Sila Tsarevich and Ivashka with the White Smock
But no sooner did the man come up to him than he fell on his knees and thanked Sila for having saved him. And Sila asked the man what he had done to deserve his thanks. Then the stranger stood up and answered: “Ah, Sila Tsarevich, how can I thank you enough? There I lay in the coffin, which you picked up at sea and buried; and had it not been for you I might have remained floating about for a hundred years.” “But how did you get into the coffin?” asked Sila. “Listen, and I will tell you the whole story,” replied Ivashka. “I was a great magician; my mother was told that I did great mischief to mankind by my arts, and therefore ordered me to be put into this coffin and set adrift on the open sea: for more than a hundred years I have been floating about, and no one has ever picked me up; but to you I owe my rescue, and I will therefore serve you, and render you all the help in my power. Let me ask you whether you have not a wish to marry: I know the beautiful Queen Truda, who is worthy of being your wife.” Sila replied that if this Queen were indeed beautiful, he was willing to marry her; and Ivashka told him she was the most beautiful woman in the world. When Sila heard this, he begged Ivashka to accompany him to her kingdom; so they set out and travelled on and on till they reached that country. Now, Queen Truda’s kingdom was surrounded by a palisade; and upon every stake was stuck a man’s head, except one, which had no head. When Sila saw this, he was terrified, and asked Ivashka what it meant; and Ivashka told him that these were the heads of heroes who had been suitors to Queen Truda. Sila shuddered on hearing this, and wished to return home without showing himself to the father of Truda; but Ivashka told him to fear nothing and go with him boldly; so Sila went on.
When they entered the kingdom, Ivashka said: “Hearken, Sila Tsarevich, I will be your servant, and when you enter the royal halls, salute King Salom humbly: then he will ask you whence you came, and whose son you are, what is your name and business.