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Main > Russia folktales > Fairy tale "Story of Lyubim Tsarevich and the Winged Wolf"

Story of Lyubim Tsarevich and the Winged Wolf

” But he did not give her an answer, and passed by the old woman without saying a word. But then he bethought him that old folk are wiser than young ones, turned round, and going up to the old woman, accosted her. And Lyubim Tsarevich said to her: “At the first meeting, mother, I disdained to tell you why I was sad, but it came into my mind that old folk must know more than young ones.” “There it is, Lyubim Tsarevich,” said the old woman, “you can’t easily get away from old folk. Say, why are you sad? Tell the old wife.” And Lyubim Tsarevich said to her: “I have no good horse and no armour, yet I must travel far and wide in search of my brothers.” Then the old woman said: “What think you? There is a horse and a suit of armour in your father’s forbidden meadow,[A] behind twelve gates, and this horse is fastened by twelve chains. On that meadow is also a broadsword and a fine suit of armour.”

[A] The “royal forbidden meadows” were those belonging to the Sovereign, the use of which was strictly forbidden to his subjects. When an enemy came into the country they first pitched their camp in these fields, as a declaration of hostilities.

When Lyubim Tsarevich had heard this, and thanked the old woman, he went straightway, overjoyed, to the forbidden meadow. On reaching the place where the horse was, he stopped, and bethought him, “How shall I break through the twelve gates?” At last he made the attempt, and presently broke down one gate; then the steed perceived by his scent the presence of the brave youth, and with a great effort burst his chains; and then Lyubim Tsarevich broke through three more gates, and the steed trampled down the rest. Then Lyubim Tsarevich surveyed the steed and the armour; and put on the armour, but left the steed in the meadow; after which he went to his home, found his parents, and with great joy told them all that had befallen him, and how an old woman had helped him, and begged their blessing on his travels. So his parents gave him their blessing, and, mounting his good steed, he set forth on his journey.

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