A traveller arrived at a village, and looking about for an inn, he found one that, although rather shabby, would, he thought, suit him. So he asked whether he could pass the night there, and the mistress said certainly. No one lived at the inn except the mistress, so that the traveller was quite undisturbed.
The next morning, after he had finished break-fast, the traveller went out of the house to make arrangements for continuing his journey. To his surprise, his hostess asked him to stop a moment. She said that he owed her a thousand pounds, solemnly declaring that he had borrowed that sum from her inn long years ago. The traveller was astonished greatly at this, as it seemed to him a preposterous demand. So fetching his trunk, he soon hid himself by drawing a curtain all round him.
After thus secluding himself for some time, he called the woman and asked, "Was your father an adept in the art of second sight?" The woman replied, "Yes; my father secluded himself just as you have done." Said the traveller, "Explain fully to me why you say I owe you so large a sum." The mistress then related that when her father was going to die, he bequeathed her all his possessions except his money. He said, that on a certain day, ten years later, a traveller would lodge at her house, and that, as the said traveller owed him a thousand pounds, she could reclaim at that time this sum from his debtor. She must subsist in the meanwhile by the gradual sale of her father's goods.
Hitherto, being unable to earn as much money as she spent, she had been disposing of the inherited valuables, but had now exhausted nearly all of them. In the meantime, the predicted date had arrived, and a traveller had lodged at her house, just as her father had foretold. Hence she concluded he was the man from whom she should recover the thousand pounds.
On hearing this the traveller said that all that the woman had related was perfectly true. Taking her to one side of the room, he told her to tap gently with her knuckles all over a wooden pillar.
Story of Prince Malandrach and the Princess Salikalla
Category: Russia folktales
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