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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

But look! the serpent himself is coming!”

“Let him come!”

The serpent was already on the threshold as the prince was going out. They ran against each other with their foreheads, and the serpent was very angry. “Where’s the ring?” cried he.

“There it is! But I will not give it to thee, but to her from whom thou didst take it.”

The serpent laughed. “Very good!” said he, “but now let us go to dinner, for my guests are many, and we have been waiting for thee this long time.”

So they went. The prince arrived at the house, where eleven serpents were sitting down to dinner. He saluted them, and then went on to the daughters, and said, as he drew off the ring, “To which of you does this belong?”

Then the youngest daughter blushed and said, “To me!”

“If it be thine, take it, for I sounded all the depths of the sea in searching for it.”

All the others laughed, but the youngest daughter thanked him.

Then they all went to dine. After dinner the serpent said to him, in the presence of all the guests, “Well, prince, now that thou hast dined and rested, to thy tasks again! I have a bow of one hundred poods (1 pood = 40 lbs.) weight. If thou canst bend this bow in the presence of these my guests, thou shalt have my daughter!”

When dinner was over they all lay down to rest, but the prince hastened off as quickly as he could to Ivan Golik, and said, “Now indeed it is all over with us, for he has given me such and such a task.”

“Simpleton!” cried Ivan Golik, “when they bring forth this bow, look at it, and say to the serpent, ‘I should be ashamed to bend a bow that the least of my servants can bend!’ Then call me, and I’ll bend the bow so that none other will be able to bend it again.”

With that the prince went straight off to the serpent again, and the serpent commanded and they brought the bow, together with an arrow weighing fifty poods. When the prince saw it, he was like to have died of fright; but they put the bow down in the middle of the courtyard, and all the guests came out to look at it.

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