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

The Voices at the Window

They went on still farther till they came upon a golden bed in the highway, full of white feathers so soft and cosy that words cannot describe it. The nobleman felt that he must rest in that bed or die. Then the huntsman rushed up and struck the bed with his sword, and it turned to coal. But the nobleman was very wrath, and cried, “Shoot me down that son of a dog!” But the huntsman rode on before and hid himself.

When they got home the nobleman commanded them to bring the huntsman before him. “What hast thou done, thou son of Satan?” he cried. “I must needs slay thee!” But the huntsman said, “My master, bid them bring hither into the courtyard an old mare fit for naught but the knacker.” They brought the mare, and he mounted it and said, “My master, last midnight something came beneath the window and said, ‘Oh, son of a dog! thou saidst, “If only we had a warm hut, and a white bed, and soft bread, and sour kvas, we should grieve no more, but tell tales and feign fables till dawn,” and now thou hast forgotten thy promise. Wherefore this shall befall thee on thy way home: thou shalt come upon an apple-tree covered with apples by the wayside, and straightway thou shalt long to eat of them, and the moment thou tastest thereof thou shalt burst. And if any of thy huntsmen hears this thing, and tells thee of it, he shall become stone up to the knee.’” When the huntsman had spoken so far, the horse on which he sat became stone up to the knee. Then he went on, “About the second cockcrow something else came to the window and said the selfsame thing, and prophesied, ‘He shall come upon a spring by the roadside, a spring of pure water, and he shall long to drink thereof, and the moment he tastes of it he shall burst; and whoever hears and tells him of this thing shall become stone right up to the girdle.’” And when the huntsman had spoken so far, the horse on which he sat became stone right up to the breast. And he continued, and said, “About the third cockcrow something else came to the window and said the selfsame thing, and added, ‘This shall befall thy lord on his way home.

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