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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

She found herself in the palace of the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep, in a high stone chamber; she was lying on a bed of carved gold with crystal feet; under her was a mattress of swansdown, and over her a coverlet of gold brocade. It was as if she had lived there all her life, had lain down to sleep and awakened. Sweet music played, such as she had never heard before. She rose from the bed of down, and saw all her belongings and the Little Scarlet Flower in its golden vase there in the chamber, all set out on tables of green malachite. The chamber was richly furnished with much finery and all kinds of wonderful things: there were chairs to sit on, couches to lie on, garments to wear and mirrors to see herself in. One wall was a mirror, another was of gold, a third of silver and the fourth of ivories studded with precious gems.

"This must be my bedchamber," she thought to herself.

Wishing to investigate the whole palace, she went forth to examine all the lofty chambers; and she walked for a long time, marvelling at all the wonders that she saw. Each chamber was lovelier than the last, and all more beautiful than the good merchant, her dear father, had described. Then, taking the dear Little Scarlet Flower, she went out into the verdant gardens, where the birds sang her heavenly songs, and the trees and bushes and flowers waved their heads and seemed to bow before her; the fountains of water spouted higher and the clear springs babbled louder as she approached. And she came upon the high place, the grassy mound on which the good merchant had picked the Little Scarlet Flower, more lovely than anything in the whole wide world. She took the Little Scarlet Flower from its golden vase, wishing to plant it in its former place; but it flew from her hand and attached itself to its former stem, blossoming more resplendently than before.

She was much amazed at this miracle of miracles, wonder of wonders, but was happy for her Little Scarlet Flower of which she was so fond. Then, she returned to her palace chambers and, in one of them, found a table set for her. And she thought to herself,

"It appears, the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep, is not angry, but will be to me a gracious master." No sooner had the thought entered her head than words of fire appeared on the wall of white marble,

"I am not thy master, but thine obedient slave. Thou art the mistress, and I shall gladly fulfil thine every wish, thine every command."

She read the words of fire and they vanished instantly from the wall of white marble, as if they had never been. Then it came into her head to write a letter to her father and give him tidings of her. Hardly had the thought occurred to her than she saw a gold pen and ink and paper lying before her. And she wrote this letter to her dear father and her beloved sisters,

"Weep not for me, nor grieve, for I am living like a princess in the palace of the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep; I neither see nor hear him, but he writes to me in words of fire on a wall of white marble; and he knows my every thought and instantly fulfils my every wish. He calls me the mistress and will not have me call him my lord."

Scarcely had she written the letter and sealed it with a seal, than the letter vanished from her hands and sight, as if it had never been. The music began to play even more tunefully than before, as sweetmeats and meads appeared upon the table in vessels of burnished gold. Though she had never in her life dined all by herself, she sat down cheerfully at the table, ate and drank and refreshed herself, enjoying the dulcet music. After dinner, having ate her fill, she lay down to rest; and the music grew softer, that it might not disturb her slumbers.

When she had slept, she rose with light heart ready to walk in the gardens once more, for before dinner she had not managed to see more than half of them, or to behold all the wonders they contained. All the trees, bushes and flowers bent down before her, and the ripe fruitpears and peaches and juicy applestempted her to taste them. After walking for some time, till evening was nigh, she returned to her lofty chambers, and there she saw a table laid with all manner of sweetmeats and meads, all most excellent.

After supper, she went back to the chamber of white marble, where she had read the words of fire on the wall; and again she saw words inscribe themselves on the very same wall,

"Is my mistress pleased with her gardens and chambers, with the hospitality and attention?"

And the merchant's lovely young daughter answered in a happy voice,

"Call me not thy mistress, be thou forever my good master, kind and gracious. I shall never disobey thy will; and I thank thee for all thy hospitality. Nowhere in the whole wide world are there such lofty chambers and verdant gardens. Why then should I not be pleased? Never in my life have I seen such wonders; I still cannot believe it is all true. But there is one thing: I fear to sleep alone; nowhere in thy lofty chambers is there a living soul but me."

And these words of fire appeared upon the wall,

"Have no fear, my lovely mistress. Nor shalt thou sleep alone; for thy handmaid, loyal and true, awaits thee now. Many human souls dwell within these chambers, only thou dost not see or hear them; they all watch over thee, as I do, day and night: we shall not suffer the wind to blow on thee or a speck of dust to settle upon thee."

Then, the merchant's lovely young daughter went off to her bedchamber and there she found her handmaid, loyal and true, standing at her bed; the girl was half-dead with fright, but rejoiced to see her mistress, kissed her lily-white hands and embraced her dainty feet. Her mistress, too, was pleased to see her and set to questioning her about her own dear father, her elder sisters and about her other maids and servants. And then she herself began to describe her own adventuresso that the pair of them did not fall asleep before the first rays of dawn.

Thus it was the merchant's lovely young daughter came to live and prosper in her new home. Each day, new expensive robes were laid out for her, such priceless finery that words cannot describe or a pen depict. Each day saw new and varied amusements and diversions: riding through the dark forests in horseless, unharnessed carriages, all to the sound of sweet music, with the trees parting and giving her a wide, wide road to pass over smoothly. And she began to busy herself with maidenly handiwork: she embroidered lengths of cloth in gold and silver and made fringes with finely-set pearls; she began to send gifts to her dear father, but she presented the richest width to her kind guardian, to that very Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep. And as the days passed by, she began to go more frequently to the white marble hall that she might utter grateful speeches to her generous guardian, and read his replies and greetings etched in words of fire upon the wall.

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