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Main > Slavic Folktale > Fairy tale "Imperishable"

Imperishable

The horse answered, “Do as I tell you and all will be right.” And he gave him certain instructions. Niezguinek came out of the stable, saddled his friend, and mounting him 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 witch’s abode.”

The horse rose immediately as if he had been beckoned to by some one in the clouds, and passing swiftly through the air, crossed rivers and mountains, till at midnight he stopped before old Yaga’s house.

Since the disappearance of the guzla the sword had been placed on guard before the house, and whoever came near it was cut to pieces.

Niezguinek traced a circle with holy chalk, and placing himself on horseback in the centre of it, said:

“Sword who of thyself can smite,

I come to brave thy ire;

Peace or war upon this site

Of thee I do require.

If thou canst conquer, thine my life;

Should I beat thee, then ends this strife.”

The sword clinked, leapt into the air, and fell to the ground divided into a thousand other swords, which ranged themselves in battle array and began to attack Niezguinek. But in vain; they were powerless to touch him; for on reaching the chalk-traced circle they broke like wisps of straw. Then the sword-in-chief, seeing how useless it was to go on trying to wound him, submitted itself to Niezguinek and promised him obedience. Taking the magic weapon in his hand, he mounted his horse and said:

“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,

Back to the court of my king.”

The horse started with renewed courage, and by noon was eating his hay in the royal stables. Niezguinek went in to the king and presented him with the sword. While he was rejoicing over it one of his servants rushed in quite out of breath and said, “Sire, your enemies who attacked us last year, and whose king is your prisoner, surround our town.

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