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339 The Seven Simeons 145. In this one place, a peasant had seven sons—seven Simeons—each one more of a lad than the others, but also such lazybones, idlers, that you couldn’t find such in the whole world. They did nothing. Their father agonized and agonized over them, and led them to the tsar. He brought them there and put them all into the tsar’s service. The tsar thanked him for such lads and asked what they knew how to do.“Ask them themselves, Your Royal Highness!” The tsar first summoned the oldest Simeon and asked,“What do you know how to do?”“Thieve, Your Royal Highness!” “All right. From time to time I need such a man.” He summoned the next oldest. “And you what?”“I know how to forge all sort of fine things.”“I need such a man.”He summoned the third Simeon, and asked,“And what do you know how to do?”“I can shoot a bird in flight, Your Royal Highness .”“Good!” He asked the fourth,“And you what?”“If a shooter shoots a bird, I can swim out after it and bring it back, rather than a dog.”“All right,”said the tsar.“And what are you master of?”he asked the fifth.“I can look from a high place at all tsardoms and tell what is going on where.” “Good, very good!” He asked the sixth.“I know how to make ships. Just a ‘bang-bang,’ and I’ll have a ship.”“Good, and what do you know?” he asked the seventh.“I know how to heal people.”“All right!” The tsar released them. They went on living there for quite a while. Then the tsar took it into his head to test one Simeon.“Well then, Simeon , find out what’s going on out there!” Simeon made his way up, looked about in all directions, and said,“Here this and that is going on, and over there the same.” Afterward they compared it with the newspapers, and it was exactly so! So then, a lot of time passed, and the tsar decided to get married to this one tsarevna. How could he get her? He just didn’t know. There was no one to send. And then he remembered the seven Simeons, summoned them, and gave them the task: to get hold of this tsarevna. He gave them quite a few soldiers. The Simeons quickly got together, and all the master tradesmen, and—bang-bang—they’d made a ship, got on it, and sailed away. They sailed up to that tsardom where the tsarevna bride was. One looked out from a high mast and said that the tsarevna was alone, that they could steal her now! Another forged some of the 340 h The Seven Simeons very most expensive things and went with the thief to sell them. They reached the palace, and the thief stole the tsarevna. They cut the anchor and sailed away. The tsarevna saw that she was being carried off, turned herself into a white swan, and flew from the ship. The shooter was not timid! He grabbed his rifle, shot, and hit her in the left wing. Another Simeon fetched her as a dog would have, grabbed the swan at sea, and brought her onto the ship. The swan again turned into a tsarevna—only, her left arm was wounded. They had their own healer, and he quickly healed the tsarevna’s arm. They all came back to their tsardom healthy, safely, and they fired off cannon. The tsar heard it, and forgetting about the Simeons, wondered what ship it was that had come in.“Go,” he said,“run and find out.” Some ran, some rode; as soon as they reported to the tsar about the seven Simeons and the tsarevna with them, he rejoiced at the Simeons’ efforts and ordered that they be greeted with honor and with a cannon salute and roll of the drums. But that tsarevna didn’t marry the tsar. He was already too old. He asked her whom she wanted to marry, and the tsarevna said, “The one who stole me!” So that Senka the thief was a brave actor, and the tsarevna took a liking to him. The tsar didn’t say another word, but ordered them married. Then he decided to retire. He placed Simeon in his place and made all his brothers big boyars. 146. There lived and dwelt this old man and old...


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