A collection Fairy
Sergei Aksakov: The little scarlet flower.
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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 while yet I live-one day, God grant, I shall return to you."
The honest merchant would not be comforted by her words; he wept and sobbed as though his heart would break.
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 uncertain journey;
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, bathed her in hot 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.
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 swans-down, 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 copper 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 elephant and mammoth ivory studded with precious gems. "Ibis 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 honest merchant, her dear father, had described. Then, taking the dear Little Scarlet Flower from its golden vase, 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 foun-tains 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 honest 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 sweet meats 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 fruit-pears and peaches and juicy apples-tempted 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.
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