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A collection Fairy tales fromRussia.
Sergei Aksakov: The little scarlet flower.

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"I have no need of thy golden coin; I have no room to store my own. Ask no mercy of me, my loyal servants shall tear thee to pieces, into little portions. There is but one way out. I will send thee home unscathed, reward thee with untold treasure, grant thee the Little Scarlet Flower, if thou wilt give me thy word as an honest merchant and a pledge in thy hand that thou wilt send in thy place one of thy daughters. She shall come to no harm, she shall live here in honour and freedom, just as thou hast done in my palace. I am lonely here by myself and wish to have a companion."
At that, the merchant threw himself upon the damp earth, weeping tears of anguish- When he gazed upon the Beast of the Forest, that Denizen of the Deep, and thought of his daughters good and kind, he cried all the louder; for the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep, was indeed exceedingly terrifying. For a long time the honest merchant lay beating the ground and shedding tears; but presently he spoke in pitiful tones,
"Honest Sir, Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep! But what if my daughters will not come to thee of their own free will? Should 1 bind them hand and foot and send them to thee by force? And what way should they take to reach thee? It took me two years to find my way here-by what places, by what paths, I know not." The Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep, answered,
"I want no captive maiden here; let thy daughter come out of love for thee, of her own will and desire. And if thy daughters will not come hither of their own will and desire, then thou must come thyself and I shall have thee put to a cruel death. How to journey hither is not thy concern; I shall give thee this ring from my finger:
whoever puts it on the little finger of his right hand will be wherever he wishes in the twinkling of an eye. I grant thee leave to go home for three days and three nights." The merchant thought long and hard and finally made up his mind,
"It is better for me to see my daughters again, give them a father's blessing and, if they are not willing to save me from death, then I must prepare to meet death as a Christian and return to the Beast of the Forest, Denizen of the Deep."


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