After many hard, but also bloody feats, Dobrynya Nikitich was spun from repentance. He turned to his mother with bitter words of reproach: it would be better if you did not give birth to me, I would not kill innocent souls then, did not orphan small children, did not shed blood in vain. Mother answered him with reserved dignity: I would be glad, Efimya Alexandrovna said, to “spoil” you with “talanom-fate” in Ilya Muromets, by force in Svyatogor-hero, courage in Alyosha Popovich. But you, son, other articles – such as God has granted.
After these words, in an effort to stay alone and dispel angry longing, Dobrynya saddled his horse and gathered on the road. He was accompanied by his mother and young wife Nastasya Nikulichna. Standing at the right stirrup, she humbly asked Dobrynya when to wait for him back home. The husband ordered him to wait three years, and if he does not return by that time, wait three more years.
The only condition that
Dobrynya puts at the same time is not to go out for his named brother Alesha Popovich. And so the mother and wife remain in this agonizing expectation.
So six long years pass. Dobriny no. And the only news about him brought Alyosha Popovich: he reports that Dobrynya was killed, that he saw his body shot in the open field. Dobrynia bitterly mourns, and then Prince Vladimir begins to start a conversation with a young widow of Nastasya about a new marriage: “You marry at least a prince, at least for a boyar, / Though for a Russian mighty hero, / For a bold Alyosha for Popovich.”
Nastasya bowed low and answered humbly: she had waited for her husband for six years, as he had ordered, but would wait six more. If Dobrynya does not return, she agrees to marry a second time.
It takes another six years. There is still no news from Dobrynya. Prince Vladimir returns to the deferred agreement. Nastasya responds by consent – she chooses from all the grooms Alyosha Popovich.
The third day is a wedding feast, after which it is necessary to legalize marriage by a wedding in the church. At this
time Dobrynya is passing somewhere near Tsar-grad. The horse under it stumbles, causing the wrath of the hero. However, the faithful horse responds with a human voice: he preempts Dobrynya that today Nastasya’s wedding with Alesha Popovich should be held. Dobrynya, boiling over with rage, spurs Burka – and at once the horse carries him through mountains and plains, through rivers and lakes, rushes through the fence of his old tower and stops at the very doors.
Without the demand and the report, Dobrynya quickly passes into the chamber to Yefimya Alexandrovna, and, crossing herself, bowed low to her. Mother does not recognize him after so many years of separation. Run-in servants scream that an unknown messenger broke in without asking. The guest says that the day before he met in Dobrynia. The mother reproachfully says that Dobrynia has long been killed and that Alyosha Popovich is a witness to this.
Without showing any excitement, the guest conveys Dobrynia’s order to find out about his beloved wife. Mother answers that today Nastasya is crowned with Alyosha Popovich. The guest addresses the last request – also referring to Dobryny’s covenant: to give him a master’s skomorosheskoe dress and lavender gusli.
Changing his buffoonery, Dobrynya Nikitich goes to the prince’s court and goes straight to the wild feast. Dissatisfied with his disrespect, the prince frowns at him through the stove among the buffoons. Dobrynya strikes the strings, and the melody fascinates everyone present. Everyone at the feast is silent and listens. In gratitude the stranger is invited to change seats from the corner for the prince’s table. Vladimir himself offers the guslar to choose any of the three honorable places: “The first place – sit next to me, / Another place – against me, / Third place – where you want.”
The guest chooses the third – sits down on a bench directly opposite the young bride, asks him to bring him a wine spell, drops his gold ring into it and holds out the charm of Nastasya, asking her to definitely drink to the bottom.
Nastasya drinks the charu with one spirit and recognizes her husband’s wedding ring. Then she resolutely declares for the whole feast: “It’s not my husband, but beside me, / And that my husband who opposes me: / My husband is sitting on a bench, / He is giving me a cup of green wine.”
Nastasya runs out from behind the table, falls at her husband’s feet and asks to forgive her. Dobrynya condescendingly responds that he is ready to excuse her short female reason, but the prince and the princess, who married his wife with a living husband, surprise him. Vladimir confesses his shame in his oversight. For him he asks for forgiveness from the named brother Alyosha Popovich. But Dobrynya is not in a hurry with forgiveness. He is annoyed not so much by Alyosha’s love for Nastastya, as by deception-that Alyosha brought news of his death and made him and his wife grieve about him as a deceased person. “So, by this fault, brother, I will not forgive you,” Dobrynya concludes, and asks the crafty Alyosha about the heroic bashing. So this marriage ends wickedly for Popovich.
Dobrynia and Nastasya return to their mothers in peace and harmony.