P. P. Ershov
In one village there lives a peasant. He had three sons: the elder – Danilo – smart, average – Le Havre – “and so, and syak” younger – Ivan – fool. Brothers make a living by growing wheat, transporting it to the capital and selling it there. Suddenly a misfortune happens: someone starts trampling crops at night. The brothers decide to take turns on duty in the field in order to find out who it is. The elder and middle brothers, frightened by the cold and bad weather, leave the watch, without having found out anything. When the younger brother’s turn comes, he goes to the field and sees a white mare with a long golden mane appearing at midnight. Ivan manages to jump on the mare on his back, and
After a while, Danilo, accidentally entering the booth, sees there two beautiful gold-horse horses. Together with Gavril they decide secretly from Ivan to take them to the capital and sell them there. In the evening of the same day Ivan, arriving, as usual, in the farce, discovers the loss. The Humpbacked Horse explains to Ivan what happened, and suggests to catch up with the brothers. Ivan sits on the Humpbacked Horse on horseback, and they instantly overtake them. The brothers, justifying themselves, explain their deed with poverty; Ivan agrees to sell the horses, and all together they go to the capital.
Stopping in the field for the night, the brothers suddenly notice a light in the distance. Danilo sends Ivan to bring a light, “so that the cigarette spreads out.” Ivan sits down on the Humpbacked Horse, drives up to the fire and sees something strange: “the wonderful light circulates around, but does not heat, does not smoke.” The Hunchbacked Horse explains to him that this is the feather of the Firebird, and does not advise Ivan to select him, since it will bring him a lot of trouble. Ivan does not
Arriving in the morning to the capital, the brothers put horses for sale in the equestrian number. Horses sees the governor and immediately sends a report to the king. The governor praises the wonderful horses so much that the king immediately goes to the market and buys them from the brothers. The royal grooms go off horses, but the expensive horses knock them off their feet and return to Ivan. Seeing this, the king offers Ivan a service in the palace – appoints him chief of the royal stables; Ivan agrees and goes to the palace. The brothers, having received the money and dividing them equally, go home, both marry and live peacefully, remembering Ivan.
And Ivan serves in the royal stable. However, after a while the king’s sleeping bag – the boyar, who was the chief of stables before Ivan, and now decided at all costs to drive him out of the palace, – notices that Ivan does not clean and do not walk horses, but nevertheless they are always fed and napred and cleaned. Deciding to find out what’s the matter, the sleeping bag makes his way to the stables at night and hides in the stall. At midnight Ivan enters the stable, takes out the feather of the Firebird wrapped in a rag and, with its light, begins to clean and wash the horses. Having finished the work, feeding them and watering them, Ivan immediately falls asleep in the stable. The sleeping man goes to the king and tells him that Ivan is not only hiding the precious feather of the Firebird from him, but he also allegedly boasts that he can get the most Firebird. The king immediately sends for Ivan and demands that he get him a Firebird. Ivan claims that he did not say anything of the sort, but seeing the king’s wrath, he goes to the Humpbacked Horse and tells him about his grief. The horse summons Ivan to help.
The next day, on the advice of Gorbunka, having received from the tsar “two troughs of white-baked millet and overseas wine,” Ivan sits on a horse ridge and goes for the Firebird. They go for a week and finally come to a dense forest. In the middle of the forest there is a clearing, and in the clearing there is a mountain of pure silver. The horse explains to Ivan that Firebirds fly to the stream at night and tells him to pour the millet in one trough and fill it with wine, and most to climb under another trough, and when the birds arrive and start pecking the grain with wine, grab one of them. Ivan obediently does everything, and he manages to catch the Firebird. He brings it to the tsar, who rewards him with joy in his new position: now Ivan is a kingly aspiring man.
However, the sleeping bag does not leave the thought of Ivan’s lime. After a while, one of the servants tells the rest of the fairy tale about the beautiful Tsar-maiden who lives on the ocean, rides in a golden boat, sings songs and grayling on the harp, and besides, she is a daughter to the Month and sister to the Sun. Sleeping immediately goes to the king and reports to him that he allegedly heard Ivan bragging about, as if he could get the Tsar-maiden. The Tsar sends Ivan to bring him the King-maiden. Ivan goes to the ridge, and he again is called to help him. To do this, you need to ask the king for two towels, a shawl sewn with gold, a dinner plate and various sweets. The next morning, having received everything necessary, Ivan sits down on the Humpbacked Horse and goes for the Tsar-girl.
They go for a week and finally come to the ocean. The horse tells Ivan to spread the tent, place the dinner appliance on the towel, spread the sweets, and hide himself behind the tent and, waiting for the princess to enter the tent, eat, drink and play the harp, run into the tent and grab it. Ivan successfully fulfills everything that the horse sent him. When they all return to the capital, the king, seeing the King-maiden, invites her to marry tomorrow. However, the princess demands that she get her ring from the bottom of the ocean. The king immediately sends for Ivan and sends him to the ocean for the ring, and the Tsar-maiden asks him on the way to call in to bow to her mother – the Month and brother – the Sun. And the next day, Ivan and Gorkunchk again set out on their journey.
Approaching the ocean, they see that across it lies a huge whale, which “is on the back of the village, on the tail of the fuss is noisy.” Learning that the travelers are heading to the Sun in the palace, the whale asks them to find out for what sins he suffers so much. Ivan promises him this, and the travelers go on. Soon they arrive at the Tsar’s Maid, where the Sun sleeps at night, and the Month rest in the daytime. Ivan enters the palace and sends the Greetings from the Tsar-maiden to the Month. The month is very happy to hear about the missing daughter, but after learning that the king is going to marry her, he is angry and asks Ivan to give her his words: not an old man, but a young handsome man will become her husband. On the question of Ivan about the fate of the whale Month answers that ten years ago, this whale swallowed three dozen ships, and if he releases them, it will be forgiven and released into the sea.
Ivan and Gorbunk go back, they drive up to the whale and give him the words of the Month. Residents hastily leave the village, and the whale releases ships. At last he is free and asks Ivan what he can do for him. Ivan asks him to get the ring of the Tsar’s Maiden from the ocean floor. The whale sends sturgeons to search all the seas and find a ring. Finally, after a long search, the chest with the ring was found, and Ivan delivers it to the capital.
The king presents the King of the Maiden with a ring, but she again refuses to marry him, saying that he is too old for her and offers him the means by which he will be able to grow younger: it is necessary to put three large boilers: one with cold water, the other – with hot, and the third – with boiling milk – and swim in turn in all three boilers. The king again calls Ivan and demands that he do it first. The Humpbacked Horse, and then he promises Ivan his help: he wag his tail, ducks his face into the cauldrons, doubles Ivan, springs to his sound, and after that Ivan can jump even to boiling water. Ivan does everything and does – and becomes a handsome man. Seeing this, the king also jumps into boiling milk, but with a different result: “booze into the cauldron – and there it was cooked.” The people immediately recognize the Tsar-Maiden as their queen, and she takes the transformed Ivan’s hand and leads him to the crown. The people are greeting the tsar with the queen, and the wedding feast is rumbling in the palace.