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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

As she rose to join her sisters she said to the serving man:

"When your master awakens tell him that to-morrow is the last day we shall come here to bathe in the lake."

The peafowl were no sooner gone than the Prince rubbed his eyes and looked about.

"What! Where are they? Have I been asleep again?"

The serving man pretended to be deeply grieved.

"I tried hard to awaken you, master, but I couldn't. The ninth peafowl as she flew away said to tell you that to-morrow is the last day they'll come to the lake."

The next day as the Prince waited for the appearance of the nine peafowl he galloped madly along the shore of the lake hoping in this way to ward off the strange sleep. But the moment the nine peafowl appeared in the sky he was so delighted that he drew rein and the treacherous serving man was able to slip up behind him and blow the magic bellows on his neck. So again he slept soundly while the ninth peafowl fluttered about his head and tried vainly to arouse him.

As she was flying away she said to the serving man:

"Tell your master that now he will never find me unless he strikes off the head from the nail."

When the Prince awoke the serving man delivered this message.

"What can she mean?" the Prince said.

He looked hard at the serving man and something in the fellow's appearance made him suspect treachery.

"You know more than you're telling me!" the Prince cried, and taking the cowardly fellow by the throat he shook him and choked him until he had got the truth out of him.

"Ha!" cried the Prince. "Now I understand! You are the nail of which my dear love warns me!"

The fellow whined and begged for mercy but the Prince with one blow of his sword struck off his head. Then, leaving the body where it fell for the old woman to bury, he mounted his horse and again set forth on his quest.

Everywhere he went he made inquiries about the nine enchanted peafowl and everywhere people shook their heads and said they had never heard of them. At last high up in a wild mountain he found an old hermit who knew all about them.

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