Vitazko the Victorious: The Story of a Hero Whose Mother Loved a Dragon
There was once a mother who had an only son. "He shall be a hero," she said, "and his name shall be Vitazko, the Victorious."
She suckled him for twice seven years and then, to try his strength, she led him out to the forest and bade him pull up a fir-tree by the roots.
When the boy was not strong enough to do this, she took him home and suckled him for another seven years. Then when she had suckled him for thrice seven years, she led him out to the forest again and ordered him to pull up a beech-tree by its roots.
The youth laid hold on the tree and with one mighty pull uprooted it.
"Now, my son, you are strong enough," the mother said. "Now you are worthy of your name Vitazko. Forget not the mother who has suckled you for thrice seven years but, now that you are grown, take care of her."
"I will, my mother," Vitazko promised. "Only tell me what you want me to do."
"First," the mother said, "go out into the world and find me a splendid dwelling where I may live in peace and plenty."
Taking in his hand the uprooted beech-tree as a club and armed only with it, Vitazko set forth. He followed the wind here and there and the other place and it led him at last to a fine castle.
This castle was inhabited by dragons. Vitazko pounded on the castle gates but the dragons refused to admit him. Thereupon the young hero battered down the gates, pursued the dragons from room to room of the castle, and slaughtered them all.
When he had thrown the last of them over the wall, he took possession of the castle. He found nine spacious chambers and a tenth one the door of which was closed.
Vitazko opened the door and in the room he found a dragon. This dragon was a prisoner. Three iron hoops were fastened about his body and these were chained to the wall.
"Oho!" Vitazko cried. "Another dragon! What are you doing here?"
"Me?" the dragon said. "I'm not doing anything but just sitting here. My brothers imprisoned me. Unchain me, Vitazko! If you do, I will reward you richly."
"I will not!