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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

Then Ivan Golik confessed to him that he was his younger brother, and told him the whole story of his life. So they embraced and kissed each other, and then the prince said, “’Tis high time I drove these swine home, for the princess doesn’t like being kept waiting for her tea.”

“Well,” said Ivan Golik, “we’ll drive them back together.”

“The worst of it, brother, is this,” said the prince. “Dost thou see that accursed pig that leads the others? Well, he will go only up to the gate of the sty, and there he stands fast as if rooted to the ground, and until I kiss his bristles he will not move from the spot. And all the time the princess and the serpents are sitting in the gallery at tea, and they look on and laugh!”

But Ivan Golik said, “It needs must be so! Kiss it again to-day, and to-morrow thou shalt kiss it no more!”

Then they drove the swine up to the gates, and Ivan Golik looked to see what would happen. He saw the princess sitting in the gallery with six serpents drinking tea, and the accursed pig stuck fast in the gate, and stretched out its legs and wouldn’t go in. The princess looked on and said, “Look at my fool driving the swine, and now he is going to kiss the big boar!”

So the poor fellow stooped down and kissed its bristles, and the pig ran grunting into the courtyard. Then the princess said, “Look! he has picked up from somewhere an under-herdsman to help him!”

The prince and Ivan Golik drove the pigs into their sty, and then Ivan Golik said, “Brother, get me twenty poods of hemp and twenty poods of pitch, and bring them to me in the garden.” And he did so. Then Ivan Golik made him a huge whip of the twenty poods of hemp and the twenty poods of tar. First he twined tightly a pood of hemp, and tarred it well with a pood of pitch; round this he plaited another pood of hemp, and tarred that also with another pood of pitch, till he had used up the whole forty. By midnight his task was done, and then he laid him down to sleep. But the prince had gone to sleep long before in the pig-sty.

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