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Fairy Tale: The Little Scarlet Flower


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Description of the Tale:

Tale's Author: Sergej Aksakov, translated by James Riordan.
Name of the Tale: The Little Scarlet Flower
Fairy-Tale's Genre: Love and romance
The People of Country: literary working of russian national tale's.

The Little Scarlet Flower

Part One  | Part Two  | Part Three  | Part Four  | Part Five  | Part Six  | Part Seven  | Part Eight  | Part Nine  | Part Ten  | Part Eleven  | Part Twelve  | Part Thirteen

When the merchant awoke, the sun was already high above the tallest tree, and he could not at first remember where he was. All night he had dreamed of his daughters, so good and kind and lovely; and he saw in his dream that his two eldest daughters, the oldest and the secondbom, were merry and gay, while only his favourite, the youngest daughter, was sad. He saw that his eldest daughters'had rich suitors whom they were to wed even without their father's blessing. But the youngest daughter, the fairest and dearest, would not hear of suitors until her dear father had returned home. Thus his heart was filled at once with joy and sorrow.

When he rose from his high bed, he found garments set out ready for him, and a fountain of water showered into a crystal bowl. He washed and dressed and marvelled no more at each new miracle: tea and coffee stood on a table next to a tray of sweetmeats. Having said grace, he ate his fill, then set out once more to explore the palace, to gaze up on its beauty in the golden sunshine; and all seemed to him more lovely than the day before. Through the open windows he could see wondrous gardens full of fruit and flowers of untold beauty. He longed to walk in those gardens.

Leaving the palace by another staircase, this one of green marble and malachite with gilded banisters, he descended straight into the verdant gardens. And there he walked and admired the trees covered in fruit, ripe and red, just asking to be eaten, so tempting they made his mouth water. And beautiful flowers blossomed, full and fragrant and bright with every colour. Strange birds flitted about, like gold and silver displayed on green and crimson velvet, singing heavenly music. Fountains of water spouted so high a man had to throw back his head to see their tops, and clear springs ran bustling and babbling through crystal channels.

The good merchant walked in awe, his eyes racing to and fro to take in all these marvelsand he knew not where to look or what to listen to. Whether he wandered long in this way I cannot say; it is quicker to tell the tale than do the deed. But, all of a sudden, he saw on a grassy mound a flower of scarlet hue; its beauty was more than words can tell or a pen depict. The good merchant's heart missed a beat; he drew near to the flower, and he felt its perfume fill the air throughout the garden, like a fragrant stream. And his hands and legs trembled as he cried out joyfully,

"This is the Little Scarlet Flower whose beauty is greater than anything in the world, that my beloved youngest daughter asked me to bring!

With these words, he approached and plucked the Little Scarlet Flower. That same moment, with no black warning cloud, lightning flashed and thunder rolled and the earth shook beneath his feet. And there appeared before the merchant, as from the ground, a creature that was neither beast nor man, a monster covered in hair and terrible to behold. And the monster roared in a savage voice,

"What hast thou done? How darest thou pluck my favourite flower, the sacred flower of my garden? I tended and cherished it more than the apple of my eye, and it was my pleasure every day to behold it. Now thou hast taken all the pleasure out of my life. I am the lord of this palace and garden; I welcomed thee as a guest, dear and honoured; I gave thee food and drink and rest. Is this how thou repayest my goodness? Learn then thy bitter fate: for thy crime thou wilt die before thy time!"

And a great chorus of savage voices on every side took up the cry, "For thy crime thou wilt die before thy time!"

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