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Main > Ukrainian folktales > Fairy tale "The Voices at the Window"

The Voices at the Window

A nobleman went hunting one autumn, and with him went a goodly train of huntsmen. All day long they hunted and hunted, and at the end of the day they had caught nothing. At last dark night overtook them. It had now grown bitterly cold, and the rain began to fall heavily. The nobleman was wet to the skin, and his teeth chattered. He rubbed his hands together and cried, “Oh, had we but a warm hut, and a white bed, and soft bread, and sour kvas (a drink),we should have naught to complain of, but would tell tales and feign fables till dawn of day!” Immediately there shone a light in the depths of the forest. They hastened up to it, and lo! there was a hut. They entered, and on the table lay bread and a jug of kvas; and the hut was warm, and the bed therein was white––everything just as the nobleman had desired it. So they all entered after him, and said grace, and had supper, and laid them down to sleep.

They all slept, all but one, but to him slumber would not come. About midnight he heard a strange noise, and something came to the window and said, “Oh, thou son of a dog! thou didst say, ‘If we had but a warm hut, and a white bed, and soft bread, and sour kvas, we should have naught to complain of, but would tell tales and feign fables till dawn’; but now thou hast forgotten thy fine promise! Wherefore this shall befall thee on thy way home. Thou shalt fall in with an apple-tree full of apples, and thou shalt desire to taste of them, and when thou hast tasted thereof thou shalt burst. And if any of these thy huntsmen hear this thing and tell thee of it, that man shall become stone to the knee!” All this that huntsman heard, and he thought, “Woe is me!”

And about the second cockcrow something else came to the window and said, “Oh, thou son of a dog! thou didst say, ‘If we had but a warm hut, and a white bed, and soft bread, and sour kvas, we should have naught to complain of, but would tell tales and feign fables till dawn’; but now thou hast forgotten thy fine promises!

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