Now, before many days it befell that a ship came sailing that way, and the shipmen wondered greatly to see there, on what had been an uninhabited island, a stately Palace, with golden domes and walls of white stone, and they landed to see this marvel.
The Tsaritsa met them and made them her guests, giving them food and drink to their hearts’ desire.
They answered: “We have traded in the skins of sables and black foxes in foreign marts; now we sail to the east, to the Tsardom of Tsar Saltan the Glorious.”
“A happy voyage to you,” said the Tsaritsa, “and give a greeting from me to Tsar Saltan.”
The merchants re-embarked and sailed to the Tsardom of Tsar Saltan, who called them to be his guests; and they came before him, where he sat sad-faced on his golden throne, with his new wife and her sister by his side. As they sat at table the Tsar said: “O merchants and tradesmen! Have ye voyaged far, and to what lands went ye? Is it well or ill across the blue sea-ocean? And what new wonder is there in the white world?”
The shipmen replied: “O Tsar’s Majesty! We traveled over all the world, and were on our way hither when we saw a new wonder more marvelous than any. There has been of old time in the sea-ocean an island, without inhabitants, save they were wizards or wild beasts. It had a great flat meadow on which grew a single oak tree, and about it was a dense forest. So hath it always been; yet but now, as we came to it, we found there a splendid Palace, with towers whose tops were golden, and with green gardens about it. In it dwells a beautiful Tsaritsa and a Tsarevitch, and the Tsarevitch has legs golden to the knee, and arms silver to the elbow, and in his hair are little stars. We landed there, and the Tsaritsa entertained us royally, and sent a greeting to thee.”
Tsar Saltan wondered greatly to hear, and said: “As God lets me live, I will visit this wonderful island and see it with my own eyes.” But his wicked wife, not wishing him to go, began to sneer.
“A Palace on an island! What is that to be compared to a marvel of which I can tell thee?”
“What marvel is that?” asked the Tsar.
She answered: “Across three times nine countries, in the thirtieth Tsardom, there is a green garden, and in the gar den is a mill which grinds of itself. It winnows the grain and throws the chaff a hundred versts away. By the mill stands a golden column, and up and down the column climbs a learned cat. As it goes up it sings songs, and as it comes down it tells stories.”
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.