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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

Ivan grasped his shield with one hand and his lance with the other. As the falcon swoops upon the geese, swans, and ducks, even so did Prince Ivan fall upon that terrible army; and his steed trod to the ground twice as many as he himself slew. He destroyed the whole host, sparing only the lives of the old men and boys, who could not resist; and he took the Tsar Feodul prisoner, and put him to death. Then he hastened to his kingdom and carried off the Princess Kandaula. He took her by her white hands, kissed her on her soft lips, and led her into his tent. Soon after Yaroslav Lasarevich also arrived, and they all fell to feasting and making merry.

When Yaroslav went out of the tent Ivan said: “My beloved Princess, tell me, is there in the world a fairer one than thou art, or a braver knight than my brother Yaroslav Lasarevich? I have gone far and wide and have not found thine equal.” “Nay,” replied the Princess, “there are yet fairer than I am. In the open fields is a white tent, in which dwell the daughters of the Tsar Bogrigor. The eldest is named Prodora, the second Tivobriga, and the youngest Legia: they are ten times fairer than I; compared to them I am as night to day. Whilst with my parents I was still fair, but now I am wasted with sorrow. And on the road to the kingdom of India there is a knight, in the dominions of Tsar Dalmat, named Ivashka Whitemantle Saracen’s-cap. I have heard from my father that for three-and-thirty years he has guarded the kingdom of India, and that no traveller or knight rides past, no animal runs by, and no bird flies past; I know no one braver than he, for I have never before heard of the valour of Yaroslav Lasarevich.”

Now Yaroslav overheard these words, and his chivalrous heart could not brook it. He saddled his steed, embraced Ivan the Russian knight, and the Princess Kandaula, and rode off towards the kingdom of the Tsar Dalmat, to engage in fight with Ivashka Whitemantle. He had journeyed for some time, when he bethought himself that he was bound on an enterprise of life and death, without having taken leave of his father and mother.

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