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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 replied: “I have roamed far and wide, and now seek the service of a good lord and master; I was born in the kingdom of the Tsar Kartaus, the son of Prince Lasar, and my name is Yaroslav.” Then said the Tsar: “Yaroslav Lasarevich, ride into my city—I want followers.” So Yaroslav rode into the city.

One day the Tsar rode out to the chase, and took with him the boyars and knights, and Yaroslav was among them. When they approached the Knight’s Head, Yaroslav stood and marvelled at the sight. Then said the Tsar: “Why standest thou there, Yaroslav?” And Yaroslav answered: “O Tsar, I see here a great army lie slain, and this Knight’s Head, under which rests a trusty sword.” The Tsar sighed and answered: “This Knight has destroyed my army, and I slew him; his sword lies under his head, and I cannot get it. No sword can wound me, no fire burn, no water drown me; this sword alone has the power to slay me.”

Then said Yaroslav: “O Tsar, permit me to bring thee the sword.” And the Tsar replied: “Do this service and I will set thee above all my knights; but if thou talkest idly, thou shalt be safe neither in water, nor under the earth, nor among the rocks.” And so saying, the Tsar returned into the city, and Yaroslav rode up to the Knight’s Head and said: “Sir Knight’s Head, I trust to thy love and friendship to fulfil thy promise and give me up this sword; for I have given my word to the Tsar to take it to him, and shall die a cruel death if I perform not my promise.” But the Knight’s Head answered not a word. Then Yaroslav dismounted from his good steed, fell on his knees before him, and said: “Sir Raslanei, let me die not thus in vain—give me, I pray, the sword from under thee.”

Thereupon the Knight Raslanei raised himself, and Yaroslav took the sword, bowed to the Knight’s Head, and mounting his steed, rode off to the city of Shtchetin. And on the way he said to himself: “Hitherto I have been victorious over Tsars and knights, but now indeed I am forced to bend before a Knight’s Head, and entreat him to give me a sword!

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