The Three Men of Power—Evening, Midnight, and Sunrise
No old woman in Russia was better looked after than the mother of the three young bogatirs and men of power, Evening, Midnight, and Sunrise, while they were away on their adventure seeking the King's daughters.
The young men rode out on their journey. A month they rode together, two months, and in the third month they came to a broad desert plain, where there were no towns, no villages, no farms, and not a human being to be seen. They rode on over the sand, through the rank grass, over the stony wastes. At last, on the other side of that desolate plain, they came to a thick forest. They found a path through the thick undergrowth, and rode along that path together into the very heart of the forest. And there, alone in the heart of the forest, they came to a hut, with a railed yard and a shed full of cattle and sheep. They called out with their strong young voices, and were answered by the lowing of the cattle, the bleating of the sheep, and the strong wind in the tops of the great trees.
They rode through the railed yard and came to the hut. Evening leant from his brown horse and knocked on the window. There was no answer. They forced open the door, and found no one at all.
"Well, brothers," says Evening, "let us make ourselves at home. Let us stay here awhile. We have been riding three months. Let us rest, and then ride farther. We shall deal better with our adventure if we come to it as fresh men, and not dusty and weary from the long road."
The others agreed. They tied up their horses, fed them, drew water from the well, and gave them to drink; and then, tired out, they went into the hut, said their prayers to God, and lay down to sleep with their weapons close to their hands, like true bogatirs and men of power.
In the morning the youngest brother. Sunrise, said to the eldest brother, Evening,—
"Midnight and I are going hunting to-day, and you shall rest here, and see what sort of dinner you can give us when we come back."
"Very well," says Evening; "but to-morrow I shall go hunting, and one of you shall stay here and cook the dinner.