The Story of Little Tsar Novishny, the False Sister, and the Faithful Beasts
After it was all over the little Tsar said to her, “As thou hast been such a false friend to me, sister, thou must remain here while I go into another kingdom.” Then he made two buckets and hung them up on the whitethorn-tree, and said to his sister, “Look now, sister! if thou weepest for me, this bucket will fill with tears, but if thou weepest for the serpent that bucket will fill with blood!” Then she fell a-weeping and praying, and said to him, “Don’t leave me, brother, but take me with thee.”––“I won’t,” said he; “such a false friend as thou art I’ll not have with me. Stay where thou art.” So he mounted his horse, called to him his dogs and his beasts, and went his way into another kingdom and into another empire.
He went on and on till he came to a certain city, and in this city there was only one spring, and in this spring sat a dragon with twelve heads. And it was so that when any went to draw water from this well the dragon rose up and ate them, and there was no other place whence that city could draw its water. So the little Tsar came to that town and put up at the stranger’s inn, and he asked his host, “What is the meaning of all this running and crying of the people in the streets?”––“Why, dost thou not know?” said he; “it is the turn of the Tsar to send his daughter to the dragon!”––Then he went out and listened, and heard the people say, “The Tsar proclaims that whoever is able to slay the dragon, to him will he give his daughter and one-half of his tsardom!” Then little Tsar Novishny stepped forth and said, “I am able to slay this evil dragon!” So all the people immediately sent and told the Tsar, “A stranger has come hither who says he is ready to meet and slay the dragon.” Then the Tsar bade them take him to the watch-house and put him among the guards.
Then they led out the Tsarivna, and behind her they led him, and behind him came his beasts and his horse. And the Tsarivna was so lovely and so richly attired that all who beheld her burst into tears.