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.
"What must I do?" asked the little boy.
"Nothing else," answered the old witch, "than this: In such and such a place is an enchanted castle, and thence it would be necessary to bring the world-sweetly speaking bird".
Then she went back; and from that hour the king's son could not remain at home, but planned to go for the world-sweetly speaking bird. Therefore, parting with his sister amidst bitter tear-shedding, he started through the kingdom and the world to bring home the sweetly speaking bird; but he enjoined on his sister that if the third day he were not at home, she should set out to seek him over a certain road, - and with that the king's son went his way.
He journeyed and travelled across forty-nine kingdoms to the first enchanted castle, where there stood on guard a big hairy devil, who had a terribly large whip in his hand, to kill, without pity or mercy, every man going up or down. Now, the hairy devil attacked Yanoshka sharply and roughly, thus: -
"Who art thou?"
"I, my lord elder brother".
"Who art thou?" asked the devil again.
"Art thou Yanoshka?"
"Why art thou here in this strange land, where even a bird does not go?"
"I am going for the world-sweetly speaking bird. Hast thou heard of it, my lord elder brother?"
"What is the use in delay or denial? I have not indeed heard. But over there lives my elder brother; if he knows nothing of it, then no one in the world knows".
Now the king's son came to the second enchanted castle; the second devil sent him to his eldest brother, the big lame devil.
When Yanoshka came to the third castle, the devil asked, "Why art thou here in this strange land, where even a bird does not go?"
"I am looking for the world-sweetly speaking bird. Hast thou not heard of it, lord elder brother, in thy world-beautiful life?"
"Of course I have; it is here in this enchanted castle. Thou mayest take it away if thou wilt listen to my word; if not, better thou hadst never been born. For if thou wilt not observe my words, thou wilt never see God's bright sun again. I only wish to say: Here is a golden rod; take it, and with it strike the wall of the enchanted castle three times. Straightway the door will open before thee; pass in, run to the end of the glass corridor and across eight chambers. In the ninth chamber is the world-sweetly speaking bird in a rusty cage. Thou wilt find there every kind of beautiful and more beautiful golden birds, but look not at them, listen not to them, take no one of them, but take the sweetly speaking bird sitting sadly in the rusty cage. Snatch the cage in an instant, and rush from the enchanted castle as if thou hadst been shot from a cannon".
The king's son took the golden rod and struck the wall of the enchanted castle with it three times, and in a twinkle the door opened before him. The king's son then asked few questions. Whether it was permitted or not he ran into the room in an instant. While he was running to the end of the glass corridor he was called by name, from the right to the left, to stop. It is true that he was frightened, but he paid no heed. He ran straight to the first chamber. Every kind of flowers, more and more beautiful, were in golden pots; but the king's son did not touch them. He ran to the second chamber. In that were all kinds of swords and guns, but he did not choose from them. He entered the third, fourth, fifth, and in this way till he came to the ninth chamber. The ninth chamber, as the devil had told him, was full of all kinds of golden and silver cages, and in them golden-feathered birds, more and more beautiful, were singing; but the world-sweetly speaking bird was drooping there sadly in a rusty cage, and was not singing.
As the world-sweetly speaking bird was not golden-feathered like the others, it did not please the king's son, and he did not take it, but chose from among the many golden-feathered birds the prettiest, and wished to take that; but as he reached towards it, suddenly, in the twinkle of an eye, he was turned to stone, and the door of the stone wall closed before him.
Now, the little princess every God-given day spread the table for her good brother, but he did not come. Every God-given evening she went out before the house and waited till nearly midnight; then she spread the bed for him, but he did not lie in it. So the first day passed, and the second, and the third, - day after day, but still the dear brother came not; therefore the princess, crying and weeping, went out to look for her brother. She journeyed and travelled upon his trail till she came to the first enchanted castle, and the second, and at last the third. The devil there stood on guard, with a great whip like a chain, so as to strike on the head, without pity or mercy, every one going up or down; and he shouted angrily at the little girl, "Who art thou?"
"Thou art Marishka?" For meanwhile, let it be said, this was the name of the king's son's sister.
"Why art thou travelling in this strange land, where not even a bird goes?"
"I am looking for my brother. Hast thou not heard of him, lord elder brother?"
"Of course I have heard, - of course! He is in this enchanted castle, turned into stone; he had to be, for he would not obey me. Thou wilt go that way, too, if thou wilt not hold to my word".
Now the little girl took the golden rod from the devil, who told her what to do with it, and struck the wall of the enchanted castle with it three times. The door opened before her in a twinkle, the princess ran in; but she looked neither to the right nor the left. She ran straight to the ninth chamber; there she took the rusty cage, struck her brother three times on the side with the rod, then ran as if shot from a cannon. And a thousand-fold was her luck that she did not delay an eye-twinkle longer, for the stone-wall door, as it was, cut the edge of her skirt off when it closed.