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.
"Thou art a good youth, of kind speech. I am living toward the end of the eighth ten of years, and of that beauty I have never heard. Before thee on the road lives my elder sister, - mayhap she knows; she has answer-givers. Her first answer-givers are the beasts of the forests, the second are the birds of the air, the third are the fish and creatures of the sea. Whatever is in the white world obeys her. Go to her in the morning, but sleep now; the morning is wiser than the evening".
Ivan Tsarevich passed the night, rose early, washed himself very white, sat on his steed, and vanished. He rode far with distance, high with height. The day was growing short, drawing near to the night; and there stood a house like a town, each room was a chamber. He came to the porch, tied his horse to a golden ring, then went to the entrance, and next to the chamber, prayed to God, and asked a night's lodging. An old woman screamed at him. "Oh, thou, this and that kind of man, thou art not worthy of an iron ring, and thou hast tied thy horse to a gold one!"
"Well, grandmother, scold not; the horse may be loosed and tied to another ring".
"Oh, good hero, have I given thee a fright? Be not afraid; sit on the bench, and I will ask from what stock, from what town, thou dost come".
"Oh, grandmother, thou shouldst first give me food and drink, then ask for the news! Thou seest I 'm a wayfaring man; I've not eaten all day".
Straightway the old woman set the table, brought bread and salt, poured out a glass of vodka, and began to entertain Ivan Tsarevich. He ate and drank plenty, threw himself on the bed. The old woman made no inquiry; he told her himself: "I was in tender years, my father rocked me in the cradle, promised me Peerless Beauty as bride, - the daughter of three mothers, the granddaughter of three grandmothers, and the sister of nine brothers. Do me a kindness, grandmother; tell me where Peerless Beauty is living, and how I may reach her".
"But, Ivan Tsarevich, I know not myself; I am ending the ninth ten of years, and I have not heard of that beauty. But sleep now with God; in the morning I will summon my answer-givers, - maybe one of them knows".
Next day the old woman rose early, washed herself very white, came out with Ivan Tsarevich on the porch, cried with a champion's voice, whistled with a hero's whistle. She cried to the sea-fish and creatures of the water, "Come hither".
That instant the blue sea boiled up, the fish, great and small, came together, all creatures assembled and went toward the shore; they covered the water.
The old woman asked: "Where lives Peerless Beauty, the daughter of three mothers, the granddaughter of three grandmothers, the sister of nine brothers?"
All the fish and all the creatures answered in one voice: "We have not seen her with sight, nor heard of her with hearing".
The old woman shouted over the land: "Assemble, ye beasts of the forest".
The beasts run; they hide the earth. In one voice they answer: "We have not seen her with sight, nor heard her with hearing".
The old woman cried toward the sky: "Come hither, ye birds of the air!"
The birds fly, they hide the light of day. In one voice they answer: "We have not seen her with sight, we have not heard her with hearing".
"There is no one else to ask," said the old woman. She took Ivan Tsarevich by the hand and led him into the room. They had just come in when the Mogol bird arrived on the wing, fell to the ground. There was no light in the window.
"Oh, thou Mogol bird, where hast thou been flying; why art thou late?"
"I was arraying Peerless Beauty for mass".
"Thou hast the news I need. Now do me a service with faith and truth, - carry Ivan Tsarevich to her".
"Gladly would I serve, but much food is needed".
"Three forties of beef, and a vessel of water".
Ivan Tsarevich filled the vessel with water, brought oxen with beef. He put the kegs on the bird, ran to the forge, and had a long iron lance made for himself; he came back and took farewell of the old woman. "Good-by," said he. "Feed my good steed enough; I will pay thee for everything".
He sat on the Mogol bird, and that moment it rose up and flew; it flew and looked around continually. When it looked, Ivan Tsarevich immediately gave a piece of meat on the end of his lance. Now it was flying and flying no short time. The Tsare-vich had already given two kegs of beef, and had begun on the third; and he said, "O Mogol bird, fall to the damp earth; small nourishment is left".
"What art thou saying, Ivan Tsarevich? Below us are sleeping forests and sticky morasses; we could not escape to the end of our lives".
Ivan Tsarevich gave out all the beef and threw down the kegs; but the Mogol bird flies, looks around. What can be done? Ivan Tsarevich thought a while, cut off the calves of his own legs, and gave them to the bird. It swallowed them, and flew out over the green meadow, silken grass, blue flowers, then dropped to the earth. Ivan Tsarevich stood on his feet, walked along the meadow, was lame of both legs.
"What is the matter, Ivan Tsarevich? Art thou lame?"
"I am lame, Mogol bird; a little while ago I cut off my calves to nourish thee".
The Mogol bird coughed up the calves, put them on the legs of Ivan Tsarevich, blew and spat; the calves grew to their places, and the Tsarevich went on in strength and activity. He came to a great town, and stopped to rest with a grandmother living in a backyard.
"Sleep, Ivan Tsarevich; in the morning, when the bell rings, I'll rouse thee".
Ivan Tsarevich lay down and slept that minute; he slept the day, slept the night. The bells rang for early prayers, the backyard grandmother ran to him, fell to beating him with whatever she found at hand, but could not rouse him. The morning prayers were over, they rang for mass; Peerless Beauty went to church. The old grandmother came again, and went to work again at Ivan Tsarevich, beat him with whatever came under her hands; with great effort she woke him. Ivan Tsarevich sprang up very quickly, washed himself very white, dressed, and went to mass. He came to the church, prayed before the images, bowed down on every side, and especially to Peerless Beauty. They stood side by side and prayed. At the end of mass she went first to the cross, then he went out on a platform, looked at the blue sea; ships are approaching, six champions came to offer marriage.