The Story Of Little Tsar Novishny The False Sister And The Faithful Beasts

: Cossack Fairy Tales And Folk Tales

Once upon a time, in a certain kingdom, in a certain empire, there

dwelt a certain Tsar who had never had a child. One day this Tsar went

to the bazaar (such a bazaar as we have at Kherson) to buy food for

his needs. For though he was a Tsar, he had a mean and churlish soul,

and used always to do his own marketing, and so now, too, he bought a

little salt fish and went home with it. On his way homeward, a great

uddenly fell upon him, so he turned aside into a lonely

mountain where he knew, as his father had known before him, there was

a spring of crystal-clear water. He was so very thirsty that he flung

himself down headlong by this spring without first crossing himself,

wherefore that Accursed One, Satan, immediately had power over him,

and caught him by the beard. The Tsar sprang back in terror, and

cried, "Let me go!" But the Accursed One held him all the tighter.

"Nay, I will not let thee go!" cried he. Then the Tsar began to

entreat him piteously. "Ask what thou wilt of me," said he, "only let

me go."--"Give me, then," said the Accursed One, "something that thou

hast in the house, and then I'll let thee go!"--"Let me see, what have

I got?" said the Tsar. "Oh, I know. I've got eight horses at home, the

like of which I have seen nowhere else, and I'll immediately bid my

equerry bring them to thee to this spring--take them."--"I won't

have them!" cried the Accursed One, and he held him still more tightly

by the beard. "Well, then, hearken now!" cried the Tsar. "I have

eight oxen. They have never yet gone a-ploughing for me, or done a

day's work. I'll have them brought hither. I'll feast my eyes on them

once more, and then I'll have them driven into thy steppes--take

them."--"No, that won't do either!" said the Accursed One. The Tsar

went over, one by one, all the most precious things he had at home,

but the Accursed One said "No!" all along, and pulled him more and

more tightly by the beard. When the Tsar saw that the Accursed One

would take none of all these things, he said to him at last, "Look

now! I have a wife so lovely that the like of her is not to be found

in the whole world, take her and let me go!"--"No!" replied the

Accursed One, "I will not have her." The Tsar was in great straits.

"What am I to do now?" thought he. "I have offered him my lovely wife,

who is the very choicest of my chattels, and he won't have her!"--Then

said the Accursed One, "Promise me what thou shalt find awaiting thee

at home, and I'll let thee go."

The Tsar gladly promised this, for he could think of naught else that

he had, and then the Accursed One let him go.

But while he had been away from home, there had been born to him a

Tsarevko[8] and a Tsarivna; and they grew up not by the day, or even

by the hour, but by the minute: never were known such fine children.

And his wife saw him coming from afar, and went out to meet him, with

her two children, with great joy. But he, the moment he saw them,

burst into tears. "Nay, my dear love," cried she, "wherefore dost thou

burst into tears? Or art thou so delighted that such children have

been born unto thee that thou canst not find thy voice for tears of

joy?"--And he answered her, "My darling wife, on my way back from the

bazaar I was athirst, and turned toward a mountain known of old to my

father and me, and it seemed to me as though there were a spring of

water there, though the water was very near dried up. But looking

closer, I saw that it was quite full; so I bethought me that I would

drink thereof, and I leaned over, when lo! that Evil-wanton (I mean

the Devil) caught me by the beard and would not let me go. I begged

and prayed, but still he held me tight. 'Give me,' said he, 'what thou

hast at home, or I'll never let thee go!'--And I said to him, 'Lo!

now, I have horses.'--'I don't want thy horses!' said he.--'I have

oxen,' I said.--'I don't want thine oxen!' said he.--'I have,' said I,

'a wife so fair that the like of her is not to be found in God's fair

world; take her, but let me go.'--'I don't want thy fair wife!' said

he.--Then I promised him what I should find at home when I got there,

for I never thought that God had blessed me so. Come now, my darling

wife! and let us bury them both lest he take them!"--"Nay, nay! my

dear husband, we had better hide them somewhere. Let us dig a ditch by

our hut--just under the gables!" (For there were no lordly mansions in

those days, and the Tsars dwelt in peasants' huts.) So they dug a

ditch right under the gables, and put their children inside it, and

gave them provision of bread and water. Then they covered it up and

smoothed it down, and turned into their own little hut.

[8] A little Tsar.

Presently the serpent (for the Accursed One had changed himself into a

serpent) came flying up in search of the children. He raged up and

down outside the hut--but there was nothing to be seen. At last he

cried out to the stove, "Stove, stove, where has the Tsar hidden

his children?"--The stove replied, "The Tsar has been a good master

to me; he has put lots of warm fuel inside me; I hold to him."--So,

finding he could get nothing out of the stove, he cried to the

hearth-broom, "Hearth-broom, hearth-broom, where has the Tsar

hidden his children?"--But the hearth-broom answered, "The Tsar has

always been a good master to me, for he always cleans the warm grate

with me; I hold to him." So the Accursed One could get nothing out

of the hearth-broom.--Then he cried to the hatchet, "Hatchet,

hatchet, where has the Tsar hidden his children?"--The hatchet

replied, "The Tsar has always been a good master to me. He chops

his wood with me, and gives me a place to lie down in; so I'll not

have him disturbed."--Then the Devil cried to the gimlet, "Gimlet,

gimlet, where has the Tsar hidden his children?"--But the gimlet

replied, "The Tsar has always been a good master to me. He drills

little holes with me, and then lets me rest; so I'll let him rest

too."--Then the serpent said to the gimlet, "So the Tsar's a good

master to thee, eh! Well, I can only say that if he's the good

master thou sayest he is, I am rather surprised that he knocks thee

on the head so much with a hammer."--"Well, that's true," said

the gimlet, "I never thought of that. Thou mayst take hold of me if

thou wilt, and draw me out of the top of the hut, near the front

gable; and wherever I fall into the marshy ground, there set to work

and dig with me!"

The Devil did so, and began digging at the spot where the gimlet fell

out on the marshy ground till he had dug out the children. Now, as

they had been growing all along, they were children no more, but a

stately youth and a fair damsel; and the serpent took them up and

carried them off. But they were big and heavy, so he soon got tired

and lay down to rest, and presently fell asleep. Then the Tsarivna sat

down on his head, and the Tsarevko sat down beside her, till a horse

came running up. The horse ran right up to them and said, "Hail!

little Tsar Novishny; art thou here by thy leave or against thy

leave?"--And the little Tsar Novishny replied, "Nay, little nag! we

are here against our leave, not by our leave."--"Then sit on my back!"

said the horse, "and I'll carry you off!" So they got on his back, for

the serpent was asleep all the time. Then the horse galloped off with

them; and he galloped far, far away. Presently the serpent awoke,

looked all round him, and could see nothing till he had got up out of

the reeds in which he lay, when he saw them in the far distance, and

gave chase. He soon caught them up; and little Tsar Novishny said to

the horse, "Oh! little nag, how hot it is. It is all up with thee and

us!" And, in truth, the horse's tail was already singed to a coal, for

the serpent was hard behind them, blazing like fire. The horse

perceived that he could do no more, so he gave one last wriggle and

died; but they, poor things, were left alive. "Whom have you been

listening to?" said the serpent as he flew up to them. "Don't you know

that I only am your father and tsar, and have the right to carry you

away?"--"Oh, dear daddy! we'll never listen to anybody else

again!"--"Well, I'll forgive you this time," said the serpent; "but

mind you never do it again."

Again the serpent took them up and carried them off. Presently he

grew tired and again lay down to rest, and nodded off. Then the

Tsarivna sat down on his head, and the Tsarevko sat down beside her,

till a humble-bee came flying up. "Hail, little Tsar Novishny!" cried

the humble-bee.--"Hail, little humble-bee!" said the little

Tsar.--"Say, friends, are you here by your leave or against your

leave?"--"Alas! little humble-bumble-bee, 'tis not with my leave I

have been brought hither, but against my leave, as thou mayst see for

thyself."--"Then sit on my back," said the bee, "and I'll carry you

away."--"But, dear little humble-bumble-bee, if a horse couldn't save

us, how will you?"--"I cannot tell till I try," said the humble-bee.

"But if I cannot save you, I'll let you fall."--"Well, then," said

the little Tsar, "we'll try. For we two must perish in any case,

but thou perhaps mayst get off scot-free." So they embraced each

other, sat on the humble-bee, and off they went. When the serpent

awoke he missed them, and raising his head above the reeds and rushes,

saw them flying far away, and set off after them at full speed.

"Alas! little humble-bumble-bee," cried little Tsar Novishny, "how

burning hot 'tis getting. We shall all three perish!" Then the

humble-bee turned his wing and shook them off. They fell to the

earth, and he flew away. Then the serpent came flying up and fell

upon them with open jaws. "Ah-ha!" cried he, with a snort, "you've

come to grief again, eh? Didn't I tell you to listen to nobody but

me!" Then they fell to weeping and entreating, "We'll listen to you

alone and to nobody else!" and they wept and entreated so much that

at last he forgave them.

So he took them up and carried them off once more. Again he sat down

to rest and fell asleep, and again the Tsarivna sat upon his head and

the Tsarevko sat down by her side, till a bullock came up, full tilt,

and said to them, "Hail, little Tsar Novishny! art thou here with thy

leave or art thou here against thy leave?"--"Alas! dear little

bullock, I came not hither by my leave; but maybe I was brought here

against my leave!"--"Sit on my back, then," said the bullock, "and

I'll carry you away."--But they said, "Nay, if a horse and a bee could

not manage it, how wilt thou?"--"Nonsense!" said the bullock. "Sit

down, and I'll carry you off!" So he persuaded them.--"Well, we can

only perish once!" they cried; and the bullock carried them off. And

every little while they went a little mile, and jolted so that they

very nearly tumbled off. Presently the serpent awoke and was very very

wrath. He rose high above the woods and flew after them--oh! how fast

he did fly! Then cried the little Tsar, "Alas! bullock, how hot it

turns. Thou wilt perish, and we shall perish also!"--Then said the

bullock, "Little Tsar! look into my left ear and thou wilt see a

horse-comb. Pull it out and throw it behind thee!"--The little Tsar

took out the comb and threw it behind him, and it became a huge wood,

as thick and jagged as the teeth of a horse-comb. But the bullock went

on at his old pace: every little while they went a little mile, and

jolted so that they nearly tumbled off. The serpent, however, managed

to gnaw his way through the wood, and then flew after them again. Then

cried the little Tsar, "Alas! bullock, it begins to burn again. Thou

wilt perish, and we shall perish also!"--Then said the bullock, "Look

into my right ear, and pull out the brush thou dost find there, and

fling it behind thee!"--So he threw it behind him, and it became a

forest as thick as a brush. Then the serpent came up to the forest and

began to gnaw at it; and at last he gnawed his way right through it.

But the bullock went on at his old pace: every little while they went

a little mile, and they jolted so that they nearly tumbled off. But

when the serpent had gnawed his way through the forest, he again

pursued them; and again they felt a burning. And the little Tsar said,

"Alas! bullock, look! look! how it burns. Look! look! how we perish."

Now the bullock was already nearing the sea. "Look into my right ear,"

said the bullock, "draw out the little handkerchief thou findest

there, and throw it in front of me." He drew it out and flung it, and

before them stood a bridge. Over this bridge they galloped, and by the

time they had done so, the serpent reached the sea. Then said the

bullock to the little Tsar, "Take up the handkerchief again and wave

it behind me." Then he took and waved it till the bridge doubled up

behind them, and went and spread out again right in front of them.

The serpent came up to the edge of the sea; but there he had to stop,

for he had nothing to run upon.

So they crossed over that sea right to the other side, and the serpent

remained on his own side. Then the bullock said to them, "I'll lead

you to a hut close to the sea, and in that hut you must live, and you

must take and slay me." But they fell a-weeping sore. "How shall we

slay thee!" they cried; "thou art our own little dad, and hast saved

us from death!"--"Nay!" said the bullock; "but you must slay me, and

one quarter of me you must hang up on the stove, and the second

quarter you must place on the ground in a corner, and the third

quarter you must put in the corner at the entrance of the hut, and the

fourth quarter you must put round the threshold, so that there will be

a quarter in all four corners." So they took and slew him in front of

the threshold, and they hung his four quarters in the four corners as

he had bidden them, and then they laid them down to sleep. Now the

Tsarevko awoke at midnight, and saw in the right-hand corner a horse

so gorgeously caparisoned that he could not resist rising at once and

mounting it; and in the threshold corner there was a self-slicing

sword, and in the third corner stood the dog Protius[9], and in the

stove corner stood the dog Nedviga[9]. The little Tsar longed to be

off. "Rise, little sister!" cried he. "God has been good to us! Rise,

dear little sister, and let us pray to God!" So they arose and prayed

to God, and while they prayed the day dawned. Then he mounted his

horse and took the dogs with him, that he might live by what they


[9] The two fabulous hounds of Ruthenian legend.

So they lived in their hut by the sea, and one day the sister went

down to the sea to wash her bed-linen and her body-linen in the blue

waters. And the serpent came and said to her, "How didst thou manage

to jump over the sea?"--"Look, now!" said she, "we crossed over in

this way. My brother has a handkerchief which becomes a bridge when he

waves it behind him."--And the serpent said to her, "I tell thee what,

ask him for this handkerchief; say thou dost want to wash it, and take

and wave it, and I'll then be able to cross over to thee and live with

thee, and we'll poison thy brother."--Then she went home and said to

her brother, "Give me that handkerchief, dear little brother; it is

dirty, so I'll wash and give it back to thee." And he believed her and

gave it to her, for she was dear to him, and he thought her good and

true. Then she took the handkerchief, went down to the sea, and waved

it--and behold there was a bridge. Then the serpent crossed over to

her side, and they walked to the hut together and consulted as to the

best way of destroying her brother and removing him from God's fair

world. Now it was his custom to rise at dawn, mount his horse, and go

a-hunting, for hunting he dearly loved. So the serpent said to her,

"Take to thy bed and pretend to be ill, and say to him, 'I dreamed a

dream, dear brother, and lo, I saw thee go and fetch me wolf's milk to

make me well.' Then he'll go and fetch it, and the wolves will tear

his dogs to pieces, and then we can take and do to him as we list, for

his strength is in his dogs."

So when the brother came home from hunting the serpent hid himself,

but the sister said, "I have dreamed a dream, dear brother. Methought

thou didst go and fetch me wolf's milk, and I drank of it, and my

health came back to me, for I am so weak that God grant I die

not."--"I'll fetch it," said her brother. So he mounted his horse and

set off. Presently he came to a little thicket, and immediately a

she-wolf came out. Then Protius ran her down and Nedviga held her

fast, and the little Tsar milked her and let her go. And the she-wolf

looked round and said, "Well for thee, little Tsar Novishny, that thou

hast let me go. Methought thou wouldst not let me go alive. For that

thou hast let me go, I'll give thee, little Tsar Novishny, a

wolf-whelp."--Then she said to the little wolf, "Thou shalt serve this

dear little Tsar as though he were thine own dear father." Then the

little Tsar went back, and now there were with him two dogs and a

little wolf-whelp that trotted behind them.

Now the serpent and the false sister saw him coming from afar, and

three dogs trotting behind him. And the serpent said to her, "What a

sly, wily one it is! He has added another watch-dog to his train! Lie

down, and make thyself out worse than ever, and ask bear's milk of

him, for the bears will tear him to pieces without doubt." Then the

serpent turned himself into a needle, and she took him up and stuck

him in the wall. Meanwhile the brother dismounted from his horse and

came with his dogs and the wolf to the hut, and the dogs began

snuffing at the needle in the wall. And his sister said to him, "Tell

me, why dost thou keep these big dogs? They let me have no rest." Then

he called to the dogs, and they sat down. And his sister said to him,

"I dreamed a dream, my brother. I saw thee go and search and fetch me

from somewhere bear's milk, and I drank of it, and my health came back

to me."--"I will fetch it," said her brother.

But first of all he laid him down to sleep. Nedviga lay at his head,

and Protius at his feet, and Vovchok[10] by his side. So he slept

through the night, and at dawn he arose and mounted his good steed and

hied him thence. Again they came to a little thicket, and this time a

she-bear came out. Protius ran her down, Nedviga held her fast, and

the little Tsar milked her and let her go. Then the she-bear said,

"Hail to thee, little Tsar Novishny; because thou hast let me go, I'll

give thee a bear-cub." But to the little bear she said, "Obey him as

though he were thine own father." So he set off home, and the serpent

and his sister saw that four were now trotting behind him. "Look!"

said the serpent, "if there are not four running behind him! Shall we

never be able to destroy him? I tell thee what. Ask him to get thee

hare's milk; perhaps his beasts will gobble up the hare before he can

milk it." So he turned himself into a needle again, and she fastened

him in the wall, only a little higher up, so that the dogs should not

get at him. Then, when the little Tsar dismounted from his horse, he

and his dogs came into the hut, and the dogs began snuffing at the

needle in the wall and barked at it, but the brother knew not the

cause thereof. But his sister burst into tears and said, "Why dost

thou keep such monstrous dogs? Such a kennel of them makes me ill with

anguish!" Then he shouted to the dogs, and they sat down quite still.

Then she said to him, "I am so ill, brother, that nothing will make me

well but hare's milk. Go and get it for me."--"I'll get it," said he.

[10] Little Wolf.

But first he laid him down to sleep. Nedviga lay at his head, Protius

at his feet, and Vovchok and Medvedik[11] each on one side. He slept

through the night, but at dawn he mounted his steed, took his pack

with him, and departed. Again he came to a little thicket, and a

she-hare popped out. Protius ran her down, Nedviga held her fast, then

he milked her and let her go. Then the hare said, "Hail to thee,

little Tsar Novishny; because thou hast let me go--I thought thou

wouldst have torn me to pieces with thy dogs--I'll give thee a

leveret." But to the leveret she said, "Obey him, as though he were

thine own father." Then he went home, and again they saw him from

afar. "What a wily rogue it is!" said they. "All five are following

him, and he is as well as ever!"--"Ask him to get thee fox's milk!"

said the serpent; "perhaps when he goes for it his beasts will leave

him in the lurch!" Then he changed himself into a needle, and she

stuck him still higher in the wall, so that the dogs could not get at

him. The Tsar again dismounted from his horse, and his dogs rushed up

to the hut and began snuffing at the needle. But his sister fell

a-weeping, and said, "Why dost thou keep such monstrous dogs?" He

shouted to them, and they sat down quietly on their haunches. Then his

sister said again, "I am ailing, my brother; go and get me fox's milk,

and I shall be well."--"I'll fetch it for thee," said her brother.

[11] Little Bear.

But first he lay down to sleep. Nedviga lay at his head, Protius at

his feet, and Vovchok, Medvedik, and the leveret by his side. The

little Tsar slept through the night, and at dawn he arose, mounted his

horse, took his pack with him, and went off. They came to a little

thicket, and a vixen popped out. Protius ran her down, Nedviga held

her fast, and the little Tsar milked her and let her go. Then said the

vixen to him, "Thanks to thee, little Tsar Novishny, that thou hast

let me go. Methought thou wouldst tear me in pieces with thy dogs. For

thy kindness I'll give thee a little fox." But to the little fox she

said, "Obey him as though he were thine own father." So he went home,

and they saw him coming from afar, and lo! now he had six guardians,

and yet had come by no harm. "'Tis no good; we shall never do for

him," said the serpent. "Look, now! Make thyself worse than ever, and

say to him, 'I am very ill, my brother, because in another realm, far,

far away, there is a wild boar who ploughs with his nose, and sows

with his ears, and harrows with his tail--and in that same empire

there is a mill with twelve furnaces that grinds its own grain and

casts forth its own meal, and if thou wilt bring me of the meal that

is beneath these twelve furnaces, so that I may make me a cake of it

and eat, my soul shall live.'"--Then her brother said to her,

"Methinks thou art not my sister, but my foe!"--But she replied, "How

can I be thy foe when we two live all alone together in a strange

land?"--"Well, I will get it for thee," said he. For again he believed

in his sister.

So he mounted his steed, took his pack with him, and departed, and he

came to the land where were that boar and that mill she had told him

of. He came up to the mill, tied his horse to it, and entered into it.

And there were twelve furnaces there and twelve doors, and these

twelve doors needed no man to open or shut them, for they opened and

shut themselves. He took meal from beneath the first furnace and went

through the second door, but the dogs were shut in by the doors.

Through all twelve doors he went, and came out again at the first

door, and looked about him, and--there were no dogs to be seen. He

whistled, and he heard his dogs whining where they could not get out.

Then he wept sore, mounted his horse, and went home. He got home, and

there was his sister making merry with the serpent. And no sooner did

the brother enter the hut than the serpent said, "Well, we wanted

flesh, and now flesh has come to us!" For they had just slain a

bullock, and on the ground where they had slain it there sprang up a

whitethorn-tree, so lovely that it may be told of in tales, but

neither imagined nor divined. When the little Tsar saw it, he said,

"Oh, my dear brother-in-law!" (for without his dogs he must needs be

courteous to the serpent) "pray let me climb up that whitethorn-tree,

and have a good look about me!" But the sister said to the serpent,

"Dear friend, make him get ready boiling water for himself, and we

will boil him, for it does not become thee to dirty thy hands."--"Very

well," said the serpent; "he shall make the boiling water ready!" So

they ordered the little Tsar to go and chop wood and get the hot water

ready. Then he went and chopped wood, but as he was doing so, a

starling flew out and said to him, "Not so fast, not so fast, little

Tsar Novishny. Be as slow as thou canst, for thy dogs have gnawed

their way through two doors."

Then the little Tsar poured water into the cauldron, and put fire

under it. But the wood that he had cut was rotten and very very dry,

so that it burned most fiercely, and he took and sprinkled it with

water, and sprinkled it again and again, so that it might not burn too

much. And when he went out into the courtyard for more water, the

starling said to him, "Not so fast, not so fast, little Tsar Novishny,

for thy dogs have gnawed their way through four doors!" As he was

returning to the hut his sister said to him, "That water does not boil

up quickly enough! Take the fire-shovel and poke the fire!" So he did

so, and the faggots blazed up, but when she had gone away he sprinkled

them with water again, so that they might burn more slowly. Then he

went into the courtyard again, and the starling met him and said, "Not

so fast, not so fast, little Tsar; be as slow as thou canst, for thy

dogs have gnawed their way through six doors." Then he returned to the

hut, and his sister again took up the shovel and made him poke up the

fire, and when she went away he again flung water on the burning

coals. So he kept going in and out of the courtyard. "'Tis weary

work!" cried he; but the starling said to him, "Not so fast, not so

fast, little Tsar Novishny, for thy dogs have already gnawed their way

through ten doors!" The little Tsar picked up the rottenest wood he

could find and flung it on the fire, to make believe he was making

haste, but sprinkled it at the same time with water, so that it might

not burn up too quickly, and yet the kettle soon began to boil. Again

he went to the forest for more wood, and the starling said to him,

"Not so fast, not so fast, little Tsar, for thy dogs have already

gnawed their way through all the doors, and are now resting!" But now

the water was boiling, and his sister ran up and said to him, "Come,

boil thyself, be quick; how much longer art thou going to keep us

waiting?" Then he, poor thing, began ladling the boiling water over

himself, while she got the table ready and spread the cloth, that the

serpent might eat her brother on that very table.

But he, poor thing, kept ladling himself, and cried, "Oh, my

dear brother-in-law, pray let me climb up to the top of that

whitethorn-tree; let me have a look out from the top of it, for

thence one can see afar!"--"Don't let him, dear!" said the sister

to the serpent; "he will stay there too long and lose our precious

time."--But the serpent replied, "It doesn't matter, it doesn't

matter; let him climb up if he likes." So the little Tsar went up

to the tree, and began to climb it; he did not miss a single

branch, and stopped a little at each one to gain time, and so he

climbed up to the very top, and then he took out his flute and

began to play upon it. But the starling flew up to him and said,

"Not so fast, little Tsar Novishny, for lo! thy dogs are running to

thee with all their might." But his sister ran out and said,

"What art thou playing up there for? Thou dost forget perhaps that

we are waiting for thee down here!" Then he began to descend the

tree, but he stopped at every branch on his way down, while his

sister kept on calling to him to come down quicker. At last he came

to the last branch, and as he stood upon it and leaped down to

the ground, he thought to himself, "Now I perish!" At that same

instant his dogs and his beasts, growling loudly, came running up,

and stood in a circle around him. Then he crossed himself and said,

"Glory to Thee, O Lord! I have still, perchance, a little time

to live in Thy fair world!" Then he called aloud to the serpent

and said, "And now, dear brother-in-law, come out, for I am ready

for thee!" Out came the serpent to eat him, but he said to his dogs

and his beasts, "Vovchok! Medvedik! Protius! Nedviga! Seize him!"

Then the dogs and the beasts rushed upon him and tore him to bits.

Then the little Tsar collected the pieces and burnt them to ashes, and

the little fox rolled his brush in the ashes till it was covered with

them, and then went out into the open field and scattered them to the

four winds. But while they were tearing the serpent to pieces the

wicked sister knocked out his tooth and hid it. After it was all over

the little Tsar said to her, "As thou hast been such a false friend to

me, sister, thou must remain here while I go into another kingdom."

Then he made two buckets and hung them up on the whitethorn-tree, and

said to his sister, "Look now, sister! if thou weepest for me, this

bucket will fill with tears, but if thou weepest for the serpent that

bucket will fill with blood!" Then she fell a-weeping and praying, and

said to him, "Don't leave me, brother, but take me with thee."--"I

won't," said he; "such a false friend as thou art I'll not have with

me. Stay where thou art." So he mounted his horse, called to him his

dogs and his beasts, and went his way into another kingdom and into

another empire.

He went on and on till he came to a certain city, and in this city

there was only one spring, and in this spring sat a dragon with twelve

heads. And it was so that when any went to draw water from this well

the dragon rose up and ate them, and there was no other place whence

that city could draw its water. So the little Tsar came to that town

and put up at the stranger's inn, and he asked his host, "What is the

meaning of all this running and crying of the people in the

streets?"--"Why, dost thou not know?" said he; "it is the turn of the

Tsar to send his daughter to the dragon!"--Then he went out and

listened, and heard the people say, "The Tsar proclaims that whoever

is able to slay the dragon, to him will he give his daughter and

one-half of his tsardom!" Then little Tsar Novishny stepped forth and

said, "I am able to slay this evil dragon!" So all the people

immediately sent and told the Tsar, "A stranger has come hither who

says he is ready to meet and slay the dragon." Then the Tsar bade them

take him to the watch-house and put him among the guards.

Then they led out the Tsarivna, and behind her they led him, and

behind him came his beasts and his horse. And the Tsarivna was so

lovely and so richly attired that all who beheld her burst into tears.

But the moment the dragon appeared and opened his mouth to devour the

Tsarivna, the little Tsar cried to his self-slicing sword, "Fall upon

him!" and to his beasts he cried, "Protius! Medvedik! Vovchok!

Nedviga! Seize him!" Then the self-slicing sword and the beasts fell

upon him, and tore him into little bits. When they had finished

tearing him, the little Tsar took the remains of the body and burnt

them to ashes, and the little fox took up all the ashes on her tail,

and scattered them to the four winds. Then he took the Tsarivna by the

hand, and led her to the Tsar, and the people rejoiced because their

water was free again. And the Tsarivna gave him the nuptial ring.

Then they set off home again. They went on and on, for it was a long

way from the tsardom of that Tsar, and at last he grew weary and lay

down in the grass, and she sat at his head. Then his lackey crept up

to him, unfastened the self-slicing sword from his side, went up to

the little Tsar, and said, "Self-slicing sword! slay him!" Then the

self-slicing sword cut him into little bits, and his beasts knew

nothing about it, for they were sleeping after their labours. After

that the lackey said to the Tsarivna, "Thou must say now to all men

that I saved thee from death, or if not, I will do to thee what I have

done to him. Swear that thou wilt say this thing!" Then she said, "I

will swear that thou didst save me from death," for she was sore

afraid of the lackey. Then they returned to the city, and the Tsar was

very glad to see them, and clothed the lackey in goodly apparel, and

they all made merry together.

Now when Nedviga awoke he perceived that his master was no longer

there, and immediately awoke all the rest, and they all began to think

and consider which of them was the swiftest. And when they had thought

it well over they judged that the hare was the swiftest, and they

resolved that the hare should run and get living and healing water and

the apple of youth also. So the hare ran to fetch this water and this

apple, and he ran and ran till he came to a certain land, and in this

land the hare saw a spring, and close to the spring grew an apple-tree

with the apples of youth, and this spring and this apple-tree were

guarded by a Muscovite, oh! so strong, so strong, and he waved his

sabre again and again so that not even a mouse could make its way up

to that well. What was to be done? Then the little hare had resort to

subtlety, and made herself crooked, and limped toward the spring as if

she were lame. When the Muscovite saw her he said, "What sort of a

little beast is this? I never saw the like of it before!" So the hare

passed him by, and went farther and farther on till she came right up

to the well. The Muscovite stood there and opened his eyes wide, but

the hare had now got up to the spring, and took a little flask of the

water and nipped off a little apple, and was off in a trice.

She ran back to the little Tsar Novishny, and Nedviga immediately took

the water and sprinkled therewith the fragments of the little Tsar,

and the fragments came together again. Then he poured some of the

living water into his mouth and he became alive, and gave him a bite

of the apple of youth, and he instantly grew young again and stronger

than ever. Then the little Tsar rose upon his feet, stretched himself,

and yawned. "What a long time I've been asleep!" cried he.--"'Tis a

good thing for thee that we got the living and healing water!" said

Protius.--"But what shall we do next?" said they all. Then they all

took council together, and agreed that the little Tsar should disguise

himself as an old man, and so go to the Tsar's palace.

So the little Tsar Novishny disguised himself as an old man, and went

to the palace of the Tsar. And when he got there he begged them to let

him in that he might see the young married people. But the lackeys

would not let him in. Then the Tsarivna herself heard the sound of his

begging and praying, and commanded them to admit him. Now when he

entered the room and took off his cap and cloak, the ring which the

Tsarivna had given him when he slew the serpent sparkled so that she

knew him, but, not believing her own eyes, she said to him, "Come

hither, thou godly old pilgrim, that I may show thee hospitality!"

Then the little Tsar drew near to the table, and the Tsarivna poured

him out a glass of wine and gave it to him, and he took it with his

left hand. She marked that he did not take it with the hand on which

was the ring, so she drank off that glass herself. Then she filled

another glass and gave it him, and he took it with his right hand.

Then she immediately recognized her ring, and said to her father,

"This man is my husband who delivered me from death, but that

fellow"--pointing to the lackey--"that rascally slavish soul killed my

husband and made me say that he was my husband." When the Tsar heard

this he boiled over with rage. "So that is what thou art!" said he

to the lackey, and immediately he bade them bind him and tie him to

the tail of a horse so savage that no man could ride it, and then turn

it loose into the endless steppe. But the little Tsar Novishny sat

down behind the table and made merry.

So the Tsarevko and the Tsarivna lived a long time together in

happiness, but one day she asked him, "What of thy kindred and thy

father's house?" Then he told her all about his sister. She

immediately bade him saddle his horse, and taking his beasts with him,

go in search of her. They came to the place where he had left her, and

saw that the bucket which was put up for the serpent was full of

blood, but that the little Tsar's bucket was all dry and falling to

pieces. Then he perceived that she was still lamenting for the

serpent, and said to her, "God be with thee, but I will know thee no

more. Stay here, and never will I look upon thy face again!" But she

began to entreat and caress and implore him that he would take her

with him. Then the brother had compassion on his sister and took her

away with him.

Now when they got home she took out the serpent's tooth which she had

hidden about her, and put it beneath his pillow on the bed whereon he

slept. And at night-time the little Tsar went to lie down and the

tooth killed him. His wife thought that he was sulky, and therefore

did not speak to her, so she begged him not to be angry; and, getting

no answer, took him by the hand, and lo! his hand was cold, as cold as

lead, and she screamed out. But Protius came bounding through the door

and kissed his master. Then the little Tsar became alive again, but

Protius died. Then Nedviga kissed Protius and Protius became alive,

but Nedviga died. Then the Tsarevko said to Medvedik, "Kiss Nedviga!"

He did so, and Nedviga became alive again, but Medvedik died. And so

they went on kissing each other from the greatest to the smallest,

till the turn came to the hare. She kissed Vovchok and died, but

Vovchok remained alive. What was to be done? Now that the little hare

had died there was none to kiss her back into life again. "Kiss her,"

said the little Tsar to the little fox. But the little fox was artful,

and taking the little hare on his shoulder, he trotted off to the

forest. He carried her to a place where lay a felled oak, with two

branches one on the top of the other, and put the hare on the lower

branch; then he ran under the branch and kissed the hare, but took

good care that the branch should be between them. Thereupon the

serpent's tooth flew out of the hare and fastened itself in the upper

branch, and both fox and hare scampered back out of the forest alive

and well. When the others saw them both alive they rejoiced greatly

that no harm had come to any of them from the tooth. But they seized

the sister and tied her to the tail of a savage horse and let her

loose upon the endless steppe.

So they all lived the merry lives of Tsars who feast continually. And

I was there too, and drank wine and mead till my mouth ran over and it

trickled all down my beard. So there's the whole kazka for you.