Story of the Knight Yaroslav Lasarevich and the Princess Anastasia
” and they bowed them to the ground. Then Yaroslav and the Princess Anastasia, with all the princes and boyars fell to eating and drinking and making merry.
One day, as Yaroslav was conversing with Anastasia, he said: “My dear Tsarina, fairest princess in the world, I have gone through many kingdoms to behold thy beauty, and have heard of it far and wide from every maiden; and now, dear, tell me truly, is there any fairer princess than thou, or any braver knight than I?” Then the Princess replied: “My dear friend, there is no braver or handsomer knight in the world indeed than thou; but as for me—what is there fair and good in me? In the country of the Amazons, in the City of the Sun, there is a Tsarina Polikaria, who herself rules over the land; another such a beauty there is not in the wide world.”
When Yaroslav Lasarevich heard this, he could think only of the beautiful Polikaria; and one morning he arose early, and said to his wife: “My dear Tsarina, I am going a journey to a certain city in a distant country; keep this precious stone which I took from the Dragon. Farewell! if I live, I will return to thee, but if death overtakes me, have a Mass said for me.” Thereat the Tsarina wept bitterly, and fell to the ground as if dead with grief. Then Yaroslav went to the Tsar Vorcholomei and said that he wished to pay a visit to his father, Prince Lasar, and took his leave.
Yaroslav journeyed for nine months, until at last he came to the City of the Sun, and dismounted at the gates of the palace. When the Tsarevna Polikaria beheld a handsome knight in the courtyard, she was frightened at his appearance in the castle without her permission; and when he entered she said to him: “Brave knight, whence comest thou, and what dost thou seek in our kingdom?”
He replied: “I am come from the kingdom of the Tsar Kartaus, the son of Prince Lasar and the Princess Epistimia, and my name is Yaroslav. I am come to pay my compliments to thee, and to behold thy unspeakable beauty.” At hearing this the Tsarevna Polikaria was rejoiced, took him by his white hands, led him into the royal halls, and said: “Sir Yaroslav Lasarevich, abide here and rule over my kingdom, and thy will shall be my will.