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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

” And Yaroslav said: “Whose armies lie here slain?” “These hosts belong to the Tsar Fireshield,” replied Raslanei, “and a year has not passed since I came here and slew them. The cause of the war was that the Tsar had seized upon towns belonging to my father. But tell me, Yaroslav, how far are you journeying?” Then said Yaroslav: “I am riding to the city of Shtchetin to slay the Tsar Fireshield.” But the Head answered: “Sooner will you be slain yourself! I was indeed a powerful knight, feared by all Tsars and knights; at my birth I was six feet tall, and as stout as a man could compass. When I was ten years old no wild beast, no man on foot, or knight on horse, could stand before me. Now you see how I am grown: my body is sixty feet long, twelve feet between the shoulders, and a feathered shaft can lie between my eyebrows. My head is as big as a brewer’s vat; my arms are twenty feet long, and I could not stand my ground against the Tsar. The Tsar is strong, and has a mighty host; sword and scimitar wound him not; fire does not burn, water does not drown him. Yet I have a sword which can wound him, but unluckily I could not wield it, and he struck me down. Nevertheless, I will do you good service, and give you counsel; when you come to the city of Shtchetin and the Tsar Fireshield sees and questions you, answer that you desire to serve him. Then he will bid you follow him; do so, and serve him faithfully, and when he goes out to the chase, accompany him. Then remind him of me, and he will grow sad, but tell him you can get the sword which lies under my head. He will not believe you, but pledge your word, and as soon as you can, come to me, I will lift my head and give you the sword.”

Then Yaroslav made his bow, mounted his steed and rode to Shtchetin; and, as he approached the city, the Tsar perceived and accosted him. Yaroslav dismounted, and falling with his face to the ground, said: “Long years of happiness to thee, O Tsar! Take me, I pray, into thy service.” Then the Tsar asked him whence he came, whose son he was, and what was his name.

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