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Main > Russia folktales > Fairy tale "Story of the Golden Mountain"

Story of the Golden Mountain

When his brothers saw him left alone on the mountain, they pulled the cloth from his hands, conducted their mother and the Queens back to their own kingdom, and made them promise solemnly to tell their father that it was the elder brothers who had found and rescued them.

Ivan Tsarevich was thus left alone on the mountain, and knew not how to get down. Lost in thought he wandered about; and, throwing by chance the magic wand from one hand to the other, on a sudden a man stood before him, who said: “What is your pleasure, Ivan Tsarevich?” Thereat Ivan wondered greatly, and asked the man who he was, and how he had come to that uninhabited mountain. “I am a Spirit,” replied the figure, “and was subject to him whom you have destroyed; but as you now possess his magic wand, and have changed it from one hand to the other—which you must always do when you have need of me—I am here ready to obey you.” “Good!” said Ivan Tsarevich; “then do me now the first service, and carry me back to my own kingdom.”

No sooner had Ivan uttered these words than he found himself at once transported to his native city. He wished first to know what was passing in the castle; but instead of going in directly, he went and took work in a shoemaker’s shop, thinking that he should not be easily recognised in such a place. The next morning the shoemaker went into the city to buy leather, and returned home so tipsy that he was unable to work, and left it all to his new assistant. But Ivan, being quite ignorant of shoemaking, called the Spirit to his aid, ordered him to take the leather and make it into shoes, and then lay down to sleep.

Early the next morning, when the shoemaker awoke, he went to see what work Ivan had done; but, perceiving him still fast asleep, he flew into a rage, and exclaimed: “Up, you lazy loon! have I engaged you only to sleep?” Ivan, stretching himself slowly, replied: “Have patience, master; first go to the workshop, and see what you shall find.” So the shoemaker went to the shop; and what was his astonishment at beholding a quantity of shoes all made and ready!

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