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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

He smoked out one pipe, filled another, and smoked that too; then he filled a third, and began smoking that. At last the smoke inside the whale made it feel so uncomfortable that it opened its mouth, swam ashore, and went asleep on the beach. Now some huntsmen happened to be going along the beach at that time, and one of them saw the whale, and said, “Look, my brethren! we have been hunting jays and crows and shot nothing, and lo! what a monstrous fish lies all about the shore! Let us shoot it!”

So they shot at it and shot at it, and then they fell upon it with their axes and began to cut it to pieces. They cut and hacked at it till suddenly they heard something calling to them from the middle of the fish, “Ho! my brothers! hack fish if you like, but hack not that flesh which is full of Christian blood!”

They fell down to the ground for fright, and were like dead men, but the prince’s younger son crept out of the hole in the fish that the huntsmen had made, went out upon the shore, and sat down. He sat down there quite naked, for all his clothes had rotted and dropped off inside the fish. Maybe he had been a whole year in the whale without knowing it, and he thought to himself, “How shall I now manage to live in the wide, wide world?”

Meanwhile the elder brother had become a great nobleman. His father had died, and he was lord over his whole inheritance. Then, as is the wont of princes, he called together his senators and his servants, and they counselled their young prince to marry; so out he went to seek a bride, and a great retinue followed after him. They went on and on till they came to where a naked man was sitting. Then the prince said to one of his servants, “Go and see what manner of man that is!”

So the servant went up to the man, and said, “Hail!”

“Hail to thee!”

“Who art thou, prythee?”

“I am Ivan Golik (Ivan Naked).Who art thou?”

“We are from such and such a land, and we are going with our prince to seek him a bride.”

“Go, tell thy prince that he must take me with him, for he’ll make no good match without me.

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