Story of the Golden Mountain
In a certain country there lived a Tsar with his wife, who had three handsome sons; the eldest was named Vasili Tsarevich, and the second Fedor Tsarevich, and the youngest son Ivan Tsarevich. One day the Tsar went out with his Tsarina for a walk in the garden, and on a sudden a violent storm came on, which carried off the Tsarina from his sight. The Tsar was very much grieved, and mourned a long time for his wife; and the two eldest sons, seeing their father’s sorrow, begged his blessing and permission to go forth and wander in search of their mother. So he consented, and dismissed them.
The two sons travelled for a long time, until at length they came to a wide desert, where they pitched their tents, and waited until some one should pass who might show them the way. For three whole years they waited, but saw no one.
Meanwhile the youngest brother, Ivan Tsarevich, grew up, and went likewise to his father, begged his blessing, and took leave. And he wandered for a long time, until at length he discerned in the distance some tents, up to which he rode; and there he discovered his brothers. “What brings you to such a desolate place, brothers?” said he; “let us join company and travel in search of our mother.” The others followed his advice, and they all journeyed on together.
They rode on and on for many days, until at length they saw afar off a palace, built of crystal, and surrounded by a fence of the same material. So they rode up to the palace, and Ivan Tsarevich opened the gate, and entered the courtyard; and at the entrance-door he saw a pillar, into which were fastened two rings, one of gold and the other of silver. Then drawing his bridle through both these rings, he tied up his steed, and went up the stairs. At the head of the stairs the King himself came to meet him; and, after a long conversation, he found out that Ivan Tsarevich was his nephew. So he conducted him into his hall, and invited in his brothers also.
After remaining in the palace a long time, the King gave the brothers a magic ball, which they bowled away, and then rode after it, until they came to a mountain, so high and steep that they could not ascend it.