Page:The Red Fairy Book.djvu/61
THE DEATH OF KOSHCHEI THE DEATHLESS
And he asked for the hand of the Princess Olga. Prince Ivan replied:
'If you find favour in the eyes of the Princess Olga, then let her marry you. I will not interfere with her liberty of choice.'
The Princess Olga gave her consent and married the Eagle. The Eagle took her and carried her off to his own kingdom.
Another year went by. Prince Ivan said to his youngest sister:
'Let us go out and stroll in the garden green!'
They strolled about for a time. Again there arose a storm-cloud, with whirlwind and lightning.
'Let us return home, sister!' said he.
They returned home, but they hadn't had time to sit down when the thunder crashed, the ceiling split open, and in flew a raven. The Raven smote upon the floor and became a brave youth. The former youths had been handsome, but this one was handsomer still.
'Well, Prince Ivan! Before I came as a guest, but now I have come as a wooer! Give me the Princess Anna to wife.'
'I won't interfere with my sister's freedom. If you gain her affections, let her marry you.'
So the Princess Anna married the Raven, and he bore her away into his own realm. Prince Ivan was left alone. A whole year he lived without his sisters; then he grew weary, and said:
'I will set out in search of my sisters.'
He got ready for the journey, he rode and rode, and one day he saw a whole army lying dead on the plain. He cried aloud, 'If there be a living man there, let him make answer! Who has slain this mighty host?'
There replied unto him a living man:
'All this mighty host has been slain by the fair Princess Marya Morevna.'
Prince Ivan rode further on, and came to a white tent, and forth came to meet him the fair Princess Marya Morevna.
'Hail, Prince!' says she; 'whither does God send you? and is it of your free will or against your will?'
Prince Ivan replied, 'Not against their will do brave youths ride!'
'Well, if your business be not pressing, tarry awhile in my tent.'
Thereat was Prince Ivan glad. He spent two nights in the