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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

Now, in this country there was a large lake, in which lived a huge three-headed Dragon guarding a precious stone, that every year came to the shore and devoured a number of men. The Tsar had proclaimed again and again that if anyone slew this monster he would give them plenty of gold and silver and towns. When Yaroslav came to the city and heard of this proclamation, he mounted his steed again and rode off to the lake. As soon as the monster espied him, he sprang ashore: Yaroslav’s horse trembled with fright, and fell on his knees, and Yaroslav was thrown to the ground. Then the Dragon seized and drew him into the lake. Yaroslav, who had nothing but his battle sword, leaped upon the back of the monster, and with one blow struck off his two heads, and was about to cut off the third, when the Dragon turned round, and entreating him, said: “O Yaroslav Lasarevich, spare my life! From this time I will never more come on shore and devour men, but will remain at the bottom of the lake.” Then said Yaroslav: “Give me the stone, and I will set you free.” So the monster went down into the lake, with Yaroslav sitting upon his back; and Yaroslav received the precious stone, and desired the Dragon to set him again on shore; but no sooner had he done so, than Yaroslav struck off the Dragon’s third head, and mounting his steed, rode off to the city of Dobri, where the Tsar Vorcholomei came out to meet him. When the Tsar heard his name, and the exploit he had performed, he was overjoyed; and all the people of the city came and bowed to the ground, and all the little children jumped about, and there was great rejoicing in the city of Dobri. The Tsar in his rapture gave a great feast, and invited all his princes and boyars and people of different ranks, with their wives and children. Then he took Yaroslav by the hand, and seated him by his side at table and said: “Sir Yaroslav Lasarevich, thy will shall rule over me and my whole kingdom; my treasures are open to thee—take gold and silver, and towns and villages; and if thou wilt marry, I will give thee my daughter, the Princess Anastasia, with one-half of my kingdom as her dowry.

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