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, Koshchei Without-Death, thou seest thyself how I honor thee!"
"Oh, simple woman, I was joking! My death is out there, fastened in the oak fence".
Next day Koshchei went away. Ivan Tsarevich came and gilded the whole fence. Towards evening Koshchei came home. "Ah!" said he, "it smells of the Russian bone. Ivan Tsarevich has been with thee".
"What dost thou mean, Koshchei Without-Death? It seems I have told thee times more than one, where am I to see Ivan Tsarevich? He has remained in dark forests, in sticky quagmires; the wild beasts have torn him to pieces ere now".
Supper-time came. Peerless Beauty sat on a bench herself, and seated him on a chair. Koshchei looked through the window, saw the fence gilded, shining like fire. "What is that?"
"Thou seest thyself, Koshchei, how I respect thee.
If thou art dear to me, of importance is thy death".
This speech pleased Koshchei Without-Death. "Oh, simple woman, I was joking with thee! My death is in an egg, the egg is in a duck, and the duck is in a stump floating on the sea".
When Koshchei went off to war, Peerless Beauty baked cakes for Ivan Tsarevich and told him where to look for the death of Koshchei. Ivan Tsarevich went neither by road nor by way, came to the ocean sea broad, and knew not where to go farther. The cakes had long since given out, and he had nothing to eat. All at once a hawk flew up. Ivan Tsarevich aimed. "Well, hawk, I'll shoot thee and eat thee raw".
"Do not eat me, Ivan Tsarevich; I will serve thee in time of need".
A bear ran along. "Oh, bear, crooked paw, I'll kill thee and eat thee raw!"
"Do not eat me, Ivan Tsarevich; I'll serve in time of need".
Behold, a pike is struggling on the beach. " Oh, big-toothed pike, thou hast come to it! I 'll eat thee raw".
"Eat me not, Ivan Tsarevich; better throw me into the sea. I will serve thee in time of need".
Ivan stood there thinking, "The time of need will come, it is unknown when. But now I must go hungry." All at once the blue sea boiled up, waves rose, began to cover the shore. Ivan Tsarevich ran up the hill, ran with all his might, and the water followed at his heels; chasing, he ran to the very highest place and climbed a tree. A little later the water began to fall, the sea grew calm, fell, and a great stump was left on. land. The bear ran up, raised the stump, and when he had hurled it to the ground the stump opened; out flew a duck and soared high, high. That minute, from wherever he came, the hawk flew, caught the duck, and in a twinkle tore her in two. An egg fell out; then the pike caught it, swam to the beach, and gave the egg to Ivan Tsarevich, who put it in his bosom and went to Koshchei Without-Death. He came to the house. Peerless Beauty met him, she kissed him on the lips and fell on his shoulder. Koshchei Without-Death was sitting at the window cursing.
"Oh, Ivan Tsarevich, thou wishest to take Peerless Beauty from me; and so thou wilt not live".
"Thou didst take her from me thyself," answered Ivan Tsarevich, took the egg from his bosom, and showed it to Koshchei. "What is this?"
The light grew dim in the eyes of Koshchei; then he became mild and obedient. Ivan Tsarevich threw the egg from one hand to the other. Koshchei Without-Death staggered from corner to corner. This seemed pleasant to the Tsarevich. He threw the egg more quickly from hand to hand, and broke it; then Koshchei fell and died.
Ivan Tsarevich attached the horses to his golden carriage, took whole bags filled with gold and silver, and went to his father. Whether it was long or short, he came to that old woman who had inquired of every creature, fish, bird, and beast. He found his steed. "Glory be to God," said he, "the raven (black steed) is alive; "and he poured forth gold freely for her care of the steed. Though she were to live ninety-nine years longer, she would have enough. Then the Tsarevich sent a swift courier to the Tsar with a letter, in which he wrote: "Father, meet thy son; I am coming with my bride, Peerless Beauty".
His father got the letter, read it, and had not belief. "How could that be? Ivan Tsarevich left home when nine days old!"After the courier came the Tsarevich himself. The Tsar saw that his son had written the real truth; he ran out to the porch, met him, and gave command to beat drums and sound music.
"Father, bless me for the wedding".
Tsars have not to brew beer nor make wine; they have much of all things. That same day there was a joyous feast and a wedding. They crowned Ivan Tsarevich and Peerless Beauty, and put out on all streets great jars of various drinks; every one could come and drink what his soul desired. I was there, drank mead and wine; it flowed on my mustaches, but was not in my mouth.