Sunlight and Moonlight
L ong years ago, there lived in a distant land a handsome prince named Sunlight. Sunlight lived in a splendid palace with his father, the ruler of the land, who was called in those days a Khan. Sunlight's mother had died when he was a baby, and when he was a young boy his father married again. So Sunlight also lived with his stepmother, the queen, along with her son, a lad named Moonlight.
Sunlight's father and his stepbrother, Moonlight, loved him dearly, but his stepmother hated him with a passion. She desperately wanted her own son, Moonlight, to be the one to inherit the throne. So, while the two boys lived happily together, never suspecting evil, this wicked woman plotted and schemed to somehow be rid of Sunlight forever.
At last, one day, she thought of a plan. Going to her room, she lay down, groaning and crying out as if she were sick and in frightful pain. The Khan was soon notified and was much alarmed when he found the queen in such a bad way.
"My dear wife!" he cried, "I will have the court doctor summoned at once."
"Nay," said the queen feebly, "it will do no good. Already I am near death, and none can help me. I am dying, my Khan - I know that I am dying fast, and the one and only cure for my sickness, alas! I can never have."
"One cure?" said the king. "If there is anything on earth which will help you, my dear, surely you shall have it! Only tell me what it is, so I may get it for you at once!"
She groaned again, this time gasping for breath. "It is more than your kingdom. It is of such a nature that I dare not speak of it." Then she writhed and shuddered as if in worse pain than ever, and the Khan was beside himself to see her suffering so.
"Tell me, my love, tell me!" he begged. "No matter what it is, you shall have it! You have my promise!"
"It is your son," whispered the wicked woman. "Sunlight has worked an evil charm upon me. I shall die this very night if I do not drink the blood from his heart!
The Three Men of Power—Evening, Midnight, and Sunrise
Category: Russia folktales
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