Fenist The Bright Falcon

So Maryushka went and ordered three pairs of iron shoes, three iron staffs, and three iron caps. And off she

Fenist The Bright Falcon



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our back to the trees and your face to me, please."

The hut turned its back to the trees and its face to Maryushka, and in she stepped. And there she saw Baba-Yaga, the witch with a broom and a switch, a bony hag with a nose like a snag.

Baba-Yaga saw Maryushka and she growled: "Ugh, ugh, Russian blood, never met by me before, now I smell it at my door. Who comes here? Where from? Where to?"

"I'm looking for Fenist the Bright Falcon, Granny!"

"It is no easy task to find him, my beauty, but I shall help you. Here, take this silver distaff and this gold spindle. Hold the spindle in your hands and it will spin all by itself and the thread will come out all gold."

"Thank you, Granny."

"All right, save your thanks until afterwards, and now listen to me. Should they want to buy the gold spindle, don't sell it, but ask them to let you see Fenist the Bright Falcon."

Maryushka thanked Baba-Yaga and went on her way. And it roared and rumbled and whistled in the forest. The owls wheeled round, the mice crawled out of their holes and rushed straight to Maryushka. Then all of a sudden a Grey Wolf ran up to her and said:

"Have no fear, Maryushka. Get on my back and never look behind."

So she sat on the Wolf's back and off they flashed out of sight. They passed wide steppes and velvet meadows, they crossed honey rivers with custard banks and they climbed tall mountains that touched the clouds. On and on raced Maryushka till she reached a crystal palace with a carved porch and fancy windows. And there was the Queen herself looking out of a window.

"Well," said the Wolf, "we've come, Maryushka. Climb down from my back and get hired as a servant at the palace."

Maryushka climbed off, took her bundle and thanked the Wolf. Then she went up to the Queen and bowed.

"I beg your pardon," she said, "I don't know your name; aren't you in need of a servant-girl?"

"Yes," said the Queen, "it is long I have looked for a servant, but the one I need must be able to spin, weave and embroider."

"All that I can do," said Maryushka.

"Then come in and set to work."

And so Maryushka became a servant-girl. She worked all the day until night-time, and then she took out her golden egg and silver saucer and said:

"Roll about, golden egg, on your silver saucer, show me my Fenist dear."

And the golden egg rolled about till Fenist the Bright Falcon appeared before her. Maryushka gazed and gazed at him and her tears ran fast.

"Fenist, my Fenist, why have you left poor me to shed tears without you?"

And the Queen overheard her and said: "Maryushka, sell me your silver saucer and golden egg."

"No," replied Maryushka, "they are not to be sold, but you may have them free if you let me see Fenist the Bright Falcon."

The Queen thought for a while and then she said:

"All right, let it be so. To-night, when he falls asleep, I will let you see him."

So when night came, Maryushka went to his bedroom and saw Fenist the Bright Falcon. Her darling lay fast asleep and could not be awakened. She looked and she looked and she could not look enough, and she kissed him on his sweet mouth, and she pressed him to her white bosom, but her darling slept on and did not awaken. Morning set in, but still Maryushka could not rouse her beloved.

All that day she worked and in the evening took her silver frame and gold needle. And as it sewed, Maryushka kept saying:

"Get embroidered, little towel, get embroidered, little towel, let my Fenist the Bright Falcon wipe his face."

The Queen overheard her and asked:

"Maryushka, sell me your silver frame and gold needle."

"Sell I will not," replied Maryushka, "but you may have them free if you let me see Fenist the Bright Falcon."

The Queen thought hard, but at last she said: "All right, let it be so. Come and see him to-night."

Night came on, and Maryushka entered the bedroom and she saw her Fenist the Bright Falcon lying fast asleep.

"O my Fenist, Bright Falcon, arise, wake up!"

But her Fenist slept on as fast as ever, and Maryushka could not wake him up, try as she might.

At daybreak Maryushka set to work and took out her silver distaff and golden spindle. And the Queen saw her and began asking her to sell them. But Maryushka replied:

"Sell them I will not, but you may have them for nothing if only you let me see Fenist the Bright Falcon."

"All right," said the other and she thought to herself: "She won't wake him up anyhow."

Night drew on and Maryushka entered the bedroom, but Fenist lay as fast asleep as ever.

"O my Fenist, Bright Falcon, arise, wake up!"

But Fenist slept on and would not awaken.

Maryushka tried and tried again to wake him, but she could not. And soon it would be morning. So Maryushka burst out weeping and she said:

"Dearest Fenist, arise and open your eyes, look at your Maryushka, press her close!"

And a hot tear fell from Maryushka's eyes on the bare shoulder of Fenist and burnt it. Fenist the Bright Falcon stirred and he opened his eyes and saw Maryushka. And then he took her in his arms and kissed her.

"Can it be you, my Maryushka? So you have worn out three pairs of iron shoes and broken three iron staffs and torn three iron caps? Cry no more. Let us go home, now."

And they started getting ready for the homeward journey. But the Queen noticed it and she bade her trumpeters spread the news of her husband's betrayal through all the towns of the land.

And the princes and merchants of her land came together to hold council and decide how to punish Fenist the Bright Falcon.

And then Fenist the Bright Falcon stood up and said: "Who do you think is the real wife, the one who loves me truly or the one that sells and betrays me?"

Everyone had to agree that only Maryushka was fit to be his wife.

After that they went back to their own land. And they had a grand feast there, and all the guns fired and all the trumpets blew at their wedding. And the feast they had was so grand, it is still remembered. And they both lived happily ever afterwards.

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