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Main > Russia folktales > Fairy tale "Sila Tsarevich and Ivashka with the White Smock"

Sila Tsarevich and Ivashka with the White Smock

There was once a Tsar, named Chotei, who had three sons—the first, Aspar Tsarevich; the second, Adam Tsarevich; and the third and youngest son, Sila Tsarevich. The two eldest brothers entreated their father’s permission to travel in foreign countries and see the world. Then the youngest brother, Sila Tsarevich, also begged the Tsar’s permission to travel with his brothers. But Chotei said: “My dear son, you are still young, and not used to the difficulties of travelling; remain at home, and think no more of this fancy you have taken.” But Sila Tsarevich had a great longing to see foreign lands, and entreated his father so much that at length the Tsar consented, and gave him a ship likewise. As soon as the three brothers embarked, each on board his ship, they all gave orders to set sail. And when they were out on the open sea, the eldest brother’s ship sailed first, the second brother’s next, and Sila Tsarevich sailed last.

On the third day of the voyage they saw a coffin with iron bands floating on the waves. The two eldest brothers sailed past without heeding it, but as soon as Sila Tsarevich saw the coffin, he ordered the sailors to pick it up, lay it on board his ship, and carry it to land. The next day a violent storm arose, by which Sila’s ship was driven out of its course, and cast upon a steep shore in an unknown country. Then Sila ordered his sailors to take the coffin and to carry it on shore, whither he himself followed, and buried it in the earth.

Thereupon Sila Tsarevich ordered the captain to remain upon the spot where the ship was stranded, and await his return for three years; but adding that, should he not come back in that time, he should be free to set sail and return home. So saying, Sila took leave of his captain and his crew, and went forthwith, journeying on and on. He wandered about for a long while, without seeing anyone; at length he heard a man running after him, dressed all in white. Then Sila Tsarevich turned round and saw the man following him; whereupon he instantly drew his sword to be upon his guard.

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