This story is one of the many tales written by Russia's most beloved poet, Alexander Pushkin. But this tale is unique in another way, as its origins are actually American. Pushkin based this tale on Washington Irving's poem, "The legend of the Arabian Astrologer."
Pushkin's tale is set in the land of Tsar Dadon, who is looking for a new method to protect his rich kingdom. He offers the reward of the person's choice in return for finding a perfect security system. He is disappointed when he tries several different techniques, but at last there appears an astrologer, who seems to have the answer. The astrologer gives him a Golden Cockerel, which will crow any time that the Kingdom is endangered. The astrologer then chooses not to claim his reward immediately, but to wait until he can decide what he would like.
The magic Cockerel proves to be the perfect protection for Tsar Dadon's kingdom. The Cockerel ends up crowing three times. The first time he crows, an enemy army is advancing towards Tsar Dadon's land. The Tsar sends his elder son and his mighty army to fight the enemy. The tsardom is saved, but the Tsar's son and army never return.
The Cockerel crows the second time as another army is advancing to capture Dadon's land. This time he sends his younger son and an army into battle. But once again, though the kingdom is spared, neither the son nor the army ever returns.
The Cockerel then crows the third time, sounding the alarm that yet a third army is planning to invade. This time, Dadon himself leads an army to the farthest borders of the kingdom. Arriving there, he is horrified at what he discovers. All along the border of his land are strewn out the dead bodies of his soldiers that he had sent into battle. He also finds the slaughtered bodies of his two sons. Tsar Dadon is then overcome with sickness and grief. He walks into a tent to sit down, and there his sadness is lifted when he sees a most beautiful sight! Before him stands the seductive Queen of Shemakha. Dadon immediately falls in love with her, and plans to marry her once they return to his castle. But on the way home they encounter the Astrologer who has decided that he would like to claim the enchanting Queen for himself, as his reward. Tsar Dadon is engulfed with anger and envy. He not only denies the Astrologer his reward, but also kills him.
The Golden Cockerel then flies down from his perch and pecks Dadon to death for not keeping his end of the bargain.