The Dragon-giant And His Stone-steed

Not one amongst the numerous wives of Vladimir the Great was

comparable in beauty to the Bulgarian Princess Milolika. Her eyes

resembled those of the falcon; the fur of the sable was not more

glossy than her eyebrows, and her breast was whiter than snow.

She had been carried off by robbers of the Volga, from the vicinity of

Boogord, the capital of her native country, and on account of her rare

beauty they deemed her worthy to be a wife of the great monarch. They

therefore conducted her to Kiev, the residence of the mighty Vladimir,

and presented her to him. Vladimir, a good judge of female charms, the

moment he beheld her, was enchanted by the surpassing beauty of the

Bulgarian princess, and in a short time his love for her became so

great that he made her his consort, and dismissed all his other

wives. The proud heart of the king's daughter was touched by this

proof of his affection, and she rewarded his tenderness with

reciprocal and true love.

The life of Vladimir was now one of great happiness. His conquests had

procured him riches in superfluity; a long period of peace had

augmented the prosperity of his country; his subjects loved him as

their father; and the tenderness of Milolika made earth seem to him as


One day as in company with his consort and his Bojars, he sat in the

golden chamber by his oaken table, holding a festival in memory of a

victory over the Greeks, the sound of a warrior's horn was heard at a

distance. The rejoicings in the lofty hall suddenly ceased. The

monarch and the Bojars cast their eyes to the ground, full of thought

and heaviness. Swatorad alone, the spirited Voivode of Kiev, started

up from the table, and leaving his goblet undrained, approached the

great monarch. "Thou art," spake he, as he bent low before him, "thou

art our father and our lord, thou art the child of renown: wherefore

sinks thy head? Why does the sound of the warrior's horn make thy

heart heavy? Even if it be a hostile knight who now appears before

the capital, hast thou not enough brave heroes to confront any foe?

Away then! Send forth thy heralds to demand who dares to defy the

country of the Russians?"

Vladimir looked friendly upon the gallant Swatorad, and thus replied

to his address: "I thank thee for thy zeal, good Swatorad; but my

anxiety does not arise from fear. I have defeated hosts, made myself

master of fortified cities, and overthrown kings: how should I know

fear? But it was my desire henceforth to preserve to my subjects the

blessing of peace, and that alone is the cause that this challenge to

combat makes me sorrowful. If however it must be so, I will defend my

country and myself. Go and send heralds to demand who dares to come

forth against Kiev, to challenge Vladimir to battle?"

The brave Swatorad immediately sent forth two heralds, who sprang upon

their horses and rushed to the open plain, where they at once beheld a

monstrous tent, before which a horse of unusual size was grazing. As

soon as the horse perceived them, he stamped upon the ground, and

cried aloud in a human voice: "Awake powerful son of the dragon,

Tugarin awake! Kiev sends heralds to thee."

This marvel considerably astounded the heralds, and their amazement

was increased when they beheld issuing from the tent a giant of the

most monstrous kind, beneath whose footsteps the earth resounded. Yet

they did not lose their composure, but discharged their commission as

beseemed them well. "Who art thou?" cried they, after they had

courteously bent before him. "Who art thou, bold youth from a foreign

land? What is thy name, and how stands thy report in thy father-land?

Art thou a Czar, or a Czarewitsch? A king or a king's son? We are sent

by the invincible prince of Kiev, the son of renown, by Vladimir, to

ask thee why thou darest to advance against Kiev?--how thou darest to

challenge him to combat?"

The questions displeased the giant, and he fell into fierce wrath.

Lightning flashed from his eyes, his nose sent forth sparks, and he

addressed the heralds in a voice of thunder: "Contemptible wights, how

dare ye to put such questions to me? The herald's staff alone protects

you from my fury. Return, and tell your prince that I am come to fetch

his head, in order to carry it to the great king, Trewul, of Bulgaria,

who is wrath with him, for the abduction of his sister Milolika. Tell

him, that nought can save him; neither the summit of the mountain,

nor the darkness of the forest, and that he cannot redeem his head by

gold, nor by silver, by jewels, nor by pearls. What I am called, and

what my report is in my country, it needs not that you should know;

sufficient, that I show you what I can perform." At these words, he

grasped an enormous stone, which lay near the tent, and flung it with

such force into the air, that it resembled a little speck.

Full of terror, the heralds returned to Kiev, and presenting

themselves before the monarch, related what they had seen and heard.

When Milolika heard that the horse had called the stranger knight

Tugarin, Son of the Dragon, she grew pale, and a stream of tears

bedewed her cheeks. "Ah," cried she, "beloved husband, we are lost!

Nought can save us, but our flight to the sacred Bug. Tugarin is an

invincible enchanter. His magic power ceases only on the shores of the

Bug. Thither let us fly."[1]

[Footnote 1: The river Bug was especially held sacred by the

Slavonians, and its waters possessed the power to destroy all kinds of


Vladimir endeavoured to re-assure his consort. He represented to her

that the brave warriors, and the walls of the impregnable Kiev, would

afford them sufficient protection; but Milolika was not to be

comforted. "Thou knowest not, beloved husband," said she, sobbing and

crying, "how dangerous is this giant, Tugarin, to me and my family,

and how bitterly he must hate thee, since he was my betrothed, and

awaited my hand." Vladimir besought Milolika to explain to him this

enigma, and she related the following:--

"I am the daughter of the Bulgarian king, Bogoris, and of the princess

Kuridana. My birth-place is the city Shikotin, where my parents were

wont to pass the summer months. As this city lies on the banks of the

Volga, it offers great facilities for fishing, a diversion to which my

mother was extremely partial.

"Once, when my father was fighting against a neighbouring nation, my

mother endeavoured to while away her grief at his absence by her

accustomed diversion, and caused the nets to be spread in the Volga.

The fish were very plentiful, and a great number of barks and boats

covered the river, amongst which, the vessel in which my mother was

embarked, was distinguishable by its magnificence and elegance.

Surrounded by her ladies, and her body-guard, Kuridana stood in the

centre of the vessel, and beheld with pleasure the spectacle of the

fishery, when suddenly a mountain, that was situated on the other side

of the river, burst with a tremendous crash. Every eye was directed

to the spot, and they saw issue from the aperture, a man of rude, and

terrific aspect, seated on a car of shining steel drawn by two winged

horses. He directed his course towards the river, and when he reached

the water, the steel car rolled over the waves, as if they had been

firm land. When it was perceived that he was bending his way to my

mother's bark, heralds were dispatched in a boat, to inquire why he

presumed to approach the princess without permission. But the fierce

being, who was a powerful and malignant enchanter, did not permit the

unfortunate heralds to discharge their commission. As they began to

speak, he blew upon their boat, overset it, and all who were in it

were buried beneath the waves. At this melancholy sight, my mother's

attendants seized their bows, and discharged a shower of arrows

against the intruder; but in vain, for the arrows rebounded from him,

and fell shivered into the water.

"The greatest amazement now seized all present, for they became

petrified when the magician with a single word, bound every boat, with

its crew, so that they stood motionless, whilst he, with outstretched

arms, hastened towards my mother, and endeavoured to remove her into

his car. But some unseen power crippled all his efforts. Each time he

endeavoured to seize Kuridana, his arms sank powerless, and he was, at

length, obliged to desist from the vain enterprise. He then sprang

into the bark, cast himself on his knees before her, and in the most

moving, and earnest expressions, besought her love. He promised her

all the treasures of the world, and the highest earthly happiness, if

she would reward his vehement love with reciprocal affection, or only

lay aside the talisman which she wore upon her breast. This talisman,

which now preserved her, she had received at her birth from a

beneficent enchantress, and as she well knew its force, she had drawn

it out of the case where she usually concealed it, and held it before

his eyes.

"Then the evil one trembled so violently, that at last, as if stricken

by lightning, he fell to the ground, and not until Kuridana had again

enclosed the talisman, did he recover from his insensibility. He then

sprang up, and mounted his steel car, uttering the most fearful

threats, 'Think not,' cried he, foaming with shame and rage, 'think

not to escape my hands; I will possess thee, and will force Bogoris

himself, by the most dreadful devastation of his country, to yield

thee to me. Behold, I swear by Tschernobog,[2] that I will either,

slay, or gain possession of thee. Thou shalt see me soon again,' With

these words he disappeared.

[Footnote 2: Tschernobog was the evil spirit of the Slavonians, and no

one could swear more solemnly, than by Tschernobog.]

"Kuridana then left the spot, and not believing herself secure in

Shikotin, retired to the strong city of Boogord, where she awaited, in

great anxiety, the result of this alarming adventure.

"The very next morning, appeared on the plain before the capital city,

a dreadful two-headed monster, of that dragon species which, in the

language of my country, is called Sylant. It devoured herbs, and

flocks, and men, and devastated the surrounding country with its

poisonous breath. In a short time, the region round Boogord became a

desert, and many brave warriors, who sought to free their country of

this demon, fell victims to their patriotism and valour. The Sylant

appeared each morning before the walls, and bellowed out with a

fearful voice,: 'Bogoris, give me Kuridana, or I will make thy country

a desert!'

"No sooner did my father hear of the misfortune which menaced his

people, and his beloved Kuridana, than he left his career of victory,

and hastened to the capital. What were his feelings when he beheld

the misery which the monster had spread over his land! But greater

bitterness still awaited him, for when the first tempest of joy and

grief, which his return had excited in the hearts of all, and

especially in that of Kuridana, had subsided, this noble-minded

princess proposed herself as a willing sacrifice for the king, and the

good Bulgarians. 'No!' cried Bogoris, 'sooner will I perish, than lose

thee. I will combat the Dragon. Perhaps the Gods will grant me

victory, and if I am vanquished in the fight, at least I shall die for

thee, and for my country,' The most generous dispute now arose between

the magnanimous pair, and finally they agreed to appeal to the

decision of the magnates of the empire, who should decide the dispute.

"The king assembled them, and when they had heard Kuridana's

resolution, they loaded her with panegyrics, and expressions of

gratitude. 'Thy magnanimous sacrifice alone, Kuridana,' said the

eldest of the assembly, an aged man, of a hundred years, 'can rescue

us and Bulgaria. For, supposing that Bogoris were to fight with the

Sylant, and fall, would not our misfortune be greater still? No,

Prince! thou must preserve thyself for thy people, in order to heal

the wounds which the Dragon has inflicted. Kuridana alone can save

us.' All the magnates coincided with the old man, and Bogoris was in


"It was morning, and the dreadful words: 'Bogoris, give me thy wife!'

at that moment resounded round the palace. Kuridana courageously

arose, embraced her speechless husband, and bade him an eternal


"At the words 'for ever,' Bogoris sank senseless on the ground.

Manly as his heart had been up to that hour, it could not endure

separation from the beloved Kuridana. The high-minded wife bedewed him

with her tears, but at length, turning to the nobles, who stood round

her weeping, she said: 'Lead me where you will. I am prepared to

endure everything for my husband and my country,' They now

reverentially supported her trembling steps, and conducted her as

rapidly as her weak state permitted, to the front of the city.

"Meanwhile the altars smoked with incense, and both priests and people

supplicated for the deliverance of their noble princess.

"Shortly after the magnates had left the palace with Kuridana, Bogoris

came to himself, and when he perceived that he was alone, he guessed

his misfortune, and his despair knew no bounds. He drew his sword,

and was in the act of piercing his breast with it, in order not to

survive Kuridana, when a matron of beautiful and majestic aspect stood

before him, staid his hand, and thus addressed him:

"'What, Bogoris! Dost thou despair?--Be tranquil; the Sylant has no

power to harm Kuridana. The talisman which she wears on her breast,

will, at all times, and under all circumstances, mock his power. I am

the enchantress Dobrada, the protectress of thy wife, she who, as thou

knewest, hung the talisman around her immediately on her birth. But it

is not now requisite that I should reveal to thee the causes which

induced me to provide her with that shield against danger. Enough,

that I foresaw at her birth that she would have much to fear from the

love of a powerful sorcerer, called Sarragur. And because I am ever

willing to do all the good I can, I hung around her this talisman,

which protects her from his utmost power, and will now defend her from

the Sylant, who is no other than Sarragur himself. For, when he

perceived that I was opposed to his passion, and had taken Kuridana

under my protection, he sought to avenge himself on me, by every kind

of secret mischief, so that I was at length obliged to chastise him.

By my superior power, I enclosed him within a mountain by the Volga,

and bound his fate by the most awful spell, which even Tschernobog

respects, to a golden fish, which I sank in the depths of the Volga.

By this spell, Sarragur was to remain in his subterranean prison until

some mortal should draw up the golden fish; and should he ever thus

obtain his freedom, he could then never transform himself into an evil

and noxious animal, except on the condition that he should never again

resume his own form, and should perish shortly after the

transformation. It chanced that a sturgeon swallowed the golden fish,

and this sturgeon was caught on the very day when Kuridana was

diverting herself with the fishery. Sarragur thus became free, and the

first use he made of his freedom was to endeavour to carry off

Kuridana, whom he still loved with unabated passion.

"'When this attempt was baffled by the power of the talisman, and

still more, when he perceived Kuridana's aversion for him, he became

furious, and transformed himself into the Sylant, although he knew

what must be the consequences. Madman, his hour is come, and thou,

Bogoris, art destined to destroy him. Receive from my hands the sword

of the renowned Egyptian king, Sesostris. It possesses the wonderful

power of destroying every spell, and with it thou wilt overpower the

sorcerer, though he should summon all the powers of hell to succour

him. Only, mark what I am now about to say. In order to extirpate

Sarragur, and every remembrance of him from the earth, thou must cut

off both the heads of the Sylant by one stroke. If thou succeed not in

doing this, and hewest off but one head, the sorcerer, it is true,

will lose his life, but he will escape to his cavern, where, before he

expires, he will lay an egg, in which will be enclosed all his magic

power, and from the head hewn off, will arise a horse of stone, which

shall receive life at the moment the bad spirits shall have hatched

the egg, and from this egg will issue the giant Tugarin, who, one day,

will be formidable to thy children. For, not only will he inherit from

his father the entire power to work evil, whereby so much misery has

befallen thee and thy land, but he will also love thy daughter as

fiercely as Sarragur loves thy wife. Thy son Trewul will refuse him

his sister's hand, and then he will desolate the country, until

Milolika's hand is promised to him. He also is to be conquered by no

other weapon than the sword of the wise Sesostris, and a knight who

shall live without having been born, is destined to slay him. After

thy victory over the Sylant, hang up the sword in thy armoury amongst

the other swords there, and at the appointed time fate will give it

into the hands destined wield it. Of that which I have now told thee,

reveal not a word, except to thy wife, and she may hereafter repeat it

to her daughter.'

"Having uttered these words, Dobrada shrouded herself in a

rose-coloured cloud, and disappeared. Heavenly perfumes filled the

chamber, and Bogoris felt that all sorrow had vanished from his soul.

Hastily he vaulted on his horse, and rushed to deliver his wife and

his country from the fell sorcerer.

"When he reached the plain, he beheld the efforts of the Sylant to

grasp Kuridana, and how he was impeded by the talisman, from coming

close to her. Bogoris immediately unsheathed his sword, and flew upon

the monster. When the Sylant perceived his antagonist, he sent forth

fire streams from both his jaws, which, however, were rendered

innocuous by the sword of Sesostris. In order to bring the combat to a

speedy conclusion, Bogoris aimed a powerful stroke at the heads of the

monster, which would assuredly have separated both from the trunk, and

so have extirpated the sorcerer and all remembrance of him from the

earth, if the Sylant, at the very moment the stroke fell, had not

soared into the air. By this movement, he saved one head. The other

rolled on the ground, and immediately became stone. Awfully bellowing,

the impure being flew to his cavern. Bogoris pursued, but in vain; the

Sylant disappeared in the mountain by the Volga, which immediately

closed on him.

"My father regretted that he had not succeeded in entirely

annihilating the sorcerer and all his brood; but joy at having

delivered his beloved wife and his country, soon prevailed over

sorrow. He committed the future to the Gods, and after he had revealed

to my mother the predictions of the good enchantress, he hung up the

sword of Sesostris in his armoury.

"My parents passed the remainder of their lives in uninterrupted peace

and content. When I was grown up, my mother related to me her history,

and at the same time revealed to me what awaited me through the giant

Tugarin. She then hung round me the talisman which she had received

from Dobrada. Shortly after this both my parents died. After their

death I lived several years with my brother in undisturbed

tranquillity, till one day the report arose of a wonderful phenomenon

of nature, which was to be seen in the vicinity of the capital. The

king, my brother, went thither, and I accompanied him. They showed us

a stone which daily increased in size, and was assuming the form of an

enormous horse. Everybody marvelled at this sport of Nature, as they

called it; but I remembered Dobrada's predictions, and doubted not

that the hour of Tugarin's birth, and of my misfortunes, was arrived.

Whilst I was still thinking on it, we were alarmed by an earthquake.

The neighbouring Sylant Mount,--for from the time the Sylant had

escaped thither, it had borne that name,--opened, and a giant of

monstrous size stepped forth. He strode across the Volga, and went

straight to the stone horse. The moment he laid his hand on it, it

became animated. The giant sprang upon it, and dashed towards me. He

tried to seize me, but quickly drew back his robber hands, as if they

had been burnt. The power of the talisman withstood him. He then

turned towards my brother, and cried out in dreadful tones:--'Hear,

Trewul! I see that thy sister cannot be carried off by force, and

therefore I require of thee to persuade her to give me her hand

voluntarily. I give thee three days for consideration, and when they

are expired, I either receive Milolika from thy hands, or I make thy

country desolate.' After these terrible words he departed on his

colossal steed, with the rapidity of lightning.

"We returned heavy-hearted to the city, where my brother immediately

assembled the council, and laid before it the giant's demand, and his

threats. The counsellors were unanimously of opinion, that, as the

princess was averse to giving her hand to the giant, an army must be

sent against him, of sufficient force to set his menaces at nought.

Ten thousand archers, and two thousand horsemen, in armour, were

hastily collected, and on the dawn of the third day, were drawn out

on the plain before the city, to await the giant. Tugarin soon

appeared, and the Bulgarians at once discharged their arrows and darts

at him, but they proved as powerless against him as formerly against

his father. They rebounded from him as from a rock. At this attack,

the giant broke forth with mingled rage and scorn:--'What,' bellowed

he, 'does Trewul send troops against me? Must I then become his enemy?

Woe to the helpless being!' And without further delay, he seized the

horsemen and archers by the dozen, and swallowed them a dozen at a

time, till not a man was left.

"He then began to lay waste and destroy everything round the city. Men

and cattle were all engulfed in the monster's insatiable maw. He

shattered the dwellings of the inhabitants with his gigantic fists.

Whole forests were uprooted by him, and the hoofs of his enormous

horse trod down fields and meadows. At length my brother, in order to

put a stop to the universal misery, resolved to sacrifice me. With

bitter tears he announced to me that he knew no other means of saving

himself and his country from destruction, than to promise my hand to

the giant. I replied to him only by my tears, and he reluctantly sent

an embassy to invite Tugarin to Boogord. He came. Proudly he advanced

to the gate where Trewul and the nobles of the land awaited him. I was

in despair. At length I bethought me of a means of escape. I agreed to

bestow my hand on the giant, on condition that, through some

beneficent power, he should first obtain the form and stature of an

ordinary man. I trusted that this would not easily be done, and in the

mean time I might be able to effect my escape. Tugarin, blinded by his

love for me, did not hesitate to accept the condition, and swore by

Tschernobog, that he would not require me to be delivered to him until

my requisition was satisfied. He established himself in Boogord, and

served my brother with great zeal. I soon found an opportunity of

making my escape, and wandering a whole day without food, was at last

taken by the robbers of the Volga, and brought to thy court.

"You will now, my beloved husband," said Milolika, as she concluded

her narration, "easily comprehend the danger which threatens you.

Tugarin must hate thee, since thou art my husband. His power is great,

and no one can vanquish him, except the knight who came unborn into

the world, and no weapon can slay him, but the sword of the wise

Sesostris. Thou and all thy brave heroes are powerless against him.

Therefore, dear husband, let us flee. On the banks of the sacred Bug

we shall be safe; no magic can operate there."

This narration made the deepest impression on the heart of the prince;

he could not, however, resolve to abandon his country in the hour of

need, and besides, to fly before a single warrior, great as he might

be, seemed still not a very honourable proceeding. "What!" exclaimed

he, "shall the monarch before whom the East trembles, whose courage

the whole world admires, shall he shrink in the moment of

danger,--shall he, with all his might, flee before a single foe? No:

sooner a hundred times will I die the most cruel death!" But with all

this how was he to comfort Milolika? How was he to withstand the

dreadful giant, seeing that he had not, unborn, beheld the light,

neither did he possess the sword of the Egyptian king Sesostris? These

difficulties weighed upon his soul. The first, however, he soon

disposed of. He bethought himself that the lime with which the walls

of Kiev were constructed, had been tempered with water from the sacred

Bug, and consequently would prevent the giant from entering the city.

This sufficed to tranquillise Milolika, who no longer insisted on

flight, as she perceived that her beloved Vladimir was just as secure

in Kiev, as he would be on the shores of the Bug. As far as she

herself was concerned, the giant could avail nothing, since the power

of the talisman would shield her from every danger. But still the

thought of the combat with this giant, greatly disturbed the prince.

"Where," said he, "is the unborn mortal who is destined, with the

sword of Sesostris, to destroy the fell Tugarin?"

Lo! suddenly a knight of bold and noble aspect, armed with a costly

sword, and cased in shining armour, but without shield or lance, rode

at full speed into the court of the palace. He sprang from his

spirited steed, and gave him to his lusty squire. Then he proudly

advanced up the steps, to the golden chamber of the great monarch, and

addressed Vladimir as follows:--"My name is Dobruna Mikilitsch, and I

come to serve thee."

"Thou art welcome," replied Vladimir, "but how is it possible that

thou hast escaped the giant Tugarin, who holds the road to Kiev in


"Tugarin!" rejoined the knight, "I fear him!--already would I have

laid his great head at thy feet, but that I desired to achieve that

deed in thy presence."

The monarch marvelled at the boldness of the stranger-youth, and

inquired if he seriously intended to combat the giant.

"Assuredly," said Dobruna, "and with that object am I come to Kiev."

"But knowest thou not, that none can vanquish the giant, except only a

knight who came into the world unborn?"

"I know it," replied Dobruna, "and that knight am I!"

"Hast thou, then, the sword of Sesostris?"

"Behold it," said Dobruna, as he drew the sword from its scabbard,

"and if thou wilt permit me, mighty prince, to relate to thee my

history, thou wilt know that it is I who am appointed by destiny to

rid the earth of the monster Tugarin."

The monarch joyfully granted him permission, and Dobruna thus


"It is true that I had both a father and a mother, but not the less

did I behold the light of the world without going through the process

of being born. Shortly before my mother would have brought me forth,

she was slain by robbers, during a journey she was making with my

father, to visit a relation. My father being also killed, I must

doubtless have perished, if the beneficent enchantress Dobrada, who

was just then passing by, had not rescued me, and taken me under her

protection. She carried me to the beautiful island, in the ocean,

where she usually dwells, and brought me up with the greatest care.

She nourished me with the milk of a lioness, bathed me several times a

day in the waves of the ocean, and inured me by day and night to

labour and privation. This mode of education rendered my body so

strong, that in my tenth year, I was already able to tear up the

strongest trees by the root. Six ancient men instructed me in all the

six-and-twenty known languages, and in arms, wherein I made such

progress, that in my fifteenth year I was able to parry at once all

the six swords of my teachers. Dobrada recompensed me for my diligence

with the shining armour I now wear, which possesses the virtue of

protecting my body from every danger.

"Shortly after that time, the enchantress whom I loved and honoured as

a mother, thus addressed me:--'Dobruna Mikilitsch, thy education is

completed, and it is time that in foreign lands thou shouldst by

knightly deeds acquire renown and honour. Go forth: thou art destined

for great things. It is not permitted to me to reveal all the future

to thee; but thus much thou mayst know: thou wilt obtain possession of

the wondrous sword of the wise Sesostris of Egypt. As soon as thou

approachest it, the sword thou now wearest will fall of itself to the

earth, and that of Sesostris will become agitated. Take possession of

it in peace, for thou wilt require it, for a great service thou must

render to him in whose armoury thou wilt find it; for with it thou

wilt destroy a mighty sorcerer and giant, who has worked him much woe.

Whatever else thou mayst require during thy travels,' continued she,

'this ring will supply. Thou hast but to turn it three times on thy

finger, in order to see every reasonable wish fulfilled.'

"She then bade me enter a boat into which she followed me. The boat

shot through the waves like an arrow, and I presently sank into a

profound sleep. How long our journey was I know not; for when I awoke

I found myself alone on a vast plain, not far from a large city. But

Dobrada could not have long quitted me, for the heavenly perfumes

which ordinarily surrounded her, yet floated round me, and far in the

eastern horizon I saw the rose-coloured cloud which always shrouded

her. My soul was now filled with sadness at the thought that I was

now separated from the wise and kind Dobrada, whom I loved as my


"At length I regained my composure. I wished that I had a horse and

squire that I might ride into the city that lay near me, and as at the

same time I accidentally turned on my finger three times the ring,

whose virtue I scarcely recollected, I saw at once before me a squire

with two horses, of which I selected the finest and the most richly

adorned for myself, and left the other for my squire; and thus I rode

into the city.

"At the gate I was informed that the city was called Boogord, and was

the capital of the Bulgarian empire. Trewul reigned in Boogord, and

the giant Tugarin was at his court. The king had been obliged to

promise him the hand of his sister, in order to avert the total ruin

of his country, which the giant had devastated until Trewul had

acceded to his desire. When I appeared in the king's presence, I made

a very favourable impression on him, and he not only received me into

his service, but made me keeper of the armoury, the first dignity at

the Bulgarian court.

"From the first moment that Tugarin beheld me, he manifested the

bitterest hate towards me; and when I heard what evil he had brought

on Trewul and his land, I doubted not that he was the sorcerer and

giant I was destined to overthrow. But the sword of Sesostris was

still wanting to me. It was however not long before this invaluable

weapon came into my possession.

"I entered the royal armoury in order to inspect the weapons entrusted

to my care, and I had scarcely crossed the threshold when the sword I

wore fell to the ground, and amongst the numerous others that hung

there, I observed one moving to and fro. I could not doubt that this

was the wonderful sword of the Egyptian king with which I was to slay

the giant. I took possession of it with the greater confidence, from

the knowledge that by its aid I should rid Trewul of so dangerous an

enemy to himself and his family. I girded it upon me, and hung mine in

its place.

"From that moment the giant avoided me, knowing most likely by his

magic art that I was in possession of the sword that was to be fatal

to him, and ere long he disappeared from Boogord, telling the king he

was going in search of Milolika.

"I immediately took leave of the king, and set out in pursuit of the

giant. I gained information on my way that he had gone to Kiev, where

Milolika resided as thy wife. I hastened after him, and am come, as I

see, at the right moment to prevent misfortune. I now await thy

permission, mighty prince, to engage in combat thy enemy and mine."

As he concluded Dobruna bent one knee before the monarch, who rose

from his seat, and taking the golden chain from his own neck, threw it

round the knight's with the following words: "Let this mark of my

favour prove to thee, Dobruna Mikilitsch, how greatly I rejoice to

have so brave a knight in my service. To-morrow thou shalt engage the

giant, and I doubt not that thou wilt conquer." He then commanded that

an apartment should be prepared for him in the palace, and all due

honour be paid to him. Dobruna returned thanks to the monarch for the

favours shown him, and took leave in order to repose after his

journey, and to gather strength for the approaching fight.

In the mean time the heralds by Vladimir's command went round the

city, and summoned the people to assemble on the walls the following

morning, to witness the combat between the knight and the sorcerer,

and the priests offered up solemn sacrifices to implore blessings on

Kiev and the knight against the malignant sorcerer and the powers

which aided him.

Scarcely had the purple-tinted Simzerla[3] spread her glowing mantle

over the sky, and decked the path of the great light of the world with

her thousand coloured rays, before the vast population of Kiev

impatiently thronged to the walls in order not to delay the grand

spectacle. The monarch attended by his consort and all the magnates of

the empire, ascended a tribunal which had been hastily erected over

the principal gate of the city for this great event.

[Footnote 3: Simzerla was the Aurora of the Slavonians.]

The clangor of trumpets and horns at length announced the arrival of

the knight. Ten thousand corsletted warriors rode with uplifted lances

before him, and drew up in two lines before the gate. After them, on a

richly caparisoned charger, rode the knight in his shining armour,

bearing in his hand the precious sword of Sesostris. The people

welcomed him with a cry of joy, and the warriors clashed their arms as

he appeared before the gate. With noble bearing and knightly aspect he

turned his horse and saluted the monarch by thrice lowering his sword.

"Great ruler of Russia," he began, "at thy command I go forth to fight

the sorcerer and giant Tugarin, who has presumed to challenge thee to

combat." "Go forth," replied Vladimir, "go forth, valiant youth, and

fight in my name the vile sorcerer: may the Gods give thee victory!"

Dobruna then dashed at full speed through the lines of warriors to the

white tent, followed by the acclamations and the blessings of the


The giant, who had been awakened by the unusual noise of the trumpets

and horns, and the joyful cries of the people, had already mounted his

horse, and was in the act of riding towards the city to ascertain the

cause, when he beheld the knight approaching. When he recognised in

him the dreaded keeper of the Bulgarian monarch's armoury, who was in

possession of the wonderful sword, he set up a fearful yell. Foaming

with rage he rushed with out-spread arms against the knight to grasp

him; but Dobruna laughed at his impotent fury, and in order better to

overcome him, he first touched with his sword the enchanted horse,

which immediately crumbled into dust. He then caused the

magic-destroying weapon of the wise Sesostris to gleam over the head

of the sorcerer, who, by the sudden crumbling of his horse, had fallen

to the earth. Tugarin's destruction seemed inevitable, and the

beholders from the walls already shouted forth their plaudits to the

victor, when at once all the powers of hell broke forth to aid

their beloved son. A stream of fire crackled between the combatants,

fiery serpents hissed around the knight, and a thick cloud of smoke

enveloped the giant. But short was this infernal display. Dobruna

touched the stream with his sword, made a few strokes with it in the

air, and the fiery flood and the hissing serpents vanished. He then

approached the smoke which concealed the giant, but scarcely had he

thrust his sword into it, when like the enchantments that also

disappeared. The giant was seen outstretched on the ground, and heard

to roar with terror. No sooner did he perceive that the smoke which

concealed him had vanished, than he sprang up and rushed, as if in

madness, on the knight. Dobruna awaited him unmoved, and as the giant

stretched forth his monstrous hands for the second time to seize him,

he cut them both off with a single stroke. The second stroke of that

wondrous sword, wielded by the strong hand of the knight, severed the

vile head from the shoulders. The colossus fell, and the earth shook

beneath his weight.

Then the people lifted up a cry of joy. A hundred thousand voices

shouted, "Long live our monarch, and the conqueror of the giant,

Dobruna Mikilitsch!"

The knight, who had dismounted to raise the fallen enemy's head on

the point of his sword in sign of victory, was about to remount in

order to give the monarch an account of his combat, when he beheld him

coming towards him, accompanied by his consort and the magnates of the

empire. The courteous knight hastened forward and laid the giant's

head at his feet. The great prince embraced him in presence of the

assembled people, and placed on his finger a gold ring, whilst

Milolika hung around him a gold-embroidered scarf. Dobruna bent his

knee and thanked the royal pair in graceful and courteous words for

these marks of favour. They then all returned full of joy to the city,

where the festivities and rejoicings in honour of the knight lasted

many weeks.

Vladimir also despatched messengers to his brother-in-law, Trewul, to

inform him of his marriage with the beautiful Milolika, and the

overthrow of their common enemy, the giant Tugarin. Dobruna however

remained at the court of Vladimir, and performed many more great and

valiant deeds, which procured him great fame and honour, and rendered

great service to the monarch, and he became the most beloved and most

esteemed, both by prince and people, of all the knights in Vladimir's



There still exists a town famed for its splendour and richness, called

Ratnapura. In it there once dwelt two rogues, Siva and Madhava, who,

with the help of their confederates, contrived to make both rich and

poor of that place victims to their cunning and rapacity.

Once these two individuals met together to consult. "This town," they

said, "has so entirely been laid under contribution by us, that we can

have no reasonable hopes of any further success; let us, therefore, go

to Ujjayini, and settle ourselves down there. The house-priest of the

king, Sankar'aswarni by name, is considered a very rich man, and if,

by some contrivance, we could possess ourselves of his treasures, it

would be easy to curry favour with the charming and lovely women of

the Malavese. The Brahmins, without exception, call him avaricious and

miserly, for, though so rich that he measures his treasures by the

bushel, he begrudges every offering to their altars, and it is only on

compulsion he gives a portion of the dues. It is also well known that

he has a remarkably beautiful daughter, whom, if we once are able to

gain his confidence, one of us must receive as a wife from his own


After this, these two rogues, Siva and Madhava, having first matured

their plans and resolved upon the parts each individually was to play,

took their departure from the city of Ratnapura and soon arrived at


Madhava, disguised as a Rajput, remained with his followers in a small

village outside the city; but Siva, more versed in all the arts of

deceit, entered the town alone, garbed in the habit of a devout

penitent. He built a cell on an elevated place on the banks of the

Sipra, from whence he could be well observed, and here he laid on the

ground a deer-skin, a pot wherein to collect alms, some darbha-grass,

and some clay.

At the first dawn of morning he rubbed his whole body over with clay;

he then entered the river, and remained with his head for a

considerable time under the water; leaving the bath, he steadfastly

fixed his gaze on the sun, then, holding in his hand some kusa-grass,

he knelt before the image of a god, murmuring his prayers; he then

plucked holy flowers, which he sacrificed to Siva, and when his

offering was concluded he again began to pray, and remained long lost

in deepest devotion.

On the following day, in order to gather alms, he wandered through the

town, mute, as if dumb, leaning on a staff, and his only raiment

consisting of the small skin of a black gazelle. After having made his

collections at the houses of the Brahmins, he divided the gifts

received into three parts; the first he gave to the crows, the second

to the first person he met, and with the third he fed himself; then

slowly counting the beads of his rosary, with constant and fervent

prayers, he returned to his cell. The nights he devoted, apparently,

to deepest meditation, and to the solution of great religious and

philosophical questions.

Thus, by daily repeating these deceptions, he impressed on the

inhabitants so great an idea of his sanctity that he was universally

revered; and, when he passed, the people of Ujjayini reverentially

bowed and knelt before him, exclaiming, "This is, indeed, a holy


Meanwhile, his friend Madhava had, through his spies, received

intelligence of all these doings, and now, magnificently dressed like

a Rajput he also entered the city. He took up his abode in an adjacent

temple, and went to the banks of the Sipra to bathe in the river.

After having performed his ablutions, Madhava saw Siva, who, lost in

prayer, knelt before the image of the god. The former then, along with

his retinue, prostrated himself in reverence before the holy man; and

addressing the people around him, said, "There lives not on earth a

more devout penitent; more than once in my travels have I seen him,

when, as here, he has been visiting the sacred rivers and the holy

places of pilgrimage."

Though Siva had well observed and heard his companion, no feature

betrayed the fact; immoveably as before, he continued in his devotion.

Madhava soon after returned to his dwelling.

In the depth of night in a lonely place they again met, where, after

having well feasted, they consulted together upon their next

proceedings. At the dawn of morning Siva returned to his cell, and

Madhava commanded one of his companions at an early hour of the day as

follows: "Take these two robes of honour and present them to

Sankar'aswarni, the house-priest of the king, and address him

thus:--'A Rajput named Madhava, treacherously assaulted, and by his

nearest relations driven from his empire, has, with the vast treasures

of his father, taken refuge in these realms, and is anxious to present

himself before the king and offer him the faithful and gratuitous

services of himself and his brave followers. He has therefore sent me

to thee, thou ocean of fame, to beg thy permission to visit him.'" As

Madhava had commanded him, the follower, holding the robes of honour

in his hands, waited at the house of the priest. Watching a favourable

opportunity when the priest was alone, he presented himself before

him, laid the presents at his feet, and delivered Madhava's message.

The priest, full of dignity, received them condescendingly, and

longing for some of the treasures to which the messenger had made no

slight allusions, he graciously acquiesced in the demand.

Madhava consequently went the following day at a proper hour to visit

the priest, accompanied by his followers, dressed like courtiers, in

magnificent robes, and with silver spears in their hands. A messenger

was sent in advance to announce them, and the priest receiving them

at the entrance of his house, most reverentially saluted them, and

gave them the very best welcome. Madhava after having passed a short

time in pleasant conversation, and made a favourable impression on the

priest, returned to his own dwelling.

The following day he again sent two robes of honour, and then

presented himself to the priest, saying: "We are anxious as early as

possible to enter the service of the king, for time hangs heavily on

our hands; let our sole recompense be the honour of attending him, for

we have sufficient treasures for all our wants."

When the priest had heard this, hoping to extract large sums from him,

he granted his request, and immediately went to the king, who, out of

esteem and love for his religious adviser, at once permitted the

introduction of the Rajput at court.

On the following day the priest formally introduced Madhava and his

followers to the king, who graciously, and with honours received them,

and at once appointed the former to fill a high station in the

household, for he was greatly pleased with his appearance, which in

everything resembled that of a high-born Rajput. Thus was Madhava

fairly installed at court, but every night he went secretly to Siva,

to consult with him about their plans. Once the avaricious priest

said to Madhava, who with his rich presents had shown him marked

attention: "Come and live in my house," and as he pressed him very

much, Madhava and his followers removed to the spacious dwelling of

the priest.

Madhava had procured a great quantity of ornaments and trinkets set

with false stones, wondrously well imitated; these he had inclosed in

a jewel-box, which, slightly opening it that the priest might learn

its contents, he begged him to deposit in his treasury. By this

artifice he entirely won his confidence, and being thus secure, he

feigned illness, and by abstaining for several days from taking any

food, at last grew so thin and emaciated, that he had every appearance

of being in a very alarming state of health. A few more days thus

passed away, and the illness seemed to make rapid progress, when in a

faint voice he thus addressed the priest, who was sitting at the side

of his bed: "The malady which is devouring my strength and energies

seems a retribution from the Gods for some of the sins my flesh has

committed; bring therefore to me, O wise and pious man, some

distinguished Brahmin to whom I may bequeath my treasures to insure my

salvation here and there; for what man, even of ordinary wisdom

would, when life is ebbing, set value on gold or jewels!"

Whereupon the priest answered: "I will do as thou wishest."

Out of gratitude, Madhava knelt down and kissed his feet. But whatever

Brahmin the priest brought to the sick man, not one pleased him; he

said an inward voice told him that their life was not pure enough,

their favour with Brahma not sufficient. When this had been several

times repeated, with the same result, one of the rogues, who was

standing by, suggested in a low tone of voice, "As not one of all

these Brahmins seems worthy of the benefits intended to be conferred;

the holy priest, Siva, so celebrated for his sanctity, who dwells on

the shores of the Sipra, might be sent for: perhaps he might find

favour with our master."

Madhava when appealed to, sighed heavily, and as if unable in his

agony to articulate, bowed his head by way of consent. The priest

forthwith rose and went to Siva, whom he found absorbed in deepest

meditation. After having walked round him without being observed, he

at last placed himself on the ground facing him. The impostor having

finished his long-protracted prayers, raised his eyes, when the

priest reverentially saluted him, and said: "Most holy man, if thou

wouldst permit me, I have a petition to make to thee; there lives at

my house a very rich Rajput, by name, Madhava, born in the south, and

lately arrived from thence. He is dying, and wishes for some holy

individual to whom he may give his riches; if it should please thee, I

think it is for thee he intends all his treasures, which consist in

ornaments and jewels of inestimable value."

Siva having attentively listened to this, thoughtfully and slowly

answered: "Brahmin, how should I, whose whole earthly striving and

longing is after immortal reward; whose only aspiration is heaven,

there to have my prayers and my privations recognised and approved;

whose meagre maintenance is derived from alms of the charitable; how

should I feel any wish or desire for earthly possessions?"

Whereupon the king's priest answered: "Say not so, noble and pious

man! Well you know the pleasure of the God towards the Brahmin-priest,

who in his own person is able to offer hospitality to the Gods and to

man; who within his own house can welcome and relieve the devout

pilgrim; who with rich contributions can assist in the embellishments

of their temples and the splendour of their service, and who by

taking a wife can extend his sphere of utility and philanthropy. Only

by the possession of treasures these things are achievable, therefore

it is laudable in man to strive after wealth. The father of a family

is the best of Brahmins."

To which Siva answered: "Whence should I take a wife? My poverty

prevents my alliance with any great family."

When the priest heard this he thought the treasures already his own,

and having found a favourable opportunity, he said to him: "I have an

unmarried daughter, her name is Vinyasvamini; she is most beautiful;

her I will give thee to wife. The treasure that will be thine through

the generosity of Madhava, I will guard and preserve for thee; choose,

therefore, the pleasures and the bliss of the married state."

Siva attentively and with inward pleasure listened to the words of the

priest, in which he saw their deep-laid scheme and their anxious

wishes brought into fulfilment, and with diffidence he answered:

"Brahmin, if by so doing I shall be able to please you and gain your

favour, I consent to it; and as regards the treasure, to you I leave

the whole and sole control and management thereof, as neither my

understanding nor inclination lies in that direction."

Rejoiced at this answer of Siva, the priest forthwith took him into

his house, assigned him a suite of apartments there, and announced to

Madhava his arrival and what he had done, for which the latter warmly

thanked him. Next the priest gave his unhappy daughter in marriage to

Siva, thus sacrificing her to his avarice; and on the third day after

the nuptials he led the bridegroom to Madhava, who now assumed a

faintness as if in the last gasp of dissolution. After a pause,

apparently rallying all his strength, he said: "In deepest humiliation

I salute thee, most holy man, and beg of thee to accept, as I am dying

and shall have no use for it, all that I possess of earthly wealth."

He then had the artfully imitated jewels brought from the priest's

treasury, and according to the sacred rites and customs on such

occasions, had them presented to Siva. The latter, in accepting them,

handed them over to the priest without even looking at them, saying,

"Of such things I understand nothing, but you know their value."

"I will take care of them, as agreed between us," answered the priest;

and again deposited the supposed treasure in its former place of

security. Siva, after having in solemn words pronounced his blessing

over Madhava, returned to the apartments of his wife.

The following day Madhava seemed already greatly recovered, and

ascribed this wonderful change to the influence of his gift and the

holiness of the man on whom he had bestowed it. In warmest terms, he

thanked the priest for his kind interference, and assured him of his

everlasting gratitude. With Siva he now openly allied himself,

praising him every where, and declaring that through his great powers

alone his life had been preserved.

After the lapse of a few days Siva said to the priest, "It is not

right that I thus should continue to live in thy house where I must be

of vast expense to thee; thou hadst better give me a sum, if only

corresponding with half the value of the gems, which you consider so


The priest, who in reality priced these jewels and ornaments at an

inestimable sum, a sum capable of purchasing an empire, was very glad

to assent to such a proposition; and with the idea of giving something

like the twentieth part of their value, he gave him all the money he

possessed. He then had documents drawn out, in which on both sides the

exchange of the properties was legally secured, for fear that Siva in

the course of time might repent of his bargain. They then separated,

Siva and his wife living in greatest joy and happiness, and soon they

were joined by Madhava, with whom the former now divided the treasures

of the priest.

After some years the priest wanted money to make some purchase, and

taking a part of the ornaments, he went to a goldsmith who had a stand

in the market to offer them for sale. This man, who was a great judge,

after narrowly examining them, cried out, full of astonishment--"The

man who has manufactured these must indeed be a great artisan; for

though of no intrinsic value, they are the finest and most wonderful

imitations that ever were worked out of such materials; for these

stones are nothing but glass, and the setting nothing but gilt metal."

Having heard this, the priest, breathless though full of despair, ran

back to his house, fetched the contents of the whole casket, and,

unwilling to believe, went from one merchant to the other to have his

treasure examined; but in every instance the answer was the

same--"Only glass and brass!" The priest, as if he had been struck by

lightning, fell senseless on the ground, and had to be carried home;

but early the following morning having recovered, he ran to Siva and

said to him, "Take back thy jewels, and return me my money."

This the other refused, alleging that the greater part of it had

already been expended, and the rest he had so invested as to be most

useful for his wife and children.

Thus disputing they both went before the king, on whom Madhava at the

time was in attendance. The priest in the following words made the

king acquainted with his case: "Behold, my gracious king, these

ornaments; they are all artfully manufactured out of valueless metal,

coloured pieces of glass and crystal. Without knowing this, and

believing them real, I have given Siva my whole fortune in exchange

for them, and he already has spent it."

To which Siva answered: "From my very childhood, mighty king, have I

lived in holy seclusion and devotion; from this seclusion the father

of my wife drew me forth, pressed and entreated me to accept the gift

of honour, with the value of which I was wholly ignorant; but he

assured me he was aware of its great pecuniary worth, and he would

guarantee it to me. On my accepting it, without even giving it a look,

I handed it over to him: he afterwards voluntarily purchased it from

me, giving me his own price, and in proof of this I adduce this

contract in his own handwriting: now, mighty ruler, judge between us;

I have in truth laid the case fairly before you."

Siva having thus concluded his defence, Madhava addressed himself to

the priest, saying: "Speak not derogatorily of this holy man, now your

son. Whatever the cause of your grievance, he is innocent, as you

yourself are good and upright; but I also owe an explanation to my

liege and master. In what way can I have committed myself?--neither

from you nor him have I taken or accepted the least benefit. The

fortune my father left me I had for years given into the custody of an

old and tried friend of our house; removing it from thence I presented

it, under the circumstances your majesty is aware of, to this Brahmin.

But if they had not been real gems, but only worthless metal and glass

as this worthy priest intimates, by what means was my restoration to

health so wonderfully wrought? That I gave it with pure and honest

intention, witness for me the all but miracle by which I was saved!"

Thus spoke Madhava without changing a feature; but the king and his

ministers laughed, and testified the good opinion they entertained for

him. They then pronounced the following judgment:--"Neither Siva nor

Madhava are in the least to blame, they are wholly innocent."

In sorrow and shame the priest went his way, robbed of his whole

fortune, and punished for his avarice and the heartless manner in

which he had sacrificed his daughter; though fortunately for her and

no thanks to her father, she found in Siva a good and affectionate


The two rogues altered their mode of life: thenceforward they walked

in the path of virtue and well-doing; and favoured by the king, whom

they faithfully served, they lived many years honoured, respected, and

happy in Ujjayini.

The Dragon With Many Heads The Dream facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail