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

A collection Fairy tales from Russia. 
Sergei Aksakov

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On a certain realm, in a certain land, there lived a wealthy merchant, a man of great means.
Much wealth had he of every kind-gold and silver treasure, pearls and precious stones, costly wares from far-off lands. And this merchant had three daughters, each more lovely than words can tell, but the youngest was the fairest of all. He loved his daughters more than his entire fortune-more than his pearls and precious stones, more than his gold and silver treasure. His love was great, for his wife was dead and he had nobody else to love. Though he loved his elder daughters, he loved his youngest daughter best because she was the kindest and most loving to her father.
One day, this merchant made ready to sail across the sea with his wares, to the ends of the earth. Before departing, he said to his dear daughters,
"0 my kind and sweet and tender daughters, I take my ships to trade in lands across the sea. Whether I be long on my way I cannot say, but I bid you live in virtue and peace while I am gone. Then I shall bring you back whatever gifts your hearts desire. And I give you three days to make your choice; then you shall tell me what gifts you desire."
For three days and nights they considered, then came to their father and told him of the gifts they each desired. The first daughter bowed low to her father, and spoke thus, "Sire, my dear beloved father, bring me no gold or silver brocade, no black sable, no wondrous pearls. Bring me, I pray thee, a golden crown set with precious stones, such that shines as the full moon or the bright sun, such that turns the dark of night into the light of day."
The honest merchant thought awhile, then said, "So be it, daughter mine, I shall bring you just such a crown. I know a man across the sea who can get it for me. It belongs to a foreign princess and is concealed in a stone chamber buried deep in a mountain of stone, seven yards down behind three iron doors with three German locks. The task is not an easy one, but my fortune knows no bounds."


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