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THE FIREBIRD

The Tale of Tsarevich Ivan,

Alexander The Great

GORDIAN KNOT

UNCANNY

FIREBIRD
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VIXEN

WOLVES

 
 
  The Firebird and Grey Wolf
   

In a certain tsardom, in a certain realm there lived a Tsar named Demyan who had three sons:   Tsarevich Pyotr, Tsarevich Vassily, and Tsarevich Ivan.
  
Now the Tsar had a garden so beautiful that its match could not be found anywhere.  All sorts of trees grew there and among them an apple tree that bore golden apples.  The Tsar treasured these apples and kept strict count of them.
  
One day he found that someone was visiting his garden at night and stealing his golden apples.  Every morning one apple was missing from the tree, but, try as the would, the Tsar's watchmen could not catch the thief.
  
The Tsar and his Sons
Click Image to Enlarge
 
 

So grieved was the Tsar that he lost sleep and would not eat or drink.  He called his sons to his side and said to them:  "Do as I ask, my sons, and keep watch over my garden.  He who catches the thief will get half my tsardom!"
   
The sons promised to do their best, and Tsarevich Pyotr was the first to go into the garden and keep watch.  He walked about for a long time but saw no one.  At last, feeling tired, he sat down on the grass beneath the apple tree that bore the golden apples and dozed away.  while he slept another apple was stolen.  In the morning the Tsar said to him:   "Well, my son, did you at least catch sight of the thief?"   "No, my Tsar, no, Father.  I did not close my eyes all night but I saw no one."
    
On the following night Tsarevich Vassily went out to keep watch.  He sat down under the apple tree and gazed at the bushes around him, hoping to catch sight of the thief.  But his eyes soon closed and he dozed away, only to find on waking that a golden apple was missing.  Said the Tsar to him:   "Well, my son, did you at least catch sight of the thief?'  "No, my Tsar, no, Father.  I never closed my eyes but I saw and heard nothing."
  
On the third night Tsarevich Ivan went out to keep watch.  He walked about near the tree, afraid too sit down lest he fall asleep.  An hour passed, and another hour, and a third,   but whenever Tsarevich Ivan felt himself getting sleepy, he would wash his eyes with dew.
   

 
Tsarevich Ivan and the Fire Bird
Click Image to Enlarge
   
 Half the night went by and he saw something glowing in the distance.  The light drew closer and closer, and all of a sudden the garden was lit up as if by sunshine.  Tsarevich Ivan looked, and he saw the FireBird come flying up.  It perched in the apple tree and pecked at a golden apple.  Tsarevich Ivan crept up quietly and caught the bird by the tail.  But the FireBird, though he held it fast, broke free of his grasp and flew away, leaving a feather from its tail in his hand.
  
 In the morning the Tsar was no sooner up than Tsarevich Ivan went to him, and, showing him the FireBird's feather, told him who the thief had been.  The Tsar was very pleased and took the feather for a keepsake.
    
From that time on the FireBird visited the garden no more, and the Tsar got back his appetite and his sleep.  But he would often look at the feather and admire it and think about the FireBird.
 
One day he called his sons to his side and said:   "Listen to me, my sons!  Saddle your steed and set off to seek the Firebird.  Bring it to me before it comes flying here anew and stealing my apples."  The two elder sons prepared too set out on their way.  They saddled their steeds, donned their knightly armor and rode off in search of the Firebird.   Tsarevich Ivan  was left behind, for the Tsar thought him too young to join his brothers, but he pleaded with his father again and again to let him go, and when the Tsar at least agreed, he, too, got on his steed and rode away.
 
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