the last hymn was still being sung,
Raisa quickly left the church, got back
into the coach and drove off. The villagers
crowded out behind her to see where
the coach was going, but it had already
disappeared into the distance.
drove home, and waved the feather to
the left this time. A servant took her
clothes and the crystal coach disappeared.
She went back inside the house. There
she sat as before, as if nothing at
all had happened, watching the people
going home from church.
her sisters returned. Excitedly they
related what they had seen. 'What a
wonderful sight we saw today at church!
Such beauty - such nobility! She must
have been a Tsar's daughter from a distant
You should have seen the clothes she
wore - silk and gold brocade inlaid
with precious stones,' related Malvina.
'We have never seen the like before,'
said Elvira. 'it's the talk of the whole
But of course, you have only yourself
to blame that you missed it all, and
didn't see a thing!'
all right, my dear sisters, you have
described it all so well to me that
I feel as if I'd been there myself!
' said Raisa, wondering whether she
should try it again next week...
same thing happened on the next two
Sundays after that. Raisa again made
fools of her father, her sisters and
the rest of the village.
on the last Sunday, she was enjoying
the attention so much that, for a few
minutes, she almost forgot that she
was not a real Tsar's daughter and nearly
left it too late to leave the church.
Some of the villagers, who had been
expecting her to leave the church early,
began to follow the coach and she had
to take a detour thorough the forest
in order to shake them off.
Her heart beating fast, she begged the
coachman to hurry 'Oh, what are we going
to do? Can't we shake them off?
sure to see us going into the house!'
cried. The coachman looked behind to
make sure the coast was clear and stopped
the coach in a clearing in the forest.
'I know a shortcut back from here,'
she said as she jumped down. She tore
off the clothes in a mad rush and handed
them back to the servant. Then throwing
on her own as she ran, she took the
feather from her apron pocket and waved
it to the left.
back over her shoulder she saw that
the coach had disappeared. She tore
back through the forest, almost bumping
into a bunch of villagers taking a shortcut
home from church.
out of breath and scratched from brambles,
she nevertheless managed to be back
sitting at the window when her family
returned. She had just smoothed down
her hair and was trying to hide a tear
in her dress when her sisters walked
into the room. Luckily, they were so
preoccupied with the latest appearance
of the Tsar's daughter that they did
not notice anything.
everyone is wondering just who she is
and why she has chosen our village
to go to church in,' Malvina was proclaiming
in her loud voice. 'Some say she must
be staying somewhere nearby! Just think
- we might just run into her in the
village some day!'
'Isn't it marvellous!' added Elvira
'some of the villagers are saying that
she must be in hiding because her father
wants her to marry a man she does not
love. Others think she is searching
for her lost lover...'
and Elvira were describing the Tsar's
daughter to Raisa for the third time
that morning, when a ray of sunlight
through an open window suddenly caught
a diamond hairpin sparkling in her hair.
'What was that? It looks like something
flashing in your hair,' said Malvina
peering closely at Raisa's hair. Elvira
came across the room, her eyes nearly
falling out of her head: 'But, it can't
be...' She stopped suddenly, her mouth
open in amazement as she saw the diamonds
sparkling in her sister's hair.
'Why, it's exactly like the diamond
hairpin that the Tsar's daughter was
wearing today! Where on earth did you
heart almost missed a beat. Quickly
her hand went to her hair. Her knees
were shaking. What could she do? Why
hadn't the hairpin disappeared with
everything else? Ripping it from her
hair, she jumped up knocking over a
chair. Before the other two could stop
her she raced upstairs. and just managed
to lock the door on them before they
stood there panting behind the door,
while her sisters hammered on the other
side, yelling at her to open up and
show them the diamond hairpin. After
an hour or two they gave up and went
When all was quiet again, she called
up the servant again with the feather
and returned the hairpin to him.