The Tale of the Silver Saucer and the Transparent Apple
The Tzar, the little father, with rings on his fingers and a gold crown on his head, came out on the steps in the morning sunshine; and as for the old merchant, he fell on his knees and kissed the feet of the Tzar, and begged,—
"O little father, Tzar, give me leave to take water—just a little drop of water—from your holy well."
"And what will you do with it?" says the Tzar.
"I will wake my daughter from a bitter dream," says the old merchant. "She was murdered by her sisters—killed in the deep forest—for the sake of a silver saucer, for the sake of a transparent apple."
"A silver saucer?" says the Tzar—"a transparent apple? Tell me about that."
And the old merchant told the Tzar everything, just as I have told it to you.
And the Tzar, the little father, he gave the old merchant a glass of water from his holy well. "But," says he, "when your daughterkin wakes, bring her to me, and her sisters with her, and also the silver saucer and the transparent apple."
The old man kissed the ground before the Tzar, and took the glass of water and drove home with it, and I can tell you he was careful not to spill a drop. He carried it all the way in one hand as he drove.
He came to the forest and to the flowering mound under the little birch tree, and there was the shepherd watching with his dogs. The old merchant and the shepherd took away the blanket of black earth. Tenderly, tenderly the shepherd used his fingers, until the little girl, the pretty one, the good one, lay there as sweet as if she were not dead.
Then the merchant scattered the holy water from the glass over the little girl. And his daughterkin blushed as she lay there, and opened her eyes, and passed a hand across them, as if she were waking from a dream. And then she leapt up, crying and laughing, and clung about her old father's neck. And there they stood, the two of them, laughing and crying with joy. And the shepherd could not take his eyes from her, and in his eyes, too, there were tears.
But the old father did not forget what he had promised the Tzar.