- 4 -
that Finist the falcon came every night
and told her of the world outside the
kingdom is in a distant land,' he told
her 'and my palace lies on the blue
ocean. One day I will take you there
as my bride.'
does your palace look like?' she asked,
as she had never seen a palace before.
'You will know it when you see it.'
he answered with a smile.
He spoke to her of the dark forests
and wide steppes which he flew over
during the day. She longed to see the
mountains, rivers and oceans which he
knew so well.
Sundays, the two older sisters usually
spent hours getting themselves ready
for church. They would preen themselves
and parade up and down in front of the
mirror, plucking their eyebrows, trying
on this and that and bickering about
which one of them looked the oldest.
particular Sunday Malvina wore her new
earrings and Elvira put on the silken
scarf. They had been ready for over
an hour, and having nothing better to
do, they began to take an interest in
what Raisa was wearing.
not going to church with her looking
like that!' began Malvina.
here, Raisa,' said Elvira, 'you can't
possibly wear those rags to church.
It's your own fault you have nothing
else to wear. Why didn't you ask father
to bring your back something decent
instead of that ridiculous feather?'
snorted: 'What will people think of
us if we are seen with you? It would
be better for everyone if you stayed
at home with your feather!'
Raisa answered vaguely 'But, of course
I'll stay home with my father.'
'Not father - feather! corrected Elvira.
' Not feather - father.' she murmered.
other two looked at her sharply to see
if she was having them on. But she wasn't
really listening at all - she was staring
out the window.
seemed to be searching the skies for
something. They craned their necks to
try and see what she was looking at.
But there was nothing but a few birds
in the distance. Malvina whispered to
Elvira 'Well, she's definitely for the
birds today!' And the two of them fell
around the place laughing at this.
the rest of the family had left, Raisa
sat at the window and watched the people
all dressed in their finery going to
a while, when the street had become
quieter, she stepped outside. Looking
up and down the road to make sure there
was no one around, she took the feather
and waved it to the right.
All at once a crystal coach pulled by
four prancing horses appeared before
her, with servants dressed in gold,
while clothes inlaid with precious jewels
and gold were laid out for her to wear.
When she had changed into the beautiful
clothes, she got into the coach and
drove to church.
one in the village recognized her, not
even her own family, so utterly changed
was she in her royal headdress and garments.
is perhaps a Tsar's daughter from a
far-off kingdom across the sea,' the
villagers whispered to each other.