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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 the serpent got up and said, “Well, prince, now let us come down into the courtyard; they’ll soon bring out the horse, and we’ll see what thou dost make of it.”

So they all went out and saw two serpents bringing out the horse, and it was as much as the pair of them could do to hold its head, so fierce and strong it was. They led it out in front of the gallery, and the prince walked round it and looked at it. Then said he, “What! did you not say you would bring out a horse? Why, this is no horse, but a mare. I will not sit on this mare, for ’twould be to my shame. I will call one of my servants, and he shall mount her.”

“Good!” said the serpent, “let him try!”

The prince called forth Ivan Golik. “Sit on that mare,” said he, “and trot her about!”

Ivan mounted the mare, and the two serpents let go. She carried him right up among the clouds, and then down again upon the ground she came, with a ringing of hoofs that made the earth tremble. But Ivan Golik took out a fragment of the broken bow, fifty pounds in weight, and trounced her finely. She reared and bucked and carried him hither and thither, but he flogged her between the ears without ceasing. So when she saw that all her prancing and curveting was in vain, she fell to piteously beseeching him, and cried, “Ivan Golik! Ivan Golik! beat me not, and I’ll do all thy behests!”

“I have nothing to do with thee at all,” said he, “but when thou dost come up to the prince, fall down before him, and stretch out thy legs toward him!”

At this she bethought her for a long time. “Well,” cried she at last, “it must be so, there is no doing anything with thee!” So she carried him all over the courtyard, fell down before the prince, and stretched out her legs toward him.

Then said the prince, “Thou seest what a sorry jade it is! And ye would have had me mount such a mare!”

At this the serpent was full of shame, but there was nothing to be said or done. So they went into the garden and sat them down to dinner. The youngest daughter met them there, and they greeted her.

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