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Main > Russia folktales > Fairy tale "Story of Prince Peter with the Golden Keys, and the Princess Magilene"

Story of Prince Peter with the Golden Keys, and the Princess Magilene

In France there once lived a high-born Prince named Volchvan, with his wife Petronida; and they had an only son named Peter. Now, Prince Peter had in his youth a great inclination for knightly prowess and deeds of war; and, when he came of age, he sighed after nothing so much as chivalrous feats. But it happened that at this time a knight named Ruiganduis arrived there from the kingdom of Naples, who, observing Peter’s bravery, said: “Prince Peter, there is a King in Naples who has a beautiful daughter named Magilene, and this King rewards richly all those knights who do battle in behalf of his daughter.”

Then Peter went to his father and mother and begged for their blessing that he might travel to the kingdom of Naples to learn there knightly feats, but especially to see the beauty of the King’s daughter Magilene. So they dismissed Prince Peter with great sorrow, exhorting him to make friendship with good men only; then, giving him three golden rings with precious stones and a gold chain, they dismissed him in peace.

When Prince Peter arrived at the kingdom of Naples, he ordered a skilful workman to make him a coat-of-mail and a helmet, and to fasten to this two golden keys; then he rode to the tournament-lists, where the King and his knights were assembled. There he gave his name as Peter with the Golden Keys, and he placed himself behind the knights. First rode forth Sir Andrei Skrintor, and against him appeared the son of the King of England; and Andrei struck Henry so hard a blow that he was well-nigh thrown from his horse; whereupon Landiot, the King’s son, rode out and overthrew Andrei Skrintor. When Prince Peter saw this he rode at Landiot, and cried with a loud voice: “Long life and happiness to their Majesties and the beautiful Princess Magilene!” and he rode at Landiot so furiously that he threw both him and his steed to the ground, and thrust the lance through his heart. Peter was praised by the King for this exploit, and still more by the Princess Magilene and all present, and he became the foremost of the King’s knights.

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