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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

The good merchant's heart sank from fright. He looked round and saw on every side, from under every bush and tree, from the water and the ground, a host of evil spirits, all hideous monsters, were crawling towards him. Falling on his knees before the great and terrible monster, he cried in piteous tones,

"Dear Lord and Master, Honest Sir, Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the DeepI know not how to call thee, I cannot tell. Destroy not my Christian soul for my innocent boldness; have me not cut down and slain; but let me plead with thee. I have three daughters, three fair maidens good and kind; and I promised to bring them each a giftfor the eldest a jewelled crown, for the second a crystal mirror, and for the youngest the Little Scarlet Flower whose beauty is greater than anything in the world. I found the gifts for my elder daughters, but not for my youngest, no matter where I looked. Then I saw it in thy garden, the Little Scarlet Flower whose beauty is greater than anything in the world, and I thought that such a very wealthy lord, so glorious and mighty, would not begrudge the Little Scarlet Flower for which my dear youngest daughter asked. I repent my crime before thy Majesty.

Forgive me, I was foolish and stupid, let me go free to my dear daughters and let me have the Little Scarlet Flower as a gift for my beloved youngest daughter. I shall pay thee in golden coin, whatever price thou demandest."

A great roar of laughter rang through the forest, like thunder rumbling in the heavens, and the Beast of the Forest, that Denizen of the Deep, addressed the merchant thus,

"I have no need of thy golden coin; I have no room to store my own. Ask no mercy of me, my loyal servants shall tear thee to pieces. There is but one way out. I will send thee home unscathed, reward thee with untold treasure, grant thee the Little Scarlet Flower, if thou wilt give me thy word as an honest merchant and a pledge in thy hand that thou wilt send in thy place one of thy daughters. She shall come to no harm, she shall live here in honour and freedom, just as thou hast done in my palace. I am lonely here by myself and wish to have a companion. "

At that, the merchant threw himself upon the damp earth, weeping tears of anguish. When he gazed upon the Beast of the Forest, that Denizen of the Deep, and thought of his daughters good and kind, he cried all the louder; for the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep, was indeed exceedingly terrifying. For a long time the good merchant lay beating the ground and shedding tears; but presently he spoke in pitiful tones,

"Honest Sir, Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep! But what if my daughters will not come to thee of their own free will? Should I bind them hand and foot and send them to thee by force? And what way should they take to reach thee? It took me two years to find my way hereby what places, by what paths, I know not."

The Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep, answered the merchant,

"I want no captive maiden here; let thy daughter come out of love for thee, of her own will and desire. And if thy daughters will not come hither of their own will and desire, then thou must come thyself and I shall have thee put to a cruel death. How to journey hither is not thy concern; I shall give thee this ring from my finger: whoever puts it on the little finger of his right hand will be wherever he wishes in the twinkling of an eye. I grant thee leave to go home for three days and three nights."

The merchant thought long and hard and finally made up his mind,

"It is better for me to see my daughters again, give them a father's blessing and, if they are not willing to save me from death, then I must prepare to meet death as a Christian and return to the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep."

He spoke his thoughts aloud, as there was no falseness in his heart. Even so, the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep, knew what was in his mind, saw he was an honest man and, taking no written pledge from him, took the gold ring off his finger and handed it to the merchant.

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