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Main > Russia folktales > Fairy tale "Story of the Knight Yaroslav Lasarevich and the Princess Anastasia"

Story of the Knight Yaroslav Lasarevich and the Princess Anastasia

Yaroslav wept when he heard this, and mounting his steed, commended himself to the Saints, and rode to seek the Tsar Daniil the White. He came to the city at noon without being seen, except by some little boys playing in the streets: and he asked them where the Tsar Kartaus was, as he wished to give him alms; so they showed him the prison. At the gate a guard was standing, but Yaroslav struck him down, and broke open the doors. On entering the prison, he saw Kartaus, his father Lasar, and the twelve knights, all blinded; at which cruel sight he fell to the ground, and with tears exclaimed: “Long life to thee, O Tsar, to thee my father, and to you brave knights!” Then answered Kartaus: “I hear thy voice but cannot see thy face. Whence comest thou, what is thy name, and whose son art thou?” So Yaroslav told him who he was; but Kartaus replied: “Fellow, away! and mock me not.”

“Father,” replied Yaroslav, “I am indeed Yaroslav, and come to relieve you.” “Lie not, fellow!” said Kartaus; “if Yaroslav had been alive we should not sit here in prison and suffer such a cruel fate; but I should have been reigning in my kingdom with Prince Lasar and my twelve knights. But since Yaroslav is dead we are punished for our sins, and sit here in sightless solitude. If, however, you are really the true Yaroslav Lasarevich, ride, I pray thee, beyond the Still Waters and the Warm Sea, to the city of Shtchetin, where rules the Tsar Fireshield. Slay him, and take some drops of his blood; and when you return, anoint our eyes with it and we shall then see and shall believe you.”

Yaroslav made his obeisance to the Tsar, mounted his horse, and rode forth. But the boys in the streets had observed him, and they told it to their fathers, who said to Daniil the White: “O Prince, there has been in our city a brave warrior; his horse was like a lion, and he was armed from head to foot, and he rode away from the prison where Tsar Kartaus and his companions are confined.” Instantly Prince Daniil sent his servant Mursa to enquire who had been in the prison.

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