Story of the Knight Yaroslav Lasarevich and the Princess Anastasia
In a certain country lived a Tsar named Kartaus, who had twelve knights, and the Tsar had a chief over these knights, Prince Lasar Lasarevich. Prince Lasar and his wife, the Princess Epistimia, lived for seventy years and had no child; and they began, with tears, to sigh for one to cheer their old age, and to pray for their souls after death.
At length their wish was granted, and they had a son, whom Prince Lasar named Yaroslav. The little fellow had a rosy face, blonde hair, and bright eyes. His parents were overjoyed and made a great feast. When Yaroslav was fifteen years old he went often to the Tsar’s Court and played with the children of princes and boyars. Then the princes counselled together, and went to the Tsar and said: “Our lord and sovereign, grant us your imperial favour: your Majesty has a knight, Prince Lasar, whose son Yaroslav comes to your imperial Court and plays with our children; but his sports are mischievous, for whenever he takes anyone by the head, the head falls off, and this causes us great trouble and grief. Now, O Tsar, show us your favour, and either send Yaroslav out of your kingdom or grant us leave to depart, for live we cannot with Yaroslav.”
Then the Tsar Kartaus immediately sent for Prince Lasar, told him the complaints the princes and nobles had made of Yaroslav, and commanded that he should leave the kingdom. When Lasar heard this command, he rode away sorrowfully, with his head hanging lower than his shoulders. Now Yaroslav came to meet his father, bowed to the ground, and said: “Long years of happiness to my lord and father! Why ride you so sorrowfully, my lord? Have you received an unkind word from the Tsar?” Prince Lasar answered: “My dear child Yaroslav, I have indeed received a cruel order from the Tsar. Other children are a joy to their father from their youth up, a support in his old age, and the guardian of his memory when dead. Not so, alas! with you, my son. You go to the Tsar’s Court and play mischievous tricks with the children of the princes and boyars, and they have complained to the Tsar Kartaus, and he has banished you from the kingdom.