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                                              - 2 -

 

                   by Ivan Bilibin

 

Meanwhile, the merchant had found the silk scarf and the earrings at the market. With a sigh he remembered the feather for Raisa.

'Here we go again,' he thought as he went all around the market place asking for one.

But search as he might,nobody could help him. Some remembered him from last time and shook their heads, saying to each other 'Here's that funny man from the village again - and still looking for that feather of his!'

After he had once again asked everyone in sight, he set out for home with a heavy heart, knowing he must once again disappoint his youngest daughter.

by Kandinsky

He drove along the road wondering where in the world Raisa had gotten such an idea into her head about the feather.

'Perhaps she has been listening again to the old tales,' he muttered to himself, just as a hare raced out of the forest right into the path of his horse.

With a loud whinny, his horse reared up startled, almost overturning the cart. Jumping down quickly he managed to grab hold of the horse's bridle before it had time to bolt. He stood beside the horse for a moment and spoke calming words in its ear.

As he was about to get back into the cart, an old man stepped out of the forest. He had long white hair and a beard that reached to his waist. He was dressed in long flowing robes and was carrying a small wooden casket.

by Kandinsky

As the old man came nearer he saw that the casket was carved with strange symbols.

'What have you got in your casket, old one?' he called out to the man. ' A feather of Finist the Bright Falcon.' the old man replied.

Hardly daring to believe his ears, the merchant managed to stammer out 'How much do you want for it?' quite forgetting to even ask whether or not it was for sale.

'One hundred Rubles.' was the reply. Eagerly the merchant handed over the money and took the casket from the old man.

His hands trembling, he somehow managed to prise open the lid of the casket, and to his joy, found a beautiful rainbow coloured feather inside. Unable to tear his eyes away from it he asked: 'Where did you get this beautiful feather?'

Greatly wondering that there was no reply from the old man, he looked up, and to his astonishment, found that that he was gone. He looked up and down the road, and shouted out 'Hey, old one, come back! Where are you?' He stood listening for a crackling of twigs or a rustling of leaves, but nothing at all stirred in the forest.

Somewhat unnerved by the sudden disappearance of the old man, he said aloud to himself 'I can't understand it, there's not a sign of him on the road and he looked as if he could barely hobble along!'

With all manner of wild thoughts crowding into his head, he lifted the lid of the casket again, to reassure himself that the feather was still there. It was! With a sigh of relief, he mopped his brow and still muttering to himself, he hurried back home as fast as his horse's legs would take him.


by Bilibin

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