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Main > Slavic Folktale > Fairy tale "Imperishable"

Imperishable

“Never mind,” said the king, “as you were able to take my enemy prisoner you will certainly be able to succeed in getting old Yaga’s guzla: go then, and do not return without it, or you will be executed.”

Niezguinek bowed and went out. He went straight to the stable, where he found his charger looking very sad and thin, his head drooping before the trough, the hay untouched.

“What is the matter with you, my good steed? What grieves you?”

“I grieve for us both, for I foresee a long and perilous journey.”

“You are right, old fellow, but we have to go. And what is more, we have to take away and bring here old Yaga’s guzla; and how shall we do it, seeing that she knows us?”

“We shall certainly succeed if you do as I tell you.”

Then the horse gave him certain instructions, and when Niezguinek had led him out of the stable and mounted he said:

“Marvel of strength and of beauty so white,

Horse of my heart, do not wait on the road;

Rise in the air, like a bird take thy flight,

Haste to the wicked old Yaga’s abode.”

The horse arose in the air as if he heard some one calling to him from the clouds, and flitting rapidly along passed over several kingdoms within a few hours, thus reaching old Yaga’s dwelling before midnight. Niezguinek threw the leaves of Sleep in at the window, and by means of another wonderful herb caused all the doors of the house to open. On entering he found old Yaga fast asleep, with her trough and iron crutches beside her, while above her head hung the magic sword and guzla.

While the old witch lay snoring with all her might, Niezguinek took the guzla and leapt on his horse, crying:

“Marvel of strength and of beauty so white,

Horse of my heart, while I sing,

Rise in the air, like a bird take thy flight,

Haste to the court of my king.”

Just as if the horse had seen something in the clouds, he rose swift as an arrow, and flew through the air, above the fogs. The same day about noon he neighed before his own manger in the royal stable, and Niezguinek went in to the king and presented him with the guzla.

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