youth?" 
"Nothing," answered he, "all is paid for." 


"Ask as much gold and silver as thy ship will hold, 
we will pay it," said the twelve Truths. 

"What use would gold and silver be to me ? My trou- 
ble would only increase with it." 

"Well," said the twelve Truths, "here is a little whistle, 
blow it, and whatever thy trouble may be, we will come 
to thy assistance straightway." 

The twelve Truths with a great stamping and rattling 
and noise, went away and the good youth put the whistle 
in his pocket. 

After this he traveled and journeyed through forty- 
nine kingdoms till he came to an island. On the island 
lived the three binders of the three diamond plumes. 
When the ship came to the shore of the island the magic 
steed stamped once, and the good youth hastened to the 
stable, and asked, — 

"What is the trouble, my dear horse?" 

"I have no trouble," answered the horse, "only that 
there should be none for thee. Thou must go to the 
castle that is here on the island. The door is closed, but 
it will open before thee and close of itself after thee. 
Go to the banquet hall and there thou wilt find a table 
spread for two persons. Sit down in whichever place 
pleases thee. The second place will be empty, but not 
long, for above the table a ring is circling: it will turn 
three times, strike the floor and become a maiden. 


"The maiden will sit down in front of thee and ask in 
kind speech what thou wilt eat and drink with relish, but 
answer not a single word, sit silent and speechless. The 
maiden will speak to thee three times, then she will pull 
thy hair and beat thee, so that thou wilt be barely able to 
leave the room on thy own feet. Only when thou art out 
of the castle wilt thou notice that the ring^ is on thy name- 
less finger." 

The youth went to the castle ; the door opened before 
him and closed behind him. He passed through one 
room after another till he came to one in which a table 
was spread for two persons. The good youth sat down 
and began to eat. A gold ring circled above the table 
three times, struck the floor and became a maiden, such a 
maiden as the king's son had not seen before, and like a 
sheep, he opened his mouth and eyes, and the knife and 
spoon dropped out of his hands. He would not allow 
himself to utter a sound. 

"Hip, hop! I am here, my heart's beautiful love," 
said the maiden. "I've been waiting long to delight my 
eyes with looking at thee. I know, even if thou dost not 
say so, that thou hast come for me." 

The youth moved uneasily on the golden chair; he 
said not a word, but kept eating. The maiden, with fair 
words, said, — 

"Eat, drink and enjoy thy food, for I know, even if 


thou dost not say so, that thou hast come from a distant 

The good youth moved and twisted on the golden 
chair, but said not a word. 

When the dinner was over the maiden said, — 

"Thou hast come for me and I am thine, my heart's 
beautiful love." 

When the youth made no answer, the maiden flew at 
him, pulled out his hair, struck him on the head and beat 
him as no maiden ever beat a man. He fell to the floor 
and she disappeared. When the youth came to his 
senses he staggered out of the room and out of the castle, 
and only then did he see that the ring was on his finger. 

When in some fashion he had dragged himself to the 
ship, he went to the stable and dropped down on the 
straw in the corner. The good steed took pity on his 
master; he breathed three times on him and all of his 
pain disappeared, as if cut in two, and a quiet sleep came 
to him. In the morning when the steed roused him he 
found this to say, — 

"Why art thou troubled when I have slept so well and 
dreamed so beautifully?" 

"Well, dream here, dream there, but now listen," said 
the horse. "Thou must go a second time to the castle, 
the door will open of itself before thee and close behind 
thee; go to the banquet hall and there thou wilt find a 


table spread for two persons. Sit in whichever place 
pleases thee, the second place will be empty, but not long; 
a ring will circle three times above the table, then strike 
the floor and become a maiden; the maiden will sit in 
front of thee and with fair speech urge thee to eat, and 
to drink with relish ; but answer not a word, sit silent and 
speechless. She will speak to thee three times, then she 
will fly at thee, pull thy hair and beat thee so unmerci- 
fully that thou wilt barely be able to crawl out of the 
room and the castle. Only when thou art out wilt thou 
notice that the ring is on thy index finger." 

The good youth went to the castle, the maiden beat 
him more unmercifully than before. When he came to 
his senses he tottered out of the room and stumbled out 
of the castle. Only when outside did he see that the 
ring was on his index finger. 

In some fashion he dragged himself to the ship, went 
to the stable and fell on the straw in the corner. The 
magic steed breathed on him three times and his pain 
vanished as if it had been cut in two, and a quiet sleep 
came to him. 

In the morning the steed roused the good youth, and 
he found this to say, — 

"My dear horse, why art thou troubled when I fell 
asleep so easily and dreamed so beautifully?" 

"Dream here, dream there," said the steed, "but now 


listen to me. Go to the castle the third time in the same 
way and manner as the first and second time. Every- 
thing will happen as before. When the maiden speaks 
to thee, do not answer. If thou speakest, even one word, 
thou and I, and all the people on the ship, will be de- 
stroyed without mercy. But take ''people with thee to 
bring thee back to the ship." 

All pleasure in the journey departed from the youth, 
and his face was as sour as if he had bitten a wild apple. 
But whether he wanted to go, or not, he went. He 
reached the castle, and the room where the table was 
spread for two and he sat down and began eating. A 
gold ring rolled on the table, fell to the floor, and became 
a maiden. The first two maidens were beautiful, but 
this one was seven times more beautiful. 

"Hip, hop ! here I am, my heart's beautiful love," said 
she. "1 have waited long to delight my eyes with the 
sight of thee, for I know, even if thou dost not say it, 
that thou hast come for me." 

The youth uttered no word, but kept on eating and 
drinking. She urged him with fair speech, saying, — 

"Eat and drink, my heart's beautiful love, for thou hast 
come from a distant land and art hungry." 

When the maiden spoke to him the third time and he 
said not a word she flew at him and beat him till he was 


When their master did not return to the ship the 
sailors went to the castle and brought him out as they 
would have brought out a block of wood. They carried 
him to the ship and placed him on his straw bed. The 
magic steed took pity on his master; he blew on him four 
times and his pain vanished, as if cut in two or better 
than that, and a quiet sleep came to him. 

When the magic steed roused the good youth he found 
this to say, — 

"Why didst thou rouse me, my dear steed, when I slept 
so quietly and dreamed so beautifully?" 

"Dream here or dream there, but now we must work. 
We must strike our tent tree and move toward home. 
When we can say that we are there, then take the three 
rings off thy fingers, turn each one three times, and thou 
wilt see what beautiful maidens will stand before thee." 

And thus it happened, they struck their tent tree and 
sailed homeward. On the seventh day they were able 
to say, "We are at home." Then the good youth took 
the rings from his fingers, turned each one of them three 
times and they became beautiful maidens. 

"Oh, thou, this kind and that kind of a man!" said 
the middle maiden, who was the most beautiful, "thou 
hast brought us from our home. But now tell me, was 
it for thyself or for another ?" 

"It was for the Blue King." 


"We will never be his, therefore we will play tricks 
with thee." 

Well, so it was. When the red hunter heard that the 
good youth had returned, though he had taken supplies 
for seven years, he stood before the king. 

"Your majesty," began he, "I bring you news, and 
great news. The good youth is here, though he took 
provisions for seven years." 

"Go to the harbor and if he has the three maidens let 
him bring them straight to my castle." 

The red hunter hastened to the harbor and told the 
youth what the king had said. The good youth, who 
was stretched on his straw bed, found this to say, — 

"Go back and tell the king that if he had put such a 
long road on his neck he too would like to rest." 

The red hunter returned to the king and complained 
mercilessly of the good youth, that for this reason he 
would not come, and for that reason he would not come; 
for this reason he would not obey, and for that reason he 
would not obey. The king was enraged, and was off 
with great steps, toward the ship. There the good 
youth brought before him the three world-beautiful 
maidens, at the sight of whom the king became as mild 
as a sheep. 

The king took the three world-beautiful maidens to 


his castle. He wished to marry one of them, but she 
turned from him, saying, — 

"We shall not be thine till our own palace is brought 

"But how can I bring it ? Who will undertake such a 

"Let that wretch do it who brought us hither." 

The king sent for the good youth, and when he came 
he found this to say to him, — 

"Dost thou hear, chief huntsman. Do not stop, do 
not eat, do not drink till thou hast brought the palace of 
the three princesses and put it on the top of my castle 
on three golden hairs. Otherwise, though I don't say it, 
know that there will be a thicker end to the affair." 

The youth went sadly out of the castle, and to his 
good steed. 

"What is thy trouble, my dear master, what saddens 
thy heart ?" asked the magic steed. 

"Better if thou hadst not asked. Great is my sorrow, 
greater than the tallest mountain, for the king has or- 
dered me not to stop, not to eat or drink till I bring the 
palace of the three princesses and put it on top of his 
castle, on three golden hairs." 

"If that is thy only trouble," answered the steed, 
"think less of it and the more will come. Go back to the 


king and ask of him provisions for half a year, and one 
measure of glowing coals for me." 

The good youth went to the king and the king gave 
him the provisions and the coals. Then the youth and 
the magic steed began a long journey. They traveled 
and journeyed till the steed stamped once. The youth 
hastened to him, and asked, — 

"What is the trouble, dear horse?" 

"Nothing is the trouble with me except that nothing 
should trouble thee, but if thou heed my advice not a 
hair of thy head will fall. Take out the little whistle 
which the twelve Truths gave thee, blow it and the 
Truths will appear. They will ask: 'What dost thou 
command, dear master?' Let this be thy word and 
speech : 'Nothing, but that you should carry the palace 
of the three princesses to the domain of the Blue King 
and put it on top of the king's castle, on three golden 
hairs.' But first entertain the twelve Truths with what 
thou hast on the ship, and when they ask thee what they 
owe, and offer thee gold and silver, take not a coin from 

As the steed said so the youth did and straightway 
the palace of the three world-beautiful maidens was on 
top of the castle of the Blue King. 

Now the report went out that the good youth had re- 
turned, though he had taken provisions for half a year. 


Again the red hunter calumniated him, again the king 
went, in a rage, to the harbor and when the good youth 
stood before his face, he said, — 

"Thou this and that kind of a scoundrel, hast thou 
done what I told thee to do ?" 

"Your majesty, look at your castle." 

The king looked at his castle and saw that the palace 
of the three princesses was standing on it, on three 
golden hairs. That was all that he wanted ; he thanked 
the good youth and went straight to the three princesses, 
and said to one of them, — 

"Well, my heart's beautiful love, thy wish is ful- 
filled, now thou art mine." 

"Not yet," answered the maiden, "first we must move 
into our palace." With that the three took down their 
tent pole and went up to their palace, on a golden stair- 
case. But, 'pon my soul, in a twinkle, when the king 
wanted to follow the maidens, he could not find the stair- 
case ; it vanished before his eyes, and he searched for it 
in vain. The three princesses laughed at him, and one 
of them called out, — 

"We'll not be thine till thou bringest to us the Water 
of Life and the Water of Death." 

"But how can I get them?" asked the king. 

"Let that youth who brought us hither go for them." 

Here the king called the good youth, gave him pro- 


visions for half a year and a measure of glowing coals 
for his steed, and sent him for the Water of Life and the 
Water of Death. 

When out on the sea the good youth blew his whistle 
and, when the twelve Truths appeared, he gave them 
plenty of food and drink, but took no pay. Then they 
asked, — 

"What is thy wish, dear master?" 

"Nothing else than to bring a flask of water from the 
fountain of Life and a flask of water from the fountain 
of Death." 

The command was barely uttered when there stood 
before the good youth two flasks. In one was the Water 
of Life, in the other was the Water of Death. Then he 
turned the ship toward home and on the third day he 
could say: "We are here." 

Now the news went about that the ship was back. 
Again the red hunter calumniated the youth, and, 'pon 
my word, the Blue King took his staff in his hand, put on 
his long cloak and hastened to the ship. When he was 
on board the good youth stood before him holding two 
flasks in his hands. 

"Thou this and that kind of a scoundrel, hast thou 
got what I sent thee for? The red hunter said this, 
and said that about thee." 

"He is jealous, — ^why is unknown." 


'T'U punish him for lying to me," said the Blue King, 
and he did as he said. The earth drank the blood of the 
red hunter. 

The Blue King took the two flasks and called out to the 
world-beautiful princesses : "My heart's beautiful love, 
thy desire is accomplished, here is the Water of Life and 
the Water of Death ; now thou art mine." 

"Ha ! ha ! Blue King. I shall not be thine till thou art 
cut up and one of us sprinkle thee with this water." 

"But, my heart's beautiful love, who will cut me 

"He who brought us hither. But that thou shouldst 
see all that another would see, so that there will be no 
fear in thy heart, let the good youth cut up his magic 

What was the good youth to do? He led out his 
magic steed, stabbed him in the heart and killed him; 
he collected all of the blood in an earthen jar, cut the 
flesh bit from bit, piled up the pieces and poured the 
blood over them; then one of the princesses ran down 
the golden staircase with a flask in her hand. In the 
flask was the Water of Life ; she sprinkled a few drops 
on the flesh and blood of the magic steed, and behold 
from the flesh and blood sprang up a delightful charm- 
given twenty-four year old youth, with golden hair and 
golden teeth. The maiden turned from him and sped, 


like an arrow, up the golden staircase, but she could not 
refrain from looking back and calling to him, — 

"Oh, beautiful youth, thou didst not sit in the first 
place. Not to thee belongs the choice, but to him who 
brought us hither." 

The beautiful youth turned to the good youth and 
found this to say, — 

"Listen, my faithful comrade, I owe thee much, for 
thou hast liberated me from the form of a horse. I 
was just as I am now, but a witch enchanted me, turned 
me into a horse. Now there is this word, with my hand, 
I shall ever be a faithful comrade, never will I leave thee 
in trouble, for I am just such a king's son as thou art. 
But this is my word : Undress and stab thyself in the 
heart. I will gather up thy blood and cut thy flesh into 
pieces, then a princess will sprinkle the blood and pieces 
with the Water of Life. Thou art a beautiful youth, but 
then thou wilt be seven times more beautiful." 

What was the good youth to do ? He stabbed himself 
in the heart. The king's son, once the magic steed, gath- 
ered his blood and cut his flesh into pieces, then one of 
the princesses hastened down the golden staircase, with 
a flask in her hand, and sprinkled the flesh and blood with 
the Water of Life, and behold a pearl-given charming 
youth with golden hair and golden teeth stood before 
them. The good youth had been beautiful hitherto, but 


now he was seven times more beautiful. The princess 
ran up the golden staircase, but she looked back, and 
called out, — 

"Ah, my heart's beautiful love, thou didst sit in the 
first place, now the first place belongs to thee, thou canst 
have thy choice of the three of us." 

The Blue King saw, from the window of his castle, 
how the magic steed became a beautiful young man, 
and how the good youth became seven times more beau- 
tiful. Then he wanted to become young and beautiful 
also and so he consented to be stabbed in the heart. 

They stabbed him, collected his blood, cut up his flesh, 
put the pieces in one pile and poured the red blood over 
them, and then the princess ran down the golden stair- 
case with a flask in her hand. But in the flask was the 
Water of Death. She sprinkled the flesh and blood, 
and behold the flesh and blood of the Blue King were 
consumed and his bones became ashes. 

Then the three princesses joined hands and stood be- 
fore the good youth, saying, — 

"Now choose one of us." 

The world-beautiful princess on the right pointed 
with a motion of her head to the middle one, as if to say, 
"thou shouldst choose her." And the good youth chose 
her, and she was the most beautiful of the three. It 
was hard to select, for in beauty they were much alike. 


The prince, who was once the magic steed, selected the 
princess on the right, for she pleased him best. The 
third princess gave her hand to a general of the Blue 
King's army. Then they had a wedding. There was 
plenty of soup and still soup, and happy was the man 
who went there with a spoon. 

The Blue King was dead, so they made the good youth 
king of that country, and he is living there yet with his 
wife, if he isn't dead. 


THERE was once a king who was strangely marked. 
One of the king's eyes was always crying and the 
other was always laughing. This king had three sons, 
and when the three sons had reached manhood they 
agreed to ask their father why one of his eyes was al- 
ways laughing and the other always weeping. 

The eldest son went to the king, and said, — 

"My dear father, will you tell me why one of your 
eyes is always laughing and the other is always weep- 

The king made no answer, but in great anger he 
seized a knife and hurled it at his son. The young man 
was frightened; he turned and ran out of the white 
chamber. The knife stuck in the threshold. His broth- 
ers were waiting in the garden. When they saw him 
they asked, — 

"What did our father say?" 

"I couldn't talk with him, for he was eating, but do 
you, my second brother, go to him, maybe you will have 
better luck." 

The second son went to the white chamber; his father 
was still at the table eating. 



"My dear father," said the young man, "will you tell 
us why one of your eyes is always laughing, and the 
other is always weeping?" 

The old king in a rage took up a knife that lay on the 
table and threw it at his son. The king's son was terri- 
fied; he moved the wheels of his feet out of the room. 
The great knife stood in the door. 

The eldest and the youngest brother were walking up 
and down in the garden waiting, but they had not long 
to wait. 

"Well, what did he say?" asked the two at a breath. 

"He said not one thing and he said it slowly, for he 
was eating. Now do you go, brother," said he to the 
youngest, "maybe you will have better luck." 

The youngest of the king's sons went to the white 
chamber ; he, too, found his father eating. 

"My dear father," began he, "will you tell us why — " 

The king was enraged ; he caught up a knife and threw 
it at his son. The knife stuck in the young man's foot, 
but he didn't run out of the white chamber; he drew 
the knife from his foot and put it back on the table, 

"My dear father, will you tell us why one of your 
eyes — " 

"Well, my son," said the king, "I will tell thee, for of 
all my sons thou art the boldest and bravest, for thou 


didst not run away. One of my eyes laughs because in 
thee it finds delight, the other weeps because I am grow- 
ing old, because I have eaten the best of my bread, and 
the salt and pepper of my food, and am near the grave. 
But I hear that in such and such a place there springs 
up the Water of Endless Youth, and there, too, can be 
found a sweetly singing Goldfinch. If I could drink 
even one drop of that water, and hear the cheering song 
of the sweetly singing Goldfinch both of my eyes would 

When the king's youngest son had listened to the end 
of his father's speech he went to the garden to find his 

"Well, what did he say?" asked the two in a breath. 

"Our father found this to say, that one of his eyes 
laughs because he finds pleasure in us, the other weeps 
because he has grown old and must soon wander forth 
from this world of shadows. But in such and such a 
place there springs up the Water of Endless Youth, and 
there too the sweetly singing Goldfinch is found. If our 
father could drink even one drop of that water and could 
hear the cheering song of the sweetly singing Goldfinch 
his second eye would laugh as well as the other. There- 
fore, my dear brothers, this is my word and speech, — 

"Let us tell our father that we will go for the Water 
of Endless Youth, and the sweetly singing Goldfinch." 


The king's sons, with bitter tear-dropping, took fare- 
well of the father who had reared them and made ready- 
to go out into the world in search of the Water of End- 
less Youth and the sweetly singing Goldfinch, 

Of the numberless steeds in the king's stables the two 
older brothers chose the finest, most fiery, golden-haired 
one^i As the youngest brother was passing near a 
wretched, ragged colt the colt struck him with its tail 
and said, — "Choose me, king's son." 

As he led the mangy colt out of the stall his brothers 
laughed at him, but he laughs best who laughs last. The 
mangy, shaggy colt, as true as I live, for I was there 
when they were talking and I saw as I see now, was a 
magic steed. 

The three brothers mounted their horses and moved 
forward on the road. When they had gone a short dis- 
tance the two older ones left the youngest brother. As 
soon as they were out of sight the mangy colt 
asked, — 

"Why art thou sad? Why art thou sorrowful, my 
dear master ? Art grieved because those poppy flowers 
have left thee here? That is not trouble, my dear mas- 
ter, but luck. Let them go their own way and we will 
go ours. They will not go far ; they will rest at the first 
inn that they find on the road, and there await them 
twelve robbers dressed in monk's robes. Thy brothers 


will sit down to play cards with the monks and that will 
be the end of their journey, for the twelve will win their 
money, their horses and their weapons, even the clothes 
that are on their backs. They'll not have the price to 
pay for the wine they have drunk, and the hay and oats 
their horses have eaten, and the innkeeper will make 
them work till they have paid for the wine, the hay and 
the 'oats. We'll not go that road, we'll not go to the 
right, but to the left." 

When he had finished his speech the mangy colt shook 
himself and became a golden-haired steed conceived of 
wind-eating glowing coals ; such a magic steed rose out 
of him that his equal could not be found. 

"Now, my dear master," said he, "we suit each other, 
I thee and thee me, therefore sit on my back. How shall 
we travel? Shall I go like thought, or like lightning, 
or as the swiftest flying bird goes?" 

"Only so, my dear horse, that neither I in thee nor thee 
in me should find fault." 

Thereupon the magic steed rose in the air and traveled 
and journeyed across forty-nine kingdoms and the Oper- 
antsia Sea, and beyond the sea, and beyond that to where 
the little short-tailed pig roots, and beyond that and still 
farther on till he came to a great wild-wood where 
neither heaven nor earth could be green, and there he 
came down in front of a little cabin. 


The king's son entered the cabin and found a woman 
so old that she was older than the king's highway. 

"God give thee health, my dear old mother," said the 

"If thou hadst not called me mother I would have 
killed thee, but why art thou journeying in this strange 
country where even a bird doesn't come?" 

"I am going for the Water of Endless Youth and the 
sweetly singing Goldfinch. Hast thou heard of the 
fame of them?" 

"To hear I have heard, where they are I cannot tell, 
but go over this great mountain, and there, under a little 
hill at the edge of a round wood, lives my sister. If she 
doesn't know, then no one knows. But, king's son, I 
do not speak of that, but of this. Here is a flask for 
thee. Bring some of the Water of Endless Youth to me, 
for I, too, would like 'to be young again. And here is a 
horseshoe, put it away, maybe it will be of service to 

The king's son thanked the old woman, put the horse- 
shoe in his bag, tied the flask to his saddle-bow, and 
mounted his steed. The magic steed jumped once, 
sprang twice, and was beyond the mercilessly high moun- 
tain and in front of the little- cabin at the edge of the 
round forest. 


The king's son went into the cabin and found there a 
woman older than the first old woman. 

"God give thee a good day, my dear old mother," said 

"God receive thee, my dear son. If thou hadst not 
called me mother I should have snuffed out thy life 
quickly. Why art thou journeying in this strange land 
where even a bird does not come?" 

"I am going for the Water of Endless Youth and the 
sweetly singing Goldfinch. Hast thou ever heard of 
them, dear mother ?" 

"To hear I have heard, but where and in what way 
thou canst find them I cannot tell. Why should I deny, 
when there would be more profit than harm to me if 
thou shouldst find them? But beyond this mercilessly 
high mountain, which stands before us and holds up the 
sky, under a little hill at the edge of a round forest, lives 
my eldest sister. If she knows nothing about the Water 
of Endless Youth and the sweetly singing Goldfinch, then 
no one in the world knows. But, king's son, I will say 
one thing and two will come of it. Here is a flask. If 
thou findest the Water of Endless Youth bring me a 
little, for I, too, would like to be young again. And here 
is a golden towel. Put it away, for it may be of use to 


The king's son thanked the old woman, put the towel 
in his bag, hung the flask on his saddle-bow, and mounted 
his steed. 

The magic steed jumped once, sprang twice, and was 
beyond the unmercifully high mountain which held up 
the sky, and in front of the little cabin at the edge of the 
round forest. 

The king's son entered the cabin and found there a 
woman so old that her nose was continually kissing her 

"God give thee a good day, my dear old mother," said 

"God receive thee, my dear son. If thou hadst not 
called me mother I should have snuffed out thy life, but 
where art thou going?" 

"I am going for the Water of Endless Youth and the 
sweetly singing Goldfinch. Hast thou heard of them, 
dear mother?" 

"Of course I have heard. In the castle of wondrous 
fair Ilona thou wilt find them both, for in truth they are 
there. Beyond this mercilessly high mountain, which 
stands here before us and holds up the sky, thou wilt 
find the blue sea. On the seventy-seventh island of that 
sea stands, on golden duck legs, the castle of wondrous 
fair Ilona. The castle turns unceasingly, like a whirl- 
wind. Thou canst not enter it from the earth. Thou 


hast a magic steed that can spring in at the top, but have 
a care that his tail is tied up, so that when he springs in 
and when he springs out, not one hair of it shall remain 
unbound, for if even one hair should touch the top of the 
copper castle, the castle would give out a loud sound and 
all the magic people would pursue thee and without 
mercy or pity would tear thee to pieces. In the very 
center of the copper castle is the chamber of wondrous 
fair Ilona, she is sleeping there now. The couch of 
fair Ilona is neither on the earth, nor in the sky, but is 
in the air between the earth and sky, and a stairway goes 
up to it. Above the couch hangs a golden cage, and in 
the cage is the sweetly singing Goldfinch. Thou must 
entwine its bill with a golden hair so that it cannot sing. 
In the corner of the chamber gush forth two fountains. 
In one is the Water of Endless Youth, in the other is the 
Water of Death. Take water from each fountain. 
Here is a flask. Fill it for me from the fountain of 
Youth, for I, too, would like to be young again. And 
here is a golden curry-comb, put it away carefully, for 
it may be of use to thee." 

When the old woman had finished her speech, the 
king's son thanked her, put the curry-comb in his bag, 
hung the flask on the bow of his saddle, and sat on his 
good steed. 

The magic steed jumped once, sprang twice, and was 


beyond the unmercifully high mountain that held up the 
sky, and at the shore of the blue sea. Then he rose in 
the sky and, like a whirlwind, carried the king's son to 
the seventy-seventh island of the sea. The king's son 
dismounted, tied up the tail of the magic steed so that 
not one hair remained unbound, then sat on him again. 
The steed rose in the air and sprang in at the very center 
of the copper-topped castle of wondrous fair Ilona. 

The king's son took the flasks that he had brought 
and went straightway to the maiden's chamber. She 
was lying on a couch that was neither on the earth nor 
in the sky, but was between earth and sky, and she was 
sunk in a deep sleep. The king's son went up the stair- 
way of flowers, and took down the golden cage and with 
a golden hair bound together the bill of the sweetly sing- 
ing Goldfinch, then he descended the stairway of flowers, 
and filled the flasks with the Water of Youth, but one 
flask he filled with the Water of Death. 

When he had finished he went out as he came in. 
He bound up the tail of his steed, sat on him and was just 
springing out of the castle, but, whether from great 
haste, or from something else, he had not bound the 
horse's tail well, one hair was loose, and as the horse 
was going over the edge of the top of the castle that hair 
struck it. The whole castle rang like a great bell. All 


of the magic people were on their feet at once and after 
the king's son. 

They were catching up with him when the magic steed 
said, — 

"Oh, my dear master, my right ear is tingling. Look 
back, what dost thou see ?" 

The king's son looked back and saw that a crowd of 
magic people were about to pull him from his horse, 
and he cried,— 

"Our end has come, my dear horse, they will be at us 
in a moment." 

"They will not ; throw down the curry-comb." 

The king's son threw the curry-comb, and from it 
sprang up a forest as thick as the hairs are thick on a 

While the magic people were struggling through the 
forest, the magic steed went a long distance over ditches 
and brushes. 

Next the left ear of the good steed tingled so that he 
could not keep silent. 

"Oh, my dear master," said he, "my left ear tingles. 
Look back, whom dost thou see?" 

The king's son looked back, and saw the magic people 
were so near that they would soon pull him out of the 


"Our end has come, my dear horse, they will soon be 
at us." 

"They will not. Drop down the golden towel." 

The king's son dropped the golden towel and from it 
rose a wide sea. While the magic people were strug- 
gling across the sea, the steed left a good stretch of land 
behind him. Then both ears began to tingle, and he 
said, — 

"Oh, my dear master, both of my ears are tingling. 
Look back. Who is following us?" 

The king's son looked back and saw that a multitude 
of magic people were swarming around him and that 
straightway they would pull him from the horse, 

"Our end has come, my dear horse. They will finish 

us now." 

"They will not; throw down the golden horseshoe." 

The king's son threw the golden horseshoe, and from 
it rose a knotty branchy forest. 

The magic people were not able to struggle through 
that forest. What were they to do? Willingly or un- 
willingly they had to turn back. 

Thus the king's son was freed from the magic people. 
When he came to the cabin where the oldest of the old 
women lived he stopped and gave her a flask of the 
Endless Water of Youth. She had barely swallowed 


two drops of it when, in the twinkle of an eye, she be- 
came young. 

The king's son stopped at the cabin of the second 
sister and she became young in like manner. He stopped 
at the cabin of the youngest sister. She drank from the 
flask, shook herself, and turned into such a beautiful, 
eighteen-year-old maiden, that she was not only so, but 
just so. The king's son took farewell of her and trav- 
eled and journeyed homeward across forty-nine king- 
doms, beyond the Operantsia Sea and the Glass Moun- 
tain, and beyond where the little short-tailed pig roots, 
and farther on and still farther till he stood before an 

He went into the yard of the inn and saw there his two 
brothers, who were splitting wood to pay for the wine 
they had drunk. He went into the inn. The twelve 
robbers in monk's robes were playing cards at a long 
table. They asked the king's son to sit with them, but 
he, as if he had not heard, turned to the inn-keeper and 
redeemed his brothers, their horses and their weapons. 
Then the three started for home. On the way the two 
planned how to get rid of their brother, for what kind 
of a disgrace would it be when they got home and then 
told what had happened to them ! 

When they came to an old well they pulled him from 


his horse, cut off his feet and hands, and threw him in 
the well. The Goldfinch and the two flasks of water they 
took with them, as if they had brought them from the 
beautiful magic kingdom, from the castle of wondrous 
fair Ilona. 

When they reached home who was louder mouthed 
than they? Who boasted more than they? They had 
been in the beautiful magic kingdom. What had they 
not seen there? What human tongue was not spoken 

But the Goldfinch would not sing, and of the two 
flasks of water the brothers could not tell which was 
the Water of Endless Youth, and which the Water of 
Death. Therefore, one of the king's eyes was still 
laughing and the other weeping. 

Now the youngest son of the king, while he was crawl- 
ing around in the old well, found a little water and from 
that wonder-working water his hands and feet grew out 
again. He washed himself in it, and if he were beauti- 
ful before, he was seven times more beautiful then. 
With great labor he climbed out of the well, and in the 
dress of a laborer, went to his father's palace. No one 
recognized him and the king hired him as a stable boy. 

Now the old king announced throughout the whole 
kingdom that whoever could tell one flask of water from 
the other, and could bring the sweetly singing Goldfinch 


to his voice should receive a great reward and great 

Many people assembled, but no one in the kingdom 
dared to try to win the reward, except the stable boy. 
When he appeared, people laughed and called him the 
wandering block-head. But as soon as the Goldfinch 
saw him he began to sing, and whoso heard that song 
would have laughed even if his father and mother had 
been lying on the table. Then the king's son, taking the 
two flasks in his hand, told at once which held the Water 
of Youth. The old king drank two drops, shook himself, 
and turned into such a twenty-year-old youth that it 
would be needful to search for his equal, and both of his 
eyes laughed. But when his youngest son came to his 
mind tears started. 

But, 'pon my soul, what came of the affair and what 
didn't, fair Ilona assembled a great army and started 
from her castle. As soon as she reached the city where 
our king lived she halted, pitched her tent, and sur- 
rounded the city with her army. Then she announced 
to the king that if he did not send out that son of his 
who plundered her castle, she would not leave one stone 
upon another, and would put every person to the sword 
without pity or mercy. 

The king was terrified. He called his two sons and 
told them of the message of the wondrous fair Ilona. 


The eldest son went first — ^but I forgot to say that the 
magic queen had thrown a magic bridge from her tent 
to the king's castle. The bridge was covered with purple 
velvet. The king's son was afraid to walk on the golden 
bridge lest he might injure the precious purple velvet, 
so he walked at the edge of it. When he stood before 
wondrous fair Ilona she found this to ask, — 

"Well, king's son, hast thou been in my castle?" 

"I have, indeed, magic queen." 

"Answer the questions I ask, then I shall know that 
thou wert there." 

"I will answer." 

"Tell me where my castle stands." 

"On the ground, like other castles."- 

"Where is my well?" 

"In the ground, like other wells." 

"Where stands my couch ?" 

"On the floor, like other couches." 

"Thou hast never seen my castle, my well, or my 

"Take him out," commanded Ilona the fair, "and give 
him fifty blows of a whip." 

The soldiers took the king's son by the neck and gave 
him fifty such blows that he did not forget them while 
he lived. Then the queen sent him back to the king 
with the message : "If thou dost not send out that son 


of thine who plundered my castle, I will not leave of the 
city one stone upon another, and I will put every man 
to the sword without pity or mercy." 

The king sent his second son. He, too, was afraid to 
walk on the bridge, so he walked at the side of it. When 
he stood before the magic queen she found this to ask 
of him, — 

"King's son, hast thou been in my castle?" 

"I have indeed, magic queen." 

"Answer my questions, then I shall know that thou 
wert there." 

She asked him the same questions that she had asked 
his brother, and he gave the same answers, then she 
said, — 

"Thou hast not only not seen my castle, my well, and 
my couch, but thou hast not even heard of them. Take 
him out," commanded she, "and cut fifty blows of a rod 
into him." 

The soldiers took the king's son by his twenty nails 
and gave him fifty such blows that while he lived he did 
not forget them, even on his death bed they came to his 

She sent the second son back to his father with the 
message that if he would not send the son who had 
plundered her castle, she would raze his city to the 
ground, and kill every one, man, woman and child, with- 


out pity or mercy. "Let the earth drink the blood of his 
people, and dogs eat their flesh !" 

This merciless message brought the king's head to such 
sorrow that he neither ate nor drank by night or by day. 
The youngest son, taking pity on his father, went to him 
and asked, — 

"Your majesty, will you tell me why you give your 
head to grief, why you neither eat nor drink by night 
nor by day?" 

"Why dost thou ask, my good servant, when thou 
canst not cure my trouble? But since thou art so faith- 
ful that I trust thee as if thou wert my own son, the 
blood of my blood, and the body of my body, I will say. 
Why should I not grieve? Why should I not sorrow 
when the magic queen sends this message to me, 'If thou 
dost not send out the son who plundered my castle, a 
stone will not remain upon a stone in the city, and every 
person will be put to death without mercy.' " 

"If this is your majesty's only trouble, be not filled 
with such grief. Let me saddle the shaggy colt which is 
lying on the dirt heap, and go to the magic queen. I will 
answer her, if you will entrust me." 

"Choose the best steed in the stable, and wear twelve 
rich suits, if only thou art master of thy word." 

The king's son combed his golden, hair, arrayed him- 
self in a purple velvet coat, bound to his side his beautiful 


crooked saber, sat on the golden-haired magic steed, and 
went straight across the magic bridge, which resounded 
under the hoofs of his horse. 

Wondrous fair Ilona was waiting at the end of the 
bridge, and she said to herself, "This is he, this is the 
robber of my castle, my hand, and my heart!" When 
the king's son stood before her she found this to say: 
"Well, fair son of the king, tell me on thy true soul, wert 
thou in my castle?" 

"I was." 

"Answer my three questions, then I shall believe that 
thou wert there. Where does my castle stand?" 

"It stands in the middle of the seventy-seventh island 
of the blue sea. It rests on golden duck legs and turns 
unceasingly, like a whirlwind." 

"Where does my well stand?" 

"In thy chamber are two wells, in one of them is the 
Water of Youth, in the other is the Water of Death." 

"Where is my couch ?" 

"Neither on the earth nor in the sky, it stands in 
the air, and is reached by a stairway of flowers." 

"That is true. Thou art my dear husband." 

Then the king's son and the wondrous fair Ilona 
said, — 

"Thou art mine and I am thine." 

There was a wedding feast and there was soup and 


still soup. Happy was the man who went there with a 
spoon. So from great joy came great rejoicing. It 
was sad for the two bad brothers, but no use — sooner or 
later a nail will work itself out of a bag. 


IN a certain village lived a cottager. When he had 
squandered all his property he died happily, leaving 
his wife nothing but a son, ten years old, whose name was 
Vashichek. The widow lived in poverty, for she had to 
support herself and Vashichek with the labor of her 
hands, and the little boy often tasted hunger, though 
his mother loved him greatly. 

One day a stranger came to the widow's cottage and 
said that he was the brother of her late husband. 

"That cannot be," answered the widow, "my husband 
had no brother." 

"No one knew about me, for I was in distant lands," 
said the stranger, "and why should I visit my brother ? 
But, that you may believe me more quickly, I will take 
Vashichek home and try to make a prosperous man of 

"I will not let him go," cried the mother, and she 
clasped the boy in her arms. "He is my only wealth, my 
only joy." 

"I cannot force you to give me the child," said the 



stranger, with apparent indifference, "though you are 
not wise, for I am rich and I have no children. If the 
boy goes with me I will educate him, and at my death he 
will inherit all of my wealth. Meanwhile I will leave 
this bag of gold for your own support." With that the 
stranger took from his bosom a large purse and poured 
out on the table so many gold pieces that the table 
was covered with them. 

The mother clasped her son still firmer, but she looked 
at the gold and began to think about it : "With that gold 
she might put an end to her poverty — and it would not 
be bad for Vashichek to be with such a rich man." But, 
since she knew that her husband had no brother, she 
was afraid that this stranger might be a wizard, who 
wanted to bring evil on her and her son. 

The stranger watched her for a while then began to 
put the gold pieces into the bag. 

"Wait !" cried the woman, involuntarily, when the last 
piece was about to vanish in the bag. "I will give you 
my son, but — " 

"The money is yours," said the stranger and he threw 
the bag into her lap. 

The woman let go of Vashichek, and weighed in her 
hands the gold, the glitter of which had blinded her ut- 
terly. When the stranger took Vashichek by the hand„ 
the boy resisted, and began to cry. 


"Go with your uncle, my son," said the mother per- 
suasively, "he will buy you a painted horse and a coach." 

The boy paid no heed to his mother's words, so the 
stranger took him by force. The mother followed them 
as far as the forest, and, when Vashichek stopped crying, 
she hurried home to find out how much money she had 
received. But wasn't she frightened when instead of 
gold pieces there came from the bag only bits of brass. 
For a time she was stunned, then she came to her senses 
and hurried off to take her son from the deceiver. She 
ran around half the day, but saw no one in the fields 
or in the neighboring forest. She tore the hair out of 
her head, but to no purpose ; it was too late. 

The stranger, who was no uncle, but a vile wizard, 
hurried on with the weeping Vashichek. When he came 
to the thickest part of the forest he put the boy on the 
ground, cut a rod and slashed him mercilessly to make 
him stop crying. 

"This is the way I'll punish you for disobedience," 
said he, then he threw the boy a bit of dry bread. After 
eating and resting, he lashed the boy with the rod and 
drove him on ahead through the forest. That night they 
slept in a cave, on a bed of dry leaves, and in the morning 
they went farther. 

The third day the wizard told Vashichek to gather 
dry boughs and branches and put them in a pile. When 


the boy had done this the wizard scattered some kind 
of powder on the wood and set fire to it. Soon the 
forest was blazing: and in a short time a large part of it 
was burned. When the fire died down the wjzard 
walked here and there over the place till he found a 
large stone. With great eflfort he rolled the stone aside, 
then he commanded Vashichek to go down into the hole 
which appeared under the stone. 

"Down there," said he, "is a beautiful garden, with 
trees full of golden fruit. In the middle of the garden 
is a castle; in the castle are bright chambers without 
number, but look at nothing. Go to a little house which 
you will see on the right-hand side of the castle. Be- 
hind the door of that house you will find a small lamp ; 
take it quickly and hurry back to the hole. I will pull 
you up." 

Vashichek, full of fear, crawled into the hole. Sooner 
than he expected he was in a garden so beautiful that 
he forgot everything else in a moment. What fragrant 
flowers, and wonderful trees with golden fruit! And 
the castle so gleamed from gold and precious stones that 
Vashichek could not look at it. 

When the boy came to his senses, after the first won- 
der, he examined everything carefully. Around the 
castle and through the garden there were paths sprinkled 
with golden sand. Vashichek walked between rows of 


flowers and plucked here and there a blossom or a red 
berry. He went to the trees and shook golden fruit 
from them; then he looked through the castle. In one 
chamber he found food and drink with which he re- 
freshed himself. Most wonderful to tell, in that coun- 
try it was white day all of the time, though Vashichek 
did not see the sun. 

At last Vashichek felt that he was tired beyond meas- 
ure ; he dropped on the grass under a tree and fell asleep. 
When he woke up he went to the castle and found food 
and drink in plenty. In this way he passed delightful 
hours, and since every minute he found something new, 
time went quickly just in looking at things. At last he 
wandered into the little house and behind the door, as 
the wizard had said, was a small lamp. When Vashi- 
chek saw the lamp he remembered his master, and seizing 
it he ran to the opening by which he had entered that 
beautiful garden. 

The wizard was waiting impatiently and as soon as he 
heard the boy's steps, he cried, — 

"You are a good little fellow, give me the lamp." 

"Come down here," said Vashichek when he heard the 
wizard speak kindly. "It is beautiful here." 

"If I had dared to go down there," answered the 
wizard, "I should not have sent you. Give me the lamp 
and stay there as long as seems good to you." 


Then he held the stone as if in a hurry to close the 
hole. When Vashichek saw the stone he was frightened 
not a little, for he thought that his uncle wanted to get 
the lamp and then shut him in, so he said, "I don't want 
to live here, I want to come out." 

"Give me the lamp," said the wizard, "or I'll not let 
you out." 

They talked a long time, but neither would yield. 
At last the wizard lost his temper entirely and, throwing 
down the stone, went away. 

Vashichek cried for a long time, then he dropped on 
the ground and fell asleep. When he woke up he saw 
that the stone was still down, and he wondered how he 
was ever to get out. He had the lamp in his hand and 
since the wizard was so anxious to get it, he thought it 
must have some value, so he began to wipe the dust 
from it. When he had passed his hand over the lamp 
a few times a man stood before him whose garments 
were glittering with gold and precious stones. 

"What is thy wish?" asked the stranger, with great 

"To escape from this place," answered the astonished 

That instant the man vanished, but the stone was off 
from the hole and Vashichek was in the white world 
again. He looked around with wonder, for, instead of a 


treeless place, there were trees and thick bushes every- 
where. He himself was no longer little Vashichek, but 
a sturdy young man. And he had a right to be, for while 
he was in that wonderful garden years had passed. His 
clothes were so small that when he looked into the first 
stream he had to laugh at himself. Without thinking 
long he rubbed the lamp. 

At once the man appeared and, bowing courteously, 
inquired, — 

"What is thy wish?" 

"To have nice clothes," answered Vashichek. 

The man vanished, but in a moment Vashichek was 
dressed in fine garments^. He looked at himself with 
satisfaction, and walked on farther through the thick 
forest. When the road seemed long he thought, "Why 
should I trouble myself for nothing when that man 
serves me so willingly ?" And he rubbed his lamp again. 

"What is thy wish?" asked the man, as he stood there 
before him. 

"To be out of this forest," answered Vashichek. 

The man disappeared, but Vashichek was out of the 
forest, and a town was in sight. He hastened on and 
soon came to an inn where he ate and drank all he 
wanted. But suddenly he remembered that he must pay. 
He put his hand to his pocket, involuntarily, and how did 
he wonder when he took out a handful of gold pieces. 


"That man is very considerate," thought Vashichek, "he 
knows that a full pocket belongs to nice clothes." 

Vashichek paid for what he had eaten, then he went 
out to look at the town. But, though the houses were 
large and the king's palace very grand, he paid little 
heed to them since the king's daughter was riding by in 
a splendid carriage drawn by four black horses. She 
drove with such speed that she soon vanished from his 
sight. It was a pity, for such was her beauty that 
Vashichek could have looked at her all day. She had 
seen Vashichek and she looked back at him more than 
once. He walked on in the direction she had taken 
and when he was outside of the town he threw himself 
on the grass and thought of her. He lay there a long 
time, for he was turning over in his mind how to meet 
the princess and say even a word to her. On a sudden 
he thought of the lamp ; he drew it from his bosom and 
rubbed it. 

That moment the man stood before him, and asked, — 

"What is thy wish?" 

"To be a prince," answered Vashichek. 

The man vanished, but in no time a rich carriage was 
approaching, with servants in livery embroidered with 
gold and silver. When they came to Vashichek the 
prancing horses stopped, the servants sprang down, 
bowed low before him and assisted him into the carriage. 


He ordered them to take him to the best inn in the city, 
and the horses went so quickly that the prince was there 
in a very short time. 

Now Vashichek led the life of a real prince. His 
pockets were always full of money, and every day he 
drove in the neighborhood of the king's palace, from a 
window of which the princess gazed at him. In a short 
time every one knew of the handsome prince, and mar- 
velous tales of his wealth went the rounds of the city. 
The king heard of him and, not a little anxious to know 
him, consulted the princess. 

"Invite him to come to the palace," said she. "It is 
only just that an exalted prince should be honored by his 

"You are right," said the king, and straightway he sent 
a courtier for the prince. Vashichek did not hesitate 
long. The king greeted him with expressions of friend- 
ship and the princess with gracious words. In a short 
time he was at home in the palace, but he would never 
say a word about his parents, though the princess often 
asked him whence he came. He always answered that 
he was from a distant country. Gradually she became 
distrustful and when Vashichek asked for her hand in 
marriage, she said, — 

"If when we are going for the marriage there are 
silver blossoms on the trees that are along the road from 


the palace to the church, and golden fruit on them when 
we return I will be yours for the ages." 

The king looked compassionately at Vashichek, as if 
to say, "I am sorry for you." But Vashichek said, "I 
will carry out your wish." 

Now came a lively life in the palace, for the wedding 
was to be celebrated as soon as possible. When every- 
thing was ready, the prince went to a secret place in 
the king's garden, took the lamp from his bosom and 
rubbed it with his hand. Straightway the man stood 
before him and, bowing courteously, asked, — 

"What is thy wish?" 

"That the trees between the palace and the church 
should have silver blossoms when we are going to the 
marriage and golden fruit when we are coming back." 

The man disappeared and the prince hastened to the 
princess to say that he wanted the wedding on the mor- 
row. The princess did not believe that what she had 
asked of her bridegroom wbuld happen, and the next 
morning she was greatly astonished when she saw that 
the trees were covered with silver blossoms. 

The ceremony did not last long, but when the bride 
and groom were coming home golden fruit was hanging 
on the trees. This astonished every one; the king him- 
self was filled with the greatest respect for his son-in- 
law, and he gave him half of the kingdom, without delay. 


When the festivities were over Vashichek asked per- 
mission to build a new palace opposite the old one. The 
king granted the permission, of course. Vashichek went 
to the garden, took the lamp out of his bosom and rubbed 
it with his hand. The man appeared and, bowing 
courteously, asked, — 

"What is thy wish?" 

"That to-morrow morning the foundations of a palace 
be ready opposite the old palace." 

The man vanished, and the next morning the founda- 
tions were ready. On the second day the walls were 
finished, on the third the palace was complete, and it 
was so splendid that there was not the equal of it in the 
whole country. 

Now the young king had all that he desired, and for 
this reason he did not prize the lamp as he had before. 
Formerly he at all times kept it near his person, but 
now he left it standing on the stove in his chamber, where 
it was soon covered with dust. The princess herself 
seemed less charming to him, and often he spent whole 
days in the forest, hunting wild beasts. 

Once, when Vashichek was visiting a neighboring 
king, a stranger came to his palace and announced that 
he was giving new lamps for old ones. The people of 
the palace brought him a great number of old lamps and 
got new ones for them. At last the queen's chamber- 


maid brought the lamp that the king had left on the 
stove. The courtiers laughed at her for wanting a new 
lamp for such a small and very old lamp; but the 
stranger had barely taken it in his hand when he gave 
her all the lamps he had left, and vanished in a twinkle. 

Now that stranger was no other than the wizard, 
who by deceit had taken Vashichek from his mother. 
When night came he rubbed the lamp ; straightway the 
man appeared, but without bowing, and asked, — 

"Unrightful master, what is thy wish ?" 

"That before morning this palace with all that is in 
it, except the maid who gave me this lamp, should be 
on the other side of the Crimson Sea." 

The man went away, with measured step, and the 
wizard hid himself in the palace. Every one was sleep- 
ing soundly, except the maid. She was still pondering 
over how easily she had come by so many beautiful 
lamps. She fell asleep late, and how did she wonder in 
the morning when she woke up lying on bare ground. 
She sprang to her feet and looked around for the palace, 
but there was not a trace of it anywhere. She ran to 
the old palace and told what had happened. At first 
the people thought she had lost her mind, but when con- 
vinced by their own eyes they ran, with great outcry, to 
the king. Straightway he sent messengers in every di- 
rection to find the palace, but each man came back with 


work undone. Then there was wailing, not for the 
palace, but for the people who were in it, and above all 
did the king lament for his beloved daughter. 

When the young king came home he knew who had 
stolen the palace, and, without delay, he started in search 
of it. He traveled the first day and found nothing, he 
traveled the second and the third day; he traveled a week, 
a month, and a year, but in vain. 

Then he came to a great forest and wandered around 
in it for days, till from hunger he was barely able to sit 
on his horse. At last he saw a poor cottage and out 
of it came an old man who said, — 

"I greet thee, O king." 

"How do you know me?" asked the king, with surprise. 

"I know you just as well as I know that you are look- 
ing for your wife, who, with your palace, is beyond the 
Crimson Sea." 

"And where is the Crimson Sea?" asked the king, 

"I know not," said the old man, shrugging his shoul- 
ders, "but to-morrow morning when I feed my birds I 
will ask them where that sea is. Now pass my threshold 
that I may entertain you." 

The king was glad to gratify the kind old man and, 
after he had strengthened himself with food, he lay 
down and slept. In the morning when the old man fed 


his birds he asked them about the Crimson Sea, but not 
one o£ them knew where it was. 

"You must go, O king," said the old man, "to my 
brother, who is beyond another forest and another river, 
maybe he will tell you more than I can." 

Vashichek thanked him and hurried on, but he had to 
travel many days before he found the old man's 

The second old man received him as kindly as had the 
first, but he could give no account of the Crimson Sea, 
for not one of his birds knew where it was. "But go," 
said he, "to my brother who is beyond the third forest 
and the third river, maybe he will tell you more than I 

The king put spurs to his horse and galloped off. 
After a long time he came to the third brother who, 
when he had called his birds together, asked if any one 
of them knew where the Crimson Sea was. Not one 
of them knew, but as they were going away an old eagle 
flew up, and when asked if he knew where the Crimson 
Sea was he said, — 

"I know, my master, about the Crimson Sea and about 
the palace that stands beyond it on the shore. In that 
palace there is a beautiful princess, who is always sob- 
bing and lamenting." 

"I thank you," cried the king and he spurred his 


horse to hurry to his wife, but the old man called him 

"Do not hurry," said he, "what would it avail you to 
be at the Crimson Sea if you could not cross it? Leave 
your horse here, the eagle will bear you. I will give you 
meat to feed him, for the journey will be long." 

The king sat on the eagle; it rose in the air and flew 
long and long. The king had given him a little meat for 
each day, but at last there was no more meat in the dish 
and land was not to be seen. When the king dropped the 
dish the eagle summoned his remaining strength and flew 
more swiftly; at last he came down on the shore of the 
Crimson Sea. 

Since the king knew that it would not be well for him 
to fall into the hands of the wizard he hid in thick reeds 
and waited. 

In no long time the palace gate opened and the queen 
came out attended by her waiting maids. She walked 
along the sea till she stopped near the king and looked 
wistfully over the broad, broad sea. 

"Will no man free me from this place?" sighed she, 
and tears flowed from her eyes. 

"I will !" cried the king, and he embraced her. When 
she came to her senses somewhat she said with anxiety, 
"Oh, flee, my dear husband, the wizard will kill you." 

"Where is he?" 


"I know not, but he will surely come soon." 

"Has he the lamp?" 

"He has," said the queen, "he always carries it on his 

"We must get it," said the king, "or we will have to 
stay here till death. Take this poison and give it to the 
wizard;" He handed her a vial of subtle poison. The 
queen hid the vial, but said, — • 

"He will not eat or drink anything that I give him." 

"When he comes be kindly, ask him to drink wine with 
you; pour a cup for yourself and one for him, put the 
poison in your cup, when he refuses to drink from his 
own cup, give him yours, he will drink out of that. If 
he does not die he will fall into a deep sleep." 

When the wizard came home the queen greeted him 

"Have you changed your mind?" asked he. "When 
shall we celebrate our betrothal?" 

"I will tell you to-morrow," answered the queen, with 
a smile. "But to-day we can have our first feast to- 

"Can we?" asked the wizard, and he looked at her 
with distrust. But she seemed sincere and he was in 
doubt what to think. After they had tasted of the 
savory dishes which the queen had prepared she brought 
two cups each full of wine. She placed one before the 


wizard and the other she kept. When the wizard re- 
fused to drink the wine the queen said, reproachfully, — 

"You distrust me," and she changed the cups. Then 
the wizard emptied his at a draught, and soon he dropped 
to the floor, unconscious. 

The queen called to her husband, who came quickly 
and took the lamp from the wizard's bosom. As soon as 
he had it in his hand he shouted in triumph, and told all 
the people in the palace to assemble and celebrate their 
liberation. Directly a feast was made ready which 
lasted till the white morning. 

The wizard slept without moving and woke only in 
the morning. But how frightened he was when he saw 
the king ! He reached quickly to take the lamp from his 
bosom, but the lamp was no longer there. Instead of 
that the king held it in his hand and rubbed it. In the 
twinkle of an eye the man appeared and, bowing cour- 
teously, asked, — 

"Oh rightful master, what is thy wish?" 

"First that this vile wizard be torn to pieces and 
thrown into the sea, and then that I be at home with my 
palace and all who are in it." 

The man vanished, and with him the wizard. The 
king and the queen went to the window to see him hurled 
into the sea, but instead of the sea they saw the king's 
palace and in one of its windows the old king himself. 


When the attendants and servants had recovered from 
astonishment they fell to embracing one another; then 
followed feasting which lasted for eight days. At this 
feast they drank to their happy meeting till the hills grew 

The king valued his wife and the little lamp more 
than ever before and he lived many years blissfully, so 
that he waited for his grandchildren. 


TT THERE it was or where it was not, there was a king 
» » who loved to hunt wild beasts in the forest. One 
day while chasing a deer, he lost his way. For a long 
time he wandered around alone, but just as the world 
was growing dark, he came to a charcoal-burner's cabin. 

The king promised the charcoal-burner good pay if 
he would lead him out of the forest. The man an- 
swered, — 

"I would go with you gladly, but I cannot leave my 
wife. And how could we go in the dark? I'll give you 
fresh hay to lie on, and in the morning I'll show you the 

That evening a son was born to the charcoal-burner. 

The king went to bed in the garret. He lay on the 
floor and could not sleep. About midnight, through 
an opening, he looked into the room below. The char- 
coal-burner and his wife were asleep and near the little 
child three old women were standing with lighted tapers. 
The first said, "I will give this boy to meet great dan- 
gers." The second said, "I will give him to escape them 



all happily and live long." The third said, "I will give 
him as wife that daughter who was born to-day to the 
king up there in the loft." Thereupon the three old 
women put out their tapers, and all was quiet — ^they 
were the Fates. 

The king was as if a sword had pierced his breast. 
He did not close his eyes. He was thinking how he could 
prevent the fulfilment of what Fate had promised. 

When daylight came the child began to cry. The 
charcoal-burner rose up and saw that his wife had gone 
to sleep for the ages. 

"Oh, my poor orphan !" cried he. "What shall I do 
with you?" 

"Give me the child," said the king. "I will so care for 
him, that he will always be happy, and I will give you 
so much money that you'll not need to work again as long 
as you live." 

The charcoal-burner was glad and the king promised 
to send for the child. When he came to his castle his 
people informed him, with great joy, that a beautiful 
daughter had been born to him. She was born the night 
that he had seen the three Fates. The king's face grew 
dark. He called one of his serving men and said, — 

"Go to such and such a place in the forest to a char- 
coal-burner's cabin; hand him this money and he will 
give you a little child. Jake the child and on your way 


home drown it in the river. If you don't you will sip 
water yourself." 

The serving man went to the cabin. The charcoal- 
burner put the child in a basket and gave it to him. 
When the man came to a place where the river was deep 
he threw the basket in. 

"Good-by, unbidden son-in-law," said the king when 
he heard the serving man's story. 

The king thought that the child was dead. But it was 
not, for the basket floated on the water, and in it slept 
the child as if it were in a cradle and some one were sing- 
ing lullabies to it. 

The basket floated near a fisherman's hut. The 
fisherman was sitting on the bank, mending his net. 
Seeing something on the water he sprang into his boat 
and pulled after it. He caught the basket, opened it, 
and found the child. He took it to his wife and said, — 

"You have always wished for a son, now you have 
him. The river brought him to us." 

The fisherman's wife rejoiced, and she reared the 
child as her own. They called him Plavachek (Floater) , 
because he had floated to them. 

The river flowed on and years passed by. The child 
became a, handsome youth. Far and wide his equal 
could not be found. One summer day the king, on 
horseback and alone, chanced to pass the fisherman's hut. 


It was hot and wishing to drink he stopped and asked the 
fisherman for fresh water. When Plavachek brought 
it to him the king was astonished at his appearance. 

"A splendid young man you have got here," said he. 
"Is he your son?" 

"He is and he isn't," answered the man. "Just twenty 
years ago I caught a basket floating along the river. In 
it was an infant. I reared it." 

The world grew dark before the king's eyes ; he was 
as pale as a sheet. He knew that this was the boy he 
had told his serving man to drown. Collecting his wits 
quickly he sprang from his horse, and said, "I need a 
messenger to carry a letter to my castle. I have none 
with me. Can this young man go ?" 

"Command and he will go," said the fisherman. 

The king sat down and wrote a letter to the queen, 
saying : "Let this young man I send to you be pierced 
with a sword. He is my dangerous enemy. Let it be 
done before I come. Such is my will." He folded the 
letter and sealed it with his ring. 

Plavachek had to go through a dense forest. He lost 
the road and went astray. He wandered from one 
thicket to another till it began to grow dark, then he met 
an old grandmother who asked, "Where are you going, 

"I am going to the king's castle with this letter, but I 


have lost my way. Could you tell me, grandmother, 
how to find it?" 

"You could not reach the castle tp-night," said the old 
woman, "Stay in my cottage. You'll not be with 
strangers; I am your godmother." 

The young man promised to go with her. He had 
taken only a few steps when a cottage stood before him 
as if it had risen out of the ground. 

That night, while Plavachek was asleep, the old 
woman took the letter from his pocket and put in another 
written in the same hand and sealed with the same seal. 
It read, "Have this young man I send to you married 
to our daughter at once. He is my chosen son-in-law. 
Let the marriage take place before I come. Such is my 

When the queen read the letter she was surprised, but 
she had the wedding straightway. Neither the queen 
nor the princess were able to admire the bridegroom 
sufficiently, and Plavachek was pleased with his bride. 

After some days the king came home and when he 
found out what had taken place he was fiercely angry 
with his queen. 

"But you charged me to have him married to our 
daughter before your return," said the queen, and she 
handed him the letter. 

The king took it, looked at the writing, the paper, the 


seal — all his own. Then he called his son-in-law and 
asked what happened to him on the road and where 
he had stopped. Plavachek told how he had gone astray 
in the forest and spent the night in an old woman's cot- 

The king knew that that old woman was the same 
person who twenty years before had given his daughter 
to the charcoal-burner's son. He thought and thought 
and then said, "What has happened cannot be changed, 
but you are not to be my son-in-law for nothing. If you 
wish to keep your wife you must bring us as a price for 
her three golden hairs of Grandfather Know All." 

The king thought that in this way he would surely get 
rid of l^is undesirable son-in-law. 

Plavachek said good-by to his wife and started. 
Where he went I know not, but as Fate was his God- 
mother it was easy for him to find the right road. He 
traveled long and far, over mountains, through valleys 
and across rivers and fords till he came to the Black 
Sea. There he saw a boat and in it a ferryman. 

"God give you health, ferryman," called he. 

"God give you the same, young traveler. Whither is 
your road?" 

"To Grandfather Know All for three golden hairs." 

"Oh," cried the ferryman, "I have been long waiting 
for such a messenger. Twenty years have I ferried 


people across here, and no one has come to relieve me. 
If you will ask Grandfather Know All when my labor 
will end, I will ferry you over." 

Plavachek promised and the old man ferried him over. 
Then he traveled on till he came to a town where all the 
buildings were draped with black. Before the town he 
met an old man who was barely able to walk. 

"God give you health, old man," said Plavachek. 

"The same to you, good youth. Whither do you go ?" 

"To Grandfather Know All for three golden hairs." 

"Oh, we are long waiting for such a messenger. I 
will go with you to our king." 

When they came into the king's presence he said, "I 
hear that you are going on a message to Grandfather 
Know All. We had here a tree which bore the Apples 
of Youth. If a man ate one of those apples, even when 
at the brink of the grave, he became as a youth. But for 
twenty years the tree has borne no fruit. If you will 
ask Grandfather Know All if there is any help for us,. I 
will reward you richly." 

Plavachek promised to ask, and the king bade him a 
gracious good-by. Afterward he came to another large 
city which was in mourning. Not far from the city a 
son was burying his father. Tears rolled like peas down 
his face. 

"God guard you, sad mourner," said Plavachek. 


"God give you health, good traveler. Whither do you 

"I am going to Grandfather Know All for three 
golden hairs." 

"It is a pity you didn't come sooner; our king has long 
been waiting for such a messenger. I will conduct you 
to him." 

When they came into the king's presence he said, "I 
hear that you are going to Grandfather Know All. We 
had a spring out of which the Water of Life flowed. 
When a man drank of it, even if he were dying, straight- 
way he became well. If a man were dead and they 
sprinkled his body with the water he rose up and walked, 
was well again. But for twenty years the water has 
ceased to flow. Will you promise to ask Grandfather 
Know All if there is any help for us? I will reward you 

Plavachek promised and the king bade him a gracious 
farewell. Afterward he traveled long and far through 
a dark forest till in the midst of the forest he came to a 
green meadow covered with beautiful flowers. In the 
center of the meadow was a golden castle, the castle of 
Grandfather Know All. 

Plavachek went into the castle but no one was there 
except an old woman who sat in a corner spinning. 

"I greet you, Plavachek; I am glad that you have 


come," she said. It was Fate, the woman whom he had 
met in the forest when he was carrying the king's let- 
ter to the queen. "What has brought you here?" asked 

"The king doesn't wish me to be his son-in-law for 
nothing. He has sent me to Grandfather Know All for 
three golden hairs." 

The woman laughed and said, "Grandfather Know 
All is my child, the bright 'sun. In the morning he is a 
boy, at midday a man, and in the evening an old grand- 
father. I will get you the three hairs, but you cannot 
stay where you are now. My son is a good soul, but in 
the evenings when he comes home hungry, it might 
happen that he would eat you. There is an empty cask 
here, I'll put it over you." 

Plavachek begged her to ask Grandfather Know All 
the three questions that he had promised to ask. 

"I will," said she, "and do you listen to what he says." 

Presently the wind blew at the western window and 
the sun flew into the room, an old grandfather with 
golden hair. 

"I smell man's flesh," said he. "You have some one 
here, mother." 

"Oh, star of the Hay, how could I have any one here 
without your seeing him? You fly all day over God's 
world, you get the odor of man's flesh. It is no wonder 


that when you come home in the evening you still find 

Grandfather Know All said nothing, but sat down to 
his supper. After supper he laid his head on his 
mother's knee and fell asleep. When she saw that he 
was sleeping she pulled out a golden hair and dropped it 
on the ground. It sounded as a fiddle string sounds 
when touched by skilful fingers. 

"What do you want of me, mother ?" asked he. 

"Nothing, my son, nothing. I was slumbering and I 
had a wonderful dream." 

"What did you see?" 

"I saw a place where there used to be a fountain of the 
Water of Life. When a man who was ill drank of that 
water he became well, straightway. If a dead man was 
sprinkled with the water he rose up, well again. But 
for twenty years it has ceased to flow. Is there any way 
to make it flow again?" 

"In the opening of the spring sits a toad ; he stops the 
water. If they kill the toad the water will flow as be- 

When Grandfather Know All fell asleep again his 
mother pulled out a second golden hair and threw it on 
the ground. 

"What do you want of me, mother?" asked the old 


"Nothing, my son, nothing. I was slumbering and I 
had a wonderful dream. I saw a place where there was 
a tree which used to bear the Apples of Youth. When 
a man was old if he ate one of those apples he became 
young again. But for twenty years that tree has borne 
no fruit. Will it ever bear again?" 

"Among the roots of the tree there is a worm. If 
they kill the worm and plant the tree in another place it 
will bear fruit as before." 

Grandfather Know All fell asleep again and the 
woman pulled out the third golden hair. 

"What is it, mother, that you will not let me sleep?" 
cried he, angry and wishing to stand up. 

"Lie down, my son, lie down, I am sorry to waken you, 
but I had a wonderful dream. I dreamed of an old 
ferryman who for twenty years goes back and forth 
over the Black Sea and no one relieves him. When will 
his labor end?" 

"He is the son of a stupid mother ! Let him give the 
oar to another and spring on shore himself; the other 
will become the ferryman. But let me sleep, for I must 
be up early and dry the tears which the king's daughter 
sheds every night for her husband, the charcoal-burner's 
son whom the king sent for three of my golden hairs." 

Toward morning a wind rose up outside, and, instead 
of an old man, a beautiful golden-haired child, God's 


sun, sprang up, bade good-by to his mother and flew 
out of the eastern window. The mother took the cask 
off from Plavachek, and said, — 

"Here are the three golden hairs. You have heard 
Grandfather Know All's answer to the three questions. 
God be with you. You will not see me again, for it is 
not needful ; you will be happy." 

Plavachek thanked the old woman, and went his way. 
When he came to the first city the king anxiously in- 
quired what news he brought. 

"Good news," said Plavachek. "Clean out the spring 
and kill the toad that sits in the opening. The water 
will flow as before." 

The king had this done at once and when he saw the 
water rush out in a full stream he gave Plavachek twelve 
horses loaded with as much gold and silver as they could 
carry. When Plavachek came to the second city the 
king asked what news he brought. 

"Good news," cried Plavachek. "Dig up the tree, you 
will find a worm at the roots. Kill the worm, then plant 
the three in another place. It will bear fruit as before." 

The king had this done, straightway. The tree was, 
in one night, covered with blossoms, as if roses had been 
showered over it. The king rejoiced greatly. He gave 
Plavachek twelve horses, as black as crows, loaded with 
as many treasures as they could carry. 


Plavachek journeyed on until he came to the Black Sea, 
there the ferryman asked him if Grandfather Know, All 
had told him when the labor would end. 

"Yes," said Plavachek, "ferry me over and then I will 
tell you what he said." 

When the ferryman saw that there was no other way 
to find out, he ferried Plavachek and his twenty-four 
horses over the sea. Then Plavachek said, "When you 
ferry another man across, as soon as you touch land put 
an oar in his hand and spring out of the boat; he will be 
ferryman in your place." 

The king could not believe his eyes when Plavachek 
gave him the three golden hairs of Grandfather Know 
All. The king's daughter wept from joy. 

"But where did you get these beautiful crow black 
horses and this great wealth?" asked the king. 

"I earned them," answered Plavachek, and he related 
how he had helped one king to the Apples of Youth, 
apples that make old men young, and another king to the 
Water of Life, water that makes infirm men strong, and 
raises the dead to life. 

"Apples of Youth! Water of Life!" repeated the 
king to himself. "If I could eat one of those apples I 
would be young. If I were to die that water would 
bring me to life." 

He did not delay; that very day he started oif to find 


the Apples of Youth and the Water of Life. As he went 
by way of the Black Sea ferry he has not returned yet. 
Thus the charcoal-burner's son became the king's son- 
in-law, and then king, as Fate had decided. The old 
king is most likely f err3dng people over the Black Sea 
to this very day. 


ONCE upon a time there was a king who had an 
only son, and he wished greatly that this son 
should marry as soon as possible, but the more he urged 
him to find a wife the more did he show his distaste for 
marriage, saying that women were good for nothing, 
that they were in the world for the purpose of deceiving 

When the king saw that his words were fruitless, he 
led his son to a large hall, where the walls were hung 
with portraits of women, and said to him, — 

"Here, my son, are the portraits of all the unmarried 
princesses in the world. Look at them and make your 

The young man, to gratify his father, examined one 
portrait after another, but was pleased with none. One 
was too young, another too old, one too pale, another too 
red, and so he went on till he came to a portrait that was 
hung with the face to the wall. Then he said, — 

"Tell me, dear father, why is this portrait hung with 

the face to the wall?" 



"Leave it as it is," answered the king. "It represents 
a beautiful maiden, but she is as averse to marriage as 
you are. She has ruined every prince who has asked 
her for her hand." 

To this the prince answered, "You brought me here 
to see all the princesses there are in the world; you have 
no right to withhold one of them." With these words he 
turned the portrait around, and examined it more care- 
fully than he had the others. 

The maiden that it represented was so beautiful that 
she won his heart, and he said to his father, "This one 
or none." 

The old king did what he could to dissuade his son. 
He explained that the maiden's father was a powerful 
king, that by the tasks she had set she had ruined the 
most renowned princes in the world, that if he asked 
her in marriage he would lose his life. "Moreover," 
said he, "have pity on me; do not make me a victim of 
misery in my last days." 

But his words were useless. The prince clung to his 
resolution, but said he would go in disguise and not as 
an open wooer. 

When he had gained his father's permission, he put 
on coarse garments, gave himself as poor an appearance 
as possible, and set out for the city in which the princess 


The road led through a wide, barren field. There he 
saw two men struggling desperately with each other. 
He went up to them, and asked, — 

"Why are you fighting so fiercely? Can I settle your 
dispute ?" 

They repulsed him with rude speech; told him not to 
mix up in their affairs, but to go his way. 

The prince was not to be put off. He said, "Tell me 
what you are fighting about, and I'll give you its value 
in money, then you'll have peace." 

Thereupon one of them said, "See here, you fool, these 
are the inheritances left us by our father. It is these 
we are fighting about," and he showed him a rugged staff 
and an old cap which lay on the ground near by. 

When the prince saw the staff and the cap he laughed 
heartily, and said, — 

"You ought to be ashamed to fight over such trifles. 
Tell me what they are worth; I'll give one of you the 
money, the other may take the cap and staff, and you'll 
both be happy." 

"You can settle the price yourself," replied the man, 
"but only when you know the power of these things. 
Whoever puts on the cap becomes invisible; whoever 
strikes three times with the staff is borne wherever he 

"I haven't money enough to pay for such articles," 


said the prince, "but I can settle your dispute. I will 
hurl a dart at that tree yonder, do you run for the dart; 
the one who returns it to me shall have the staff and the 

They agreed to this. The prince hurled his dart at 
the tree and both men rushed after it. While they were 
running the prince put the cap on his head, struck the 
earth three times with the staff, and wished himself in 
the palace of the princess. 

Scarcely had he uttered the wish when he was there. 
He went from room to room till he came to where the 
princess was, and when he saw her he thought she was 
more beautiful than her portrait. He gazed at her for a 
while then went to the garden and asked for the head- 
gardener. When he found him, he offered himself as an 
assistant and was told that only strong-jSsted workmen 
were needed, that no use could be made of white-handed 
fools. But when he said that he asked no wages, his 
food would be sufficient reward, the head-gardener hired 

The prince worked in the garden one day after an- 
other, keeping near the favorite resort of the princess, 
in order to be able to look at her. She loved the garden, 
and every afternoon she came there and walked around 
for a while. Afterward she went to a secluded summer- 
house and read till late in the night. No one knew at 


what hour she returned to the palace. The prince 
thought that he would find out, so he made a hiding- 
place, and when night came and the other workmen had 
gone to bed, he crept into the place and watched. 

At last, toward midnight, he heard a rolling noise, like 
distant thunder; it came nearer and nearer. The prin- 
cess came out of the summer-house. At that moment a 
tremendous dragon flew up and dropped to the ground 
in front of her. She welcomed him and led him in to 
the summer-house. The prince saw how friendly she 
was, but he was too far away to hear her words. He 
wanted to go nearer, but he was afraid of the dragon. 

After a time the dragon flew away, with the same 
thundering, and the same lightning speed which he came, 
and the princess hurried to the palace. 

The prince went to his room, but thoughts of the 
dragon drove sleep from his eyes. The next day he re- 
membered his staff and cap, and when night came he 
put on the cap, took the staff in his hand, and went to 
the summer-house and waited for the dragon. The prin- 
cess received the dragon as kindly as before, and he 
began to urge her to go to his castle where a grand 
banquet was awaiting her. At first she refused, say- 
ing that her father had appointed an early hour in the 
morning for an interview; that the castle was six hun- 
dred days' journey away; and she might not return in 


time. But when the dragon promised to bring her back 
before daybreak, she consented, and he took her in his 
claws and flew away. 

The prince struck the earth three times with his staff, 
wished himself at the dragon's castle, and was there at 
the same time with the dragon and the princess. 

The castle was surrounded with high walls, and was 
inhabited by a host of serving dragons. The halls, 
lighted by thousands of lamps, were gleaming in splen- 
dor. In the last one, which was the most beautiful of 
all, a banquet was spread. 

The dragon gave the princess a napkin embroidered 
with such marvelous skill that she wouldn't use it, but 
hung it on a nail, saying, "I'll take this napkin home, it's 
too beautiful to use." 

When the princess sat down at the feast the prince 
took the napkin from the nail and put it in his bosom. 
Then he sat down at the table and ate of every dish that 
was brought. When a dish of rice was served, the 
dragon saw that near the holes made by his spoon and 
that of the princess sitting opposite, a third one appeared. 
He pointed this out to the princess and asked her how it 
happened. While she wondering, the dragon turned 
the dish around to see if their eyes had deceived them, and 
behold a fourth hole was made, and it grew larger every 

"At that moment a tremendous dragon flew up and dropped to 
the ground in front of her." 


Not understanding how this could be, the princess 
grew restless and uneasy and urged the dragon to take 
her home. When she rose from the table and turned to 
get the napkin, she saw that it was not there. That 
alarmed her still more and she urged the dragon to 
hasten. He took her in his claws and bore her home as 
swiftly as he had borne her to the castle, but the prince 
kept pace with them, and saw how the princess hurried 
into her father's palace. 

The next morning when the prince went to the garden 
he saw by the restless running to and fro of people that 
something had happened. When he met the head- 
gardener he ventured to ask the cause of the disturb- 

"We are lost beyond redemption," answered the gar- 
dener. "A neighboring king, whose army is four times 
as large as ours, has sent ambassadors to demand our 
princess in marriage for his son, saying that if the suit 
is not granted he will declare war against our king and 
so ravage his kingdom that not one stone shall be left 
upon another. This morning the princess gave her an- 
swer. She declared she would give her hand only to the 
man who could solve three problems for her, that such 
had been her terms hitherto, and such they would re- 
main. If the prince wished to marry her let him make 
his venture. When the ambassadors heard this, they de- 


dared war in the name of their king, and departed 
in haste. And now our king cannot find a comman- 
der-in-chief who dares to march against such an 

'T will be commander-in-chief," said the prince. "Go 
to the king and tell him that if he makes me commander- 
in-chief I'll bind myself, not only to conquer the enemy, 
but to take half of his kingdom." 

When the gardener heard these words he couldn't be- 
lieve his ears, and cried out again and again, "The fellow 
has lost his wits ! What, you poor devil, do you mean to 
say that you have the impudence to offer yourself as com- 
mander-in-chief ? Not to the king will I go, but to the 
marshal of the palace, and ask him to lock you up, lest 
you come to harm with your madness." 

But the prince repeated his request with such insist- 
ence, and had such a noble, resolute bearing, that by 
degrees he made an impression on the gardener, and at 
last he said, — 

"I know that they will lock us both up, but you have 
asked me to do this, and I will undertake it. To the king 
I'll not trust myself, but I will go to the chancellor and, 
tell him what you say." 

When the chancellor heard the message brought by 
the head gardener he laughed loudly, and said, — 

"Fright has made you gardeners crazy, I must lock 


you up. But I'll look at the fellow first. Bring him 

When the prince appeared before the chancellor, his 
bearirig made such an impression on him that he rose 
and, shaking his head, went to the king and laid before 
him the gardener's astonishing proposal. 

At first the king laughed, but when it was explained 
to him that the kingdom could be saved only by a miracle, 
he became thoughtful and asked to have the gardener 
summoned. The dignity of the prince and his words 
inspired the king with confidence. He grasped him by 
the hand and presented him to his warriors as their 
commander-in-chief, and said, "You must march at once, 
for our enemy has already crossed the border." 

The prince went forward with fifty thousand men and 
camped in front of the enemy. When they saw the small 
number of his men, his opponents sent a herald demand- 
ing surrender to avoid bloodshed. The prince answered 
that the following day would show whose blood would be 

The generals waited on the prince asking for his plan 
of battle, but the plan was not given. When night came 
the prince lay down to rest. He rose up at midnight, 
put on his cap, and taking his stafif wished to be in the 
enemy's camp. He slipped into the tents where com- 
manders and officers were sleeping and cut off their 


heads. He worked till nearly morning, then wished him- 
self back in his own tent. 

When day came and the enemy found such a number 
of their leaders dead, the sentinels were called together, 
and as they swore in one voice that no one had gone 
either in or out of camp, the regiments which had lost 
their leaders began to cry out treason, saying that this 
explained the unexampled boldness of the enemy. 
Those suspected collected to defend themselves against 
the charge of treachery. There could be no thought of 
battle that day. 

The following night the prince went again to the 
enemy's camp, and if possible killed a greater number 
of leaders than before. 

The next morning the cry of treason was twofold 
greater. From words they came to deeds, and soon 
the enemy's legions were fighting with one an- 

When the prince heard the uproar he cried out, "Now 
is the time to strike!" and he rushed forward with his 
army and slaughtered so many of his foes that but few 
escaped. Then he marched to the capital and forced 
the king to a peace by which he gave up half of his 

When the prince, at the head of his victorious army, 
returned home, the king received him with great honor 


and made him chancellor of the kingdom. He filled the 
office with such wisdom and prudence that he rose daily 
in the esteem of the king. 

After a certain time the prince went to the king and 
declared that he could not remain in his service, he must 
go to his own country. The king was alarmed; he ex- 
plained to the prince the danger the kingdom would be 
in if he left, for it was only fear of him that kept the 
enemy from taking vengeance for his overthrow. He 
implored the prince to remain and declared that he 
would gratify his every wish, so far as it lay in his 

The prince withstood the entreaties of the king till 
he saw that he was in the greatest embarrassment and 
trouble, then he told him that he loved his daughter and 
would remain if he might make her his wife. When 
the king heard this he said, — 

'T would gladly make you my son-in-law, but you 
know the stubbornness of my daughter. I am afraid 
she will treat you as she has other men who have wished 
to marry her." 

The king sent for his daughter, told her of the chan- 
cellor's desire, and commanded her to accept the pro- 

Upon hearing her father's words, the princess was 
beside herself with anger, and cried out, — 


"Has it come to this that I, who have refused the 
most mighty princes, must marry a gardener ?" 

She used every means to change her father's mind, 
but her prayers were of no avail this time, the king was 
not to be influenced. 

When she saw this, she said, "I will yield to your 
wishes only on one condition — ^that this gardener per- 
form three tasks. I will think them over and give 
him the first one to-morrow morning," and she 
left her father, without Ustening to what he might 

That evening the prince put on his cap and taking the 
staff in his hand went to the summer-house, and waited 
for the coming of the dragon. When he came the prin- 
cess met him, and said, — 

"I have another wooer, no other than our new chan- 
cellor, the ex-gardener." 

When the dragon heard this he laughed till the house 

"Don't take it so lightly," said the princess ; "there is 
something mysterious about the man. I have long sus- 
pected him of being intimate with magic. Think well, 
before you tell me what task to give him." 

Then the dragon answered : "Tell him to bring you, 
within twenty-four hours, three laughing apples. The 
only tree upon which such apples grow is in my garden, 


six hundred days' journey from here, and the tree is 
guarded by a hundred dragons." 

When the dragon flew back to his castle, the prince 
followed him and saw how he posted his servants around 
the tree and charged them to watch it the whole night, 
so that not even a bird could approach it. When the 
sentinels had taken their places, the prince went to the 
tree and broke off a branch on which there were ten 
apples. As soon as he touched the branch all the apples 
on the tree began to laugh, "Ha! ha! ha! ha!" The 
dragons sprang up, fell over each other, and crowded 
together, for they knew that some one had touched the 
apples, but search as they might they couldn't find any 

The next morning when the princess gave the chan- 
cellor his task, he declared that he was ready to accom- 
plish it. To the astonishment of the king and his whole 
court he transacted his business all day without taking 
the least trouble about the task. Toward evening he 
put the ten apples on a plate and gave them to the 
king. When the princess saw the apples she wondered 
greatly if they were the laughing apples, for they looked 
like common apples. The prince told her to touch them, 
and as she did so the hall rang with loud laughter, and 
she was obliged to confess that he had accomplished the 
first task. 


That evening the prince listened to the conversation 
between the princess and the dragon, and heard the 
dragon tell her that she must ask the chancellor to bring 
her three weeping quinces, that the only tree on which 
such quinces grew stood in the court of his castle. He 
would close the door of the court and place sentinels 
around the tree. 

It happened with the weeping quinces as with the 
laughing apples. 

The prince, wearing his cap of invisibility, followed 
the dragon to his castle. When the dragon had posted 
his sentinels and had sat down near the tree, the prince 
broke off a branch having three quinces on it. That in- 
stant all the quinces on the tree began to weep. The 
dragon and sentinels rushed around in search of the 
thief. They looked in every nook and crevice, but found 
no one. 

The prince amused himself a while with the mad 
racing around of the dragons, then wished himself back 
in the king's garden. The next day he placed the 
quinces on a dish, as he had the apples. When the prin- 
cess touched them they began to weep, and she saw with 
alarm that he had fulfilled the second task. 

That night the dragon was very thoughtful. At last 
he said to the princess, "This task will surely bring the 
gardener to destruction. Tell him to get you a tooth 


from the jaw of the dragon, to whom the tree with the 
laughing apples and the tree with the weeping quinces 
belong. If he should try to tear out one of my teeth I 
would swallow him alive." 

When the prince heard this, he wished himself in the 
tool house. There he got pincers and a basket, and, 
taking somniferous herbs, returned to the summer-house 
and followed the dragon to his castle. 

There the dragon collected forty of his strongest 
attendants, and commanded them to watch the whole 
flight through. The prince placed somniferous herbs on 
each one of the dragons, and soon they were all asleep, 
snoring, with jaws wide open. 

The prince drew a front tooth from the jaw of each 
dragon, put the teeth in his basket, and was back in the 
king's garden. 

When the dragons woke up, one dragon saw a cavity 
in the jaw of another, and exclaimed, "Oh, my friend, 
you have lost a front tooth!" When each dragon dis- 
covered that he had lost a front tooth, great fear seized 
them all; they said, "He who has drawn our teeth can 
cut our throats!" 

The prince used the teeth as he had the apples and 
the quinces. When he exhibited them before the prin- 
cess she fainted from terror. 

That night when he went to the summer-house he 


found the princess there waiting for the dragon. She 
waited a long time, and when at last he came he looked 
around anxiously, and said to the princess: "Your 
suitor has accomplished the third task. He who can 
draw my teeth can cut my throat or take your life ; you 
will never see me again." And he flew away. 

The next morning the prince, taking his cap and staff, 
went to the palace. He found the whole court as- 
sembled, and the princess in a bridal dress. She looked 
at him kindly, but he passed her and, standing before 
the king, asked for a private audience. When they 
were alone he told the king who he was, and related the 
whole story. He told him that his daughter had been 
enchanted by a dragon, that now the spell was broken, 
and the dragon had fled. Then he bade the king fare- 
well, struck the floor three times with his staff, and dis- 

Back to his father's palace he went, and when he 
greeted his father, he said, "Here I am, cured of my 
love, and ready to marry the woman you will give me !" 

His father made a great feast, and hastened to find a 
beautiful wife for his son, and when he was dying a 
host of grandchildren stood around his bed. 


ONCE upon a time there was an old king who had 
an only son. One day he summoned that son to 
his presence and said, — 

"You know, my dear child, that ripe fruit falls to 
make room for green fruit. My head has become so 
mature that soon the light of day will shine on it no 
longer. But, before you bury me, I want to see my 
future daughter, your wife. Marry, my son." 

"I would like to please you," answered the prince, 
"but I have no bride." 

The king put his hand in his pocket, and taking out a 
golden key gave it to his son, and said, — 

' -Go to the highest room in the tower and look around, 
then come and tell me what pleases you." 

The prince did not delay. He had never been in the 
tower and did not know what was there. Near the top 
he came to a small iron door, like a trap. The door was 
securely locked, but he opened it with the golden key 
and went on till he came to a large round chamber. The 
ceiling of the chamber was as blue as the sky in a clear 
night. Silver stars glittered on it. The floor was cov- 



ered with a green carpet. Round about were twelve 
windows in golden frames, and on the crystal glass of 
each window was portrayed a maiden with a royal 
crown on her head. In each window was a different 
maiden. The prince couldn't take his eyes from them, 
and while he gazed with wonder, not knowing which to 
choose, the maidens began to move as if living; they 
looked at him and smiled, but did not speak. 

The prince noticed that one of the windows was con- 
cealed by a light drapery. Drawing the drapery aside 
he saw a maiden in a white dress, a silver girdle around 
her waist, and a crown of pearls on her head. She was 
the most beautiful of all, but she was sad, and as pale as 
if she had risen from the grave. 

The prince stood before the picture as before an ap- 
parition, and gazed at it till his heart ached. "I will 
have this one or none," said he. 

The moment he uttered these words the maiden bowed 
her head, grew as red as a rose, and disappeared, then 
all of the pictures vanished. 

When the prince told his father what he had seen and 
which maiden he had chosen, the old king's face grew 
dark. He thought a while, then said, — 

"You did wrong, my son, to uncover what was con- 
cealed. By your word you have put yourself in great 
peril. That maiden is in the power of a wicked sorcerer 


who lives in an iron castle. Of the many men who have 
gone to free her not one has returned. But what is done 
cannot be undone. A spoken word is law. Go and try 
your fortune, and may you come back in health." 

The prince bade farewell to his father, mounted his 
steed and rode away in search of the maiden. He 
passed through a great forest and traveled on till, he 
missed the road and knew not which way to turn. Then 
he heard some one calling, "Wait!" and on looking 
around he saw a tall man hastening after him. 

"Wait and take me with you," said the man. "If you 
take me into your service you'll not be sorry." 

"Who are you ?" asked the prince, "and what can you 

"I am Long. I can stretch myself. On that tall fir 
tree is a bird's nest. I will get it for you without climb- 

• 99 


Long began to stretch. His body grew till he was as 
high as the tree. He took the nest, and in a moment 
was small again ; and gave the nest to the prince. 

"You know your business well," said the prince, "but 
what are birds' nests to me if you cannot lead me out of 
the forest?" 

"That's easily done," said Long, and he stretched till 
he was three times as tall as the tallest tree. He looked 
here and there, then said, pointing,— 


"On this side we have the shortest road." 

He grew small, took the horse by the bridlS, and sooner 
than the prince had expected he was out of the forest. 
Before them was a broad plain; beyond the plain stood 
lofty gray cliflf s, like the towers of a city ; and farther on 
were mountains grown over with trees. 

"Over there, master, is my comrade," said Long, 
pointing to one side of the plain. "You should hire him, 
he would serve you well." 

"Call him," said the prince, "I will see what he is good 

"He is far away," answered Long; "he could scarcely 
hear me, and it would be some time before he could get 
here, he has a good deal to carry. I will go for him." 

Long made himself so tall that his head was hidden in 
the clouds, then taking two or three steps he reached out 
and grasping his comrade by the shoulder set him down 
before the prince. He was a sturdy fellow with a 
stomach like a great pot. 

"Who are you," asked the prince, "and what can you 

"My name is Broad, and I know how to spread my- 

"Show me how you do it." 

"Gallop off, master, to the forest, at full speed." 

The prince didn't know why he should go, but seeing 


that Broad was extending toward the forest at a tre- 
mendous pace, he put spurs to his horse, and was off. 

It was high time for him to go. Broad would have 
crushed him and his horse, so quickly did he swell out 
on all sides. In one minute the whole valley was full of 
him, just as if a mountain had slipped onto it. Then he 
made himself small. 

"You chased me away," said the prince. "But come 
with me. I couldn't find another such a fellow." 

The three went on till they came to the cliffs, and there 
they found a person whose eyes were bandaged. 

"This is my second comrade," said Long, "you should 
take him into your service. He wouldn't eat bread for 

"What is your name," asked the prince, "and why are 
your eyes bandaged ?" 

"My name is Swift Glance. I bandage my eyes be- 
cause I see too well. I see as well with my eyes covered 
as others do with their naked eyes. If I take the 
bandage off and look quickly at anything it bursts into 
flames, or, if it does not burn, it cracks and breaks to 

He turned, took off the bandage and looked at a cliff. 
That minute the cliff cracked with a terrible noise; rocks 
flew in every direction and soon nothing remained but a 
heap of sand in which something glittered like fire. 


Swift Glance brought it to the prince. It was ruddy 

"You are a man beyond price," said the prince. "He 
would be a fool who would refuse your services. But 
look and tell me if it is far to the iron castle, and tell me 
what is happening there." 

"If you were to go alone, master, you wouldn't reach 
that castle in a year," said Swift Glance, "but with us 
you'll be there this evening." 

"What is my bride doing?" 

"The sorcerer keeps her in a tower, behind iron grat- 

• 59 


"Who is good, let him aid me in rescuing her !" cried 
the prince. 

Long, Broad, and Swift Glance promised to aid him. 

They led him through the lofty cliffs by a gap which 
Swift Glance opened with his eyes. Beyond those cliffs 
were high mountains and dense forests. Farther and 
farther the travelers went. When the sun was sinking 
in the west the mountains were lower, the forests thinner 
and the cliffs were covered with thickets. When the 
sun was near setting the prince saw the iron castle, and 
when the sun was disappearing he was passing along the 
iron bridge to the gate. As the sun set, the bridge was 
raised and the gate closed. The prince and his servants 
were confined in the iron fortress. When he had looked 


around the courtyard the prince put his horse in the 
stable and went to the castle. 

In the halls they saw, in the twilight, many richly 
dressed princes, attendants, and waiting men, but not 
one of them moved — all were stone. They passed 
through a number of halls then came to a chamber that 
was brilliantly lighted. In the center of the chamber 
stood a table with abundant food and drink for four 
persons. They waited for some one to come but when 
no one appeared they sat down and ate and drank what 
pleased their palate. When they had eaten enough they 
looked around for a place to sleep. 

All at once the door flew open and the sorcerer en- 
tered. An old, bent-over man, his head was bald and his 
gray beard came to his knees. He wore a long black 
robe and around his waist instead of a belt were three 
iron hoops. He led by the hand a beautiful maiden 
dressed in white. She wore a silver belt, and on her 
head was a crown of pearls, but she was as pale and sad 
as if she had just come out of the grave. 

The prince recognized her at once. He started up 
and went toward her, but before he could utter a word 
the sorcerer said, — 

"I know why you have come; you wish to take the 
princess away. If for three nights you can guard her 
so that she cannot escape she may go with you. If she 


escapes, you with your servants will be turned to stone 
as have all those who came here before you." 

The sorcerer led the princess to a chair and told her 
to sit down. The prince could not take his eyes off the 
maiden, she was so beautiful. He spoke to her, but she 
did not answer, neither did she smile nor look at any one; 
she was as if made of marble. The prince sat near her 
thinking to keep watch all night. For greater safety 
Long stretched out, like a strap, and wound himself 
around the room. Broad took his place at the door, 
swelled and filled the doorway so that a fly couldn't 
have crept through. Swift Glance stood by a pillar in 
the middle of the chamber, and watched. But after a 
while all fell asleep and slept the night through. In the 
morning, when day began to come, the prince woke up, 
and he felt as if a knife had struck him in the heart, for 
the princess was gone. 

Straightway he roused his three servants and asked 
what was to be done. 

"Have no fear," said Swift Glance, who looked out of 
the window quickly, "I see her already. A hundred 
miles from here is a forest, in the middle of the forest is 
an old oak tree, on the top of that tree is an acorn ; the 
princess is that acorn. Let Long take me on his shoul- 
ders, I will get her." 

Long took Swift Glance on his shoulders, stretched 


out, made himself tall, and went ten miles at a step. 
Swift Glance showed him the way. As much time had 
not passed as it would take to walk around a cottage 
when they were back and Long handed the acorn to the 

"Let it drop on the floor, master," said he. 

The prince dropped it, and that minute the princess 
stood at his side. 

When the sun began to appear above the mountains 
the door flew open with a crash and the sorcerer walked 
in, smiling maliciously. When he saw the princess his 
face grew dark; a crack was heard — one of the iron 
hoops around his waist broke and fell off. He took the 
maiden by the hand and led her away. 

All that day the prince had nothing to do but to walk 
through and around the castle and see what was wonder- 
ful there. Everywhere it was as if life had ceased in 
the twinkle of an eye. In one room he saw a prince who 
had been turned to stone ; in another a knight appeared 
to have been fleeing, as if in fear; before him some one 
had stumbled against the threshold and was falling, but 
did not come to the floor. Near the hearth sat a servant 
holding in one hand a piece of meat which he had been 
roasting, with the other hand he was raising a piece of 
bread to his mouth, but near his lips it had become stone. 

Many other men did the prince find turned to stone, 


each one in the position in which he was when the sor- 
cerer said, "Be stone !" 

In the castle and around it everything was dead. 
There were trees, but without leaves ; there were fields, 
but they were without grass; there was a river, but it 
didn't flow. Nowhere was there a singing bird, or a 
flower the child of the earth; or bright fishes the children 
of the water. 

In the morning, at midday and in the evening the 
prince and his attendants found rich entertainment. 
Food came of its own accord, and wine poured itself out. 
When supper was over the sorcerer came in leading the 
princess to be guarded a second night. 

Though the prince and his attendants resolved to keep 
awake, they all fell asleep. In the morning when the 
prince woke and saw that the princess was gone, he 
sprang up, pulled Swift Glance by the shoulder, and 
said, — 

"Hurry, and see where the princess is !" 

"I see her already," said Swift Glance. "Two hun- 
dred miles away there is a mountain, on that mountain 
is a rock, in that rock is a precious stone, that precious 
stone is the princess. If Long carries me I will bring 


Long took Swift Glance on his shoulders and went 
twenty miles at a step. Swift Glance fixed his eyes on 


the mountain. It crumbled, split into a thousand pieces 
and among the pieces glittered the precious stone. They 
brought it to the prince, he dropped it on the floor and 
the princess stood before him. 

When the sorcerer entered the chamber and saw the 
princess his eyes flashed with rage. A crash! The 
second iron hoop flew from his body. He growled an- 
grily and led the princess away. 

The second day was like the first. After supper the 
sorcerer led in the maiden, looked sharply into the 
prince's eyes, and said with a sneer, — 

"It will be seen who conquers, you or I." Then he 
went away. 

This time they all tried diligently to guard agamst 
sleep. They did not sit down ; they paced the chamber, 
but one after another fell asleep while walking, and the 
princess disappeared. 

The prince woke first and not seeing the princess he 
roused Swift Glance, and said, "Get up quickly and see 
where the princess is !" 

He looked long. "Oh," said he, "she is very far 
away. Three hundred miles from here is the Black Sea, 
in the middle of the sea, at the bottom, is a shell, in that 
shell is a gold ring, that ring is the princess. Fear not, 
I will get her, but to-day Long must take Broad with us, 
for I shall need him." 


Long took Broad on one shoulder and Swift Glance on 
the other, stretched himself, and went thirty miles at a 
step. When they came to the Black Sea, Swift Glance 
showed him where to reach for the shell. Long 
stretched his arm as far as he was able but could not 
touch bottom. 

"Wait, comrades, wait a minute," said Broad. "I 
will help you." He swelled out as wide as his stomach 
would permit, then he lay down on the edge of the sea 
and began to drink. The sea decreased, and presently 
it was low enough for Long to touch the bottom. He 
picked up the shell and took out the ring, then he put his , 
comrades on his shoulders and hurried back to the castle. 
But it was difficult for him to run swiftly with Broad, 
who had half of the Black Sea in his stomach. 

When Long came to a wide valley he shook Broad off 
and he flopped to the ground like a leather sack fallen 
from a, high tower. In one moment the whole valley 
was under water, an enormous lake was formed, and it 
was as much as Broad could do to get out of it; he was 
very near drowning. 

The prince was frightened when sunlight began to 
appear and his attendants had not returned. The 
warmer the rays of the sun the greater was his suffering. 
Cold sweat stood on his forehead. All at once the sun 
appeared in the east. The door opened with a crash and 


the sorcerer stood on the threshold. He looked around 
the chamber and, not seeing the princess, laughed and 
was going away, when the window cracked and in came 
the ring, and the princess stood before him. 

Swift Glance, seeing what danger his master was in, 
had told Long to throw the ring into the chamber. 

The sorcerer bellowed from rage till the castle trem- 
bled. With a terrible noise the third iron hoop burst 
and fell to the floor. The sorcerer turned to a crow land 
flew through the broken window. 

The princess grew ruddy as a rose and thanked the 
prince for freeing her. In and around the iron castle 
everybody came to life. The man who held a drawn 
sword placed it in its sheath. He who stumbled at the 
threshold fell to the floor and rose up quickly. He who 
sat at the hearth put the piece of bread to his lips and 
went on eating. Every one finished what he had begun. 

In the stables the horses stamped and neighed joy- 
ously. The trees around the castle grew green; the 
fields were covered with many-colored flowers. High 
up in the air larks were singing, shoals of fish darted 
through the swift river. Everywhere there was life and 

Princes and warriors assembled in the chamber and 
thanked their deliverer. 

"You have nothing to thank me for," said the prince. 


"Had it not been for my trusty servants, Long, Broad,^ 
and Swift Glance, you would be as you were when I 

Straightway the prince set out for home, with his 
bride and his attendants, Long, and Swift Glance, On 
the way they met Broad and took him with them. 

When the old king saw his son he wept from joy.. 
And soon there was a rich wedding. All the princes and 
warriors whom the king's son had liberated were invited. 

When the feasting was over, Long, Broad, and Swift 
Glance declared that they were going to travel the world 
in search of employment. The prince begged them to 
stay with him. 

"I will give you," said he, "everything you can wish 
for. You need never work again." 

But such an idle life did not suit them. They took 
leave of the prince and each went his way, and to this 
time they have not met again. 


/'^NCE upon a time a stork and a heron lived by a 
y^ broad swamp, one on one side, one on the other. 
As it seemed to the stork that his life was very lonely 
and sad, he decided to marry. "I'll go," thought he, 
"and propose to heron," and raising himself from the 
ground he flew straight across the swamp to heron's 
house. When he reached there he asked, — 

"Is heron at home ?" 

"She is," answered heron. 

After conversing with her for a while, he asked, — 

"Heron, will you marry me ?" 

"No," said heron, "I'll not marry you ; your legs are 
too long, your coat is too short, you are a bad flyer, and 
besides you can't support me. Be off, old long legs, 
don't bother me !" 

No matter how salt and bitter this was, the stork had 
to swallow it and fly away. When he was gone the v 
heron turned the matter over in her mind till she thought 
better of the proposal, and said to herself, — 

"How can I live here alone? It's a miserable life. 
I'll not endure it any longer. I'll marry the stork." 



The next day she flew across the swamp to stork's 
house, and said, — 

"I've come to see you, stork, and to tell you that I'll 
accept your proposal. You may marry me." 

"No, heron, I can get on without you," answered stork. 
"You may marry whomever you like, I'll not be your 

Heron was so ashamed and mortified that she began 
to cry, and didn't stop crying till she reached her home 
on the other side of the swamp. 

When she was gone stork said to himself, 

"What a fool I was not to take heron at her word. A 
wretched life I have here alone ; I'll go and marry her." 

The next day he flew over the swamp and said to 
heron, — 

"I've made up my mind to marry you ; we'll have the 
wedding right away." 

"No, stork," said heron, "if you are willing to marry 
me I'm not willing to marry you; you may go." 

The stork flew home, in a rage. When he was gone 
the heron grew vexed with herself and said, — 

"What a fool I was to refuse him. How can I live, 
in this way? I'm a poor unprotected creature with no 
one to provide for me. I'll marry stork to-morrow, and 
have done with it." 

The next morning she flew over to stork and offered 


herself to him. Angry because she had refused him the 
day before, he said, "I'll not marry you now ; you can 
marry whomever you like." 

When she was gone he regretted his words. 

And to this hour they are flying over the swamp offer- 
ing themselves to each other, and they are no nearer the 
wedding-day than when they began.