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Main > Ukrainian folktales > Fairy tale "The Wondrous Story of Ivan Golik and the Serpents"

The Wondrous Story of Ivan Golik and the Serpents

His legs remained where they were, but his trunk with his head disappeared through the roof, and fell seven miles away from the house. And as he fell he cried, “Oh, accursed one! did I not charge thee not to confess! Did I not implore thee not to tell thy wife the truth for seven years! And now I perish and thou also!”

He raised his head and found himself sitting in a wood, and there he saw an armless man pursuing a hare. He pursued and pursued it, but though he caught it up, he couldn’t catch it, for he had no arms. Then Ivan Golik caught it and they fell out about it. The armless one said, “The hare is mine!”––“No,” said Ivan Golik, “it is mine!” So they quarrelled over it, but as one had no legs and the other had no arms, they couldn’t hurt one another. At last the armless one said, “What is the use of our quarrelling? Let us pull up that oak, and whichever of us pitches it farthest shall have the hare.”

“Good!” said Legless.

Then Armless kicked Legless up to the oak, and Legless pulled it up and gave it to Armless. Then Armless lay down on the ground and kicked the oak with his feet three miles off. But Legless threw it seven miles. Then Armless said, “Take the hare and be my elder brother!”

So they became brothers, and made a wagon between them, and fastened ropes to it, and while Armless dragged it along Legless drove it. On they went till they came to a town where a Tsar lived. There they went up to the church, and planted themselves with their wagon in the place of beggars, and waited till the Tsarivna came up. And the Tsarivna said to her court lady, “Take this money, and give it to those poor cripples.”

The lady was about to go with it when Legless said, “Nay, but let the Tsarivna give it to us with her own hands.”

Then the Tsarivna took the money from her court lady and gave it to Legless. But he said to her, “Be not angry, but tell me, now, wherefore art thou so yellow?”

“God made me so,” answered she, and then she sighed.

“No,” replied Legless.

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