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Main > Ukrainian folktales > Fairy tale "The Story of Little Tsar Novishny, the False Sister, and the Faithful Beasts"

The Story of Little Tsar Novishny, the False Sister, and the Faithful Beasts

” So they arose and prayed to God, and while they prayed the day dawned. Then he mounted his horse and took the dogs with him, that he might live by what they caught.

So they lived in their hut by the sea, and one day the sister went down to the sea to wash her bed-linen and her body-linen in the blue waters. And the serpent came and said to her, “How didst thou manage to jump over the sea?”––“Look, now!” said she, “we crossed over in this way. My brother has a handkerchief which becomes a bridge when he waves it behind him.”––And the serpent said to her, “I tell thee what, ask him for this handkerchief; say thou dost want to wash it, and take and wave it, and I’ll then be able to cross over to thee and live with thee, and we’ll poison thy brother.”––Then she went home and said to her brother, “Give me that handkerchief, dear little brother; it is dirty, so I’ll wash and give it back to thee.” And he believed her and gave it to her, for she was dear to him, and he thought her good and true. Then she took the handkerchief, went down to the sea, and waved it––and behold there was a bridge. Then the serpent crossed over to her side, and they walked to the hut together and consulted as to the best way of destroying her brother and removing him from God’s fair world. Now it was his custom to rise at dawn, mount his horse, and go a-hunting, for hunting he dearly loved. So the serpent said to her, “Take to thy bed and pretend to be ill, and say to him, ‘I dreamed a dream, dear brother, and lo, I saw thee go and fetch me wolf’s milk to make me well.’ Then he’ll go and fetch it, and the wolves will tear his dogs to pieces, and then we can take and do to him as we list, for his strength is in his dogs.”

So when the brother came home from hunting the serpent hid himself, but the sister said, “I have dreamed a dream, dear brother. Methought thou didst go and fetch me wolf’s milk, and I drank of it, and my health came back to me, for I am so weak that God grant I die not.”––“I’ll fetch it,” said her brother.

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