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Home > Information > Fairytales >

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The Fast Messenger

Once upon a time in some kingdom there lived a wretched old man who had three sons. The elder son’s name was Ivan, the middle son’s name was Vasiliy and the youngest son’s name was Semyon. The kingdom was surrounded with impassable marshes. It was possible to get to the kingdom only in a roundabout way and it took three years to get there. One day the old man decided to clean mashes and build the road that led straight to the kingdom. He and his sons decided to build the bridge of snowball tree. They began working and in three years they managed to build the straight road to the kingdom. People were grateful to them, now they could get to the kingdom in three weeks on foot and in tree days riding a horse.
Having returned to his hut, the old man said to his elder son Ivan:
“Ivan, go to the bridge that we have built and conceal yourself under it. You should overhear what people will speak about us: good or bad words.”
Ivan obeyed his father and hid himself under the bridge. At midnight two old men appeared on the bridge.
“The man who had built this bridge and cleaned impassable mashes deserves a reward. His cherished desire will be fulfilled!” said one of the old men.
Ivan left his place of concealment as soon as he heard these words.
“I had built this bridge together with my father and two brothers!” he said loudly.
“What is your cherished desire?” asked the old men.
“I want to be a rich man!” replied Ivan.
“Well, go to the wide field. There you will find an old oak. Under the oak you will find the deep cellar. Descend into the cellar and there you will find gold, silver and precious stones.” said the old men and disappeared.
Ivan went to the wild field, found the cellar under the old oak, descended into it, found there many riches and carried them home.
Having returned home he told his father and brothers everything that had happened with him that night.
Next morning the father sent his middle son Vasiliy to the bridge to overhear people’s talks.
Vasiliy sat under the bridge and began to listen attentively. At midnight he saw the two old men walking slowly along the bridge. They came just to the place where Vasiliy was hiding and one of them said:
“The man who had built this bridge will be rewarded. His cherished desire will be fulfilled!”
Vasiliy went out of his place of concealment and said proudly:
“I had built this bridge together with my father and two brothers!”
“What do you wish?”
“I would be happy if I had as much bread as I wished!”
“Well, go home. In the morning you should sow the field situated near your house with the seeds of rye and wheat.”
Vasiliy returned home and told his father and brothers everything that had happened with him that night.
At last the father sent his youngest son Semyon to the bridge.
Semyon hid himself under the bridge and began waiting. At midnight the two old men appeared on the bridge. They came just to the place where Semyon was hiding and one of them said:
“The man who had built this bridge will be rewarded. His cherished desire will be fulfilled!”
Semyon heard these words and appeared before the old men.
“I had built this bridge together with my father and two brothers!” he said.
“Well, what do you wish?” asked one of the two old men.
“I want to be a soldier and serve the tsar faithfully.”
“You’d better ask for another thing. It’s very hard to be a soldier. The horrible Sea King may take you prisoner!”
“I don’t want anything else! Please help me to be a soldier!”
“Well, your desire will be fulfilled” replied the old men and turned Semyon into a deer.
The deer ran back to his house. The father and the two older brothers looked out of the window and saw the deer running across the field. They rushed out of the house and tried to catch him. The deer turned round and ran away back to the two old men. The old men turned him into a hare. The hare dashed away to his house. The father and the two older brothers looked out of the window and noticed the hare. They ran out of the house and began to catch him. The hare ran back to the old men who turned him into a small golden headed bird. The bird flew back home and sat against the opened window on the window-sill. The father and the two older brothers tried catch the bird but couldn’t do it. The bird flew away somewhere.
Meanwhile the small bird flew to the two old men who again turned Semyon into a man and said:
“Now you can serve your tsar and be a soldier. If you need you may turn yourself into a deer, a hare and a bird. Now you know how to do it.”
Semyon thanked the old men and went home. At home he asked his father to permit him to leave his house and serve the tsar as a soldier. The father didn’t want to let his youngest son leave him but he couldn’t dissuade him. Semyon said good-bye to his father and brothers and went straight to the palace.
“Your Majesty, let me serve you as a soldier. I will serve you faithfully.” he said to the tsar.
“What are you speaking about?! You are so young and silly!” surprised the tsar but agreed to employ Semyon.
Some time passed and suddenly the tsar of neighboring kingdom declared war. The tsar began to prepare military campaign against that tsar. Semyon also wished to battle against the enemy army and defend his native kingdom.
So, the tsar and his army went to meet the enemy troops. They passed many countries and lands, rivers and fields, forests and mountains. When they had nearly reached the hostile camp and were about to start the battle the tsar suddenly remembered that he had left his sword and his club in the palace. He announced his soldiers that whoever would carry his sword and club to him as soon as possible would have the hand of his daughter in marriage, as well as half his kingdom.
Some soldiers offered the tsar to carry his sword and club in three years, the others offered to carry them in two years, there were also the bold soldiers who dared to offer the tsar to carry his arms in a year. Suddenly Semyon stepped forward and said:
“Your Majesty, I will be able to reach the palace and carry your sword and club in three days.”
The tsar was very glad to hear these words. He kissed Semyon and gave him the letter addressed to his daughter Marya Tsarevna.
So, Semyon started his journey. He walked away from the military camp and turned himself into the deer. The deer rushed at full speed to the palace. Soon he got tired and turned himself into the hare.
The hare ran and ran and at last got very tired and turned himself into the small golden headed bird. The bird flew so quickly that could reach the palace in a day and a half. Having reached the place, the bird turned into Semyon. Marya Tsarevna met him hospitably, read her father’s letter and asked:
“How have you managed to get to the palace so quickly?”
“It wasn’t difficult for me. Look!” replied Semyon and turned himself into the deer. The deer ran round the chamber, came to Marya Tsarevna and put his head on the girl’s knees. Marya took scissors and snipped off a flock of the deer’s hear. Then the deer turned himself into the hare. The hare started jumping round the chamber and jumped on the girl’s knees. Marya stroked his hair and snipped off a flock. The hare turned into the golden headed bird. The bird flew round the chamber and sat on the girl’s hand. Marya Tsarevna again snipped off some golden feathers from the bird’s head. Then she wrapped the deer’s and the hare’s hair and the bird’s feathers in her kerchief and hid everything.
Semyon took the tsar’s sword and club and ran back to the military camp turning himself into the deer, the hare and the bird on the way in order to get to the camp faster. In a day and a half he almost reached the camp and decided to rest a little. He made himself comfortable on the sea shore and fell asleep under the bush of broom.
Meanwhile the tsar’s general was strolling nearby. He saw Semyon who was sleeping deeply and noticed the tsar’s sword and club lying near him. The general pushed off Semyon into the sea and took the tsar’s sword and club. Then he went back to the palace.
“Your Majesty,” said the general. “Take your sword and club. I’ve just carried them. You messenger Semyon hasn’t come back yet. I’m sure he will come back only in three years!”
The tsar thanked the general and began to battle against the hostile army. He won the battle and returned to his kingdom.
Meanwhile Semyon found himself in the underwater kingdom. The Sea King dragged him off in the sea depths and took him prisoner. He lived in the wonderful palace. Days on end beautiful mermaids and whimsical sea beasts amused him. In a year he felt miserable in the underwater kingdom as he missed Marya Tsarevna so much!
“Why are you so sad?” asked him the Sea King. “Are you bored here?”
“Yes, I am!” replied Semyon.
“Do you want to see the land and breathe fresh air?”
“Certainly!” exclaimed Semyon with joy.
At midnight the Sea King carried out Semyon on the sea shore and then returned in the underwater kingdom.
“If only I could see the sun!” thought the lad.
Before the sunrise the Sea King went out of the sea and dragged Semyon off in the sea depths.
There was nothing to do and the lad had to continue his living in the underwater kingdom. One more year passed and Semyon felt miserable again. The Sea King saw him crying bitterly and asked:
“Are you bored here?”
“Yes, I am!” answered Semyon.
“Do you want to see the land and breathe fresh air?”
“Yes, certainly, Your Majesty!” cried Semyon.
At midnight the Sea King carried out Semyon on the sea shore and then returned in the sea depths.
“If only I could see the sun!” thought the lad.
As soon as it was dawning, the Sea King suddenly appeared from the sea and dragged Semyon in the underwater kingdom. The third year passed and the lad felt miserable more than ever. The Sea King saw him crying bitterly and asked:
“Are you bored here?”
“Yes, I am!” answered Semyon.
“Do you want to see the land and breathe fresh air?”
“Yes, certainly, Your Majesty!”
At midnight the Sea King carried out Semyon on the sea shore and then returned in the sea depths.
“My dear Red Sun, please, appear!” begged the lad.
The Red Sun heard Semyon and appeared in skies. It threw light on the lad and the Sea King couldn’t reach him anymore.
So, Semyon went back to his kingdom. On the way he turned himself into the deer, the hare and the bird to get to the kingdom faster
Meanwhile in the palace the guests were going to celebrate the wedding of the general and Marya Tsarevna. Semyon entered the chamber where the bridegroom and the bride were sitting at the table. Marya Tsarevna noticed him and addressed to the tsar:
“Dear father! The general isn’t my bridegroom. This is my real bridegroom!” exclaimed she pointing at Semyon. “He has carried your sword and club! I can prove this fact easily.”
She took out the clock of deer’s hair from her kerchief. As soon as she did it, Semyon turned himself into the deer. Then Marya showed everybody the clock of the hare’s hair. Suddenly the deer turned into the hare that began to jump round the chamber. At last Marya Tsarevna took out the feathers of the golden headed bird from her kerchief and the hare turned into the bird. The bird flew round the chamber and turned into Semyon again.
The tsar understood that he had been deceived by the general and ordered to punish him severely. Semyon and Marya Tsarevna married the other day and lived happily for the rest of their days.




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