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.
"Of course!" answered the truthless princes; and the eldest one shamelessly added that he had freed its princess.
"Then hurry to her," said the king. He went.
"Where is the taper?" asked the princess when he came; but he knew nothing of it. Thereupon the princess became so angry that she drew her sword and cut off his head with a blow.
Again she sent the messenger with the announcement that if her liberator were not sent, she would turn the city into dust and ashes.
"I freed her," said the second prince to the frightened king.
" Then go to her".
When she asked the second prince about the taper, he could give no answer, and lost his life. The messenger returned to the king, and told him what had happened to the two princes; the three remaining ones were so terrified that they confessed the truth.
The old man, Boyislav's savior, now said to the king, "I told thee Boyislav was innocent; thou wouldst not believe me. Now see how thou hast saved thy city from destruction, for the princess will surely carry out her threat unless Boyislav is delivered up".
"But how can I deliver him up when he is dead? ' asked the king.
"He is not dead," replied the old man, joyfully, "for there is still a little opening in the lions' den, and there is light there night and day".
The king sprang up joyfully, hastened to the den, and had the walled-up doors opened. Boyislav looked on this carelessly; and when the king implored him with tenderness to come out, that he forgave him all, he shook his head saying: "I will not go, it is good enough for me here".
"But the princess will destroy my city," said the king.
"What princess?" asked Boyislav with curiosity.
"The princess from White Island".
In silence, but with gladness in his eyes, Boyislav quenched the taper, folded the tablecloth, and taking both with him walked out. When he went with the messenger to the princess, his heart beat with anxiety so that he could not raise his eyes when he stood before her.
"Thou art the man!" exclaimed the princess, joyfully. But when Boyislav knew not what to answer, she said reproachfully: "Has the ardor with which thou didst kiss me grown cold?"
"It has not," murmured Boyislav, wishing to kiss the golden hem of her robe.
The princess raised him up, and kissing him, said: "This is the earnest of our betrothal".
Boyislav was glad to respond; and now all returned to the castle, where feasting began, which was to be closed by the wedding of the princess and Boyislav. All were rejoiced except the princesses of Black Island, who were as sad as ever. The three princes who had gone to Black Island were in deathly terror. Boyislav in the middle of the feast grew sad, and when asked the reason, he inquired: "Where is my trusty horse?"
No one could answer him, till at last one of the servants remembered that the horse had been shut up in a pen. To the great astonishment of all, Boyislav ran out to him, fell upon his neck, and shed tears of joy.
"Thou hast done well to come," said the horse, sadly, "or I should have perished with hunger; for the cord brought from Red Island is eaten. Every span of it became a bundle of hay. But now thou hast attained thy object, and I am needed no longer; cut off my head".
"I cut off thy head!" exclaimed Boyislav.
"Then thou dost not wish to free me," said the horse, with chiding voice.
Boyislav drew his sword and cut off the horse's head at one blow. The horse disappeared in an instant, but in his stead appeared a beautiful prince, who fell on Boyislav's neck and shed tears of joy.
"What is this?" asked Boyislav, full of astonishment.
"Come to supper," said the prince; "I will explain it all." Both hurried to supper; scarcely were they at the door, when the youngest princess from Black Island fell into his arms, and the other two pressed his hands. When they had recovered from the first surprise, the prince said: "I am the only son of a powerful king, whose dominions are not far from Black Island. I would not marry the daughter of a queen who was a witch, and she enchanted me; and the princesses of Black Island - the youngest of whom is my bride - were turned into horses twelve hours of each day. Boyislav freed the princesses first, and now has freed me. The moment I regained my form, the spell was removed from Black Island".
All were delighted with Boyislav; but the king was thoughtful, and seemed to ponder over important things. At last he summoned the three princes who went with Boyislav to Black Island, and gave command to throw them to the lions; the lions tore them to pieces in an instant.
Now came new festivities; and when all was finished, Boyislav went with his wife to White Island; and the liberated prince, with his wife and sisters, went to Black Island, where they celebrated at once their wedding and their liberation.