The Goldenhorn Deer (the original is written by the famous Ukrainian writer Dmitro Pavlychko)
In some kingdom there lived a shepherd Vasilko. He was an orphan because his father was killed by the King and his mother died from grief.
Everyday Vasilko tended a herd of sheep in the green, sunlit meadows and glades. When he played his pipe, forest animals and birds gathered nearby to listen an enchanting, wonderful tune.
The doe said:
“I can’t stay with you anymore. People like gold and everyone will be glad to possess your golden horns. They will chase after you. I’m very afraid of hunters.”
“You know, I hate my golden horns, it’s the reason of all my misfortunes. I can’t get rid of them. It’s my destiny to hide; I’m doomed to loneliness. Go your own way!” replied the goldenhorn deer.
The doe went away and the deer began to cry bitterly. Vasilko was very sorry for the deer and decided to help it. He came to the deer, embraced it and said:
“Don’t cry, deer, this apprehensive doe doesn’t deserve your tears. Come with me and be my friend. I will smear your horns with mud and nobody will see gold brilliance. You will help me to tend the herd.”
The deer agreed and they became bosom-friends. They tended the herd in the green meadows all summer and were happy. But soon they had to part. The autumn came and Vasilko had to return to his village for spending the winter. The boy asked the deer to come with him but the deer refused. They arranged to meet next spring in the place where they had parted.
The winter came and covered a cold ground with the snow. The deer was very lonely. Everyday it remembered Vasilko and his wonderful pipe playing. The deer had nothing to eat and was happy to barter its golden horns for ordinary hay. In despair it decided to go to the village. It knocked to the first house and bartered its golden horns for a haystack. The peasant who got the golden horns promised to keep in secret his meeting with the deer, but he was so happy by the good pennyworth that told about the wonderful deer to his wife, who told the secret to all relatives and soon the news reached the wicked and greedy King.
The King declared hunt for the goldenhorn deer. His servants rushed into the house of the peasant who had got the golden horns in exchange for hay, seized the horns and compelled the peasant to show the secret place in the forest where the haystack was hidden. Soon the deer was caught. The King locked the deer in the cage and began to mint gold coins made of the golden horns. He caressed the deer and fed it to it’s heart’s content, but the deer was unhappy in captivity.
With the help of the wonderful deer the King improved financial situation in the kingdom and was very happy. Soon he issued the following edict:
“I’m very kind and love the people of my kingdom. Only the kind king may possess such riches as I possess. I like animals very much and I am on friendly terms with a deer. I love it so much that I will execute anyone who may dare to touch it.”
Having heard this edict, Vasilko understood that his friend got into trouble and decided to help it. He went to the King’s palace, sat nearby and began to play his pipe. The tune was so wonderful that the King ordered to catch the boy.
“Your music is enchanting, Vasilko! You will be my count musician.” ordered the King.
Everyday Vasilko played his pipe and secretly tried to find the goldenhorn deer. One day he asked the King’s servants:
“Please, show me the wonderful deer, I want to see it very much.”
“We’ll fulfill your request, with the only condition: we’ll blind you after this meeting. Nobody should know where the deer is hidden.”
The boy agreed. Having entered the room he whispered:
“I’m here my dear friend. Destroy the cage! They won’t dare to touch you. The King has promised to execute everyone who may dare to touch you.”
The deer destroyed the cage and scattered all servants who dared to catch it. Vasilko jumped on the deer’s back and they left the palace immediately. They left the kingdom and went to find their happiness and had never parted since then.