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Main > Slavic Folktale > Fairy tale "The Enchanted Peafowl - The Story of the Golden Apples, the Wicked Dragon, and the Magic Horse"

The Enchanted Peafowl - The Story of the Golden Apples, the Wicked Dragon, and the Magic Horse

The maiden spoke to the birds and they flew down with two of the golden apples, one for the Tsar and one for the Prince himself.

Then the maiden lifted her arms above her head, changed into a peafowl, and with the other eight flew off into the morning sky.

The Prince carried the two apples to his father and the Tsar was so delighted that he forgot to ask the Prince the particulars of his adventure.

The next night the Prince again slept under the apple-tree and awoke just before midnight to hear the whirr of wings and see the nine peafowl come flying down from the sky. Eight of them settled on the branches of the apple-tree and the ninth, as before, alighted beside him and as she touched the earth changed into the lovely maiden of his heart. Again they passed the night together in great happiness and in the early dawn before she flew away the maiden gave him the last two of the golden apples.

This went on night after night until the Prince's two elder brothers were mad with jealousy and consumed with curiosity to know what happened every night under the apple-tree. At last they went to an evil old woman and bribed her to spy on the Young Prince.

"Find out what happens every night at the apple-tree," they told her, "and we will reward you richly."

So the evil old woman hid herself near the apple-tree and that night when the prince fell asleep she crept under his bed. Midnight came and she heard the whirr of wings and presently she saw the white feet of a lovely maiden touch the ground and she heard the prince say: "My love, is it you?"

Then as the Prince and the maiden began kissing each other and exchanging vows of love very slowly and cautiously she reached up her hand from under the bed and groped around until she felt the maiden's hair. Then with a scissors she snipped off a lock.

"Oh!" the maiden cried in terror. She jumped up, lifted her arms above her head, changed into a peafowl, and without another word flew off with the other eight and vanished in the sky.

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