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401 Mar’ia Morevna 159. In a certain tsardom in a certain country, there lived and dwelt Ivan Tsarevich , and he had three sisters: Mar’ia Tsarevna, Olga Tsarevna, and the third was Anna Tsarevna. Their father and mother had died. As they were dying, they said to their son, “Whoever first comes courting your sisters, marry her to him. Don’t keep them with you for long!”The tsarevich buried his parents, and in his grief went out to stroll in a green garden with his sisters. Suddenly a dark storm cloud appeared in the sky, and a terrible storm arose. “Let’s go home, sisters,” said Ivan Tsarevich. They had just come into the palace, when there was a clap of thunder. The ceiling parted, and into the parlor flew a bright falcon. The falcon struck the floor and became a fine lad, and he said,“Greetings, Ivan Tsarevich! I used to come here as a guest, but this time I’ve come to court. I wish to court your sister, Mar’ia Tsarevna.”“If you are pleasing to my sister, I won’t keep her from it. Let you be married!” Mar’ia Tsarevna agreed. The falcon married her, and carried her off to his tsardom. Days passed after days,the hours fled after hours—a whole year passed as nothing. Ivan Tsarevich and his two sisters went out to stroll about in the green garden. Again a dark storm cloud with a whirlwind, with lightning , arose. Once more the tsarevich said,“Let’s go home, sisters!” They had no sooner returned to the palace than there was a clap of thunder, the roof caved in, the ceiling parted, and in flew an eagle. It struck the floor and became a fine lad:“Greetings, Ivan Tsarevich! I used to come here as a guest, but this time I’ve come to court.” And he courted Olga Tsarevna. Ivan Tsarevich replied,“If you are pleasing to Olga Tsarevna, then let her marry you. I won’t deny her will.” Olga Tsarevna agreed and married the eagle. The eagle picked her up and carried her off to its tsardom. Another year passed. Ivan Tsarevich said to his youngest sister,“Let’s go for a walk in the green garden!” They strolled about for a little while. Again a storm cloud with a whirlwind and lightning arose.“Let’s return home, Sister!”They returned home but had not yet managed to sit down, when there was a clap of thunder. The ceiling parted, and in flew a raven. The raven struck the floor and became a fine lad. The others had been really handsome, but this one was even more so.“Well, Ivan Tsarevich, I 402 h Mar’ia Morevna used to come as a guest, but this time I’ve come to court. Let me marry Anna Tsarevna!”“I will not deny my sister her will. If you are pleasing to her, then let her marry you.” Anna Tsarevna married the raven, and he carried her off to his own country. Ivan Tsarevich was left alone. He lived without his sisters for a full year and became lonely and bored.“I’ll go looking for my sisters,” he said. He got ready for the journey. He walked and walked, and then he saw an army, defeated, in the steppe. Ivan Tsarevich called out,“If there’s anyone here alive, let him shout out! Who has defeated this great force?” The one living man responded to him, “Mar’ia Morevna, the beautiful princess, has defeated this great army.” Ivan Tsarevich strode on farther and came upon white tents, and Mar’ia Morevna came out to meet him: “Greetings , tsarevich! Where is God taking you, and of your own free will or by force?” Ivan Tsarevich replied,“Brave lads do not ride about by force!” “Well, if your business is not rushed, spend some time with me here in my tent.” Ivan Tsarevich was pleased at this, spent two nights in the tent, fell in love with Mar’ia Morevna, and married her. Mar’ia Morevna took him to her country with her. They lived together for quite some time, and then the princess decided to get ready for war. She threw all the affairs of state on Ivan Tsarevich and instructed him, “Go everywhere, look after everything. Only, you may not look in this one storeroom!” He couldn’t stand it, and as soon as Mar’ia Morevna had ridden...


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