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Fairy Tale: The Little Scarlet Flower

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Description of the Tale:

Tale's Author: Sergej Aksakov, translated by James Riordan.
Name of the Tale: The Little Scarlet Flower
Fairy-Tale's Genre: Love and romance
The People of Country: literary working of russian national tale's.

The Little Scarlet Flower

 | Part One  | Part Two  | Part Three  | Part Four  | Part Four  | Part Five  | Part Six  | Part Seven  | Part Eight  | Part Nine  | Part Ten  | Part Eleven  | Part Twelve  | Part Thirteen

In a certain realm, in a certain land, there lived a wealthy merchant, a man of great means.

Much wealth had he of every kindgold and silver treasure, pearls and precious stones, costly wares from far-off lands. And this merchant had three daughters, each more lovely than words can tell, but the youngest was the fairest of all. He loved his daughters more than his entire fortune-more than his pearls and precious stones, more than his gold and silver treasure. His love was great, for his wife was dead and he had nobody else to love. Though he loved his elder daughters, he loved his youngest daughter best because she was the kindest and most loving to her father.

One day, this merchant made ready to sail across the sea with his wares, to the ends of the earth. Before departing, he said to his dear daughters,

"0 my kind and sweet and tender daughters, I take my ships to trade in lands across the sea. Whether I be long on my way I cannot say, but I bid you live in virtue and peace while I am gone. Then I shall bring you back whatever gifts your hearts desire. And I give you three days to make your choice; then you shall tell me what gifts you desire."

For three days and nights they considered, then came to their father and told him of the gifts they each desired. The first daughter bowed low to her father, and spoke thus,

"Sire, my dear beloved father, bring me no gold or silver brocade, no black sable, no wondrous pearls. Bring me, I pray thee, a golden crown set with precious stones, such that shines as the full moon or the bright sun, such that turns the dark of night into the light of day."

The good merchant thought awhile, then said,

"So be it, daughter mine, I shall bring you just such a crown. I know a man across the sea who can get it for me. It belongs to a foreign princess and is concealed in a stone chamber buried deep in a mountain of stone, seven yards down, behind three iron doors with three German locks. The task is not an easy one, but my fortune knows no bounds."

Next This second daughter bowed low and said,

"Sire, me dear beloved father, I want no gold or silver brocade, no black Siberian sable, no wondrous pearl necklace, no golden crown with precious stones. iBring me a mirror of Eastern crystal, so pure and perfect I may behold all the beauty under the sun, such that when I look into it I may never grow old, my maidenly beauty shall increase."

The good merchant became thoughtful; then after a long pause, he said,

"So be it, daughter mine, I shall bring you a crystal mirror such as you describe. There is just such a mirror belonging to the daughter of the King of Persia, a young princess whose beauty no tongue can describe, no pen can depict, no mind can imagine. The mirror is hidden in a stone tower, tall and strong, that stands on a mountain cliff seven hundred yards high. And the mirror is kept behind seven iron doors with seven German locks. Three thousand steps lead up to the tower and on every step stands a Persian warrior guarding the treasure day and night, each wielding a mighty sword of sharp steel. And the keys to those iron doors hang on a belt around the princess's waist. But I know a man across the sea who can get me that mirror. This task is harder than your sister's, but nothing is beyond my fortune."

Then the youngest daughter bowed low to her father and spoke thus,

"Sire, my dear beloved father, I want no gold or silver brocade, no black Siberian sable, no wondrous necklace, no bejewelled crown, no crystal mirror. Bring me, I pray, the Little Scarlet Flower, the most beautiful thing in the whole wide world." The good merchant pondered even harder than before. How long it took him, I cannot tell, but finally he made up his mind. He kissed and hugged his beloved youngest daughter, and thus he spoke,

"Well, you have set me a task harder than your sisters. When a person knows what to seek, he may surely find it; but how can he find that which he knows not? Red flowers are not hard to find, but how am I to know which is the most beautiful in the whole

wide world? I shall do my best, but be not angry if I cannot please you."

Despatching his good and kind daughters to their maiden chambers, he began to prepare-jorhis voyage to a distant realm across the seas. Whether he was long makmgi*eady I cannot sayit is quicker to tell the tale than do the deedbut eventually he departed on his voyage.

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