This section is from the book "Myths And Folk-Tales Of The Russians, Western Slavs, And Magyars", by Jeremiah Curtin. Also available from Amazon: Myths and Folk-Tales of the Russians, Western Slavs, and the Magyars.
Boyislav promised this. When they had come to Green Island, the road sank in the sea, and the horse hurried toward the city. The horse remained in a meadow outside the gates. Boyislav went to the palace, where he was welcomed by the king, and presented to the princess.
"What brought thee to me?" asked the king.
"I am in search of a bride," answered Boyislav, looking at the princess, who seemed pleased at his words.
"And hast thou found one?" asked the king.
"Not yet," replied Boyislav.
"Does my daughter not please thee?" The princess blushed.
"Oh, she pleases me greatly," said Boyislav, "but first I must talk with my father".
The king frowned at these words, and the princess was flushed with anger; but Boyislav changed not, and was so courteous that the king grew ashamed, and conducted him to the supper-chamber, where there was a small table covered with a poor-looking cloth, but upon which stood the choicest food and drink. Boyislav ate with relish. When he had finished, the king took him to his treasure-chamber, where he offered him the richest presents; but Boyislav said: "My father has many treasures, and I prefer to travel unburdened." When-the king insisted on his taking something as a keepsake, even if of the smallest value, Boyislav said: "Give me the cloth of the table on which I was entertained by thee".
"Oh, I should be ashamed to give such a thing," said the king. "I will give thee another very skilfully woven".
"I want no other," answered Boyislav, making ready to go.
"Then take it," said the king, giving the cloth with evident reluctance.
Boyislav parted with him and the princess, and hastened to the horse, which called out from afar: "Thou hast done well; now sit on my back, we'll fare farther." Boyislav sprang on the horse, and he raced over Green Island till he came to the sea.
"Throw the third apple in the sea," said the horse.
"But 't is a pity forever to lose it," said Boyislav.
"Throw the third apple in the sea, I say," commanded the horse, sternly; and Boyislav obeyed.
That moment a road five hundred miles long rose from the waves of the sea. The horse ran like a flash, day and night, till they saw in the distance the domes of a great city.
"Now we are nearing White Island," said the horse, "where a king reigns who has the most beautiful daughter under the sun. All the people on the island are asleep; for in the king's palace a taper is burning which never burns out, and till some one quenches it they must all sleep. Go to the palace, look at the princess as much as may please thee, then take the taper, but be careful that it does.not go out on a sudden; if it is quenched, run to me with all speed or thou wilt have trouble".
Boyislav promised to obey faithfully. When they came to White Island the road sank in the sea. Boyislav, leaving his horse before the gates of the city, hastened to the palace. The most luxuriant trees were growing all over the island, and beautiful flowers were in bloom; the city was splendid, the palace of silver and gold, but nowhere was a living creature to be seen. Boyislav moved on carefully through the empty streets as if afraid of waking some person. When he entered the palace he was amazed at its matchless beauty, but all was as nothing in comparison with the beauty of the princess who was sleeping on a dark purple couch in the last chamber. She was clothed in a light garment, white as new-fallen snow, her dark hair fell on her white, slightly moving bosom, her lips were half open, her teeth shone like pearls, and her whole figure was so full of charm that Boyislav held his breath. With head inclined, with crossed hands, he looked at her long, - forgot the horse, the taper, and the whole world, not thinking whether he was living; he only felt that the princess was beautiful. When he had waited a long time he remembered the taper, looked around the room, saw it on the table, and saw on two couches the king and queen. He stepped quickly to the table to quench the taper and rouse the princess, when all at once he heard the horse neigh so fiercely that the palace trembled to its foundation; his hand dropped of itself, and he muttered: "Thanks to thee, oh horse!
Had I quenched the taper all would have risen, and who knows what might have come to me?"
He took the taper quickly and turned away, but when passing through the door he could not refrain from looking at the princess again; she seemed still more beautiful. He put the taper on the table, knelt and kissed her hand; with that her face became ruddy as a rose, and around her mouth appeared a smile. He sprang up; and as dark night had come, he thought of his return, seized the taper quickly, looked at the princess, wrote on the table, "Boyislav, youngest of twelve," and went from the palace, taking care that the taper should not be quenched. He reached the gate of the city, but there the taper was blown out by the wind. That moment was heard in the city a shout, which grew louder the longer it lasted; but the trusty steed appeared and bore him in a flash to the shore of the sea.
"Throw in the last apple," said the horse.
Boyislav obeyed without a murmur. That moment there rose from the waves a road which reached to firm land, and as dawn was appearing they came to the shore. Then the road sank in the sea.
"Now come down," said the horse; "let me rest, and do thou rest, too".
The horse went to the green meadow, and Boyislav lay on the grass and mused on the princess of White Island. Since he was wearied greatly, he fell asleep, but thought of the princess so that he sighed from sorrow when the horse roused him and said, "Let us go".
Boyislav mounted in silence. They travelled till they saw the domes of a great city. "What city is this?" inquired Boyislav.
"Seest not," asked the horse, "that is thy birthplace?"
"Sure enough! Go quickly, dear horse, that I may embrace my father".