Fairy tales of russian writers. Free. Pskov


 

A collection Fairy tales from Russia. 
Sergei Aksakov: The little scarlet flower.

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For long they kissed and embraced, and comforted one another with tender words. Then she told her dear father and beloved elder sisters of her manner of life with the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep, all there was to tell, not withholding a single thing. And the merchant rejoiced at her rich and royal life and marvelled that she had grown accustomed to the sight of her terrible master and that she was unafraid of the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep; he himself trembled and shook at the mere memory of him. But the elder sisters were envious of her, hearing of their younger sister's countless riches and the royal power she had over her master, as if he were her slave.

That day passed like a single hour, and the second day went by like a minute; and on the third day the elder sisters set to persuading their younger sister not to return to the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep. "Let him perish, even as he deserves..," they said.
But their dear guest, the youngest sister, grew angry with her elder sisters and spoke these words to them, "If I repay my good and gracious master by a cruel death for all his kindness and his ardent, boundless love, then I shall not be worthy of living in this world, and I should be given to wild beasts to tear me apart."
Her father, the honest merchant, praised her for these noble words, and it was decided that his beloved, youngest daughter, good and kind, would return exactly one hour before the appointed time to the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep. But the sisters were resentful and devised a plan cunning and unkind: they put back by a full hour all the clocks in the house, without the merchant or all bis loyal servants and attendants knowing of it.
And when the real hour arrived, the merchant's lovely young daughter felt pain and heartache, as if something was chafing her;
and she looked constantly at her father's clocks, the English and the German-but they showed it was too early to set off on her distant journey. All the while, her sisters were telling and asking her about this and that, so as to detain her. At last, her heart could bear it no longer; the merchant's lovely young daughter, her father's favourite, bade farewell to the honest merchant, her dear father, received his blessing, and bade farewell to her elder sisters, to the faithful ser-vants and the attendants. A minute before the appointed hour, she put the gold ring on the little finger of her right hand and found her-self in the white stone palace, in the lofty chambers of the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep. She wondered why he did not meet her, so she cried in a loud voice, "Where art thou, my gracious lord, my faithful friend? Why dost thou not meet me? I have returned earlier than the appointed time by a full hour and a minute."

No answer came, no greeting hailed her; there was a deathly silence. In the verdant gardens, the birds were not singing their heavenly songs, the fountains of water were not cascading, the clear springs were no longer babbling and no sweet music played in the lofty chambers. The merchant's lovely daughter was full of foreboding and felt a shudder pass through her heart; she ran through the lofty chambers and the verdant gardens, called her gracious master in a voice of despair-but no answer or greeting or respond-ing call was anywhere to be heard. Then she ran to the grassy mound where grew in beauty her beloved Little Scarlet Flower; and she beheld the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep, lying on the mound clasping the Little Scarlet Flower in his misshapen paws. She thought at first he had fallen asleep while awaiting her and was now in a deep slumber.
Gently, the merchant's lovely daughter began to wake him, but he did not hear her; and she began to rouse him more strongly, seizing him by his shaggy paw. Then it was she saw that the Beast of the For-est, Denizen of the Deep, was not breathing, was lying as one dead...
Her clear eyes grew dim, her legs gave way and she fell to her knees; she put her lily-white arms around the head of her gracious master, that hideous, horrible head, and she cried in a voice of anguish,
"Arise, awake, 0 friend of my heart, I love thee as my cherished sweetheart!"
No sooner had she uttered these words than lightning flashed on every side, the earth shook from a great clap of thunder, a stone thunder-arrow struck the grassy mound, and the merchant's lovely young daughter fell senseless to the ground. Whether she lay there for long, I know not; but when she came to, she found herself in a lofty chamber of white marble, sitting on a golden throne encrusted with precious stones. And a young prince, as handsome as a picture, had his arm around her: on his head he wore a royal crown and he was dressed in cloth of gold. And before stood her father and sisters, and around them a kneeling retinue of courtiers all dressed in gold and silver brocade.

And the handsome young prince with the royal crown upon his head spoke thus to her, "Thou didst love me, my peerless beauty, for my kind heart and love for thee; thou didst love me in the form of a misshapen monster. Then love me now in my human form and be my cherished bride. A wicked witch was wrathful with my late father, a great and mighty king; so she stole me away while I was but a child and, by her satanic sorcery and evil power, did turn me into a horrible monster; she laid a spell upon me that I should live in that misshapen form, hideous and terrifying to every man and every creature on God's earth, until a fair maiden should be found, whatever her birth or position, who would love me in my monstrous form and would wish to be my wedded wife. Then the spell would end and I should once more be a human being, young and pleasing to hold. Full thirty years I lived thus, a monster and a terror, and I enticed to my enchanted palace eleven maidens fair; thou wert the twelfth. Not a single maiden loved me for my tenderness and goodness, for the kindness of the heart. Thou alone didst love me, hideous and misshapen as I was; thou didst love me for my tenderness and goodness, for the kindness of my heart, for my untold love for thee; and thus thou shalt be the wife of a glorious king, the queen of a mighty realm."
All there assembled marvelled at the story, and the courtiers bowed down to the ground. The honest merchant gave his blessing to his beloved youngest daughter and the young royal prince. And the bride and bridegroom were congratulated by the envious elder sisters and all the faithful servants, all the great nobles and the valiant knights. And without more ado a wedding was held and a great feasting began. And the bride and groom lived forever after in great cheer and prosperity.
I too was there, drank mead and yet
Ne'er did get my whiskers wet.

Translated by James Riordan.

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Next fairy tales: Huge Wolf Lobo, by Tatyana.

Tales. Contents. 

fairy talesVladimir Dahl: The Cat and the Fox.

fairy talesVsevolod Garshin: The Frog went travelling.

fairy talesA. S. Pushkin: On seashore far a green oak towers.

fairy talesSergei Aksakov: The little scarlet flower.

Fairy tales which was written by Tatyana, when she was 11 year old. These fairy tales were published in the local newspaper in 1992:
fairy talesHuge Wolf Lobo.