The Renowned Hero, Bova Korolevich and the Princess Drushnevna

The Russian Garland March 29, 2015
1 hr 22 minutes read
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    In the famous city of Anton ruled the brave and mighty King Guidon; who heard so much from his own subjects, as well as foreigners, of the beauty of the Princess Militrisa Kirbitovna, that he longed to see her. So he set out, and travelled to the city of Dimichtian, where he saw her many times, and fell deeply in love with her.

    When King Guidon returned home, he sent his servant Litcharda as ambassador to King Kirbit Versoulovich, the father of the Princess Militrisa Kirbitovna, with a letter written by his own hand, to ask for his daughter in marriage. When Litcharda arrived at the city of Dimichtian, he delivered to King Kirbit the letter from his master; and after Kirbit had read it through, he went at once to the Princess Militrisa, and said to her: “My dear daughter, the fame of your beauty has reached the brave and powerful King Guidon. He has been in the city to see you, and has fallen deeply in love with you. He has sent a messenger to demand your hand, and I have already given my consent.”

    As King Kirbit spoke these words, Militrisa fell to weeping; and her father seeing this said: “Grieve not, dear daughter, Guidon is powerful, renowned, and rich; he will be a good husband to you, and you will share the government with him. To refuse his request is impossible, for he would return with a large army, storm our city, and carry you off by force.”

    When the Princess Militrisa heard this, she began to sob, fell on her knees, and said: “My lord and father, you have sovereign power over me, but let me confess the truth: I have seen Guidon, but his very look terrified me; I fear therefore to marry him. I entreat you, dear father, to alter your resolution, and to give me to Tsar Dadon, who is our neighbour, a faithful friend, and protector of our kingdom.” But Kirbit did not listen to her entreaties, and sent her to King Guidon to be his wife, in the city of Anton. Guidon rejoiced exceedingly at her arrival, ordered a great feast to be prepared for their wedding the following day, and set at liberty all the prisoners in his kingdom on this joyous event.

    For three years Guidon lived with Militrisa, and they had one only son, named Bova Korolevich, who was of a powerful figure and handsome bearing, and he grew, not from day to day, but from hour to hour. One day Queen Militrisa Kirbitovna called her faithful servant Litcharda, and said: “Do me a true service; I will repay you with gold and precious stones: take this letter to Tsar Dadon, without the knowledge of King Guidon: fail not to do my bidding, or you shall die a miserable death.”

    Litcharda took the private letter of the Queen, mounted his horse, rode to Tsar Dadon, and delivered the letter to him. When Dadon read it through he laughed, and said to Litcharda: “Your Queen either jokes or wishes to affront me: she invites me to lead my army before the city of Anton, and promises to deliver up her husband to me; this cannot truly be meant, because she has a young son.” But Litcharda replied: “Mighty Tsar Dadon, let not this letter arouse your suspicion; put me in prison with food and drink, collect your army, and march to the city of Anton, and if the contents of the letter prove untrue, let me suffer death.”

    When Tsar Dadon heard these words from Litcharda, he rejoiced, and ordering the trumpets to sound, he collected an army of thirty thousand men, marched upon the city of Anton, and encamped on the royal meadows. No sooner was Militrisa Kirbitovna informed that Tsar Dadon was encamped before the city with his army, than, dressing herself in her best attire, she went to King Guidon, and, pretending to be ill, begged him to go out and slay a wild boar for her to eat. The King was glad to oblige his wife, and mounting his trusty horse, rode out to hunt.

    As soon as he had left the city, Militrisa ordered the drawbridges to be raised and the gates to be shut. And hardly had King Guidon approached Tsar Dadon’s rearguard, when the latter instantly pursued him. Guidon turned his horse towards the city, but flight was in vain; when he came to the gates, and found them closed, and the drawbridges up, he was sad at heart, and exclaimed: “Most miserable of men! Now I see the cunning of my wicked wife, and the death she has prepared for me. But Bova, my dear boy, why did you not tell me of your mother’s treachery?” As he spoke these words Dadon rode at him, pierced him through the heart with his lance, and Guidon fell dead from his horse.

    When Militrisa Kirbitovna saw this from the city walls, she ordered the gates to be opened and the bridges let down, and went out to meet Tsar Dadon, kissed him on the lips, took him by the white hands, and conducted him into the castle. Here they sat together at a table where a banquet was spread, and they began to feast. But the little boy, Bova Korolevich, young as he was, when he saw his mother’s wicked conduct, went out of the castle to the stable, and sitting down under a manger was sad at heart. His attendant, Simbalda, saw him sitting there, and wept at the sight, and said: “My dear young master, Bova Korolevich, your cruel mother has let Tsar Dadon kill my good lord your father, and now she feasts and sports with the murderer in the palace. You are young, my child, and cannot avenge your father’s death; indeed, who knows but that she may kill you likewise? To save our lives, therefore, we will fly to the city of Sumin, over which my father rules.” And so saying, Simbalda saddled for himself a good steed, and for Bova a palfrey, took with him thirty stout young fellows, and hurried out of the city.

    As soon as Dadon’s followers saw this, they went and told their master that Bova and Simbalda had escaped towards Sumin. When Tsar Dadon heard this he forthwith commanded his army to be collected, and sent in pursuit of Bova Korolevich and his protector Simbalda, whom they overtook at a short distance from Sumin. Simbalda at once saw their danger, and, setting spurs to his horse, galloped off to the city and shut the gates. But Bova Korolevich, who was very young, could not hold his seat upon the horse, and fell to the ground. Then the pursuers seized Bova, and carried him to Tsar Dadon, who sent him to his mother, Militrisa; and, collecting all his army, he rode up to the city of Sumin, in order to take it by force, and put to death its inhabitants and Simbalda; and pitched his tent on the forbidden meadows around the city.

    One night Dadon dreamed that Bova Korolevich pierced him through with a lance: and when he awoke he called to him his chief boyar, and sent him to Queen Militrisa, bidding her to put Bova to death. But when Militrisa Kirbitovna heard this message she replied: “I cannot myself kill him, for he is my own son; but I will command him to be thrown into a dark dungeon, and kept without food or drink, and so he will die of hunger.”

    Meanwhile Tsar Dadon lay encamped before the city of Sumin for half a year, but could neither take it by force nor starvation; so at length he broke up his camp and returned to Anton. After his departure, Simbalda assembled an army of fifteen thousand men, marched upon the city of Anton, surrounded it on all sides, and demanded that Bova should be given up to him. But Dadon collected an army twice as strong as Simbalda’s, and drove him back into the city of Sumin.

    One day, as Queen Militrisa was walking in her garden, she by chance passed the prison where Bova Korolevich was confined. Then he cried aloud: “Alas! my gracious mother, fair Queen Militrisa, why are you so enraged against me? Why have you put me in prison and given me no food on purpose to let me die of hunger? Have I grieved you by any ill conduct or cruel words, that you treat me in this way, or have wicked people spoken evil of me to you?” Militrisa answered: “I know of nothing wrong in you, and have only put you in prison on account of your irreverence to Tsar Dadon, who defends our kingdom against our enemies, while you are young; but I will soon set you at liberty, and will send you now some sweetmeats and meat; you can eat as much as you like.”

    “Alas! my gracious mother, why have you put me in prison?”

    So saying, Queen Militrisa went into the palace and set to work to make two cakes, of wheaten dough and serpent’s fat, which she baked and sent to Bova Korolevich by a servant maid named Chernavka. But when the maid came to Bova she said: “Master, do not eat the cakes which your mother has sent, but give them to the dogs, for they are poisoned, here is a piece of my own bread.” So Bova took the cakes and threw them to the dogs, and as soon as they tasted them they died. And when he saw Chernavka’s kindness and fidelity, he took her black bread and ate it, and begged her not to close the prison door: so she left it open, and when she came again to Militrisa she told her she had given the cakes to Bova.

    As soon as the servant was gone, Bova escaped from his prison and went to the harbour to forget his sorrow. There some drunken people seized and carried him on board a ship, and the merchants on it asked him of what condition he was. Bova Korolevich told them that he was of the poor class, and that his mother got her living by washing linen for strangers. When the sailors heard this they wondered that he should look so handsome, and bethought them how they might keep him with them. They began to wrangle as to who should be his master, but as soon as Bova perceived their intention, he told them not to quarrel for his sake, for that he would serve them all in turn.

    Then the shipmen left the city of Anton and sailed out to sea, to the Armenian kingdom of King Sensibri Andronovich. There they cast anchor, and went into the city to follow their business; whilst Bova went on shore, and wandered about, playing on the lute. Meantime the port officers came on board the ship, whom King Sensibri sent to enquire whence the ship had come, who the merchants were, and what was their business. But when they heard Bova Korolevich playing, and saw the beauty of his features, they forgot what they had come for, and returning to King Sensibri, said only that they had seen a youth of unspeakable beauty on board the ship, who played on the lute so wonderfully that they were never tired of listening to him; adding, that they had quite forgotten to enquire what wares the ship contained. When the King heard this he went himself to the ship, and when he had seen Bova, he offered to purchase him, but the merchants would not sell him for any price, telling the King that he belonged to them all equally, and relating how they had picked him up on the seashore. At this King Sensibri flew into a rage, and instantly ordered them to be driven out of his kingdom, forbidding them ever to return. On hearing this order, the merchants agreed to sell Bova Korolevich for three hundred bars of gold.

    When Bova was brought to the Court, the King called to him and said: “Tell me, young fellow, to what class do you belong, and what is your name?” And Bova replied: “Gracious King, Sensibri Andronovich, I am of the poor class, and lost my father at an early age: my mother washes linen for strangers; and thus supports herself and me. My name is Anhusei, and I will serve thee henceforth faithfully.”

    When the King heard this he said: “As you are of the lowest class and cannot remember your father, go into my stables, and you shall be the head over all my grooms.” So Bova made his bow and went into the stable.

    Bova often drove out with his comrades to the forbidden meadows of the King, to get grass for the horses; but he never took a sickle with him, but pulled all the grass with his hands, and gathered himself as much as ten men together could mow. When the other grooms saw this they were amazed at his strength. His fame at length reached the King’s daughter, the fair Drushnevna, who went to see him: and as soon as she beheld Bova, she was enraptured with his uncommon beauty. And one day she said to the King: “My gracious father, you are indeed powerful and renowned, not only in your own kingdom, but in all countries far and near, and no King, Tsar, or Knight can compare with you; but, O King! you have no trusty and clever steward in your household. Now, I have heard that there is a young lad in our royal stables whom you have purchased from some shipmen; his name is Anhusei. This lad will prove trusty and useful in your service; order him to be taken from the stable and employed in your household.”

    King Sensibri replied: “My dear daughter, I have never refused to grant any one of your wishes, and in this matter too you are free to do as you will.” When the Princess Drushnevna heard these words, she thanked her father, made her obeisance, and went out. Then she ordered Bova to be called and desired him to leave his old task and to enter on his new employment in the household.

    The next day she called Bova to her and said: “Hark ye, Anhusei, to-morrow my father will have a great feast, and all the princes, boyars, and knights will be present to eat and drink and sport; you must stand near me at the table to do my bidding.” Thereupon Bova made his bow and was going away, but the Princess Drushnevna called him back, and said: “Tell me the truth, young fellow, what class do you belong to—of boyar or kingly race? Or are you the son of some brave knight, or of a merchant from a foreign land? And what is your true name? I believe not that you are born of common folk as you told my father.” Then Bova replied: “Gracious Lady, I have told your royal father truly my name and condition, and can only repeat it to you.” And so saying he left the room.

    On the morrow the King held a great feast, and Bova had to hold a roasted swan to the Princess Drushnevna, which she began to carve; and, on purpose, she let fall a fork on the floor. Bova instantly picked it up, and as he held it out to her she kissed him on the head. As soon as the feast was ended, Bova lay down to sleep, and slept three days and three nights; no shaking could arouse him. The fourth day, when he awoke, he rode out into the open country, walked into the forbidden meadows, gathered some beautiful flowers, and, making a wreath, placed it on his head, and so went into the city. When the Princess saw him thus decked out, she called him before her, and bade him take the wreath from his head and place it on hers. Bova did not obey; but he took the wreath from his head, pulled it to pieces, and flung it on the ground; then he left the room, and shut the door after him with such force that he pulled out the silver handle, and a stone fell from the wall and wounded him on the head. The fair Drushnevna hearing this, cured his wound with her medicines; and when it was healed Bova lay down again to sleep, and slept five days and five nights.

    Now at this time King Marcobrun came from the kingdom beyond the Don, with many hundred thousand warriors; and surrounding the Armenian city with his army, he sent an ambassador to Sensibri to demand the Princess his daughter Drushnevna for wife; promising, in return, to reward and defend him; but threatening, in case of his refusal, to destroy the city with fire and sword, to throw him into prison, and carry off his daughter by force. Then King Sensibri answered: “Tell your Master, the renowned King Marcobrun that, until this day, I have never had any disagreement with him, but have lived in friendship and good-will; and that I have no desire now to quarrel with him; but better it had been to have sent you with a simple request instead of threats. I pardon him, however, on account of his youth, and invite him to my royal castle to eat bread and salt, and to celebrate the marriage with my daughter.”

    King Sensibri dismissed the messenger, and commanding the city gates to be opened, went himself to meet King Marcobrun, took him by his white hands, led him into the marble palace, seated him at an oaken table spread with checkered tablecloths and sweetmeats, and they fell to eating and drinking and disport.

    Just then Bova Korolevich awoke from his five days’ sleep, and heard the confused sounds of men, and the neighing of horses, outside the city. Whereupon he went into the white marble palace to Princess Drushnevna, and said: “Gracious Lady, I hear the sounds of men and horses outside the city, and people say that Marcobrun’s nobles are amusing themselves with holding a tournament. I have a wish to join in it; command, I pray, a good steed to be given me, and allow me to go forth and see the sports.”

    The Princess answered: “My little fellow Anhusei, how can you ride with Marcobrun’s nobles? You are still very young, and cannot sit fast on a horse. However, if you have so great a longing to go, choose a good horse and ride off to see the sport; but take no weapon, and do not mingle in their games.”

    The instant Bova received this permission he went into the stable, straddled across a broom, and so rode out of the city. And as soon as Marcobrun’s nobles saw Bova Korolevich riding upon a broom, they began to laugh at him, and cried: “Look, look at King Sensibri’s groom! riding cock-horse upon a broom! to sweep the field and make us room!” But Bova did not relish their jokes, and riding up to them, he defended himself with his broom, laying about him right and left, and knocking them down by twos and threes. When Marcobrun’s nobles saw this sport they rushed upon Bova, ten or more at once; but he took them as they came, and overthrew them all. Thereat the other knights were enraged, and attacked Bova, two hundred in a body, and tried to ride him down. Still Bova flinched not, but slew them all, one after another, to the number of two hundred thousand men. When the King’s daughter saw this from her window, she went to her father and said: “My gracious father, command your servant Anhusei to return. He has ridden forth to see the sports of Marcobrun’s nobles; but they are engaged against him, and are attacking him with great fury. It were a shame to let him be slain: he is still but a young child, and has little strength.” So King Sensibri Andronovich instantly sent to Bova, and ordered him to return to the city.

    Bova obeyed the command, rode back to the city, lay down to sleep, and slept for nine days and nine nights. Meanwhile the powerful Tsar and knight Lukoper came to the Armenian kingdom: his head was as large as a beer-barrel, his eyebrows were a span apart, his shoulders an arrow’s length broad, and he was as tall as a journey. Never before had such a powerful knight been heard of; and he came at the head of a host twice as strong as the army of Marcobrun. Then he surrounded the city of King Sensibri, and sent an ambassador to him, demanding the hand of the Princess Drushnevna; threatening, if he refused, to lay waste his city with fire and sword, to imprison all the inhabitants, to overthrow Marcobrun’s army, slay both Kings, and carry off the Princess Drushnevna. But if Sensibri assented to his demand, Lukoper promised him his aid and protection.

    When King Sensibri heard this message he dared not refuse, and dismissed the ambassador without an answer. Then he called Marcobrun, and took counsel with him, and they agreed to attack Lukoper with all their forces. They forthwith ordered their horses to be saddled; each seized in his right hand a steel sword, and in his left a sharp lance, and they rode forth out of the city. When the Tsar Lukoper beheld them, he rode with the blunt end of his lance against Marcobrun and Sensibri, overthrew them one after another, took them prisoners, and sent them to his father, Saltan Saltanovich, who was encamped with his army on the seashore. Then Lukoper fell upon the armies of Sensibri and Marcobrun, and slew them without mercy, while his gallant steed trampled down still more than he killed; and in a short time the royal forbidden meadows were covered with the dead.

    Just at this time Bova Korolevich awoke from his sleep, and heard the noise of Lukoper’s army, and the neighing of the horses. Then he went to the Princess Drushnevna and said: “Gracious Lady, I hear the noise of Lukoper’s warriors, who are disporting in a tourney after the victory over your father and Marcobrun, whom he has sent prisoners to his father the Tsar Saltan Saltanovich, on the seashore. I am therefore come, as your faithful servant, to crave permission to take from the royal stable a good horse, with trappings, a sword, and a steel lance. Let me go forth against Lukoper’s army, measure my strength with him, and try the valour of his boasting warriors.” The Princess answered: “I will consent to your wish, young fellow; but you must first tell me truly of what rank of life you are, and what is your real name? You have not told my father the truth: your handsome figure and valorous deeds show clearly that you are no poor man’s son.”

    “Lady,” replied Bova Korolevich, “I would not disclose to you my true rank and name, but that I am now going forth to a battle of life and death, and know not whether I shall return from it alive, or lose my head in rescuing my King from prison; therefore I will confess the truth. My father was the renowned King Guidon, a mighty hero in the field, and a merciful prince to his subjects. My mother is Queen Militrisa, daughter of the Tsar Kirbit Versoulovich: my name is Bova. I left my country in early youth, when King Dadon laid waste our kingdom, treacherously murdered my father, and seized upon his dominions. He sought to kill me too; but I fled, sailed with some merchants to your kingdom, and was bought by your father.”

    When the Princess heard this story she loved Bova Korolevich still more, and she said to him: “Brave Knight, you would engage in a fight of life and death with the Tsar Lukoper, but you do not know, perhaps, how powerful he is, and what an immense army he has with him; besides, you are still very young, and have not the strength of manhood. Stay rather in my city, take me for your wife, and protect my country and people against our foes.”

    Bova, however, was unmoved by her words; and again entreated her to let him have a steed and armour. When the Princess Drushnevna saw how earnestly he begged, she took from the wall a battle sword, buckled it on him with her own hands, put on his armour, and led him to the stone stable to fetch a steed, which stood there behind twelve iron doors and twelve huge locks. Then she commanded the grooms to strike off the locks; but as soon as the horse perceived a rider worthy of him, he began to burst the doors with his hoofs, broke them all down, ran out, set himself on his hind legs before Bova, and neighed so loud that the fair Drushnevna and all the bystanders were ready to fall down senseless.

    When Bova took the horse by his black-grey mane and began to pat him, he stood still as if rooted to the spot; and Bova Korolevich seeing this, placed a Tcherkess saddle upon him, with girths of Persian silk and golden buckles. And when he vaulted into the saddle and took leave of the Princess Drushnevna, she embraced and kissed him. The royal Chamberlain, named Orlop, who saw this, began to reproach her, which angered Bova so much that he hurled him to the ground half-dead with the butt-end of his lance, and rode out of the city. Then Bova struck the flanks of his steed, which started, rose from the ground, and leaped over the city wall.

    When Bova beheld the camp of the Tsar Lukoper, in which the tents stood as thick as trees in a forest, he drew his battle sword and mace, and rode straight against the mighty Tsar. The crash of two mountains falling upon one another is not so great as was the onset between these two powerful knights. Lukoper struck at Bova’s heart with his lance, but Bova parried the thrust with his shield, and the lance was shivered in pieces. Then Bova struck Lukoper on the head with his sword, and cleft his body in twain to the very saddle; after which he fell upon Lukoper’s army, and many as he slew with his battle-axe, as many again were trodden down under his horse’s hoofs. Bova fought five days without resting, and overthrew well nigh the whole army; a small number only escaped, who fled to the Tsar Saltan, and said to him: “Our Lord Tsar Saltan Saltanovich, after we had taken prisoners Tsars Sensibri and Marcobrun, and had overthrown all their enemies, a young fellow of handsome look rushed out of Sensibri’s city, who slew your brave son Lukoper in single combat, and routed our whole army. He is even now in pursuit of us, slaying all whom he can overtake, and will presently attack you.”

    On hearing this, Tsar Saltan was seized with terror, and hastened with his troops on board his ships, leaving all his tents and treasures behind, cut the cable, and instantly set sail from the Armenian kingdom. But hardly had he left the shore when Bova rode into the camp, and found not a single living soul except the Kings Marcobrun and Sensibri, who lay bound hand and foot beside Saltan’s tent. Bova Korolevich freed them from their bonds, and rode with them back to the Armenian kingdom.

    On the way Sensibri Andronovich said to Bova: “My trusty servant Anhusei, I see your fidelity and valour; I owe my liberty to you, and I know not how to reward you: ask of me whatsoever you desire—my treasures are at your command.” Then Bova answered: “My gracious lord King, I am rewarded by your royal favour, and ask no more; but I will serve you faithfully to the best of my power.” And as they conversed thus they came to the Armenian city, where they feasted and made merry. Then Bova lay down to sleep, and slept nine days and nine nights.

    At length Kings Sensibri and Marcobrun, tired of feasting, rode out into the fields to hunt for three days. And meanwhile it happened that the Chamberlain, jealous of the favour that the King showed to Bova, called to him thirty young fellows and said: “My friends, you see that this rascal Anhusei has deceived our King and the Princess Drushnevna, and, turning their favour from us, drives us from their presence. Come with me into the stable where he sleeps; let us put him to death, and I will reward you with gold and silver, with jewels and fine clothes.” When Orlop had told his plan, one of the thirty answered: “We are not strong enough to slay Anhusei in his sleep; should he awake he would kill us all. A better plan would be for one of us to lie in the King’s bed, whilst he is out at the chase, to summon Anhusei, and give him a letter to the Tsar Saltan Saltanovich desiring him to put Anhusei to death.”

    When the Chamberlain Orlop heard this he leaped for joy, embraced the fellow who had given this wicked advice, and rewarded him more than the rest. And when the letter was prepared, Orlop went and lay down in the King’s bed, called Bova to him, and said: “Do me a service, Anhusei; take this letter and give it to the Tsar Saltan with your own hand. On your return I will reward you in any way you may desire.” Bova, who was half asleep, did not discover the cheat, but took the letter, went out and saddled a good horse, and rode off to the kingdom of the Tsar Saltan.

    Bova rode for two months, until he came to a desert, where there was neither river, brook, nor fountain, and grew sore athirst. At length he met a pilgrim, who had a leather bottle full of water, and he begged him for a draught to quench his thirst. The old man secretly put a sleeping powder into the water and gave it to Bova; but hardly had he drunk it than it took effect, and he fell from his horse and slept like one dead. Then the old man took the battle sword, mounted the horse and rode off, leaving Bova alone and unarmed in the midst of the desert.

    Bova slept on for ten days; and when he awoke and saw that his steed, his sword, and battle-axe were all gone he wept bitterly and said to himself: “It seems that I am doomed to lose my life in this service, and that King Sensibri has sent me to Tsar Saltan only to meet death in return for my fidelity.” Then he went his way on foot, and his head hung lower than his shoulders.

    When Bova Korolevich appeared before the Tsar Saltan he bowed to the ground, handed him the letter and said: “Long life to you, gracious lord and Tsar Saltan Saltanovich! I am sent by King Sensibri to your Majesty to bring news of his health, to enquire after yours, and to deliver to your Majesty this letter.” Then Saltan took the letter, broke the seal, and after reading it exclaimed aloud: “Where are my valiant knights, my faithful servants and warriors? Seize this messenger from King Sensibri, and lead him to the gallows, for he has slain my dear son and destroyed our mighty army.”

    Thereupon sixty of Saltan’s knights rode forth, surrounded Bova, and led him into the open fields to hang him. On the way Bova bethought him how he could have deserved such a shameful death, and to lose his life in the flower of his days. “Better had it been,” said he, “if my mother had killed me in the city of Anton, or if I had been slain by Marcobrun’s nobles or by Lukoper in the field.” And with that he rose up, overthrew all the sixty knights, and fled out of the kingdom.

    When the Tsar Saltan heard this, he instantly commanded the trumpets to sound, and collected his knights to the number of a hundred thousand, pursued Bova Korolevich, and surrounded him on all sides. Bova had neither a good steed, a sharp sword, nor a steel lance—he had nothing with which to defend himself. Then he seized one of Saltan’s warriors, and began to fight with him; but he saw that he could not slay them all, and gave himself up prisoner. So they seized him, bound his hands, and led him before Saltan Saltanovich. As soon as the Tsar saw Bova he ordered the hangman to be fetched, to hang him.

    Just then the Tsar’s daughter, the fair Princess Miliheria, fell on her knees before her father and said: “My gracious lord and father, do not let Bova be hung, but allow me to speak; his death will not bring either my brother or your army to life again. Rather grant him his life, turn him to our faith, and make him the successor to your throne. Then will he be a defence in war to your old age.”

    The Tsar answered: “My dear daughter, Miliheria, you comfort me with your tender words and wise advice; I give Bova into your hands, and if he embraces our faith he shall be my successor and your husband, and I will resign to him all my cities and villages, my treasures of gold and jewels.”

    The Tsar’s daughter made her obeisance to her father, left the hall, and ordered Bova to be brought before her. Then she endeavoured with gentle speech to persuade him to adopt her faith; but Bova answered that neither for the whole kingdom, nor all the treasures of gold and jewels, would he consent to change his faith.

    Then Miliheria commanded Bova to be led to prison, and the entrance to be stopped up with sand, and that he should have no food nor drink for five days. At the end of this time she put on a gold-embroidered dress, adorned with jewels, and went to the prison. Then she ordered the sand to be removed, and the door to be opened, and, going in, she said to Bova: “Now, young fellow, have you considered the matter? Will you change your faith, and live, and rule over my father’s kingdom, or have you not yet overcome your obstinacy and will rather end your life on gallows?”

    “Never, as long as I live, will I deny my faith,” answered Bova, “nor abandon it for yours. Tempt me not in vain with cunning words and promises; I will rather suffer death than be a despicable man.”

    The Princess Miliheria was very angry at Bova’s answer; she went instantly to her father and said: “My lord and father, I confess to you my wrong in having interceded for the life of this unbelieving prisoner, in the hope of converting him to our faith, and making him a good subject of your Majesty. But now I see his obstinacy and hard heart, I no longer plead for him, but give him back into your hands; do with him as you will.” And so saying she went out.

    Saltan Saltanovich, on hearing this, called to him thirty bold knights, and sent them to Bova’s prison; but when they came thither they could not remove the sand from the door as the Tsar’s daughter, in her anger, had heaped up too much; and they thought of taking off the roof and dragging Bova out. Then Bova Korolevich was sad at heart, and said, weeping: “Alas, I am the most unfortunate of men! I have neither sword nor battle-axe, while my foes are numberless, and I am moreover weakened by five days’ hunger and confinement.” Then he sat down in a corner of the prison and felt close to him on the ground a sword of steel. He seized it, overjoyed, turned it round and round, and scarcely trusted his unlooked-for prize. Then he went to the spot where Saltan’s knights were letting themselves down into the prison; and cutting off their heads, one after the other as they came down, he laid them in a heap.

    Meanwhile Saltan was awaiting the return of the knights whom he had sent after Bova; at last he was angered at their long delay, and sent as many more to their help; but Bova slew these likewise, and piled up their bodies in a heap; and climbing up this he escaped from prison and hastened to the harbour, where he saw a ship lying at anchor. Then he cried with a loud voice: “Ho, masters! take an honest young fellow on board your ship! Save me from a cruel death, and I will reward you richly.”

    When the merchants heard this they sent a boat to the shore and took Bova Korolevich on board the ship. Presently his pursuers came galloping up in pursuit of Bova, and with them the Tsar Saltan Saltanovich himself. Then Saltan cried aloud to the sailors: “Ho! you foreign merchants, surrender instantly yon malefactor, who has escaped from my prison and taken refuge in your ship! Deliver him up or I will never again allow you to trade in my kingdom, but command you to be seized and put to a miserable death.”

    The merchants were terrified by these threats, and were about to send Bova back to shore; but he drew a sword from under his cloak, laid about him, and slew them right and left. At the sight of this the rest fell on their knees before him, and promised to sail with him wherever he wished. Then Bova ordered them to set sail and steer for the open sea. And after a voyage of three months they came to the kingdom over the Don; and not knowing it he enquired of a fisherman what country it was he saw in the distance. “Yonder lies the Sadonic kingdom,” replied the fisherman, “and the king of it is named Marcobrun.” Then Bova asked: “Can it be the same Marcobrun who went to seek the hand of the daughter of King Sensibri?” “The same,” replied the fisherman, “and he has not long returned home with his betrothed, the Princess Drushnevna; their wedding is speedily to be celebrated.”

    When Bova Korolevich heard this, he staggered, and for a time could not utter a word. At length he came to himself, and said to the fisherman: “Land me on the other side, my good fellow, and I will reward you handsomely.” Then he divided among the ship’s crew the property of the merchants he had slain, took leave of them, and went to the Sadonic kingdom. On landing, Bova directed his steps towards Marcobrun’s chief city. For two days he went on and on without meeting anyone. On the third day he met the pilgrim who had given him the sleeping powder and robbed him of his sword, his battle-axe, and steed. Then Bova seized and flung him on the ground, saying: “Villain! you robbed me with a pitcher of water, carried off my brave steed, and left me helpless in a desert, to be torn to pieces by wild beasts. Now take your reward and die.”

    Then the pilgrim entreated Bova for mercy: “Brave knight, have pity and grant my life! I will give back your horse, your sword, and battle-axe, and, for my crime, three powders besides. Wash yourself with one of these and you will become old, so that no one will recognize you; if you wash with the second, you will grow young as before; and if you put the third powder into any person’s drink he will sleep as soundly as if he were dead for nine days.”

    When Bova Korolevich heard this, he took the powders, the battle sword, and the battle-axe; but gave back the horse and his clothes to the pilgrim. Thereupon he washed himself with the first powder, and went to the royal court and began to beg alms in the kitchen, in the name of Bova Korolevich. One of the cooks, hearing this, seized a brand from the hearth, beat Bova on the head, exclaiming: “Be off, you worthless fellow! don’t come begging here in Bova’s name: it is forbidden in this country to utter his name under pain of death.”

    Bova did not feel the blow, but seized a brand, belaboured the cook, and said: “What mean you, scoundrel, to beat your betters? You might first have tried words before coming to blows.” But the poor cook had already given up the ghost, and this exhortation was thrown away upon him. When his comrades saw this they ran out and told the Seneschal, who went into the kitchen and asked Bova how the matter stood. Then Bova said to the Seneschal: “Noble sir, I know not the customs of this country, and have heard nothing of your prohibition. I begged alms of your cook, in the name of Bova Korolevich, knowing that he was everywhere honoured for his valour; but the man beat me with a cudgel, without saying a word; I returned the blows and have killed him unintentionally.”

    When the Seneschal heard this, his anger was turned into favour, and he said to Bova: “Hark ye, old man; from this hour on never more beg alms in Bova’s name, for we are commanded to slay anyone who speaks a word in his praise in this country; you are, however, pardoned for your ignorance. Go straight to the back court, where you will see the fair Princess Drushnevna, who gives alms to beggars like you. In three days her wedding with King Marcobrun is to be celebrated.”

    Bova bowed to the Seneschal, and went to the back court, where he beheld Drushnevna; but there was such a crowd of beggars that he could not make his way up to her, and many of them beat and pushed about the old man. This annoyed Bova, and he began to push in turn, and soon made his way to the fair Drushnevna, and said: “Gracious Princess, betrothed to the renowned King Marcobrun, give me alms, in the name of Bova Korolevich!”

    When the Princess heard these words her countenance changed: she let fall from her hand the dish with the money, and could scarcely stand. Then she ordered one of her maids to distribute the alms amongst the beggars, called Bova to her, and asked him why he had begged alms in that name. And Bova answered: “My gracious Lady, I know Bova Korolevich well, for I was with him in the same prison, in the kingdom of the Tsar Saltan; we ate black bread and drank dirty water together, and I shared with him hunger and cold; he confessed to me that you, fair Princess, loved him dearly, and had pledged him your word to marry no one but him. Therefore I have had the boldness to beg alms in his name.”

    “Ah, my good man,” said Drushnevna, “where did you leave Bova Korolevich? If I but knew where he was I would instantly go and seek him, were it through thrice nine lands to the thirtieth country.”

    “He was released from prison with me,” replied Bova; “and I came to this kingdom in his company; he stayed behind, and whither he is gone I know not; but I wandered to this city.” As he spoke, King Marcobrun entered, and saw tears in Drushnevna’s eyes; he asked her why she wept, and whether anyone had offended her. “No, King Marcobrun, I wept on hearing from this man that my father is lying on his death-bed.” Then Marcobrun ordered Bova to go away, and tried to comfort the Princess. “My dear Drushnevna, grieve not for your father’s illness; he will recover; your grief cannot help him, and will only injure your health: your dark eyes will be dimmed with tears, and sorrow will destroy your beauty.”

    As the King was speaking, Bova went into the stable, where his trusty steed stood fastened with twelve chains. And when the horse heard his brave rider approach, he began to burst through the iron doors and break his chains; and having done so, and escaped into the open fields, he galloped up to Bova, seated himself on his hind legs, and tried to embrace him. Bova seized him by the mane and stroked his neck.

    When the grooms saw this they went and told it all to Marcobrun. And the King hastened into the courtyard, and saw Bova and the horse; then, calling to him, he ordered him to serve in the stables of his court and to tend his war-horse. When the Princess Drushnevna heard this, she summoned Bova and asked him how he could undertake to tame this steed, which no one ever ventured to approach on account of his rage. And Bova answered: “Gracious Princess, this horse is restive and fierce to King Marcobrun’s grooms, who have never ridden on him; but he knows his former master in the kingdom of Sensibri Andronovich, and him he obeys. The horse recognized me at once, and you have thrice spoken with me, and have not discovered that I am Bova Korolevich!”

    So saying, he was going away, but the Princess held him back, and said: “Trouble me not with your prate, old man, nor mock my grief; I know Bova Korolevich; he is young and handsome, but you are old and grey-headed.”

    “If you believe me not,” replied Bova, “order some water to be brought, and you shall see whether I speak the truth.” So they brought a basin of water, and Bova washed himself before the eyes of Drushnevna with the white powder, and instantly he was young and handsome as before. And when the Princess saw this she jumped from her seat for joy, threw her arms round Bova’s neck, and said: “My dear friend, Bova Korolevich, for your sake I have refused these three years to obey my father and listen to the suit of King Marcobrun; but not hearing any tidings of you for so long a time I thought you were dead, and was compelled, against my will, to come with Marcobrun to his kingdom. Here I have deferred the wedding from day to day, in the hope of hearing some tidings of you; but now that I see you face to face I can boldly dismiss Marcobrun and wander with you to the end of the world.”

    “My dear Drushnevna,” replied Bova Korolevich, “you may rely on my valour; but we cannot now leave this place openly on account of the great number of Marcobrun’s warriors, and the multitudes of people, whom not ten of the bravest knights could slay, especially in the heart of their city. But take this powder and mix it in Marcobrun’s drink: he will then sleep soundly for nine days, and in this time we can fly from his dominions.”

    Hardly had he spoken, given her the powder, and gone away, when King Marcobrun came in. Then Drushnevna spoke with him softly and kindly, brought him a glass of sweet mead on a silver tray, and shook the sleeping powder into it: Marcobrun, charmed by her coaxing manner, instantly took the mead, drank it off, and presently fell asleep.

    The Princess Drushnevna went out and ordered her faithful servants to bring her a good nag, and the kingly steed for Bova Korolevich. Then she gave him a suit of armour, and in the darkness of the night they fled out of the kingdom. For three days they rode on without stopping, and on the fourth they chose out a pleasant spot, halted by a clear brook, pitched a tent, and, tired with their journey, fell fast asleep.

    It was a fine morning when Bova Korolevich took his steed to water, and on a sudden the horse began to neigh and stamp on the ground, and thus gave Bova to understand that an enemy was advancing against him. Then he saddled his steed, donned his armour, girded on his battle sword, and went into the tent and took leave of Drushnevna saying: “My dear Princess, I am going out to fight with a great army, but grieve not for me. Before the sun goes down I shall have gained the victory and returned to you.” So saying, he rode forth against the enemy, and defeated them, so that only three men were left alive. And when he heard that the army was sent by Marcobrun in pursuit of him, he said to these three knights: “Tell King Marcobrun to beware of pursuing me lest he lose his whole army, for he knows well who I am.” Thereupon these three rode back to their King, and told him that Bova had slain the army of three hundred thousand men, and that they three alone survived. Then Marcobrun ordered the trumpets to sound, and assembled an army of four million men, and said to his boyars: “My faithful servants, pursue Bova, and bring him and Drushnevna alive to me.” And all the kingdom answered with one voice: “Our Lord and King, you have a knight Polkan who has been confined in prison for many years; perhaps he can overtake Bova, for he clears seven versts at a single leap. From his head to his waist he is a man—the rest of his body is in the form of a horse.”

    On hearing this from the knights, Marcobrun sent immediately for Polkan, and said to him: “Sir Polkan, pursue Bova Korolevich and bring him and Drushnevna to me; I will reward you richly.” So Polkan promised to fulfil his command, and hastened after Bova and the Princess.

    One day Bova was walking in the fields near his tent when on a sudden he heard Polkan come running; he stepped into the tent and said to Drushnevna: “My dear Princess I can hear a powerful knight come riding this way in the direction from Marcobrun’s kingdom; but I do not know whether he will prove a friend or foe.” Then Drushnevna answered: “No doubt it is some one whom Marcobrun has sent in pursuit of us, and he must be the stout knight Polkan, who can leave behind him seven versts at a bound: he will soon overtake us.”

    Bova took his battle sword, mounted his steed, and rode forth. Polkan met him, and cried aloud with a terrible voice: “Ha, rascal! you shall not escape out of my hands!” And so saying, he tore up by the roots an oak of a hundred years’ growth and struck Bova with it on the head; but Bova staggered not under the blow; with both hands he seized his battle sword, and aimed at Polkan to slay him; but he missed his blow, and the sword was struck half-way up to the hilt in the earth, and Bova fell from his saddle. Then Polkan caught his horse; but the horse began to fight with his feet, and bite with his teeth, until Polkan fled. The horse followed him, until Polkan’s strength quite failed him and he dropped half-dead near the tent of Bova Korolevich. Then Bova went up to Polkan and asked him whether he had rather live or die; and Polkan replied: “Brother Bova, let us make peace with one another and be brothers, and there will not be our match in the wide world.” So Bova made a treaty with Polkan, and Bova was to be the elder and Polkan the younger brother.

    Then Bova mounted his good steed and Drushnevna her palfrey, and Polkan followed them. Thus they rode for a long time, and at length they saw before them the city of Kostel, in which ruled the Tsar Uril. And when Uril heard of their approach he ordered the city gates to be closed and made fast. Then Polkan ran and leaped over the walls and opened the gates, whereupon Bova and Drushnevna rode into the city. The Tsar Uril came to meet them with the Tsarina, and conducted them with great honour into the palace, and they all fell to feasting and making merry.

    Meanwhile King Marcobrun advanced against the city of Kostel with three times a hundred thousand men, beleaguered the city, and sent an ambassador to the Tsar Uril, commanding him fiercely to deliver up to him Bova, Drushnevna, and Polkan. Then Tsar Uril assembled his army, took with him his two sons, and went out to fight with Marcobrun; they fought bravely, but Marcobrun overthrew their whole army, and took the Tsar and his sons prisoners. Then Uril promised King Marcobrun to deliver up Bova, Drushnevna, and Polkan, and left his sons as hostages. So Marcobrun dismissed the Tsar Uril, and gave him a million and a half men from his army, to fetch Bova and Polkan.

    The Tsar Uril went into his chamber and lay down to sleep; but Polkan stepped to the door of his room and listened to what the Tsar should say of him to his wife. Then the Tsar told the Tsarina how he had left his sons as hostages with Marcobrun and promised to deliver up Bova, Drushnevna, and Polkan. And the Tsarina replied: “My dear husband, it is impossible to give them up.” At these words the Tsar struck her in the face, saying: “Women have long hair, but short wits.” When Polkan heard this he was enraged, opened the door, entered the room, seizing the Tsar by his head, flung him to the ground and killed him.

    Polkan now looked down into the courtyard and perceived that it was filled with Marcobrun’s soldiers; so, without more ado, he took Bova’s battle sword and slew ten thousand men, drove all the rest out of the city, closed the gates, and barred them fast, after which he returned into the castle, awakened Bova Korolevich, and told him all that had happened. Bova embraced him and thanked him for his faithful service; thereupon they armed themselves, and rode out of the city against Marcobrun’s army. Bova took the right side and Polkan the left, and they overthrew the whole army, and set free the children of the Tsar Uril. King Marcobrun fled into the Sadonic kingdom, and bound himself, his children, and his grandchildren with an oath never to pursue Bova.

    Bova and Polkan now returned with Uril’s sons to the city of Kostel; and when they arrived at the castle Bova said to the Tsarina: “Here are your children, Lady!” The remains of the army he made swear allegiance to Uril’s sons, and left them to govern as before.

    Then Bova rode with the knight Polkan and the fair Drushnevna to the city of Sumin, to his attendant Simbalda, in order to raise a small army to march against King Dadon and expel him from the city of Anton. They rode a long time, and at length halted in a meadow, and pitched their white tent to rest. Drushnevna had two sons born here, and Bova named one Litcharda and the other Simbalda.

    One day, as Bova was walking with Polkan around his tent, they beheld in the distance a thick cloud of dust; then said Bova to Polkan: “Hasten and see whether an army is advancing, or a bold knight comes riding this way, or a merchant’s caravan is on the road.” When Polkan heard this request, he rode forth and presently brought back some warriors bound. And Bova asked: “Tell me, you warriors, freely and without resistance, what power comes yonder, and from what country, who is your King, and wherefore are you sent out?” The soldiers answered: “Brave Knight, we are sent with a great army by King Dadon to the kingdom of Armenia to demand the stepson of our King who ran away in his youth, to be given up by the Tsar Sensibri Andronovich; his name is Bova.”

    “Face about, and tell the commander of your army not to march into the Armenian kingdom, but await me on the spot where you meet him. I am Bova Korolevich, and will soon follow you to inspect your army.”

    So saying, Bova dismissed the prisoners, and said to Polkan: “Comrade, I will now ride out to fight with Dadon’s army which is sent against me: I pray you to remain near my white tent to protect my wife against enemies and wild beasts; but tell her not that I am gone out to battle; for I shall soon return to reward your faithful service, and if need be, to lay down my life for you.” So saying he took leave of Polkan, mounted his steed, and rode with all haste against Dadon’s army; and he speedily laid about him right and left, and slew them until the few who survived fell on their knees and begged for mercy.

    Whilst Bova was thus engaged, and Drushnevna was sitting in the tent, two huge lions rushed out of the forest and flew at Polkan to tear him to pieces. Polkan attacked them bravely, and slew one with a single stroke; but the other lion he could not overcome so easily, and after a long fight Polkan and the lion at last both fell dead. Shortly after Drushnevna went out of the tent, and when she saw the dead bodies of Polkan and the lions she thought that Bova must also have been killed by these wild beasts. So she took her two sons, mounted her palfrey, which was tied up to the tent, and rode away from that fearful spot as fast as she could.

    When Drushnevna arrived at the city of the Tsar Saltan, she dismounted and turned her palfrey loose in the fields, saying: “Go your way, rove where you will, my trusty nag, until you find a good master!” Then she went to a brook, washed herself with the black powder, and became on a sudden dark-coloured and haggard; and thus she went her way to the city.

    After Bova Korolevich had destroyed King Dadon’s army, he returned to the place where he had left his wife and Polkan, to take them with him to the city of Sumin. When he came to his tent, what was his horror at beholding the dead bodies of Polkan and the lions; and, not finding either Drushnevna or her children in the tent, he imagined that the lions had killed both Polkan and his wife. Then sorrow struck Bova to the heart, and after weeping long and bitterly upon that fatal spot, he rode off alone to his faithful attendant Simbalda.

    When Bova arrived at the city of Sumin he was received with great honour by Simbalda; and he speedily ordered an army to be assembled, took with him Tervis, the son of Simbalda, and marched against the city of Anton.

    At this time King Dadon was living in his city, without care or trouble, and awaiting from hour to hour the surrender of Bova by King Sensibri, little dreaming that the army he had sent to fetch him had been destroyed. On a sudden messengers came running to him to announce that Bova Korolevich was besieging the city of Anton on all sides. When King Dadon heard this, he instantly commanded his whole army to be assembled; and he collected above thrice one hundred thousand men, and marched out to battle. But Bova did not wish to shed blood needlessly, and ordered all his warriors not to stir from the spot. Then he looked steadfastly at Dadon, rode at him full gallop, and struck him a sword-blow on the head which, though a light one, cleft his skull, and Dadon fell dead from his horse. Bova ordered the body to be taken up and borne into the city of Anton that Queen Militrisa should herself behold his end. Meanwhile he went to his father’s grave and wept over it, and then returned to the city of Sumin.

    When Dadon’s body was brought before Militrisa, she fell to weeping bitterly; and, as she washed the blood off with her tears, she perceived that he was still living. Instantly she sent her faithful servants into all the kingdoms round about to fetch a doctor for King Dadon, promising to reward him richly.

    Bova, on learning that Dadon was still alive, and had sent to seek a doctor, resolved to go himself to the city of Anton, disguised as a physician, and to kill King Dadon. Thereupon he washed himself with the black powder, and was instantly changed into an old man, dressed himself like a doctor, and took with him Tervis and a sharp sword. On reaching the city, Bova sent word to King Dadon that some physicians had come from a foreign country to cure his wounds. When the King heard this he instantly commanded the strangers to be brought before him, and promised that if they healed his wounds they should be richly rewarded. Then Bova Korolevich bowed himself, and said that he would speedily cure the King; but that all the bystanders must go away, and leave the King alone with him. Dadon instantly assented; and as soon as they were alone, Bova seized him by his beard, drew the sword from under his cloak, and exclaimed: “Villain, take the reward for letting yourself be seduced by the beauty of Queen Militrisa treacherously to murder my father.”

    So saying, Bova struck off King Dadon’s head, laid it upon a silver dish, covered it with a white cloth, and went to his mother Militrisa. When he entered her chamber he said to her: “My gracious Mother, I am come to inform you that your beloved husband Dadon is quite recovered from his wounds, and has sent us to announce the glad tidings to you with this present.” Thereupon he gave into her hands the dish, with King Dadon’s head upon it. When Militrisa raised the cloth and beheld the head, she was so horror-struck that for some time she could not utter a word; at length she fell to tearing her hair and clothes, and took an oath to kill Bova Korolevich for slaying Dadon and having called himself her son.

    Then Bova took some water, washed himself with the white powder, and in an instant was young and handsome as ever. Militrisa at once knew him, fell at his feet, and began to beg for pardon. But Bova ordered Tervis to take her and nail her up in a cask, and roll her into the sea. Then he called together the princes and boyars and announced to them that he was Bova Korolevich, the rightful heir to the throne of his father Guidon, returned from foreign lands, and required of them the oath of allegiance. Immediately all the princes, boyars and others swore fidelity to Bova, and wished him a happy accession to the throne; after which the King ordered feasts and rejoicings to be made for a whole month.

    After the feasts Bova sent an ambassador with presents to Saltan, to demand his daughter, Miliheria in marriage, as he believed Drushnevna to have been torn to pieces by the lions. Then Saltan sent for his daughter and said: “My dear child, I have just received a letter from the knight whom you shut up in prison and endeavoured to convert to our faith. He is a King’s son, and rules over his own kingdom: he has sent me presents, and sues for your hand. Tell me now whether you will give your consent.”

    On hearing this the Princess Miliheria was glad at heart, and said that she was ready in all things to obey her father’s will. The same day Saltan received presents from the ambassador, and forthwith ordered everything to be prepared for the journey.

    Whilst all this was passing, the Queen Drushnevna was living in the same city, and washed linen for her livelihood. And thus she maintained her two sons, who grew not from day to day, but from hour to hour, and surpassed all other children in beauty. She had no thought that Bova Korolevich was still alive; but when by chance she heard that an ambassador had been sent by him to the Tsar Saltan to demand the hand of his daughter, and that Saltan had consented to the match, she took with her her two sons, and went into the city of Anton where he ruled, travelling slowly and with great fatigue. At length she arrived, the very same day that Bova was to be married to Miliheria. Then she washed herself with the white powder, and was as beautiful as ever; and she sent her sons to the castle to present themselves to Bova Korolevich, and inform him of their condition and adventures.

    Litcharda and Simbalda (so the boys were named) stationed themselves in the passage through which Bova had to pass with his princes and boyars on his way to dinner. And as he was entering his apartment, his eye fell upon the lads, and he asked who they were, and for whom they were waiting. Then the elder son made his obeisance and said: “We are, O King, the children of the most renowned knight and hero in the wide world, Bova Korolevich, and the fair Queen Drushnevna; our beloved father left us when very young in the open country under a tent, with our mother and the knight Polkan, who was killed by lions. But we fled from the spot, with our mother, and have ever since been wandering about in various countries in search of our father.”

    Then Bova Korolevich embraced them tenderly, exclaiming: “My sons, my sons! I am your father, and little had I hoped to have ever seen you again alive. But where is my beloved wife, your mother?”

    Then Litcharda told him where they had left Drushnevna; and Bova instantly sent some of his boyars to conduct her to the castle.

    When Bova beheld her again he was overjoyed; and, for such unexpected happiness, he ordered the feasting to be doubled, and the taxes to be remitted to his subjects for the two whole months. His faithful servant Simbalda he rewarded with many towns; and to his son Tervis he gave the fair Miliheria Saltanovna; then he sent them to her father, bidding him to love and honour his new son-in-law, and adding, that it had been impossible for him to marry her after the return of his wife Drushnevna.

    Then Bova sent Simbalda’s brother Ohen with an army into the Armenian kingdom to win it from Orlop, whom he ordered to be put to death. Bova gave the Armenian kingdom to Ohen and his successors; but he himself remained in the city of Anton, and ruled happily.

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