The old woman gave the girl to eat and drink, a portion of all God had given her, and a bed to sleep on, and in the morning when the dawn began to break, she awoke her. “Finist, who flies as the falcon with colored feathers,” she said, “is now in the fiftieth Tsardom of the eightieth land from here. He has recently proposed marriage to a Tsar‘s daughter. Thou mayest, perhaps, reach there in time for the wedding-feast. Take thou this silver spindle; when thou usest it, it will spin thee a thread of pure gold. Thou mayest give it to his wife for a wedding-gift. Go now with God across three times nine lands to the house of my second cousin. I am bad-tempered but she is worse than I. However, speak her fair and she may direct thee further.”
The girl thanked the old woman and bidding her fare well, set out again, though with a heavier heart, on her journey. She walked and walked, whether for a short time or a long time, across green steppe and barren wilderness, until at length, when a second pair of iron shoes were worn through, a second staff broken to pieces and a second stone church-loaf gnawed away, she came one evening, on the edge of a swamp, to a little hut on whose door-step sat a second old woman, sourer than the first.
“Whither goest thou, lovely girl?” asked the dame.
“O Grandmother,” she answered, “grant me thy kindness. Be my hostess and protect me from the dark night. I seek my dear friend, who is called Finist the Falcon, whom my cruel sisters wounded and drove from me.”
“He is a relative of mine,” said the old woman, “but thou wilt have to walk many versts further to find him. He is to marry a Tsar’s daughter and today is her last maiden feast. But enter and rest. The morning is wiser than the evening.”
The old woman put food and drink before her and gave her a place to sleep. Early on the morrow she woke her. “Finist the Falcon,” she said, “lives in the fiftieth land from here. Take with thee this golden hammer and these ten little diamond nails. When thou usest them, the hammer will drive the nails of itself. If thou choosest thou mayest give them to his wife for a wedding-gift. Go now with God to the house of my fourth cousin. I am crabbed but she is more ill-tempered than I. However, greet her with politeness and perhaps she will direct thee further. She lives across three times nine lands, beside a deep river.”
The girl took the golden hammer and the ten little diamond nails, thanked the old woman and went on her way. She walked a long way and she walked a short way, and at last, when the third pair of iron shoes were worn through, and the third iron staff broken to pieces and the third stone church-loaf gnawed away, she came, in a dark wood where the tops of the trees touched the sky, to a deep river and on its hank stood a little hut, on whose door-step sat a third old woman, uglier and sourer than the other two put together.
More Images of Ivan Bilibin’s art: https://www.google.com/search?q=ivan+bilibin+finist+the+falcon+images&hl=en&prmd=imvnso&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=1R6AT4uFBMiG2gX_v82EBw&sqi=2&ved=0CCMQsAQ&biw=1600&bih=775
“Sur La Lune Fairy Tales:Russian Wonder Tales” http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/russian/russianwondertales/featherfinistfalcon.html