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Sivka-Burka


L




ong ago there was an old man who had three sons. The two elder sons looked after the farm, and they liked fine clothes. But the youngest, Ivan the Fool, liked to go off into the forest to collect mushrooms, and when at home he spent most of his time sitting on the great kitchen stove. The father became ill, and he ordered his sons:
"When I am dead, bring me bread to my grave three nights in succession."
    Then he died, and was buried. That same night the eldest son should have gone to the grave as his father ordered. But either he was lazy or he was afraid, for he said to his youngest brother:
"Ivan, take my place tonight; you go to father's grave. And I will buy you a gingerbread."
    Ivan agreed, packed some bread, and went to his father's grave. There he sat down and waited. At midnight the grave opened, his father rose out of it and said:
"Who is there ? Is it you, my eldest son ? Tell me what is happening in the world. Are the dogs barking or the wolves howling?"
"Yes, it is I, your son," Ivan answered. "But all is quiet in the world."
    His father ate the bread Ivan had brought and lay down again in the grave. Ivan made his way home, gathering mushrooms as he went. His eldest brother asked him:
"Did you see father?"
"Yes."
"Did he eat the bread?"
"Yes. He ate all he wanted."
    The following night the second brother should have gone to the grave. But either he was lazy or he was afraid, for he said:
"Ivan, you go to father in my place. I will make you a pair of shoes if you will."
"All right," said Ivan.
    So Ivan packed some bread, went to his father's grave, and sat down and waited. At midnight the grave opened, his father rose from it, and asked:
"Who is there? Is it you, my second son? Tell me what is happening in the world. Are the dogs barking or the wolves howling?"
"Yes, it is I, your son," Ivan answered. "But all is quiet in the world."
    His father ate as much of the bread as he wanted and lay down again in the grave. Then Ivan went home, gathering mushrooms on the way. When he reached home the second brother asked him:
"Did father eat the bread?"
"Yes, he ate all he wanted."
    The next night it was Ivan's turn to go to the grave. But he said to his brothers:
"I have been the last two nights. Now one of you go, while I rest."
But his brothers answered:
"Why, Ivan, you know the spot now; it would be better for you to go."
"Oh, all right," said Ivan.
    He packed some bread, and went. At midnight the grave opened, and his father rose from it. "Who is there?" he asked. "Is it you, my youngest son ? Tell me what is happening in the world. Are the dogs barking, or the wolves howling?"
"Yes, it is Ivan. But all is quiet in the world." his youngest son told him.
The father ate the bread, and then said:
"You are the only son who has done as I asked. You were not afraid to come to me in my grave three nights running. Now go out into the open field and call: "Sivka-Burka, dun horse, magic horse, come when I call you." A horse will come galloping up to you. Crawl into its right ear and out of its left, and you will be turned into a handsome young man. Mount the horse and ride it."


P.Zaets "Sivka-Burka"

P.Zaets "Sivka-Burka"
Box. 1998   Mstera

    Ivan thanked his father and went home, gathering mushrooms as he went. When he arrived home his brothers asked him:
"Did you see father?"
"Yes."
"Did he eat the bread?"
"He ate all he could, and did not order us to go any more."
    But Ivan said nothing about the horse. Just about that time the tsar issued a proclamation: all the fine young men who were not married were to assemble in the tsar's courtyard. His daughter, a girl of matchless beauty, had ordered a tower twelve logs high, and raised on twelve pillars, to be built for herself. She was going to sit at a small window in the top of the tower, and wait there until a young man riding a horse jumped right up to her and kissed her on the lips as he passed. Then, no matter what his birth or origin, the tsar would marry his beautiful daughter to this horseman, and would give half his kingdom as dowry. Ivan's brothers heard of the tsar's proclamation, and said to each other:
"Let us go and try our luck."
    So they gave their horses a good feed of oats, dressed themselves in their finest clothes, and combed their hair. Ivan, who was sitting on the stove, said to them:
"Brothers, take me with you to try my luck."
"You dolt, you go on sitting on the stove, or else go off into the forest to gather mushrooms," they answered. 'And do not get in our way."
    The two elder brothers mounted their good horses, cocked their hats jauntily, whistled and whooped, and rode off, making the dust fly up in clouds. But Ivan picked up a bridle and went out into the open field. There he called as his father had instructed him:
"Sivka-Burka, dun horse, magic horse! Come when I call."
    At once a horse galloped up. The earth trembled under its hoofs, flames streamed from its nostrils, smoke rose in columns from its ears. It stood as though rooted to the ground and asked:
"What are your commands?"
    Ivan stroked the horse, bridled it, climbed into its right ear and out of its left, and was turned into the most dashing young man one could imagine. Then he mounted the horse and rode off to the tsar's palace. As the dun horse galloped along the earth trembled; it flew over hills and valleys, through woods and forests till they arrived.
    When Ivan rode into the tsar's courtyard he found a great number of young men already gathered. In the centre of the courtyard a high tower, twelve logs high, was raised on twelve pillars, and at the very top the princess of matchless beauty was sitting at a little window.
    The tsar came out to the courtyard and said:
"If any one of you young men can jump on his horse right up to that little window and kiss my daughter on her lips I will give her to him as his wife with half my kingdom as the marriage dowry."
    So the fine young men began to jump, one after another. But the window was very high, and not one succeeded in reaching it. Ivan's brothers tried too, but they did not even get halfway. At last it was Ivan's turn to make the attempt.
    Whooping and whistling, he urged the dun horse into a jump, and failed by only the height of two logs. He turned his horse, flew up a second time, and failed by only one log. So he turned his horse again, circled round the courtyard, urged it on and took the jump at full gallop. Like a flame he flew up to the little window and kissed the princess on her lips as he went past. The princess struck him on his forehead with the ring on her finger, leaving her mark. Seeing that Ivan had succeeded, everybody shouted: 'Hold him!'
    But Ivan had already galloped away, and was nowhere to be found. He galloped into the open field, slipped into the dun horse's left ear and out of its right, and turned back into Ivan the Fool. He let the horse go, and returned home, gathering mushrooms on the way. He bound his forehead with a rag to hide the princess's mark, climbed on to the stove and stretched himself out. When his brothers rode home they told him where they had been and all they had seen.
"There were some splendid young men there," they said. "But one outshone all the rest. In full gallop he jumped up and kissed the princess on her lips. We saw the direction he had come from, but no one knows where he went."
    From the stove Ivan called down:
"But was not I that handsome young man?"
"Ivan, you are a fool, and you talk like a fool. Sit on the stove and eat your mushrooms," his brothers answered angrily.


A. and  N.Arapov "Sivko-Burko"

A. and N.Arapov "Sivka-Burka"
Box. 1993  Palech

    Then Ivan unbound the rag and laid bare the spot on his forehead where the princess had struck him. At once the room was filled with light. His brothers were alarmed, and they shouted at him:
"What are you playing at, you fool? You will set the house on fire."
    So he bound the rag over his forehead again. Next day the tsar summoned all his princes and noblemen, and even ordinary people, whether rich or poor, old or young, to a banquet. Ivan's brothers also made ready to attend the banquet. So Ivan asked them:
"Take me with you."
"You would only make the people laugh, stupid!v' they answered. "Sit on the stove and eat your mushrooms."
    The two brothers got on their horses and rode off, but Ivan set out on foot after them. He arrived at the tsar's palace in time for the banquet and seated himself in a distant corner. The princess began to go from one guest to another, offering each a bowl of mead and looking to see if anyone had her mark on his forehead. She passed round all the guests, and finally came to Ivan sitting in the corner. As she approached him her own heart suddenly beat faster. She looked at him; he was smothered in dirt, and his hair was standing on end untidily. None the less the beautiful princess asked him:
"Whose son are you? Where are you from? Why is your forehead bandaged?"
"I knocked it," he answered.
She took the rag off his forehead, and at once all the palace was lit up. And she cried out:
"That is my mark. Here is my destined husband."
The tsar came up, looked at Ivan, and said:
"How can he be your destined husband? He is covered with soot."
But Ivan said to him:
"Let me go out and wash."
    The tsar gave his permission. Ivan went out into the courtyard and called as his father had instructed him:
"Sivka-burka, dun horse, magic horse! Come when I call."
    At once the Sivka-Burka came galloping up, making the ground tremble under its hoofs. Flame streamed from its nostrils, smoke rose in columns from its ears. Ivan crawled into its right ear, crawled out of its left ear, and was turned into the handsomest young fellow one ever saw. All the people cried out in astonishment. The tsar gave a banquet and everybody went to the wedding.


E.Zavarichina. "Sivka-Bourka"

E.Zavarichina. "Sivka-Bourka"
Box. 1999  Palech




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«Why, Ivan, you know the spot now; it would be better for you to go."
"Oh, all right," said Ivan.»









Ivan said to them: «Brothers, take me with you to try my luck.»





Your Favorite Stories, Your Favorite Characters, Personalized For Your Child







«Ivan, you are a fool, and you talk like a fool. Sit on the stove and eat your mushrooms.»











Sivka_Burka

Seeing that Ivan had succeeded, everybody shouted: «Hold him!»













Ivan crawled into its right ear, crawled out of its left ear, and was turned into the handsomest young fellow one ever saw.