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264 The Norka Beast 132. There lived this tsar and tsaritsa. They had three sons. Two were clever, but the third was a fool. The tsar had this animal park, in which he kept a great many various animals. There was one great beast that invaded this animal park, and they called it Norka. And it truly did a lot of damage. Every night it ate some animals. No matter what the tsar did, he couldn’t destroy it. So finally he summoned his sons and said,“Whoever destroys the Norka beast will receive half the tsardom.” So the eldest son took it on.When night fell, he took a weapon and set off, but before he got to the animal park, he stopped off in a tavern and caroused the whole night. He came to at dawn, too late. He was ashamed to appear before his father, but there was nothing to be done. The next day the middle brother did the same thing. Their father bawled them out but then stopped. So on the third day, the youngest son got ready to go. Everyone laughed at him because he was so foolish, and they thought that he could no nothing. But he took his weapon and went straight to the animal park, and sat down above a thorn bush so that if he started falling to sleep, it would prick him and he would wake up. It was already approaching midnight . The ground shook. The Norka beast ran right through the fence into the animal park, it was that large. The tsarevich collected his wits, got up, crossed himself, and went directly at the beast. It went back, the tsarevich after it, and then seeing that he couldn’t catch it on foot, he ran into the stables, took the very best stallion, and chased after it. He caught up to the beast and began fighting it. They fought, and they fought. The tsarevich wounded the beast in three places. Both of them were exhausted from the struggle and lay down to rest. As soon as the tsarevich had fallen asleep, the beast got up and ran away. His horse woke the tsarevich. He came to and gave chase. He caught up, and again they began fighting. And here the tsarevich gave the beast three more wounds and then they lay down to rest. The beast fled. The tsarevich, catching up to it, again wounded it three times. And further, when he was catching up to it for a fourth time, the beast ran up to a great, white stone, lifted it up, and went to the other world, saying to the tsarevich,“If you would defeat me, come here.” The Norka Beast  h 265 The tsarevich went and told his father everything, and he asked his father to have a leather hawser made for him so long that it would reach the other world. His father ordered it done. When they had made the rope, the tsarevich took his brothers, selected some servants and everything that he would need for a whole year, and then he rode off to where the beast had disappeared beneath the stone. When they got there, they made themselves a palace and began living there. They prepared everything . The youngest brother said to the older ones,“Well, brothers, who can lift this stone?” Neither could move it from its place, but he grabbed hold, and the stone flew off some way. And it was as big as a mountain! When he’d tossed off the stone, he spoke once more to his brothers:“And who will go to the other world to fight the beast Norka?” Neither would take it on. He laughed at them, saying they were cowards:“Well, brothers , farewell. Let me down into the other world, but don’t leave this place. And as soon as the rope begins to shake, pull on it.” His brothers let him down. Finding himself in the other world, beneath the ground, the tsarevich set off. He walked and walked. He was amazed at a horse walking along in beautiful harness, and the horse said to him,“Greetings, Ivan Tsarevich , I’ve been waiting for you for a long time!” He mounted the horse and rode off. He rode and rode, until he saw a copper palace. He rode into the yard, tied up his horse, and went into a room. Everything had already been prepared for dinner. He sat down, ate dinner...


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