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422 Bukhtan Bukhtanovich 163. In a certain tsardom, in a certain land, there had long lived a certain Bukhtan Bukhtanovich. This Bukhtan Bukhtanovich had raised up a stove on pillars in the middle of the steppe. He would lie on this stove propped up by his elbow in cockroach milk. Once a fox came to him and said, “Bukhtan Bukhtanovich, would you like me to marry you to the daughter of the tsar?” “What, Foxy?” “Do you have any money?” “I have, but just a five-kopeck piece.” “Hand it over!” So then the fox went and changed the five-kopeck piece for smaller coins, for kopecks, pennies, and halfpennies. Then she went to the tsar and said,“OhTsar and Free Man! Give me a measure to measure Bukhtan Bukhtanovich’s money.”The tsar said,“Here, take one.”The fox brought it home. She poked a kopeck in the ring around the measure and took it off to the tsar and said,“Oh Tsar and Free Man! This measure is too small. Give me a larger one to measure Bukhtan Bukhtanovich’s money.”“Here you are!” She took it, brought it home, poked a coin—a kopeck—in the ring around the larger measure, and carried it off to the tsar: “Oh Tsar and Free Man! This half measure is too small. Give me the big size.”“Take it.” She took it, brought it home, and what she had left of the five-kopeck piece she tucked in the ring and brought it to the tsar. The tsar said, “Well, have you measured it, Foxy?”The fox said,“It’s all there! Well,Tsar and Free Man, I came to you in good faith. Now, marry your daughter to Bukhtan Bukhtanovich.”“Well, all right, but show me the groom.” She ran home.“Bukhtan Bukhtanovich! Do you have any clothes? Put them on.” Bukhtan Bukhtanovich got dressed and set off for the tsar with the fox. They were walking through the market place, and they had to go over a little bridge. It was filthy. The fox shoved him, and Bukhtan Bukhtanovich fell into the muck. She ran up to him:“What ever have you done, Bukhtan Bukhtanovich h 423 Bukhtan Bukhtanovich?”And he was in fact dirtied up by the muck.“Just wait here, Bukhtan Bukhtanovich! I’ll run to the tsar.” The fox ran to the tsar and said, “Oh Tsar and Free Man! Bukhtan Bukhtanovich and I were walking over a little bridge, and that bridge was really bad! We somehow weren’t watching where we were going and fell in. Bukhtan Bukhtanovich is all filthy now. He can’t possibly come into town. You don’t possibly have any clothes you could lend him?”“Here, take these.” The fox ran off. She came back. “Bukhtan Bukhtanovich! Here, change into these and let’s go.” They came to the tsar. Everything was all in readiness at the tsar’s table. Bukhtan Bukhtanovich wouldn’t look at anything except himself. He’d never in his life seen such clothing ! The tsar winked at the fox and muttered,“Foxy, why does Bukhtan Bukhtanovich look at nothing but himself?” “Oh Tsar and Free Man, he’s embarrassed to be wearing such clothing. Bukhtan Bukhtanovich has never worn such old clothes since birth. Give him some clothing like you would wear at Easter!” And she whispered to Bukhtan Bukhtanovich ,“Don’t look at yourself!” Bukhtan Bukhtanovich then could look at nothing but his chair. It was gilded. The tsar whispered to the fox,“Fox, why doesn’t Bukhtan Bukhtanovich look at anything but that chair?”“Oh Tsar and Free Man! They have lots of chairs like that in their bathhouse.” The tsar tossed the chair out of the room. Foxy whispered to Bukhtan Bukhtanovich,“Don’t look in just one place, look around.” So then they started discussing the main thing, the engagement. So then they put on the wedding; must a tsar wait long? They hadn’t to brew beer or distill vodka, all was in readiness. They loaded up three ships for Bukhtan Bukhtanovich and set sail for home. They were going home. Bukhtan Bukhtanovich was on one ship with his wife, and the fox was running along the shore. Bukhtan Bukhtanovich caught sight of his old stove and shouted, “Foxy, oh Foxy! That’s my stove!”“Be quiet, Bukhtan Bukhtanovich, that’s embarrassing!” Bukhtan Bukhtanovich sailed on, and the fox ran on ahead along the shore. She ran up...


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