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.
"Oh, my dear son-in-law, of that wonder even I have not heard! Wait a moment; maybe my servants have".
She went out on the balcony and called in a loud voice. Presently all kinds of beasts ran up, and all kinds of birds flew to her. "Hail to you, beasts of the wilderness, birds of the air! Ye beasts run through all places, ye birds fly everywhere; have ye never heard how to go to the verge of destruction, where Shrnat-Razum lives?"
All the beasts and birds answered in one voice: "No; we have never heard!"
Then the old woman sent them all to their homes in hidden places, forests, and thickets; went to her magic book, opened it, and that instant two giants appeared. "What is thy pleasure; what dost thou wish?"
"This, my faithful servants, - bear my son-in-law and me to the ocean sea wide, and stop just in the middle above the very abyss".
Immediately they seized the sharpshooter and the old woman and bore them on like a stormy whirlwind till they stopped just in the middle above the abyss. They stood up themselves like pillars, holding the old woman and the sharpshooter in their arms. The old woman cried out with a loud voice, and all the fishes and living things in the sea swam to her in such multitudes that the blue sea could not be seen for them: "Hail, fish and worms of the sea! Ye swim in all places, ye pass by all islands; have ye not heard how to go to the verge of destruction, where lives Shrnat-Razum?"
All worms and fishes answered in one voice, "No; we 've not heard!"
All at once an old limping frog, who had been thirty years out of service, pushed her way to the front and said, "Kwa-kwa! I know where to find such a wonder!"
"Well, then, my dear, thou art the person I need," said the old woman. She took the frog, and commanded the giants to bear them home. They were at the palace in a flash. The old woman asked the frog how her son was to go.
"Oh!" said the frog, "that place is at the rim of the world, - far, far away. I would conduct him myself, but I am very old; I can barely move my legs, - I could n't jump there in fifty years".
The old woman took a bowl with some fresh milk, put the frog in it, gave the bowl to Fedot, and said: "Carry this in thy hand; she will show thee the way".
The sharpshooter took farewell of the old woman and her daughters, and went on his journey, the frog showing him the way. Whether it was near or distant, long or short, he came at last to a flaming river, beyond which was a lofty mountain with a door in the side.
"Kwa-kwa!" said the frog. "Put me down out of the bowl; we must cross the river".
He put her on the ground.
"Now, good youth, sit thou on my back; do not spare me".
He sat on her back and pressed her to the ground; she began to swell, and swelled until she was as big as a stack of hay. The sharpshooter's one care was to keep from falling. "If I fall," thought he, "I shall be crushed." The frog cleared the flaming river at a jump, became small as before, and said: "Now, good youth, I will wait here; but do thou enter that door in the mountain. Thou wilt find a cave, - hide thyself well. After a time two old men will come in: listen to what they say, and watch what they do; when they are gone, act as they did".
The sharpshooter entered the door of the mountain; it was so dark in the cave that if a man strained his eyes out he could not see a thing. Fedot felt around and found a cupboard, crept in. After a while two old men entered and said, "Shmat-Razum, feed us!"
That moment, however it happened, the lamps were lighted, the dishes and plates rattled, and various kinds of food and wine appeared on the table. The old men ate and drank, and then ordered Shmat-Razum to remove everything. Everything disappeared in a flash; neither table, nor food, nor wine, nor lights remained. The two old men went out.
The sharpshooter crawled from the cupboard and cried, "Hei, Shmat-Razum!"
"What dost thou wish?"
Again the lights, the table, the food and drink appeared as before. Fedot sat at the table and said: "Hei, Shmat-Razum, sit down brother, with me, we '11 eat and drink together; it is irksome for me alone".
The voice of the unseen answered: " Oh, kind man! whence has God brought thee? It is nearly thirty years that I serve these old men in faith and in truth, and all this time they have never once seated me with themselves".
The sharpshooter looked and wondered. He saw no one, but the food was swept from the plates as if with a broom; the bottles raised themselves and poured the wine into glasses, - behold, in a moment bottles and glasses are empty!
"Shmat-Razum, dost thou wish to serve me?" asked the sharpshooter. "I 'll give thee a pleasant life".
"Why not? I am sick of being here; and thou, I see, art a kind man".
"All right; pick up everything and come along." The sharpshooter went out of the cave, looked around, saw no one, and asked: "Art thou here, Shmat-Razum?"
"Here; I 'll not leave thee, never fear".
"Very well," said Fedot, and sat on the frog, - she swelled, jumped over the river, and became small. He put her in the bowl, and went on the homeward road, came to his mother-in-law, and made his new servant entertain the old woman and her daughters. Shmat-Razum gave them such a feast that the old woman came very near dancing from joy. She ordered that three bowls of milk be given to the frog every day in reward for her faithfulness. The sharpshooter bade good by to his friends and set out for home. He travelled and journeyed till he was almost wearied to death. "Oh, Shmat-Razum," said he, "if thou couldst only know how tired I am, I am just losing my legs".
"Why not tell me long ago?" asked the other; "I should have brought thee home quickly." With that he seized Fedot and bore him like a rushing whirlwind, so swiftly that his cap fell off.
"Hei, Shmat-Razum, wait a minute; my cap is gone".