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Главная > Information > Fairytales

Ivan Tsarevich, the Sea King and Vasilisa the Wise

In some kingdom there lived a tsar and his wife. The tsar liked to go hunting and shoot game. One day he went hunting to the forest and saw an eagle sitting on a branch of the big oak. As soon as the tsar decided to shoot at the eagle, the bird said in a human voice:
“Don’t shoot at me! I can’t fly because I’m very tired. Please, bring me to your palace and feed me for three years. I will also help you some day.”
The tsar took pity on the eagle, took him to the palace and fed him for three years. The eagle ate so much that he managed to eat all cattle in the kingdom. The eagle tried to fly away, but couldn’t do it because he was still weak. The tsar felt sorry for him and fed him for another year. In a year the tsar set the eagle free. The bird raised high in the sky, flew around, came down to the ground and said:
“Sit down on my back and fly with me. I will return your kindness.”
The tsar sat on the birds’s back and they flew high above the ground. They flew past unknown lands, high mountains, thick forests, blue rivers and lakes. Suddenly the eagle asked the tsar:
“What do you see under us? What do you see above us?”
“I see the ground under us,” answered the tsar. “And I see the marvelous copper palace above us.”
“Let’s fly there! My youngest sister lives in this palace. We may stay for a while with her and rest.”
So, they descended and spent some days in the beautiful copper palace. When they were about to continue their journey the eagle’s sister said:
“Thank you for rescue of my brother. I want to show you my gratitude by presenting this magic casket. But, remember! Don’t try to open it until you come back home.”
The tsar took the big casket coated with iron and covered with the red velvet, and the friends continued their journey.
Soon the eagle asked the tsar again:
“What do you see under us? What do you see above us?”
“I see the ground under us,” answered the tsar. “And I see the marvelous silver palace above us.”
“Let’s fly there! My middle sister lives in this palace. We may stay for a while with her and rest.”
So, they descended and spent some days in the beautiful silver palace. When they were about to continue their journey, the princess of the silver palace thanked the tsar for saving her brother and presented him a big silver casket.
“Take this silver casket,” she said. “But, remember! Don’t try to open it until you come back home.”
So, the friends said good-bye to the princess and continued their journey. They flew for a long time and at last the eagle asked the tsar for the third time:
“What do you see under us? What do you see above us?”
“I see the blue sea under us,” answered the tsar. “And I see the golden rainbow above us.”
“It isn’t the rainbow, it’s the golden palace where I live together with my mother and wife. Let’s spend some days in my home and rest a little.”
The tsar lived in clover in the eagle’s palace, but, anyway, soon he began missing his native land and wife whom he loved very much. When he intended to go home and began saying good-bye to the eagle and his family, the eagle’s mother presented him a small, unattractive casket and said:
“Thank you, the tsar for saving my dear son! Take this casket in reward! But remember! Take care of this casket! Don’t try to barter it for any riches! This casket is priceless!”
The tsar promised to comply with the request and said good-bye to the eagle that became his sworn brother. The eagle said at parting:
“I can’t see you home, but don’t worry about anything! Sit in this small magic boat and very soon you will be home. But, remember, don’t sleep in the boat otherwise you will get into trouble!”
So, the boat started rushing the tsar to his native land, to his beloved young wife. Unfortunately, the tsar couldn’t bear the long voyage and fell asleep. As soon as he shut his eyes, the boat started sailing in the opposite direction. The tsar woke up in the desert island surrounded by the ocean. Being very sad, he sat on the yellow sand and didn’t know what to do. Suddenly, the Sea King appeared from the deep.
“The tsar, don’t be so sad! I will help you to get home, but in exchange you will give me one of your magic caskets.”
The tsar looked at the big caskets and grudged to give any of them to the Sea King. So, he decided to give the Sea King his small casket, forgetting about the cautions of the eagle’s mother.
“I can take this casket,” said the Sea King, smiling . “But you may regret for your choice! In this small casket the destiny of a man whose home you don’t know is kept.”
The tsar thought: “I know all citizens of my kingdom and I know their homes.” and agreed to give the Sea King the small casket.
The Sea King blew and the magic boat started rushing the tsar to his kingdom.
Having returned to his kingdom, the tsar learnt that in his absence the tsaritsa had given birth to a child, and he began to cry bitterly. He remembered the words of the Sea King and understood at once that he will have to part with his son, as the destiny of his son was kept in the small casket.
So, the tsar grieved for his little son, but he could do nothing, but wait for the messengers sent by the Sea King.
When the tsar opened the big casket coated with iron and covered with the red velvet, a countless number of bulls, cows, horses, rams and sheep started coming out of it. When he opened the big silver casket, a splendid garden appeared around the palace. But these rich presents didn’t make the tsar glad, as he didn’t manage to protect the destiny of his son.
Time passed and Ivan Tsarevich grew up.
One day the tsar went for a walk in the garden. When he was passing by the small lake, he suddenly saw a mermaid, sitting on the bank.
“The Sea King has sent me for your son. It’s high time to go to the underwater kingdom to serve our king!”
The tsar cried bitterly, as he didn’t want to part with his son, but he could do nothing: the destiny of his son was in hands of the Sea King. So, the tsar had to go to his wife and son and tell the bad news. After making his long farewells with his family and friends, Ivan Tsarevich started on his journey to the underwater kingdom.
When he reached the seashore, he hid himself behind the big currant, because he was afraid of the Sea King very much. Suddenly the thirteen white doves flew down on the yellow sand of the seashore. The birds struck the ground and turned into beautiful maidens. Ivan Tsarevich had never seen so beautiful maidens; the youngest of them, Vasilisa the Wise, was the most beautiful one. The maidens took off their gowns and began bathing in the sea. They were singing songs, laughing, splashing and playing on the water.
Ivan was astonished the beauty of Vasilisa the Wise, and fell in love with her at first sight. Sneaking up to the seashore, he managed to take her gown. The maidens went ashore and discovered that the gown of their youngest sister disappeared. They began looking for the gown but everything was in vain, they couldn't find it.
"Dear sisters, stop searching for my gown. Fly home! I've lost my gown through my own fault," said Vasilisa the Wise at last.
The maidens struck the ground, turned into the white doves and flew away. Vasilisa the Wise looked round and said, "The man who has taken my gown, please, appear! Don't be afraid of me! If you are an old man you will be my father. If you are a middle-aged man you will be my brother. If you are a person of the same age you will be my friend."
As soon as she said these words Ivan Tsarevich appeared. Vasilisa gave him her ring and said, "Ivan Tsarevich, why haven't you come a bit earlier? My father, the Sea King is angry with you! Look! This is the road to the underwater kingdom. Go along this road! Let's meet in the underwater kingdom!"
Saying these words, Vasilisa the Wise struck the ground, turned into the white dove and flew away. Ivan Tsarevich went along the road that led to the underwater kingdom and in three days he got there. He was very surprised when he discovered that in the underwater kingdom everything was alike his native kingdom: the sun was shining brightly, throwing light on green fields and meadows.
As soon as Ivan came into the palace, the Sea King began to shout at him, "Why haven't you come here earlier? You must redeem your fault. You must build me a wonderful crystal bridge! The work must be fulfilled tomorrow morning. If you don’t execute my order, I will kill you!”
Ivan left the palace and wandered aimlessly, melting into tears. Vasilisa the Wise looked through the window and saw Ivan Tsarevich.
"Hello, Ivan, why are you crying so bitterly?" she asked.
"The Sea King has ordered me to build the crystal bridge, and what is more, in the morning the bridge must be built," replied Ivan and went on crying.
“Don't cry! It isn't a trouble, the real trouble will happen in the future. Go to sleep. Mornings are wiser than evenings."
While Ivan went to sleep, Vasilisa the Wise entered the porch and cried loudly, "My faithful servants – carpenters and joiners appear! Build me the crystal palace by tomorrow morning."
Ivan woke up early the next morning. Having looked through the window, he saw the wonderful crystal bridge. Being very pleased, he went to the tsar with his report.
"Well," said the Sea King, "thank you for your good work. Now you must fulfill another task. You must plant a big beautiful garden round my palace. Marvelous flowers, apple-trees and pear-trees covered with ripe fruits must be in this garden. Bright exotic birds must sing their charming songs there. But, don’t forget! Everything must be ready tomorrow in the morning!"
"Yes, your Majesty!" replied Ivan Tsarevich and went away, crying bitterly.
Vasilisa the Wise saw him and asked, "Ivan Tsarevich, why are you so sad?"
"The Sea King has ordered me to plant the big beautiful garden. I won’t be able to fulfill this order."
"It isn't a trouble, the real trouble will happen in the future. Go to sleep. Mornings are wiser than evenings," Vasilisa the Wise calmed Ivan Tsarevich.
Ivan went to sleep and Vasilisa the Wise went to the porch and cried in a loud voice, "My faithful servants, gardeners and market-gardeners! Appear before me! Plant the big beautiful garden round my father’s palace!"
In the morning the Sea King called Ivan and asked him, "Have you carried out my order?"
"Yes, your Majesty!" replied Ivan. They went out of the palace saw the splendid garden that corresponded completely to the dreams of the Sea King.
"Thank you," said the Sea King. "I have one last task for you. Choose any of my thirteen daughters and marry her. But remember! My daughters will be dressed in the same clothes and their faces will be hidden behind the same shawls. You must recognize your bride for three times otherwise I will order to kill you.”
Vasilisa the Wise learnt about her father’s order and said to Ivan Tsarevich:
“Don’t be afraid, I will help you to recognize me. The first time I will wave my kerchief , the second time I will smooth my hair, and the third time a fly will by flying above my head.”
No wonder, that with the help of these prompts, Ivan Tsarevich managed to recognize Vasilisa for three times.
The same day Ivan Tsarevich and Vasilisa the Wise married. Some time passed and Ivan began to languish for his parents and native land. Vasilisa noticed his melancholy and asked, "Ivan Tsarevich, why are you so sad?"
"My dear Vasilisa the Wise! I want to see my father and mother. I want to return to Holy Russia."
"It is a serious matter for us. If we try to escape from the underwater kingdom, my father's servants will pursue us. The Sea King will be very angry with us, and if his servants catch us, we will be killed!
Some time passed and Ivan began to languish for his parents and native land. Vasilisa noticed his melancholy and asked, "Ivan Tsarevich, why are you so sad?"
"My dear Vasilisa the Wise! I want to see my father and mother. I want to return to Holy Russia."
"It is a serious matter for us. If we try to escape from the underwater kingdom, my father's servants will pursue us. The Sea King will be very angry with us, and if his servants catch us, we will be killed! But, anyway, my father my kill you sooner or later, he is very angry with you. It’s better for us to escape.”
So, the saddled swift steeds and galloped without stopping. When the were far from the Sea King’s palace Vasilisa suddenly said:
"Ivan Tsarevich, fall on the ground and listen. If you hear the clatter of horses' hoofs we must ride faster. The Sea King's servants are pursuing us."
Ivan fell on the ground and began to listen. "I hear the thud and voices of people!" he soon exclaimed.
It's my father's servants!" said Vasilisa and turned their steeds into a well, Ivan Tsarevich into an old man, and then she turned herself into a dipper.
In some minutes the Sea King's servants arrived at a gallop. "Grandfather, have you seen a lad with a maiden?" they asked.
"No, I haven't seen anybody." replied Ivan Tsarevich.
The servants galloped back to the palace. "Your Majesty, we tried to catch your daughter and Ivan Tsarevich but we couldn't find them. We've seen only an old man standing near the well," they said to the Sea King.
“Why didn't you hold them? Vasilisa turned herself into the dipper and Ivan into the old man. Return to the place where you’ve seen them and catch them!" exclaimed the Sea King angrily.
Meanwhile Ivan Tsarevich and Vasilisa the Wise had time to run away far from the palace. "Ivan Tsarevich, fall on the ground and listen!" said Vasilisa.
Ivan fell on the ground and began to listen. "I hear the thud and voices of people!" he exclaimed a bit later.
"My father's servants again began to pursue us!" said Vasilisa and turned their steeds into trees, Ivan Tsarevich into an old priest, and then she turned herself into a ramshackle church.
Soon the Sea King's servants appeared. "Have you seen a lad and a maiden passing by your church?" they asked.
"No, I haven't seen anybody," replied Ivan Tsarevich. There was nothing to do and the servants turned back to the palace.
"Your Majesty, we couldn't find your daughter and Ivan Tsarevich.We've seen only a priest and a church!" they said to the Sea King.
"Why didn't you break down the church? Why didn't you hold the priest? Don't you know that my daughter is a sorceress?! She turned herself into the church and Ivan Tsarevich into the priest!" exclaimed the Sea King and decided to catch the fugitives by himself.
By that time Vasilisa the Wise and Ivan Tsarevich were about to overstep the boundaries of the underwater kingdom. "Ivan Tsarevich, fall on the ground and listen! May be the Sea King's servants again began to pursue us!" said Vasilisa.
Ivan fell on the ground and began to listen. "I hear the thud and voices of people more than ever!" he soon said.
"We must hurry up! The Sea King himself is pursuing us!" exclaimed Vasilisa the Wise.
Very soon the Sea King caught up with Ivan Tsarevich and Vasilisa the Wise. Vasilisa didn’t know what to do, her sorcery had no effect in presence of her father. Fortunately, Ivan remembered the eagle, his father’s sworn brother, and cried:
“Big and little bird fly here! My father has saved your tsar! Now it’s time to return kindness! In the name of your tsar, please help us! The Sea King wants to kill us!”
As soon as he said these words, many birds flew to the fugitives and raised them high in the sky on their strong wings. There was no other way out for the Sea King than to gallop back to his palace.
When Ivan Tsarevich and Vasilisa the Wise went to the native kingdom, Ivan’s parents arranged a sumptuous feast to celebrate the return of their beloved son. Since that time Ivan and Vasilisa never parted with each other and lived happily ever after.







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