The Tale of the Silver Saucer and the Transparent Apple
He looked at these things and thought much of them.
Then the little good one threw herself on her knees before him, weeping.
"O little father, Tzar," she says, "take my transparent apple and my silver saucer; only forgive my sisters. Do not kill them because of me. If their heads are cut off when the sun goes down, it would have been better for me to lie under the blanket of black earth in the shade of the birch tree in the forest."
The Tzar was pleased with the kind heart of the little pretty one, and he forgave the bad ones, and their hands were untied, and the little pretty one kissed them, and they kissed her again and said they were sorry.
The old merchant looked up at the sun, and saw how the time was going.
"Well, well," says he, "it's time we were getting ready to go home."
They all fell on their knees before the Tzar and thanked him. But the Tzar could not take his eyes from the little pretty one, and would not let her go.
"Little sweet pigeon," says he, "will you be my Tzaritza, and a kind mother to Holy Russia?"
And the little good one did not know what to say. She blushed and answered, very rightly, "As my father orders, and as my little mother wishes, so shall it be."
The Tzar was pleased with her answer, and he sent a messenger on a galloping horse to ask leave from the little pretty one's old mother. And of course the old mother said that she was more than willing. So that was all right. Then there was a wedding—such a wedding!—and every city in Russia sent a silver plate of bread, and a golden salt-cellar, with their good wishes to the Tzar and Tzaritza.
Only the shepherd boy, when he heard that the little pretty one was to marry the Tzar, turned sadly away and went off into the forest.
"Are you happy, little sweet pigeon?" says the Tzar.
"Oh yes," says the Little Stupid, who was now Tzaritza and mother of Holy Russia; "but there is one thing that would make me happier."
"And what is that?" says the lord Tzar.
"I cannot bear to lose my old father and my little mother and my dear sisters.