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


 

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

1 I 2 I 3 I 4 I 5 I 6 I 7 I 8 I 9 I 10 I 11 I 12 I 13 I 14 I

"The forest must be on fire. Why am I heading for a certain death?" He tried to retrace his steps, but he could not move; all around, the forest closed in on him. The only way was forward, along the beaten track.
"If that be so," he thought, "I'll stay where I am and the glow may go away, pass me by or even go out altogether."
So he stood still and waited. But the glow seemed to come straight towards him lighting up the forest all around. He thought and thought and resigned himself to moving forward: "A man can only die once," he thought to himself. So the merchant made the sign of the cross and moved on. The farther he went, the brighter grew the light until it was as clear as day. Yet he heard no noise or crackling of a fire. At last he emerged into a wide clearing-and there in the centre a fantastic sight met his gaze: neither house nor mansion, but a iipcaac^royarol-imperr^'^rffumg'^rfflitheiightot'sifver' ' maghiiicc ind precious stones. It blazed and glittered, yet there was and gold i эе seen. It was like staring into the brilliant sun, it hurt his no fire to ak at it. All the windows of the oalace werUhMiamfi?1 eves t0 10

sweetmeats, foreign wines and meads. He sat at the table without delay, ate and drank his fill, for he had eaten nothing for a whole day. The food was more delicious than words can tell, tempting enough to make a man swallow his tongue. After his long journey through the forest and over the sand, he was famished. On finishing his meal, he rose from the table, but there was no one to thank for the hospitality, no one to whom he might bow in gratitude. Hardly had he risen and looked around than the table and all upon it vanished, as if it had never been. Meanwhile, the music played on without a pause. The honest merchant was filled with wonder at these marvels and miracles; and as he walked through the noble chambers, he thought to himself, "How pleasant it would be to lie down and have some sleep."
And lo! Before him stood a carved bed of pure gold, on crystal feet, with a canopy of silver fringed with tassels set with pearls;
and a mattress as tall as a hill lay upon it, made of soft swansdown.
This new and wondrous miracle filled the merchant with even greater awe. But he lay down upon the high bed, and drew the canopy over him finding it as soft and fine as silk. It grew dark in the chamber, as at twilight, and the music seemed to fade into the distance. And he thought, "If only I could see my daughters, even "in my dreams!"
And at that very moment he fell asleep.
When the merchant awoke, the sun was already high above the tallest tree, and he could not at first remember where he was. All night he had dreamed of his daughters, so good and kind and lovely;
and he saw in his dream that his two eldest daughters, the oldest and the second-born, were merry and gay, while only his favourite, the youngest daughter, was sad. He saw that his eldest daughters had rich suitors whom they were to wed even without their father's blessing. But the youngest daughter, the fairest and dearest, would not hear of suitors until her dear father had returned home. Thus his heart was filled at once with joy and sorrow.
When he rose from his high bed, he found garments set out ready for him, and a fountain of water showered into a crystal bowl.

He washed and dressed and marvelled no more at each new miracle:
tea and coffee stood on a table next to a tray of sweetmeats. Having said grace, he ate his fill, then set out once more to explore the palace, to gaze up on its beauty in the golden sunshine; and all seemed to him more lovely than the day before. Through the open windows he could see wondrous gardens full of fruit and flowers of untold beauty- He longed to walk in those gardens.

1 I 2 I 3 I 4 I 5 I 6 I 7 I 8 I 9 I 10 I 11 I 12 I 13 I 14 I

Next