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The Red Fairy Book

The Death Of Koshchei The Deathless
IN a certain kingdom there lived a Prince Ivan. He had three sisters. The first was the
Princess Marya, the second the Princess Olga, the third the Princess Anna. When their
father and mother lay at the point of death, they had thus enjoined their son: `Give your
sisters in marriage to the very first suitors who come to woo them. Don't go keeping them
by you!'
They died, and the Prince buried them, and then, to solace his grief, he went with his
sisters into the garden green to stroll. Suddenly the sky was covered by a black cloud; a
terrible storm arose.
`Let us go home, sisters!' he cried.
Hardly had they got into the palace, when the thunder pealed, the ceiling split open, and
into the room where they were came flying a falcon bright. The Falcon smote upon the
ground, became a brave youth, and said:
`Hail, Prince Ivan! Before I came as a guest, but now I have come as a wooer! I wish to
propose for your sister, the Princess Marya.'
`If you find favour in the eyes of my sister, I will not interfere with her wishes. Let her
marry you, in God's name!'
The Princess Marya gave her consent; the Falcon married her and bore her away into his
own realm.
Days follow days, hours chase hours; a whole year goes by. One day Prince Ivan and his
two sisters went out to stroll in the garden green. Again there arose a storm-cloud, with
whirlwind and lightning.
`Let us go home, sisters!' cries the Prince. Scarcely had they entered the palace when the
thunder crashed, the roof burst into a blaze, the ceiling split in twain, and in flew an
eagle. The Eagle smote upon the ground and became a brave youth.
`Hail, Prince Ivan! I Before I came as a guest, but now I have come as a wooer!'
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: