When the messenger brought him this message, the Tsar‘s anger waxed hot. He ordered the puppies to be thrown into the sea-ocean, and would have slain his wife but for his great love. However, after his anger had softened, he said to him self: “This second fault also I will pass over. Perchance even yet she will bear me sons fit for a Tsar.” And, returning to his capital, he lived happily with her as before.
It happened at length that the Tsar went to a distant Tsardom to pay a visit of ceremony, and this time he set a strong guard about the Palace, with strict command to allow no one whatever to go in or out. When he had been absent six months, two more babes were born to the Tsaritsa-sons of a loveliness that is known only in a tale, with legs golden to the knee, arms silver to the elbow, and with little stars in their hair. And the Tsaritsa, deeming herself safe by reason of the guard about the Palace, bade them peal all the bells for joy.
Hearing the rejoicing, the sisters guessed what had occurred, and sent at once for the Baba Yaga, who by a witch’s charm caused a deep sleep to fall upon all the guardsmen so that each slumbered where he stood, and she herself entered the Palace. When the Tsaritsa saw her, however, she hid one of the babes, whom she had named Guidon, in her sleeve, so that the Baba Yaga, though she carried away the other, did not see it. In place of the babe, the old witch left a piece of wood, and the sisters, as before, bribed the attendants, and sent a messenger to the Tsar to say: “Thy Tsaritsa, our sister, who boasted that she would bear thee sons of gold and silver, hath borne thee now neither son nor daughter, neither is it a frog nor a snake, but a little log of wood.”
When the Tsar heard this message, he well-nigh lost his senses in the violence of his rage. After his anger had some what subsided, he ordered the log of wood to be thrown into the sea-ocean, and sent a letter to his Prime Minister, bidding him call together his Boyars and Princes of all the Realm to consider the matter on his return.
The messenger rode back with the royal letter, but the two wicked sisters met him on his way, and by stealth stole the letter from his pocket and put in its place another, which read: “I, Tsar Saltan, bid my Boyars without delay to seize the Tsaritsa, put her into a chest bound with iron, and cast it into the deepest abyss of the sea-ocean.”
Ivan Bilibin’s art:
During a time of civil war, Karasu Hinata is born the son of a powerful warlord. When he is still a child, his family castle is taken by a rival clan. His father and mother are murdered right before his eyes.
Barely escaping with his life, he is spirited away by the king of the tengu. The shape-shifting raven leads him to the hidden mountain retreat of a sect of mystic warriors. Mountain priests who practice the magic of Shugendo.
Ten years have passed. The time has come for Karasu to leave the mystic’s protective lair and face his demons in the world beyond. But the fiend that haunts his nightmares is also the one that shattered his life. More than a bad dream, it wants him dead.
In Legend of the Tengu Prince, nothing is as it seems. Shape-shifting creatures, both good and evil, populate the magical world of feudal Japan. And a young man will pay the ultima
te price for a deadly rival spawned in the mists time. This riveting first volume of a epic fantasy adventure will leave you stunned and begging for more.