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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 Five  | Part Six  | Part Seven  | Part Eight  | Part Nine  | Part Ten  | Part Eleven  | Part Twelve  | Part Thirteen

So time passed — the tale is sooner told than the deed is done—and the merchant's lovely young daughter grew accustomed to her new life and home. Nothing surprised or frightened her any more. She was served by invisible attendants who ministered to her every need and drove her in horseless carriages, played music for her and obeyed her every command. And she grew daily more fond of her gracious master; she saw that he loved her more than himself and had not called her the mistress for naught; and she longed to hearken to his voice, she longed to converse with him without entering the white marble chamber, without reading the words of fire.

She began to beg and pray, but the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep, would not soon consent to her entreaties; for he feared that his voice would terrify her. But she continued to beg and beseech her kind guardian, and he could not refuse her any longer. Finally, he wrote in words of fire for the last time upon the white marble wall,

"Come into the garden today, sit in thy favourite arbour that is twined with leaves and branches and blossoms and say: 'Speak with me, my faithful slave'."

And the merchant's lovely young daughter ran into the gardens, entered her favourite arbour twined with leaves and branches and blossoms and sat on the brocade-covered bench. Out of breath, her heart beating wildly like that of a trapped bird, she uttered these words,

"Fear not, my kind and gracious master, that thou wilt frighten me with thy voice. After all thy kindnesses, I would not fear a wild beast's roar. Be not afraid, speak with me."

She heard the sound of someone sighing behind the arbour, and a terrible voice gave out, wild and snarling, hoarse and gruff, though it was speaking low as yet. And the merchant's lovely young daughter at first gave a start at the sound of the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep; yet she mastered her terror and did not show she was afraid. Presently, she began to listen to his kindly and welcoming words, his wise and prudent speeches, and her heart grew light.

From that time on, there was constant talk between them, nearly the whole day long, as she walked in the verdant gardens or drove through the dark forests or rested in the lofty chambers of the palace. The merchant's lovely young daughter only had to ask,

"Art thou there, my good and gracious master?"

And the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep, would reply,
"I am here, my fair mistress, thy faithful slave, thine eternal friend."

His wild and terrible voice made her afraid no longer, and they would have tender talks that had no end.

Time passed, whether fast or slow, I do not know: the tale is sooner told than the deed is done. But it was not long before the merchant's lovely young daughter longed to see the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep, with her own eyes. And she began to beg and beseech him. For a long time he did not consent, afraid of frightening her—for he truly was a terrible sight to behold, more ugly than words can tell or a pen can depict. Even the wild creatures lived in dread of the very sight of him, and would cower in their lairs at his approach. And the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep, spoke thus to her,

"Beseech and beg me not, my fair mistress, so delightful to behold, to show thee my horrible face and my misshapen body. To my voice thou art now accustomed; we live together in peace and concord, and scarcely are we ever apart; and thou lovest me for my untold love for thee. Yet if thou shouldst see me as I am, hideous and horrible, thou wouldst hate me, unfortunate that I am, and drive me from thy sight; and I should die of grief parted from thee."

But the merchant's lovely young daughter would not hearken to his words, and entreated him more earnestly than before, vowing that no terrible monster on earth would frighten her and that she would never cease to love her own kind master; and she said to him,

"If thou art old, be then my grandfather; if thou art of middle years, be my uncle; if thou art young, be as my brother; and as long as I shall live, be thou the friend of my heart."

Long, long did the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep, resist her requests, but he could not endure the entreaties and tears of the fair maiden, and at last he said,

"I cannot go against thy wishes since I love thee more than myself; I will grant thy wish though I know that I destroy my happiness and will die before my time. Come to the garden in the grey twilight, when the sun is setting behind the forest, and say,

" 'Show thyself to me, faithful friend!'
"And I will show thee my hideous face and my misshapen body. And if thou canst stay with me here no longer, I shall not wish to keep thee here against thy will in eternal torment; thou wilt find my gold ring beneath the pillow in thy bedchamber. Put it on the little finger of thy right hand, and thou wilt find thyself in thy dear father's house; and never more shalt thou hear of me."

Unalarmed and unafraid, the merchant's lovely young daughter was firm in her resolve. Straight away, not dallying for an instant, she went into the garden to await the appointed hour; and when grey twilight came and the sun was sinking behind the forest, she called,

"Show thyself to me, my faithful friend!"

And at a distance, the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep, showed himself to her; he did but walk across the path, and quickly disappeared into the thick bushes. But when the merchant's lovely young daughter caught sight of him, she waved her lily-white hands, let out a cry of anguish and fainted upon the path. For dreadful indeed was the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep: his arms were crooked, he had the talons of a wild beast, the legs of a horse, and great camel humps before and behind; he was covered in hair from head to foot. he had a boar's tusks sticking out of his mouth, a nose curved like an eagle's beak, and the eyes of an owl.

Having lain there senseless for a long time, the merchant's lovely young daughter finally came to and heard someone nearby weeping bitterly and sobbing in a pitiful voice,

"Thou hast slain me, my beloved fair maiden: no more shall I see thy gracious face; no longer wilt thou even suffer my voice; thus I must die an untimely death."

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