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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

 | Part five

Hardly had the merchant had time to slip it on the little finger of his right hand than he found himself at the gates of his own spacious courtyard; and at that very moment, there arrived his richly-laden caravans and his loyal servants bringing treasure and merchandise thrice the value of what he had taken forth. A great commotion arose within the house, his daughters jumped up from their embroidery frames where they had been embroidering widths of silken cloth with gold and silver thread, and they rushed to embrace their father, hug and kiss him; and the two eldest sisters were more doting than the youngest. Presently, they saw that something was amiss, that a secret sorrow lay upon their father's heart. And his elder daughters asked anxiously whether he had lost his great fortune; but the youngest daughter gave no thought to his fortune, and said to her father,

"Your fortune is of no matter to me; wealth comes and goes. Do tell me what saddens you so."

And the merchant made answer to his dear daughters, good and kind,

"I have not lost my great fortune, but multiplied it three- or fourfold; another sorrow presses upon me. That I'11 relate to you tomorrow, for today let us make merry."

He ordered that his iron-bound travelling chests be brought in: for his eldest daughter, he took out the golden crownmade from the gold of Araby that neither would fire melt nor water rust-set with precious stones; for the second daughter, he took out the gift of the mirror of Eastern crystal; and for his youngest daughter, he took out the gift of the Little Scarlet Flower in a golden vase. The eldest daughters were beside themselves with joy, carried off their gifts to their lofty chambers to try them out to their heart's delight. But the youngest daughter trembled on seeing the Little Scarlet Flower and began to weep, as if her heart would break.

Then her father spoke thus,

"What is it, my dear darling daughter? Why do you not take the flower you so desired? There is none finer in the whole wide world."

The youngest daughter took the Little Scarlet Flower, reluctantly it seemed, kissed her father's hands and shed burning tears of sorrow. By and by, the elder daughters hurried in, still rapturous with delight, having tried out their father's presents. Then everyone took his place at oaken tables covered with white embroidered tablecloths, laden with choice sweetmeats and meads; and they all set to eating and drinking, refreshing themselves and delighting their father with pleasant speeches.

Towards evening, guests began to arrive and the merchant's house was soon filled with good friends and kinsfolk and lovers of good cheer. Till midnight the company sat and talked, and never had the good merchant see so grand an evening of feasting in his home; and he, like all the company, marvelled whence everything had comethe gold and silver dishes and the fantastic viands such as had never graced his house before.

In the morning, the merchant summoned his eldest daughter, recounted all his adventures, from beginning to end, and asked her would she save him from a terrible death by going to live with the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep. But the eldest daughter refused outright, saying,

"Let it be that daughter who desired the Little Scarlet Flower-let her go and save her father."

So the good merchant summoned his second daughter, told her all that had befallen him, from beginning to end, and asked her would she save him from a terrible death by going to live with the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep. But the second daughter refused outright, saying,

"Let it be that daughter who desired the Little Scarlet Flowerlet her go and save her father."

Then the good merchant summoned his youngest daughter and began telling his story, from beginning to end; yet even before he had time to finish, the beloved youngest daughter fell upon her knees before him and said,

"Give me your blessing, Sire, my dear father. I will go to the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep, and live with him. It was for me you fetched the Little Scarlet Flower and it is my duty to rescue you."

Tears filled the good merchant's eyes as he embraced his beloved youngest daughter, and he spoke these words to her,

"0 my dear, good, kind daughter, youngest and fondest, may a father's blessing be upon you for saving your father from a cruel death and for going of your own free will and desire to live with the awesome Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep. You will live in his palace, in great splendour and ease; but where that palace is, no one knows and no one can tell, for there is no way to it by horse or foot, not even for loping beast or swift-flying bird. We shall hear no word or news of you, nor you of us. I know not how I will live out my days of anguish, never seeing your sweet face, nor hearing your tender words... I part with you for ever and ever, as if I were burying you alive in the earth."

And the beloved youngest daughter answered her father,

"Weep not, grieve not, Sire, my dear father. I shall live in wealth and ease; I fear not the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep, and I shall serve him truly and loyally, fulfil his every lordly wish; and, I pray, he may take pity upon me. Mourn me not as dead. One day, God grant, I shall return to you."

The good merchant would not be comforted by her words; he wept and sobbed brokenheartedly.

The elder sisters came in haste, their wailing filling the whole house: so sorry they were, if you please, for their dear younger sister. Yet the youngest sister displayed no sign of sorrow, neither wept nor sighed, but made ready for her long journey into the unknown; and she took with her the Little Scarlet Flower in its golden vase.

Three days and nights soon passed and the time came for the merchant to part with his beloved youngest daughter. He kissed and embraced her, weeping bitter tears and pronounced his parental blessing upon her. Then, taking from an iron-bound casket the ring of the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep, he put the ring on the little finger of his dear daughter's right hand-and she vanished in an instant with all her belongings.

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