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443 The Tale about Ivan Tsarevich, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf 168. Once there was in a certain tsardom, in a certain land, well, there lived and dwelt this tsar by the name of Vyslav Andronovich. He had three sons, tsareviches: The first was Dmitrii Tsarevich, the second Vasilii Tsarevich , and the third Ivan Tsarevich. This Tsar Vyslav Andronovich had this really fine garden; there was no finer one in any other land. And in this garden grew various rare trees, some with fruits and others without. And this tsar had a favorite apple tree, and on this apple tree grew golden apples. Then a firebird took to coming to Tsar Vyslav’s garden, and it had golden feathers, and its eyes were like Oriental diamonds! It flew to this garden every night and perched in Tsar Vyslav’s favorite apple tree, picked some golden apples from it, and again flew away. Tsar Vyslav Andronovich was most sorrowful about his apple tree, that the firebird had plucked many apples from it. Therefore, he summoned his three sons and said to them,“My dear children! Which of you can catch that firebird in my garden? To the one of you who catches it alive, I will give half the tsardom in my lifetime, and after my death all of it.” So then the tsareviches, his children, wailed in one voice: “Gracious Sovereign and Father! Your Royal Highness! We will happily try to catch that firebird alive!” The first night Dmitrii Tsarevich went out to stand watch in the garden and, having made himself comfortable beneath the apple tree, from which that firebird was plucking apples, he fell asleep and didn’t hear the firebird fly up and pick really a lot of apples. In the morning, Tsar Vyslav Andronovich called in his son Dmitrii Tsarevich and asked him,“Well, my dear son, did you see that firebird or not?” He answered his parent: “No, Gracious Sovereign and Father! It didn’t come all night long!” The next night, Vasilii Tsarevich went into the garden to stand watch for the firebird. He sat down beneath the same apple tree, and after sitting there an hour or two of the night, he fell so fast asleep that he didn’t hear the firebird come and pick the apples.In the morning,Tsar Vyslav summoned him and asked,“Well, my dear son, did you see the firebird or not?”“Gracious Sovereign and Father! It did not come all night.” 444 h The Tale about Ivan Tsarevich, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf The third night, Ivan Tsarevich went into the garden to stand guard, and he sat down beneath the same apple tree. He sat there an hour, a second and a third, and then suddenly the whole garden was lit up as if lighted by many fires. The firebird came flying up, perched on the apple tree, and began picking apples. Ivan Tsarevich stole up to it so skillfully that he could grab it by the tail, but he couldn’t hold on. The firebird tore away and flew off, and Ivan Tsarevich was left with just one tail feather in his hand, which he held onto with all his might. In the morning, when Tsar Vyslav had awakened from his sleep, Ivan Tsarevich came to him and handed him the feather of the firebird. Tsar Vyslav was very pleased that his youngest son had managed to get at least one feather from the firebird. This feather was so wondrous and bright that if you were to carry it into a dark room, it would shine so brightly as if a great number of candles had been lit in the room. Tsar Vyslav placed the feather in his study, thinking it an object that ought to be kept forever. And after that, the firebird did not fly into the garden. Once more Tsar Vyslav summoned his children and said to them,“My dear children! Go now, I am giving you my blessing, go and search out the firebird and bring it to me alive.And what I earlier promised you, then of course the one who brings it to me will receive.”Dmitrii and Vasilii began to dislike their younger brother, Ivan Tsarevich, because he had managed to pluck a feather from the tail of the firebird. They accepted their father’s blessing, and the two of them set out to find the firebird. But Ivan Tsarevich also asked his father’s...


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