The Wondrous Story of Ivan Golik and the Serpents
She searched and searched for it, but could find it nowhere. If thou canst find it to-morrow, and bring it hither while we are sitting down to meat, thou shalt remain alive; if not, ’tis all over with thee!”
The prince returned to his own people and fell a-weeping. Ivan Golik perceived it, and said to him, “Wherefore dost thou weep?”
“For such and such a reason,” said he; “dost thou not see that I am ruined?”
Then said Ivan Golik, “The serpent lies. He himself it was who took his daughter’s ring and flew over the sea early this morning, and dropped it in the water. But lie down and sleep! I myself will go to the sea to-morrow, haply I may find the ring.”
So, very early next morning, Ivan Golik went down to the sea. He shouted with an heroic voice, and whistled with an heroic whistle, till the whole sea was troubled by a storm. Then the two pike he had thrown back into the sea came swimming to the shore. “Why dost thou call us, O Ivan Golik?” said they.
“Why should I not call you? The serpent flew over the sea early yesterday morning and dropped in it his daughter’s ring. Search for it everywhere. If you find it, I shall remain alive, but if you find it not, know that the serpent will remove me from the face of the earth!”
Then they swam off and searched, nor was there a single corner of the sea where they searched not. Yet they found nothing. At last they swam off to their mother, and told her what a great woe was about to befall. Their mother said to them, “The ring is with me. I am sorry for him, and still more sorry for you, so you may have it.” And with that she drew off the ring, and they swam with it to Ivan Golik, and said, “Now we have requited thy service. We have found it, but ’twas a hard task.”
Then Ivan Golik thanked the two pike and went on his way. He found the prince weeping, for the serpent had already sent for him twice, and there was no ring. The moment he saw Ivan Golik he sprang to his feet, and said, “Hast thou the ring?”
“Yes, here it is!