And that king has not a small army. I have seen altogether a hundred thousand spearmen, a hundred thousand armed men, and a hundred thousand or more could be gathered from the Tsar's court, from his servants and all kinds of underlings. Besides, there is no small armament of guards held in reserve for a special occasion, fed and petted by the king."
The Tsar Archidei remained for a long time in thoughtful silence and finally addressed his court people:
"My warriors and advisers: I have but one wish; I want the princess Helena for my wife. But tell me, how can I reach her?"
The wise advisers remained silent, hiding themselves behind each other. The third Simeon looked around, bowed to the Tsar, and said:
"Tsar Archidei Aggeivitch, forgive my simple words. How to reach the island of Buzan there is no need to worry about. Sit down on my ship; she is simply built, and equipped without any wise tricks. Where others require a year she takes but a day, and where other ships take ten years mine will take, let us say, a week. Only order thine advisers to decide whether we ought to fight for or peacefully court the beautiful princess."
"Now, my warriors brave, my advisers sage," spoke the Tsar Archidei to his men, "How will you decide upon this matter? Who among you will go to fight for the princess, or who will be shrewd enough to bring her peacefully here? I will pour gold and silver over that one. I will give to him the first rank among the very first."
And again the brave warriors and the sage advisers remained silent. The Tsar grew angry; he seemed to be ready for a terrible word. Then, as if somebody had asked the fool, out he jumped from behind the wise people with his foolish talk, shook his striped fool's cap, rang his many bells, and shouted:
"Why so silent, wise men? why so deep in thought? You have big heads and long beards; it would seem that there is plenty of wisdom, so why not show it? To go to the island of Buzan to obtain the bride does not mean to lose gold or army.
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