The Story of Little Tsar Novishny, the False Sister, and the Faithful Beasts
” said the serpent; “perhaps when he goes for it his beasts will leave him in the lurch!” Then he changed himself into a needle, and she stuck him still higher in the wall, so that the dogs could not get at him. The Tsar again dismounted from his horse, and his dogs rushed up to the hut and began snuffing at the needle. But his sister fell a-weeping, and said, “Why dost thou keep such monstrous dogs?” He shouted to them, and they sat down quietly on their haunches. Then his sister said again, “I am ailing, my brother; go and get me fox’s milk, and I shall be well.”––“I’ll fetch it for thee,” said her brother.
But first he lay down to sleep. Nedviga lay at his head, Protius at his feet, and Vovchok, Medvedik, and the leveret by his side. The little Tsar slept through the night, and at dawn he arose, mounted his horse, took his pack with him, and went off. They came to a little thicket, and a vixen popped out. Protius ran her down, Nedviga held her fast, and the little Tsar milked her and let her go. Then said the vixen to him, “Thanks to thee, little Tsar Novishny, that thou hast let me go. Methought thou wouldst tear me in pieces with thy dogs. For thy kindness I’ll give thee a little fox.” But to the little fox she said, “Obey him as though he were thine own father.” So he went home, and they saw him coming from afar, and lo! now he had six guardians, and yet had come by no harm. “’Tis no good; we shall never do for him,” said the serpent. “Look, now! Make thyself worse than ever, and say to him, ‘I am very ill, my brother, because in another realm, far, far away, there is a wild boar who ploughs with his nose, and sows with his ears, and harrows with his tail––and in that same empire there is a mill with twelve furnaces that grinds its own grain and casts forth its own meal, and if thou wilt bring me of the meal that is beneath these twelve furnaces, so that I may make me a cake of it and eat, my soul shall live.’”––Then her brother said to her, “Methinks thou art not my sister, but my foe!