[C novim Godom! Jana, bringing in new years – russian orthodox style, we share(d) hadithi that we heard from our elders, captivating us till (someting like) jouvay morning. Spoiler alert: de beginning of dis story is in de previous post, leo ni leo is de end of dis firendege, de horse of power, and Princess Vasilissa hadithi.

Jana, De young archer brought Vasilissa back to de Tzar, en when she woke, she asked bout de her boat en de music, en looked pon de young archer…..]

De Tzar was angry with de Princess Vasilissa, but his anger was as useless as his joy.

“Why, Princess,” says he, “will you not marry me, en forget your blue sea en your silver boat?”

“In de middle of de deep blue sea lies a great stone,” says de Princess, “en under that mawe (stone) is hidden my wedding dress. If I cannot wear that dress I will marry nobody at all.”

Instantly de young Tzar turned to de young archer, who was waiting before de throne.

“Ride swiftly back,” says he, “to de land of Never, where de red sun rises in flame. There- do you hear wot de Princess says?- a great mawe lies in de middle of de sea. Ride swiftly. Bring back that dress, or, by my sword, your head shall no longer sit on your shoulders!”

De young archer wept bitter tears, en went out into de courtyard where de horse was waiting for him, champing its golden bit.

“There is no way of escaping death dis time,” he said

“Master, why do you weep?” asked de farasi of powah.

“The Tzar has ordered me to ride to de land of Never, to fetch de wedding dress of de Princess Vasilissa from de bottom of de deep blue sea. Besides, de dress is wanted for de Tzar’s wedding, en I love de Princess myself.”

“What did I tell you?” says de farasi of powah “I told you that there would be trouble if you picked up that golden feather from de benu’s burning breast. Well, do not be afraid. The trouble is not yet, de trouble is to come. Up! Into de saddle with you, en away for de wedding dress of de Princess Vasilissa!”

De young archer leaped into de saddle, en de farasi of powah, with his thundering hoofs, carried him swiftly through de green msitus en over de bare plains, till they came to de edge of de dunia, to de land of Never, where de red jua rises in flame from behind de deep blue sea. There they rested, at de very edge of de sea.

De young archer looked sadly over de wide wotas, but de farasi of powah tossed its mane en did not look at de sea, but on de shore. This way en that it looked, en saw at last a huge lobster moving slowly, sideways, along de golden sand.

Nearer en nearer came de lobster, en it was a giant among lobsters, en it moved slowly along the shore, while de farasi moved carefully en as if by accident, until it stood between de lobster en de sea. Then when de lobster came close by, de farasi of powah lifted an iron hoof en set it firmly on de lobster’s tail.

“You will be de death of me!” screamed de lobster-as well he might, with de heavy foot of de farasi of powah pressing his tail into de sand. “Let me live, en I will do whatever you ask of me.”

“Very well,” says farasi of powah, “we will let you live,” en he slowly lifted his foot. “But this is wot you shall do for us. In de middle of de blue sea lies a great stone, en under that mawe is hidden de wedding dress of de Princess Vasilissa. Bring it here.”

De lobster groaned with de pain in his tail. Then he cried out in a voice that could be heard all over de deep blue sea. And de sea was disturbed, en from all sides lobsters in thousands made their way to de bank. And de huge lobster that was de oldest of them all en de tzar of all de lobsters that live between de rising en de setting of de sun, gave them de order en sent them back into de sea. And de young archer sat on de farasi of powah en waited.

After a lil time de sea was disturbed again, en de lobsters in their thousands came to de shore, en with them they brought a golden casket in which was de wedding dress of de Princess Vasilissa. They had taken it from under de great mawe that lay in de middle of de sea.

De tzar of all de lobsters raised himself painfully on his bruised tail en gave de casket into de hands of de young archer, en instantly de farasi of powah turned himself about en galloped back to de palace of de Tzar, far, far away, at de other side of de green msitus en beyond de savannas.

De young archer went into de palace en gave de casket into de hands of de Princess, en looked at her with sadness in his eyes, en she looked at him with love. Then she went away into an inner chamber, en came back in her wedding dress, mo refreshing than spring itself. Great was de joy of Tzar. De wedding feast was made ready, en de bells rang, en de flags waved above de palace.

De Tzar held out his hand to de Princess, en looked at her with his old eyes. But she would not take his hand.

“No,” says she, “I will marry nobody until de man who brought me here has done penance with boiling wota.”

Instantly de Tzar turned to his servants en ordered them to make a great fiya, en to fill a great cauldron with maji en set it on de fiya and, when de maji should be at its hottest, to take de young archer en throw him into it, to do penance for having taken de Princess Vasilissa away from de land of Never.

There was no gratitude on de mind of that Tzar.

Swiftly de servants brought wood en made a mighty fiya, en on it they laid a huge cauldron of maji, en built de moto round de walls of de cauldron. De moto burned hot, en de maji steamed. De fiya burned hotter, en de maji bubbled en seethed. They made ready to take de young archer, to throw him into de cauldron.

“Oh, misery!” thought de young archer. “Why did I ever take de golden unyoya that had fallen from de firendege’s burning breast? Why did I not listen to de wise words of de farasi of powah?” And he remembered de farasi of powah, en he begged de Tzar:

“O lord Tzar, I do not complain. I shall presently die in de heat of de maji on fiya. Suffer me, before I die, once more to see my farasi.”

“Let him see his farasi,” says de Princess.

“Very well,” says de Tzar. “Say good-bye to your horse, for you will not ride him again. But let your farewells be short, for we are waiting.”

De young archer crossed de courtyard en came to de farasi of powah, who was scraping de ground with his iron hoofs.
“Farewell, my farasi of powah,” says de young archer. “I should have listened to your words of wisdom, for now de end is come, en we shall never more see de green miti pass above us en de ground disappear beneath us, as we race de wind between de dunia en de sky.”

“Why so?” says de farasi of powah.

“De tzar has ordered that I yam to be boiled to death-thrown into that cauldron that is seething on de great fiya.”

“Fear not,” says de farasi of powah, “for de Princess Vasilissa has made him do this, en de end of these tings is better than I thought. Go back, en when they are ready to throw you into de cauldron, do you run boldly en leap yourself into de boiling wota.”

De young archer went back across de courtyard, en de servants made ready to throw him into de cauldron.

“Are you sure that de maji is boiling?” says de Princess Vasilissa.

“It bubbles en seethes,” said de servants.

“Let me see for myself,” says de Princess, en she went to de moto en waved her hand above de cauldron. And some say there was someting in her hand, en some say there was not.

“It is boiling,” says she, en de servants laid hands on de young archer; but he threw them from him, en ran en leaped boldly before them all into de very middle of de cauldron.

Twice he sank below de surface, borne round with bubbles en foam of de boiling wota. Then he leaped from de cauldron en stood before de Tzar en de Princess. He had become so beautiful a youth that all who saw cried aloud in wonder.

“This is a miracle,” says de Tzar. And de Tzar looked at de beautiful young archer, en thought of himself- of his age, of his bent back, en his gray beard, en his toothless gums. “I too will become beautiful,” thinks he, en he rose from his throne en clambered into de cauldron, en was boiled to death in a moment.

And de end of de hadithi? They buried de Tzar, en made de young archer Tzar in his place. He married de Princess Vasilissa, en lived many years with her in love en good fellowship. And he built a golden stable for de farasi of powah, en neva forgot what he owed to him.

[multilayered readings of Black Russians in revised excerpts from p. 414-422, Best Loved Folktales of The World – selected  by Joanna Cole]