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281 Ivan Popialov 135. Once there lived this old man and his wife, and they had three sons. Two were clever, but the third was a fool. He was named Ivan and nicknamed Popialov, Ivan of the Ashes. For twelve years he lay among the ashes of the stove, but then later he got up from the ashes and shook himself such that six poods of ash flew off him! In that tsardom where Ivan lived, there was no day, only night; a serpent had done this. So Ivan was called upon to destroy that serpent, and he said to his father,“Papa, make me a club weighing five poods.” He took the club and set off into the fields, and he threw it up and went home. The next day, Ivan came to the fields to that place where he’d thrown his club, stuck out his forehead, and that club flew and struck him in the head and broke in two. Ivan came home and said to his father,“Papa, make me another club of ten poods.” He took that club and went into the fields and threw it up high. That club flew for three days and three nights. On the fourth day, Ivan went to that place where the club was flying. He stuck out his knee, and the club broke in three pieces. Popialov came home and got his father to make a third club of fifteen poods. He took the club, went into the fields, and threw it high. The club flew for six days. On the seventh day, Ivan went to that place where the club was flying.And it struck Ivan’s head and bent his head low. So he said, “This club will overcome that serpent!” So Ivan got ready and went with his brothers to fight the serpent. He rode and rode until he came to a little hut on cock’s legs. And in this hut lived the serpent. They stopped there. Ivan hung up his gloves and said to his brothers,“If blood should flow from my gloves, come running to my assistance.”When he’d said this, Ivan entered the hut and sat down under the floorboards. Just then, the serpent with three heads came riding up. Its horse stumbled, the dog started howling, the falcon screamed. The serpent said,“Why have you stumbled, horse? Why has the dog started howling and the falcon screamed?”“Why should I not stumble” said the horse,“when under the floor boards sits Ivan Popialov?”Then the serpent said,“Come out here, Ivanushka! Let’s measure our strengths.” He came 282 h Ivan Popialov out, and they began fighting. Ivan killed that serpent and once more sat down under the floorboards. A serpent with six heads came riding up. He killed that serpent, too, but then there came a twelve-headed serpent. He started fighting that one and chopped off nine heads. The serpent was out of strength. They looked up, and there came a raven shouting,“Krov! Krov! Blood, blood.” The serpent said to the raven,“Fly to my wife. She’ll devour Ivan Popialov .” And Popialov said to the raven, “Fly to my brothers. When they come, we’ll kill this serpent and leave you some meat.” The raven heeded Ivan, flew to his brothers, and began croaking right over their heads. The brothers awoke, and hearing the raven’s croaking, ran to help their brother . They killed that serpent, took the serpent’s head, and they came to its hut. They smashed the head, and there was daylight throughout all the tsardom. Having defeated the serpent, Ivan Popialov and his brothers went home, but he forgot to take his gloves. He told his brothers to wait for him and returned for the gloves. When he rode up to the hut and was about to take the gloves, he looked, and there were the serpent’s wife and his daughters talking among themselves. He turned into a tomcat and began meowing near the door. They let him into the hut. He heard everything they said, grabbed his gloves, and ran away. He ran up to his brothers, got on his horse, and they rode off. They rode and rode. Then in front of them there was a green meadow, and in the meadow were silk cushions. His brothers said, “Let’s graze our horses here and rest ourselves.” Ivan said, “Wait, brothers!” and he took his club and hit...


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