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Main > Slavic Folktale > Fairy tale "The broad man, the tall man and the man with eyes of flame"

The broad man, the tall man and the man with eyes of flame

When she heard the steps of the pursuers she begged the Man with Eyes of Flame to see who they were. Having turned to look, he told her that a large army of men on horseback were advancing at a gallop.

“They are my father’s guards,” said she, “we shall have some difficulty in escaping them.”

Then, seeing the horsemen draw nearer she took the veil from her face, and throwing it behind her in the direction of the wind, said, “I command as many trees to spring up as there are threads in this veil.”

Instantly, in the twinkling of an eye, a high thick forest rose up between them. Before the soldiers had time to clear for themselves a pathway through this dense mass, Matthias and his party had been able to get far ahead, and even to take a little rest.

“Look,” said the princess, “and see if they are still coming after us.”

The Man with Eyes of Flame looked back, and replied that the king’s guards were out of the forest and coming towards them with all speed.

“They will not be able to reach us,” cried she. And she let fall a tear from her eyes, saying as she did so, “Tear, become a river.”

At the same moment a wide river flowed between them and their pursuers, and before the latter had found means of crossing it, Matthias and his party were far on in front.

“Man with Eyes of Flame,” said the princess, “look behind and tell me how closely we are followed.”

“They are quite near to us again,” he replied, “they are almost upon our heels.”

“Darkness, cover them,” said she.

At these words Tall drew himself up. He stretched and stretched and stretched until he reached the clouds, and there, with his hat he half covered the face of the sun. The side towards the soldiers was black as night, while Matthias and his party, lit up by the shining half, went a good way without hindrance.

When they had travelled some distance, Tall uncovered the sun, and soon joined his companions by taking a mile at each step. They were already in sight of Matthias’ home, when they noticed that the royal guards were again following them closely.

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