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Home > Information > Fairytales >

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Andrey the Rifleman


In a certain kingdom there lived an unmarried tsar. He employed a rifleman whose name was Andrey.
One day Andrey the Rifleman went shooting. The whole day he wandered in the forest, but he wasnít lucky and couldnít come across game. The day was drawing to a close and Andrey decided to come back. Unexpectedly, he saw a turtledove sitting peacefully on the tree and shot at it. The wounded turtledove fell in the ground. Andrey raised it and was going to wring its neck, but suddenly the bird said in a human voice:
- Donít kill me! Take me home, put me on the windowsill, strike me with your right hand as soon as I begin to doze and you will find your happiness.
Andrey the Rifleman was very surprised and understood that the bird was enchanted. He came home put the turtledove on the windowsill and began to wait. The bird put its head under its wing and began to doze. Andrey remembered all instructions and stroke the turtledove with his right hand. At that moment the bird fell in the ground and turned into a beautiful girl whose name was Marya Tsarevna.
- Iíll be your faithful and merry wife! - she exclaimed.
They married and lived happily. Once Marya Tsarevna said:
- Andrey, we live in want. Buy different silk cloths, I will improve the situation.
Andrey the Rifleman agreed, went to his friends, borrowed 100 rubles, bought silk and brought it to his wife.
Marya Tsarevna wove all night and made a carpet. Next morning she showed it to her husband. The carpet was wonderful, the whole kingdom was pictured on it: towns, villages, forests, fields, birds flying in the sky, animals in the mountains, fish in the sea, the moon and the sun.
Marya gave the carpet to her husband and said:
- Bring this carpet to the market and sell it to merchants. Donít quote your price, take money that people will give you and come back.
Andrey took the carpet and went to the market. Many people wanted to buy the carpet in the market, but nobody could quote a price, because they had never seen so wonderful carpet.
The Tsar Adviser who accidentally was strolling nearby saw the crowd and could hardly squeeze through it.
- Where have you found this splendid carpet? - he asked.
- My wifeís woven it, - Andrey the Rifleman replied.
- How much is it?
- I donít know, my wife forbade me to bargain.
The tsar adviser gave Andrey ten thousands rubles, took the carpet and went to the palace and the Rifleman came back home.
In the palace the Tsar Adviser showed the carpet to the Tsar. The Tsar was astonished by its beauty and exclaimed:
- Do everything you want; I wonít give you back the carpet!
The Tsar gave his adviser twenty thousands rubles and took the carpet.
The Adviser thought: ďNever mind! I will order a new one.Ē
He went to the village where Andrey the Rifleman lived, found his house and knocked at the door. Marya Tsarevna opened the door. The Tsar Adviser had never seen so beautiful maidens; he stood motionless and couldnít even say a word. Marya tried to compel him to speak, but everything was in vain and she shut the door.
The Tsar Adviser could hardly regain consciousness and return to the palace. Since that time the Adviser couldnít eat and drink; he always thought about Marya Tsarevna. The Tsar asked him:
- Why are you so sad?
- Iíve seen the Riflemanís wife and I canít help thinking of her, Ė the adviser replied.
The Tsar was very surprised at this confession and decided to look at Marya Tsarevna. He put plain clothes on, went to the village, found the Riflemanís house and knocked at the door. Marya opened the door. The Tsar stepped across the threshold and became dumb. He had never seen such beautiful maidens. Marya was waiting for his response but he could neither speak nor stir. She turned him round and shut the door.
Since that time the Tsar couldnít help thinking about Marya Tsarevna. He decided to get rid of Andrey the Rifleman and marry beautiful Marya. He called his adviser and said:
- Think out how I can rid of Andrey the Rifleman. I wand to marry Marya Tsarevna. If you help me I will endow you richly with towns, villages and gold. If you donít solve my problem, I will execute you.
The Tsar Adviser grew sad and went to the tavern. There he met a barfly who said him:
- Why are you so sad? Buy me a glass of wine and I will give you a piece of good advice.
The adviser bought him a glass of wine and told him all about his misfortunes. The barfly said:
- Itís easy to get rid of Andrey. Propose him the following riddle: ďGo to the next world and find out how the deceased tsar is getting on.Ē Andrey wonít be able to solve this riddle.
The Tsar adviser thanked the barfly and went to the Tsar. The Tsar was very glad and proposed Andrey the Rifleman this riddle the next day:
- Go to the next world and find out how my father is getting on. Otherwise I will execute you.
Andrey came back home and told his wife everything that has happened with him. Marya Tsarevna said:
- Donít be so sad! Itís easy to solve this riddle.
Next morning she gave him a sack of rusks, a gold ring and said:
- Go to the Tsar and ask him to let the Adviser accompany you. The Adviser will confirm your being in the next world. The ring will show you the way.
Andrey the Rifleman took the sack, the gold ring and went to the next world accompanied with the Tsar Adviser. They passed wide green fields, marshes, long rivers, blue lakes and entered the thick forest where the ring stopped. Andrey and the adviser sat under the tree to eat rusks and saw the unusual scene: the deceased tsar were pulling a big cart and two devils were hurrying and beating him with cudgels.
Andrey asked the devils to release the deceased tsar but they didnít want to do it because they were pressed for time.
- Take this man to replace the tsar, - offered Andrey the Rifleman, showing the Tsar adviser.
The devils harnessed the Adviser to the cart and began to hurry up him with cudgels. Andrey began to ask the deceased tsar how he was getting on.
- As you see I live badly. Bow to my son and transmit my request not to offend people. Otherwise he will repeat my destiny.
Andrey thanked the tsar, unharnessed the Adviser and they went back.
In the palace Andrey told the Tsar how his father was getting on in the next world and the Adviser confirmed everything.
The Tsar let Andrey go home and called the Adviser.
- Think out how I can rid of Andrey the Rifleman. If you help me I will endow you richly, otherwise I will execute you.
The Tsar Adviser lost heart and went to the tavern. There he met the barfly who exclaimed:
- Why are you so sad? Buy me a glass of wine, I will give you a piece of good advice.
The Adviser bought him a glass of wine and told him all about his misfortunes. The barfly said:
- Propose Andrey the Rifleman the following riddle: ďGo to the furthest kingdom and catch Cat the Lullaby Singer.Ē Andrey wonít be able to solve this riddle.
The Tsar Adviser went to the Tsar and told what riddle he had devised for Andrey the Rifleman. The Tsar called Andrey immediately and told him:
- Youíve carried out my first order well, but I have another task for you to perform. Go to the furthest kingdom and catch Cat the Lullaby Singer. Otherwise I will execute you.
Andrey came back home and told his wife about the new Tsarís order. Marya Tsarevna replied:
- Donít be so sad! Itís easy to solve this riddle.
Next morning Marya gave Andrey the Rifleman three iron caps, iron pincers, three switches, one of which was iron, the other one was copper and the third one was tin and said:
- Go to the furthest kingdom. Cat the Lullaby Singer will make you sleepy as soon as you rich the frontiers of the kingdom. Donít sleep, otherwise Cat the Lullaby Singer will kill you.
Then Marya Tsarevna told Andrey what he should do to catch the cat and he set out on his journey. Having reached the frontiers of the kingdom Andrey wanted to sleep. He put three iron caps on to protect himself from the catís sorcery, overcame drowsiness, entered the kingdom and soon reached the high post on which Cat the Lullaby Singer was sitting. The cat noticed Andrey, jumped on his head and smashed two iron caps at once. It hadnít time to smash the third one. Andrey grasped the cat with the iron pincers and began to beat it with the iron switch. He broke it and began beating the cat with the copper switch. Having broken it Anrey went on beating the cat with the tin switch. Cat the Lullaby Singer begged for mercy.
- Stop beating me, - it said.
- Will you go with me? Ė asked Andrey.
- Iíll go everywhere you wish, Ė replied the cat.
Andrey the Rifleman came back to his kingdom, went to the palace and showed Cat the Lullaby Singer to the Tsar.
The Tsar was very surprised. He let Andrey go home, called the Adviser and ordered to him:
- Think out how I can rid of Andrey the Rifleman. If you help me I will endow you richly, otherwise I will execute you.
The Tsar Adviser went to the tavern, found the barfly and asked him to help him again. The barfly drank wine and said the following:
- Let the Tsar send Andrey the Rifleman to the unknown land and bring something that nobody has never seen.
The Adviser ran to the Tsar and proposed him the new riddle. The Tsar called Andrey and said:
- Youíve carried out my second order well, but I have another task for you to perform. Go to the unknown land and bring something that nobody has never seen. Otherwise I will execute you.
Andrey went home, sat on the bench and began crying.
- What has happened? Ė Marya Tsarevna asked him.
- The Tsar has ordered me to go to some unknown land to bring something that nobody has never seen.
- It will be difficult to perform this service, - Marya replied.
She opened her magic book and began to read it trying to find the solution of this riddle; everything was in vain, she couldnít find anything.
Marya Tsarevna entered the porch and waved her kerchief. At that moment plenty of different birds and animals gathered near the porch.
The maiden asked them:
- Forest animals and birds flying in the sky, do you know where the unknown land is situated and where itís possible to find something that nobody has never seen.
- No, we donít know.
Marya waved her kerchief again. Two giants ran to her.
- Carry me in the middle of the ocean, - ordered she.
The giants carried her in the middle of the ocean. Marya Tsarevna waved her kerchief. Different fish and sea reptiles swam to her.
- Do you know where the unknown land is situated and where itís possible to find something that nobody has never seen, - she asked them.
- No, we donít know.
Marya Tsarevna became sad and ordered the giants to carry her home. Next morning she equipped Andrey for his journey, giving him a clew and a towel.
- This clew will be moving and showing you way. Remember the only thing: wherever youíll be, wipe your face with this towel.
Andrey said goodbye to his wife and began his journey. He passed many kingdoms and different lands and entered the thick wood. The clew stopped near the hut standing on hen's legs. Baba Yaga was sitting near the hut.
- I hate human beings! I will roast you!
- Iím very dirty. Let me wash myself in the bathhouse and then you may eat me.
Andrey the Rifleman washed himself and began to wipe his face with the towel that his wife had given him.
- Itís my daughterís towel! Ė Baba Yaga exclaimed.
- Your daughter is my wife, - Andrey replied.
Baba Yaga made supper and fed Andrey. He began to tell her about his life and said what riddle the Tsar had proposed to him.
- I donít know where the unknown land is situated and where itís possible to find something that nobody has never seen. The old frog may help you. It has been living in the marsh for three hundred years and it knows everything.
Andrey went to the marsh, found the old frog and asked it to help him.
- Iím very old. Iíll help you if you put me in the pot of milk and deliver me to the Fiery River.
Andrey the Rifleman put the frog in the pot of milk and continued his journey. Soon they came to the Fiery River. The frog began to swell up and turned into the enormous frog. It jumped and carried Andrey in the opposite bank of the river and became small again.
- Go this path and you will see the house where you can find something that nobody has never seen.
Andrey went along the path and soon he saw the old hut without windows and a porch. He entered the hut and concealed himself behind the stove. Some time later a dwarf entered the hut and said:
- Naum the Matchmaker, I want to eat!
At that moment different food appeared on the table. The dwarf finished his supper and said:
- Naum the Matchmaker, clear the table!
At that moment plates and dishes disappeared and the dwarf left the hut. Andrey the Rifleman was very surprised. He said at the table and repeated the dwarfís words:
- Naum the Matchmaker, I want to eat!
At that moment different food appeared on the table.
- Naum the Matchmaker, sit at the table and eat with me! Ė offered Andrey.
- Thank you very much. Nobody has never offered me to eat. Ė answered Naum the Matchmaker.
The food began to disappear of its own accord from the table.
- Can you show up yourself? Ėasked Andrey.
- No, I canít. Nobody can see me. I am something that nobody has never seen.
Andrey inquired Naum the Matchmaker:
- Do you want to serve me?
- You are very kind. I will serve you with pleasure.
- Carry me in my kingdom! Ė exclaimed Andrey.
They flew over the ground; forests, mountains, towns and villages were flashing beneath. Andrey was very tired and offered Naum the Matchmaker to rest.
They landed in some small island. They found there a beautiful gold palace surrounded with garden. After they entered the palace and Naum the Matchmaker said:
- Three merchant ships will arrive here soon. They will show you three wonders. Exchange me for these wonders and donít be afraid, I will come back to you.
The prediction came true and Andrey saw three merchant ships sailing to the island. Andrey met the merchants and invited them to eat supper.
- Who has made this supper? Who has cooked these delicious dishes? Ė asked the merchants.
- My servant, Naum the Matchmaker, has made this supper, - replied Andrey the Rifleman.
- Who has built this wonderful gold palace? Ė the merchant continued their asking.
- My servant, Naum the Matchmaker, has built this palace for the night, - answered Andrey.
The merchant offered Andrey to exchange Naum the Matchmaker for three wonders. The first wonder was the magic cudgel that could beat people by itself. The second one was the magic axe that could build ships. The third one was the magic pipe by means of its melody the army appeared. Andrey agreed and exchanged his servant for these wonders. Shortly after he exclaimed:
- Naum the Matchmaker, where are you?
- I am here, - replied Naum the Matchmaker.
- Carry me in my kingdom, - ordered Andrey.
Having arrived to the kingdom Andrey went home. On the way home he met the turtledove that turned into Marya Tsarevna. She said:
- The Tsar has burnt our house to ashes and tried to compell me to marry him.
Andrey the Rifleman exclaimed:
- Naum the Matchmaker, are you here? Build a palace!
At that moment a wonderful palace surrounded with a splendid park appeared. Andrey the Rifleman and Marya Tsarevna settled in this palace and lived happily.
The Tsar found out that Andrey came back and built the palace in his kingdom. He was infuriated and declared war to Andrey the Rifleman.
Andrey noticed the Tsarís army and found his three wonders. He seized the magic axe and at that moment the axe built one hundred of ships. Then he took the magic pipe, blew it and at that moment the army including cavalry and infantry appeared.
The Riflemanís army defeated the Tsarís one. The Tsar was very frightened and decided to run away. Andrey grasped the magic cudgel and ordered it beat the Tsar.
The cudgel became beating the Tsar and killed him. Some time passed. People of that kingdom gathered and asked Andrey the Rifleman to be their tsar. Andrey agreed, arranged a great feast and ruled that kingdom till his death.




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