The Story of Little Tsar Novishny, the False Sister, and the Faithful Beasts
Then the she-bear said, “Hail to thee, little Tsar Novishny; because thou hast let me go, I’ll give thee a bear-cub.” But to the little bear she said, “Obey him as though he were thine own father.” So he set off home, and the serpent and his sister saw that four were now trotting behind him. “Look!” said the serpent, “if there are not four running behind him! Shall we never be able to destroy him? I tell thee what. Ask him to get thee hare’s milk; perhaps his beasts will gobble up the hare before he can milk it.” So he turned himself into a needle again, and she fastened him in the wall, only a little higher up, so that the dogs should not get at him. Then, when the little Tsar dismounted from his horse, he and his dogs came into the hut, and the dogs began snuffing at the needle in the wall and barked at it, but the brother knew not the cause thereof. But his sister burst into tears and said, “Why dost thou keep such monstrous dogs? Such a kennel of them makes me ill with anguish!” Then he shouted to the dogs, and they sat down quite still. Then she said to him, “I am so ill, brother, that nothing will make me well but hare’s milk. Go and get it for me.”––“I’ll get it,” said he.
But first he laid him down to sleep. Nedviga lay at his head, Protius at his feet, and Vovchok and Medvedik (little bear) each on one side. He slept through the night, but at dawn he mounted his steed, took his pack with him, and departed. Again he came to a little thicket, and a she-hare popped out. Protius ran her down, Nedviga held her fast, then he milked her and let her go. Then the hare said, “Hail to thee, little Tsar Novishny; because thou hast let me go––I thought thou wouldst have torn me to pieces with thy dogs––I’ll give thee a leveret.” But to the leveret she said, “Obey him, as though he were thine own father.” Then he went home, and again they saw him from afar. “What a wily rogue it is!” said they. “All five are following him, and he is as well as ever!”––“Ask him to get thee fox’s milk!