- 8 -
night when Finist the Bright Falcon
came to her window he found it closed.
He flapped against the window and cut
his wings on the sharp weapons that
were set against it.
my love!' he cried out sadly,' if you
want to see me again,you must search
for me in a far-off land. You must wander
through three times nine countries.
But first, you must wear out three pairs
of iron shoes, break three iron walking
sticks and gnaw through three stone-hard
loaves of pilgrim's bread, before you
her sleep Raisa heard these words as
though in a dream, but she could not
wake up. The wounded falcon, hearing
no reply from her, flew out over the
dark forest to his own kingdom.
morning, on seeing how the window had
been barred with sharp knives and rusty
nails, which dripped blood, Raisa almost
went mad with grief. She cried out:
'Oh Finist, my love, my cruel sisters
have driven you from me!'
Her dream suddenly came back to her
and the words Finist had spoken. She
took her feather out of the casket and
waved it aroung wildly, crying: 'Please
come back, Finist!'
But Finist did not come. She spent many
sleepless nights afterwards standing
at the window.
last she could bear it no longer and
went to her father, and blinking back
the tears, she told him: 'Father, I
must go away! Please give me your blessing.
If I live, you will see me again. Should
I die, that is my fate.'
these sad words, her father, who loved
Raisa dearly, was heartbroken, but he
gave her his blessing and told her 'Go,
my child and do what you have to do.'
went to the blacksmith and had three
pairs of iron shoes and three iron walking
sticks made. She put on the first pair
of iron shoes and took the first iron
walking stick in her hand. She packed
a goatskin sack with three stone-hard
loaves of pilgrim's bread. She then
set out in the direction from whence
the falcon had come.
walked for miles and miles, through
the dark forests, across the wide steppes,
through towns and villages and through
places where the people spoke a different
language. Some of the people were kind
and provided her with food along the
way. In some of the villages, however,
the people were rough mannered, and
as she passed through, the children
ran behind her and mocked her.
'She's running away from home!"
they would taunt. Sometimes the parents
came out and encouraged their children
in this. Some of the children even threw
stones at her.
she managed to catch one of them and
asked him why they were doing this.
After squirming around in her grasp
for a few minutes with a great deal
of kicking and biting, he at last told
her 'Everyone thinks those iron shoes
look so ugly and people are saying you
shouldn't expect others to feed you!
They say your place is at home with
let him go and was suddenly filled with
doubt. 'Perhaps they're right! I'm wasting
my time looking for Finist the Bright
Falcon! I don't even know where
She looked down at the iron shoes, which
she had never once taken off, even when
sleeping. 'I don't want to wear these
any more,' she thought angrily, 'I'd
rather go barefoot like the village
children!' She sat down on a fallen
tree to take the iron shoes off, but
they remained stuck fast to her feet
- they would not come off! 'Oh, these
stupid shoes!' she cried and pulled
hard at them becoming angrier and angrier,
until she she eventually burst into
the words she had heard through her
dream came back to her: 'You must wear
out three pairs of iron shoes ...' The
sound of Finist's voice was still in
her head. Her despair turned once again
'If I don't wear out the iron shoes,
I won't find him, and I will
wear them - I don't care what anyone
says!'' she wiped away her tears with
a grubby hand and got up to go.
were several times again where she almost
lost heart and turned back, for she
often suffered from hunger, thirst and
Often just when she thought all was
lost someone would give her a crust
of bread or some water.
walking for several weeks, she eventually
wore through one pair of iron shoes.
A few days later the iron walking stick
broke in her hand. She had already gnawed
through one of the stone-hard loaves.