In a certain country, in the city of Anderika there lived a Tsar, a clever man, named Abraham Tuksalamovich, with his wife for thirty years in peace and happiness, but they had no child. At last Tsar Abraham Tuksalamovich prayed, with tears, that Heaven would give them a son; their wish was fulfilled, and they had a brave little boy, whom they named Malandrach Abrahamovich. The little fellow grew, not by days but by hours; as buck-wheat dough rises with yeast, so did the Tsarevich grow and grow. The Tsar had his son taught all kinds of arts; and when the boy came to mature years, he went to the Tsar and said: “My lord and father, you have instructed me in various arts, but there is one which I have not yet learnt.”
“My bold and dear son, Malandrach,” said the Tsar, “tell me and let me know what art you desire to learn; I will provide you careful teachers.” And thereupon the Tsarevich answered: “My lord and father, yesterday I was reading a Swedish book, in which I found that there are people able to fly in the air with wings. I have now a great desire to learn this art, and I entreat you to procure me masters who may teach it me.”
The Tsar replied: “My bold child, it is impossible that men should fly in the air; you must have been reading something silly, or a fairy-tale; do not believe such stories. Nevertheless, I will send into all foreign lands to make search for any such people; and if they can be found I will order them to be brought hither, and have you instructed in their art.”
When the Tsar wants them, he does not wait for beer to be brewed nor brandy to be distilled; so the Tsar instantly sent messengers into distant lands, commanding them to seek everywhere for flying men, and, if they found any, to bring them to his Court. So the messengers went forth into various countries, and after three years they found a master of the art in the city of Austripa, and brought him to the Tsar Abraham; and when Malandrach saw him he was overjoyed. Then the Tsar asked this person whether he understood the art of flying, and the man replied: “Gracious sovereign, although it is not for me to praise myself, yet in truth I am the first master in our country. If your Majesty desire me to teach Prince Malandrach to fly in the air only command a large and lofty hall to be built, two hundred ells long and as many wide, and one hundred ells in height: this hall must be quite empty, have a great number of windows, and a little closet adjoining it.”
When the Tsar heard this, he instantly ordered such a palace to be built at once. And as soon as all was ready, the highflyer made two pairs of wings—one for himself and the other for Malandrach—and he began to teach the Tsarevich to fly in this hall, fastening the wings on to himself and Malandrach; and when he left off teaching, he laid the two pairs of wings in the closet, locked them up, and took the key with him. But one day it happened, when the Tsarevich had taken his lesson, and the master locked up the wings in the closet, that Malandrach observed this, and, without saying anything to his teacher, went with him to his father.
Now, just at this time the Tsar had a great feast prepared, and a large number of guests were invited. Then Malandrach, without saying a word to anyone, hastened to the large hall, took his wings from the closet, fastened them on to his shoulders, went into the courtyard, and began to flap his wings. Thereupon he flew up on to the lofty building, alighted upon it, and resting there, gazed with delight over his father’s kingdom. After awhile he wished to descend upon the ground, but suddenly a shudder came over him, and he dreaded to let himself down from such a height; and, instead of descending, he mounted higher and higher, until at length the earth appeared only like an apple, he had flown so high.
Just then a strong wind arose, which carried Malandrach Tsarevich into an unknown country; and his strength failed him, so that he could not manage his wings, and he began to fall. Then he beheld the wide sea beneath him, and was exceedingly terrified; but, collecting his remaining strength, he rose aloft again, and looked around on all four sides to see whether any shore was to be seen. At length he descried in the distance a small island; so he flew towards it, and alighting, he took off his wings and took them under his arms. Thereupon he set out rambling about the island in search of food, for he was sorely pinched by hunger; and he found by chance a tree with sweet fruit upon it, of which he ate his fill. Then he lay down to sleep upon the grass, under a spreading tree, and slept there until daybreak.
In the morning Malandrach arose and was about to fasten on his wings; but his arms ached so much that he could not move them; so he was obliged to stay there ten long days. On the eleventh day, however, he fastened on the wings, blessed himself, mounted high into the air, and looked around on all sides to seek for his father’s kingdom; he could not, however, discover it, but toward evening he espied a shore, upon which was a thick forest; so he alighted, took off his wings, and following a path, he came at last to the gates of a city. Then he concealed his wings under a bush, and going into the city, enquired for the market. And when they showed him the way, he went to it, and bought a long cloak. Then he returned to the forest, put his wings under his arm, and betook himself again to the city, where he met a man whom he asked: “Know you, friend, of any dwelling that is to be let?” The stranger replied: “You are doubtless a foreigner?”
“As you say,” replied the Tsarevich Malandrach; “I am a merchant from India, and have come hither in a ship with my wares. Our vessel was wrecked in a storm, and I was cast upon the shore of this kingdom upon a raft, to which I had made myself fast.”
“My friend,” said the stranger, “if you like, come and live with me; I will maintain you like my own son.” So Malandrach willingly consented, and went home with the stranger, and lived in his house more than a month, never going outside the courtyard. His host, observing this, asked him: “Why do you never take a walk in the city and see the noble buildings and the old ruins?” Then Malandrach begged his host, whose name was Achron, to take a walk with him and show him the royal palace. So his host accompanied Malandrach about the city until evening, when they returned home and lay down to sleep.
The next day Malandrach Tsarevich awoke betimes, rose from bed, dressed and washed himself, said his prayers, and bowed to all four sides. And after breakfast he went alone to take a walk, till at length he came outside the city, and perceived an immense stone building, surrounded by a wall; he walked round this wall, and could see no gate, but only a little door, which was locked fast. Prince Malandrach marvelled greatly at this enormous building, and returning home, asked his host what it was. The man replied that it was a royal building, in which lived the daughter of the Tsar, named Salikalla; but the reason of her being shut up there he did not know.
When Malandrach Tsarevich heard this he took his wings and went back the next day to the stone building. There he waited until evening, then fastened on his wings, flew over the wall into the garden, and alighted on a tree. As he sat perched upon the tree, he looked towards the window at which the Tsarevna Salikalla sat, which was far, far off.
Soon she lay down to sleep, and Malandrach watched her; and in an hour’s time he flew in at the window, which was left open. He went gently up to the Tsarevna, and saw that she was asleep; then he wished to awaken her with a kiss, but dared not. He stood gazing at her beauty and stayed there until near daybreak; then hastened home, fearing to awaken the Princess. So he silently took leave of her, and left behind a sign by which she might perceive that someone had been there. The sign was this: he laid her shoes on the bed, and then flew out of the window, went home, and lay down to sleep.
In the morning the Tsarevna awoke, and thought when she saw her shoes on the bed, that they had been laid there by her attendant, who slept in the adjoining room. Then she asked the servant, who replied that she had not done it, whereat the Princess wondered greatly.
In the evening Prince Malandrach went again to the stone palace, fastened on his wings, flew through the window, and gazed once more with delight on the beauty of the Tsarevna. Before daybreak, when he was obliged to return home, he again took the shoes, laid them at the head board of the bed, then flew out of the window, went home, and lay down to sleep.
When Salikalla awoke the next morning, and perceived the shoes again on the head board of her couch, she asked the servant whether she had laid them there. But the servant replied that she had not seen them; whereat the Princess wondered still more than before; and she resolved not to sleep the next night, but to watch who laid the shoes upon the couch.
The Tsarevich Malandrach waited until evening, then took his wings under his arm and returned to the palace; and when he thought that the Princess was asleep, he bound on his wings and flew in at the window. But hardly had he approached the couch and attempted to kiss her than the Tsarevna suddenly seized him with both hands, and exclaimed: “Who art thou? How dost thou dare to come hither?” Prince Malandrach knew not what to answer for astonishment, and fell to entreating pardon of the Tsarevna. She would not, however, let him go, until by threats she had made him tell her who he was, and how he had come into the palace. Then he told her the whole truth, from beginning to end; and the Tsarevna Salikalla was so pleased that she kissed his sugar lips, and begged him to remain, asking him to forgive her having been so rough and unkind.
“O my best beloved and most beautiful Tsarevna,” replied Malandrach, “tell me truly, I pray, why art thou shut up alone in this palace without any living creature near you?”
Then the Princess told him the story of her life. “When I was born,” she said, “my father summoned all the wise men to him, and asked them how long I should live; and they told my parents that until my fifteenth year I should live happily, but that then some evil should befall me, upon hearing which my father ordered this house to be built, and when I was ten years old he placed me here for ten years, and this is the sixth year I am here. My mother visits me once a month, and my father once a quarter, and a servant is given to attend upon me. My mother will be here in a week’s time; tarry, dear Prince, meanwhile, and cheer my solitude.”
The Tsarevich Malandrach readily consented, and the time passed quickly in various amusements and conversation, and at last they took an oath to marry each other. For more than a year they lived together thus, only separating when the time came round for the visits of the Tsarevna’s parents. One day the Princess saw her mother coming unexpectedly to the palace to visit her. Then she called to Malandrach and begged him instantly to depart; but just at the moment when he had fastened on his wings and was flying out of the window the Tsarina observed him. Astonished at the sight, she asked her daughter what it meant, and pressed her so with entreaties and threats to tell her the truth, that Salikalla at last told her of the visit of Malandrach, and how he had come flying into her window.
When the Tsarina heard this she went straightway to the Tsar, and told him all that her daughter had related. Then the Tsar instantly sent a large body of men to seize Malandrach in the house of his host, and to bring him into his presence. And the soldiers went into the house where Malandrach lived, took him away and led him before the Tsar. Then the Tsar asked him whose son he was, from what country he had come, and what was his name. The Tsarevich replied, and told the plain truth. Thereupon the Tsar called his daughter Salikalla and said: “Tell me is this the same man who flew in through your window?” She answered that it was, and added that she loved him with her whole heart. Then the Tsar took his daughter by the hand and gave her to the Tsarevich Malandrach, saying to him: “My dearest son-in-law, receive from my hand my only daughter for your wife, and live with her in happiness and love.” And, as when the Tsar wants it, beer is not brewed nor brandy distilled, the wedding was celebrated forthwith.
So Malandrach married the beautiful Princess Salikalla; and, after living with his father-in-law for half a year, he asked leave to go with his wife to his own father. Then the Tsar ordered a ship to be equipped and dismissed them with his blessing, and Malandrach sailed with his wife to his native country. When they arrived at the Court of his father, the Tsar Abraham was overjoyed at again seeing his beloved son, and asked him: “Where have you been this long while, and by what accident did you wander from my kingdom?” And Tsarevich Malandrach told his father the whole truth.
Tsar Abraham Tuksalamovich was now very old so he placed the crown on the head of his beloved son, and soon after died. Malandrach Abrahamovich lived with his beloved wife Salikalla many years in harmony and love.
Notes: Contains 17 Russian folktales, gathered form various Russian booklets.
Editor: Robert Steele
Publisher: A. M. Philpot, Limited, London; Robert M. McBride, NY