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261 Frolka the Dropout 131. There lived and dwelt this tsar, and he had three daughters. And such beauties they were that you can’t describe them in a tale, or depict them with a pen. They loved to go strolling about in their garden of an evening, and that garden was large and glorious. But a Black Sea serpent took to flying there. Once the royal daughters tarried in the garden, admiring the flowers. Suddenly, out of nowhere, that Black Sea serpent appeared and carried them away on its fiery wings. The tsar waited and waited—no daughters! He sent servant girls to search for them in the garden, but all was in vain. The servants found no tsarevnas. In the morning the tsar sounded the alarm, and a multitude of people gathered. The tsar said,“Whoever can find my daughters will receive as much money as he pleases.” So then three were selected: a drunkard who was a soldier, Frolka the Dropout, and Erema. They came to an agreement with the tsar and set off to search for the tsarevnas. They walked and walked and came to a deep, dense forest. They’d just entered it, when a powerful sleep came over them. Frolka the Dropout pulled a snuffbox from his pocket, tapped on it, opened it, and took a pinch of snuff in his nose. Then he said loudly, “Hey brothers, don’t go to sleep, don’t doze off! Go on farther.” So they set off. They walked and walked and finally came to an enormous house, and this was the house of a five-headed serpent. They knocked at the gates for a long time, but got no answer. So Frolka the Dropout shoved the soldier and Erema to one side:“Let me try, brothers!” He sniffed up some tobacco and knocked at the gates with such force that he broke them. So then, they entered the yard, sat down in a circle, and got ready to eat a bit of what God had sent. A maiden came out of the house, and what a beauty she was. She came out and said,“Why, my darlings, have you come here? Here there lives a most wicked serpent. He will devour you! You are lucky that he isn’t home right now.” Frolka replied, “We’ll devour that serpent.” He didn’t have time to finish saying these words, when the serpent came flying in. He flew in and roared, “Who has destroyed my tsardom? Do I have any enemies on this earth? I have but one enemy, and a raven won’t even bring his bones here!”“No 262 h Frolka the Dropout raven brought me here,” said Frolka,“but a fine horse did.”When the serpent heard these words, he said,“Shall we make peace, or shall we fight?” “I didn’t come here to make peace,” said Frolka.“I’ve come to fight!” So they drew back from each other and then came at each other, and Frolka cut off all five heads of the serpent in one whack.And then he took them and placed them under a stone, and he buried the carcass in the ground. The maiden rejoiced and said to the young men,“Take me with you, my darlings!”“And who are you?” they asked. She said that she was the daughter of a tsar. So Frolka then told her what their task was, and so their affair was concluded! The tsarevna called them into her chambers, fed them and gave them something to drink, and asked them to rescue her other sisters, too. Frolka said,“But that’s what we were sent here for!” The tsarevna told them where her sisters were living: “My middle sister is even worse off than I was. A seven-headed serpent lives with her.”“Not to worry,” said Frolka. “We’ll deal with that one, but maybe I’ll have to struggle against the twelve-headed one for a long time.”They said farewell and went on. They came to that middle sister. The chambers in which she was kept were enormous, and around them was a high, iron fence. They approached and searched for the gates. They found them. With all his strength, Frolka rammed the gates and they opened. They entered the yard, and as before sat down to have a bite. Suddenly, up flew the sevenheaded serpent.“Somehow there’s the smell of a Russian,” it said.“Bah, it...


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