The Tale of Tsarevich Ivan,
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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.
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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!"
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|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.
- Russian Folk Tale
|©2021 Damon Hyldreth|
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