the merchant had found the silk scarf
and the earrings
at the market. With a sigh he remembered
the feather for Raisa.
we go again,' he thought as he went
all around the market place asking for
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!'
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.