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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Ineki palace

Chapter 1 (v.3) - The Story Of Vasilisa with the Golden Tress and Ivan the Pea, Part 2

Submitted: August 05, 2017

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Submitted: August 05, 2017



In the garden there was a beautiful well of spring water flowing from a white marble basin. The Czarina dipped agolden cup into the basin, and, drinking hastily, swallowed a peawith the water. In the course of time the Czarina had a son, and he was called Ivan the Pea. He grew up not by years but byhours. He wasa handsomeboy,209strong and plump, full of spirit and play, ever laughing and springing on the sands, and daily increasing in strength.At ten years of age Ivan the Pea wasa tall, powerful knight. He askedwhether he had any sisters or brothers; and upon hearing that his sister Vasilisa had been carried away by the wind, and that his two brothers who went to seek her had never returned, he begged his parents to permit him to go in search of them all.“My dear son!” cried the Czar and Czarina, “you arestill too young. Your brothers went away and never returned; ifyou leave us you also will be lost.”“No,” answered Ivan the Pea; “I shall not be lost. I desire of all things to find my brothers and sister.”His parents endeavoured to dissuade him from going, but all in vain. At lastthey gave their consent, blessedhim with tear in their eyes, and bade him adieu.Ivan the Pea set forth on his journey. He travelled for one day, he travelled for two; towards evening he entered a gloomy forest. Inthis forest there was a hut on hen’s legs, shaken210by the wind, and turning round and round. Following old custom and nursery tradition,Ivan blew upon it, saying:“Hut, hut, turn about, with your back tothe forest and your front to me.”The hut immediately turned itself round with its front towards him. An old woman was looking out of the window, and she asked,“Whom have we here?”Ivan bowed to her, andinquired whether she hadobserved which way the wind was in the habit of carrying beautiful girls.“Ah, my son,” said the oldwoman, coughing and looking hard at Ivan, “the wind has troubled me dreadfully. It is now a hundred and twenty years that I have lived in this hut, without ever once leaving it;it will kill me some day. Youmust know, though, that it is not the wind that is in fault, but the Dragon.”“Which is the way to him?”“Take care;the Dragonwill swallow you up.”“We shall see.”“Be mindful of your head, good knight,” continued the old woman, shaking her toothless gums, “and promise methat, if you return211safely, you will bring mesome of the water from the Dragon’spalace, in which, if I wash myself I shall be made young again.”“I promise; I will bring you some of the water, grandmother.”“I take your word for it.And now, my dear son, go towards the sunset; after a year’s journeyingyou will arrive at the Fox’s mountain; then ask the wayto the Dragon’s kingdom.”“Farewell, grandmother.”“Farewell, my son.”Ivan went towards the setting sun. A story is soon told, but a difficult work is not so soon completed. Having passed through three kingdoms he arrived at the Dragon’s dominions. Before the gates of the city he saw an old, blind,and lame beggarwith a wallet. Having given thebeggar some alms, Ivan the Peaanother chair, still stronger, covered and joined together with iron. When Ivan sat down it creaked and bent under him.“Oh, brother,” cried the Princess, “thatis the Dragon’s own seat.”“It seems, then,” said Ivan, smiling, “that I am heavier than he.”He then got up, went to an old sage, who was smith to the court, and ordered an iron staff to be made,to weigh five hundred puds.* The smith set to work, hammeredthe iron night and day amid a shower of red-hot sparks, and in forty hours finished the staff. It required the united strength of fifty men to bring it to the castle. Ivan the Pea lifted it up with one hand, and threw it into the air. The air whistled as the staff passed through it and disappeared in the clouds.214The inhabitants ran from place to placepanic-stricken; they were afraid that the staff, falling down again, would crush theircity into ruins, then roll into the sea, which wouldoverflow and drown them all.Prince Ivan gave orders that the people should let him know when the iron staff was seen falling again to the ground,and then went quickly intothe palace. Theterrified people fled awayfrom the principal square. Some looked from their doors and windows to see whether the iron beam was about to descend. They waited one, they waited two hours; at the endof the third, wordwas sent to the palace that the staff was coming down. Ivan the Pea ran into the square, stretchedout his hand and caughtthe staff as it fell. It came down with such force that it bent in his hand. The Prince straightened it on his knee, and then returned to the castle.Suddenly a dreadful hissing noise was heard; the Dragon was coming. His horse, the wind, flew with the swiftness ofan arrow, vomiting forth flames. At a first glance the Dragon looked like a knight; buthis head was that of a dragon. Usually at his approach, even ifhe215were miles away, the palace would tremble and movefrom place to place; now theDragon observed, for thefirst time, that it did not stir. There must be a stranger within. The Dragon paused an instant, hissed and roared; his horse, the wind, shook his black mane and spread out his monstrouswings. The Dragon rushed to the palace, and the palace did not stir an inch.“Oh, ho!” roared the Dragon, “I have to do with an enemy; perhaps it is the Pea.”Prince Ivan soon appeared.“Iwill put you in the palm of one hand, clap my other hand upon you, and crush you to atoms!” cried the Dragon.“We shallsee,” said Ivan, approaching with the staff.“Begone from my castle!” roared the Dragon in a fury.“Begone, you!” answered Ivan, lifting up his staff.The Dragon flew up in the air that he might strike Prince Ivan and pierce him with his lance; but he missed his aim. The Prince sprang aside, and exclaiming, “It is now my turn,” threw the stuff at the Dragon with such force that the216blow broke and scattered him into a thousand fragments. The staff pierced the earth and passed through two kingdoms into a third.The people threw up their caps with joy, and chose Ivan to be their Czar. But Ivan, as a reward for the sage smith, who in so short atime had made him such a staff, ordered the old man to be called before him, and said to the people:“This is your Czar; obey him for good as you once obeyedthe Dragon for evil.”Then Ivan took some of thewater of death and of the water of life, and sprinkled them over the bodies of his brothers. The young men rose up, and, rubbing their eyes, exclaimed:“Heaven knows how long we have slept!”“My dear brothers,” said Ivan, embracing them tenderly, “without my helpyou would have slept for ages.”Then Ivan took some of thewater of the Dragon, ordered a ship to be built,and,sailing on the river Swan, with the beautiful Vasilisawith the Golden Tress, he passedthrough three kingdoms into a fourth, — his owncountry. He remembered theold woman in thehut, and gave her some of the water. When theold woman217washed herself in it she became young again; shesang and dancedwith joy, and accompanied Prince Ivan on his journey.The Czar and Czarinareceived their son Ivan with great joy and honour. They sent messengers to all parts of the world announcing that their daughter, the beautiful Vasilisa with the Golden Tress, had safely returned home. There were great rejoicings; bells rang merrily, trumpetssounded, drums were beaten, guns were fired. Vasilisa obtaineda husband and Prince Ivan a wife. At the marriage feast there were mountains of meat and rivers of mead. They ordered four crowns to be made, and celebrated two weddings at once.The great-grandfathers were there; they drank of the mead and left some of itfor us, but we have never tasted it. This, however, we heard: that after the death of the Czar, Ivan the Pea ascended the throne, ruled the people with great glory, and the fame of Czarthe Pea has been remembered from generation to generation.

© Copyright 2018 Phiwokuhle M. Manana. All rights reserved.


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