During the Time of Troubles, merchant Thomas Grudtsyn-Usov lived in Veliky Ustyug. Having suffered many troubles from the invasion of the Poles, he moved to Kazan – the Poles did not reach there yet. He lived in Kazan with his wife until Mikhail Fyodorovich reigned. And he had a twelve-year-old son, Sawa.
Thomas went to trade sometimes in Sol Kamsky, sometimes in Astrakhan, and sometimes in the Shakhov region. And he taught his son to the merchant business. One day, Thomas went to Shakhov’s area, and Savva sent to trade in Sol Kama.
Having reached the city of Orel, Sawa stopped at the hotel. In this city, he met his father’s friend named Bazhen II, who invited Savva to stay at his house. The young man agreed. Bazhen was the third marriage to a young woman. Bazhen’s wife inclined her to adultery, and for a long time they lived in sin.
The Ascension Day has come. On the eve of the holiday, Bazhen and Sawa visited the church. Late in the evening,
when Bazhen fell asleep, his wife came to Sawa and incited the young man to fornication. He was afraid to create a sin in such a great holiday. Then the woman was angry and conceived to water the youth with a magic potion.
In the morning, Bazhen and Sawa went to church, and the evil woman in the meantime prepared a potion. After the service, Bazhen and Sawa went to visit the voivode. Then they came home, and Bazhen’s wife gave the boy a magical drink. Sawa immediately began to languish in it. And the woman after this began to slander the young man and ordered him to be expelled from the house. Bazhen, although he was sorry for Sawa, did not contradict his wife. The young man left with great sorrow.
Sawa returned to the hotel. From love melancholy, he became emaciated, his beauty began to wither. The hotelier and his wife, seeing this, were perplexed. They secretly called the sorceress and asked him about the young man. Magus, looking at the magic books, told a story with his wife Bazhen, but the hotelier and his wife did not believe.
One day Sawa went out for a walk outside the city in the
field. He thought about what would have served even the devil, if he had helped him return Bazhen’s wife. Behind him, Sawa heard the voice calling him. Turning around, he saw a young man. The young man came up and told me that it also comes from the genus Grudtsynyh. He called Savva his brother. Sawa told the newly-born brother about his misfortune. The young man promised to help if Savva would write a certain handwriting. Sawa, without thinking, wrote everything under dictation and did not even understand the meaning of what he was writing. In fact, this young man was not a man, but a demon. And the handwriting was a renunciation of God.
The young man advised Sawa to immediately go to Bazhen. He obeyed. Bazhen with his wife happily greeted Sawa. And again he began to live in sin with Bazhen’s wife.
Before the mother of Sawa heard rumors about the bad life of his son. She wrote to Sawa to return to Kazan. But the son did not listen.
The demon, having met again with Savva, told this time what is coming from the royal family. He showed Savva from the mountain a beautiful city and called it the city of his father. Bes called Savva to bow to his father-king. Friends entered the royal chambers. On the throne sat a prince of darkness, around him stood young men with scarlet and black faces. Sawa went to the ruler, promised to serve him and gave the tsar his handwriting. Then Sawa and the devil, having spent their time, left the city. Bes promised to help the young man in everything.
At this time, Thomas Grudtsyn returned to Kazan. His wife told him that Sawa did not want to return home and did not answer the letters. The father wrote another letter to his son, but, having received no answer, he decided to go to Orel for his son himself.
And the demon, having learned that Foma Grudtsyn is heading to Orel, persuaded Savva to go for a walk in different cities. The young man agreed and went with him, not even warning Bazhen and his wife.
In one night the devil and Sawa overcame a huge distance – they appeared in the city of Kuzmodemyansky, and the next day – on the Oka, in the village of Pavlov Perevoz. There, walking around the bargain, Sawa saw a beggar old man who looked at him and cried. The young man came up and asked about the reason for the tears. The old man said that he was crying for the very Sawa, who in everything obeyed the devil. When the young man returned to his friend-devil, he chose him for a conversation with the old man. Then the “brothers” went to the city of Shuyu.
And Foma Grudtsyn arrived in Orel and learned about the disappearance of his son. Nobody could tell where Sawa went. Foma long waited for his return, and then returned home. After a while he died in sorrow, and the mother of Sawa remained a widow.
At this time, Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich recruited soldiers for the war with the Polish king. Savva enlisted in the soldiers, and the demon was his squire. Recruits led to Moscow and gave under the start of the German colonel, who immediately saw that Savva was skilled in military science. The Colonel fell in love with Sawa and placed him at the head of three mouths of recruits. Thanks to the help of the demon, the subordinates of Sawa were always provided and satisfied with everything. Even the tsar knew about the successes of Grudtsyn.
King Shurin, boyar Streshnev, learned about Sawa and wanted to bring him into his house, but he, on the advice of the demon, refused.
The regiments were already ready for the march to Smolensk. Sawa lived in the house of the centurion Yakov Shilov. The devil had Savva to Smolensk one night. For three days they watched the defensive works of the Poles and were invisible. On the fourth day they became visible, and the Poles tried to catch them, but could not: Sawa and the demon crossed the Dnieper, as on land. Then they again found themselves in Moscow.
When the regiments moved to Smolensk, the demon advised Sawa to fight against those mighty soldiers whom the Poles would send out of the city.
Three days in a row the regiments sent the heroes out of the city. Savva defeated all three. But his courage aroused hatred among the boyar Shein, who commanded the regiments. The boyar ordered the brave man to return home. Sawa and the devil again went to Moscow. The young man again stopped at Yakov Shilov. The devil came to him in the afternoon, and stayed at night in hell’s dwellings.
Sawa fell seriously ill. The wife of Yakov Shilov persuaded him to confess and receive Communion. She called a priest from the church of St. Nicholas in Grach. During the confession, the patient saw around him a crowd of demons. He told the priest about this, but he did not see anyone.
After the confession, the unclean spirit began to torment Sawa greatly. Yakov Shilov and his wife brought to the king’s notice the news of Sawa’s illness. The king ordered the guard to be placed, which would ensure that the young man did not commit suicide.
On the first day of July, the sick man saw the Virgin in a dream. She promised to save the young man from illness if he accepted monastic vows. Sawa agreed, and the Mother of God told him to come to the temple for the feast of the Kazan Icon. The young man told about the vision of the soldiers who guarded him, as well as the centurion and his wife. Yakov Shilov brought the message to the king himself.
When the feast of the Kazan icon came, the king ordered to bring the sick Sawa to the church. He was laid near the temple on the carpet. During the service, a voice came from the sky: “… Wake up, and do not sin!”. And the apostate letter, written by Sawa, fell down from above. But all the words from him were erased. The young man rose from the carpet, entered the church and prayed before the icon of the Virgin. Then he told his story to the king.
Returning to the house of Yakov Shilov, Sawa gave his property to the poor and took monastic vows in the Chudov Monastery, where he lived for many years and passed away.