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.
THERE lived a Tsar, and he had a daughter, Tsarevna, Priceless Beauty, not to be told of in a tale nor described with a pen. The Tsar issued a call throughout all towns that whoever would kiss the Tsarevna through twelve windows, no matter of what stock he might be, he would get the Tsarevna for wife, and receive half the kingdom.
In this kingdom lived a merchant, and he had three sons; the two elder were crafty, and the third, the youngest, was a simpleton. Well, the elder brothers said, "Father, we will go to get the Tsarevna".
"Go, with God," said the merchant.
They took the very best horses and began to make ready for the road. The fool also was preparing.
"Where art thou going, fool? How couldst thou kiss the Tsarevna?" and they laughed at him in every manner.
They went away, and the simpleton dragged along after them on a poor mangy little horse. He went into the field, and he cried with a shrill voice: "Oh, blue-brown, cunning bay, stand before me as leaf before stem!
Wherever he came from, a splendid steed rushed up; the ground trembled. The simpleton crept into one ear of the steed and out of the other, and became such a beauty as had never been seen nor heard of. He sat on the horse, and rode to the Tsar's palace; and when he rushed up he broke six panes of glass.
All were astonished, and cried, "Who is that? Seize him, hold him!"
But his trace was cold. He rode away into the field, crept into one ear of his steed, out of the other, and became just such a simpleton as before; he sat on his wretched horse, rode home, and lay on the stove.
His brothers came back and said: "Well, father, there was a hero, - such a hero! He broke through six glasses at once".
The simpleton from the stove cried out: "Ah, brothers, was not that I?"
"Thou dunce! how couldst thou do it; how couldst thou get the Tsarevna? Thou art not worth her fin-ger nail".
Next day the brothers prepared again to go to the Tsar's palace; the simpleton also prepared. "What art thou going for, thou dunce?" laughed the brothers; "thou art needed there, I suppose!"
The simpleton went again on his mangy, wretched little horse to the field, and cried in a shrill voice:
"Oh, blue-brown, cunning bay, stand before me as leaf before stem!"
The steed rushed, the ground trembled, the simpleton crept into one ear of the steed and out of the other, and became such a beauty as had never been seen or heard of before. He rushed through the Tsar's court, broke all the twelve windows, and kissed the Tsarevna, Priceless Beauty. She put a mark straight on his forehead.
All were astonished, and cried: "Stop him, hold him! Who is he?"
But his trace was cold. He rode out to the field, crept into one ear and out of the other, became just such a simpleton as before, came home, tied a rag around his forehead, pretended that his head was aching, and lay down on the stove.
His brothers returned and said: "Oh, father, there was a hero, such a hero! At once he broke all twelve windows and kissed the Tsarevna".
The simpleton cried out from the stove: "Ah, brothers, was it not I?"
"Oh, thou dunce, how could it be?"
Meanwhile the Tsarevna was thinking who her bridegroom could be. She went to the Tsar and said: "Father, let me bring together all the Tsars' sons, kings' sons, nobles, merchants, and peasants to a feast, to a talk, and find out who kissed me." The Tsar permitted her.
Well, the whole Christian world met. The Tsarevna herself went among them all, entertained all with wine, examined to see if she could find the mark on any man's forehead. She went to each; at last she brought wine to the simpleton.
"What hast thou bound up there?" asked the Tsarevna.
"So, nothing; my head aches," said the simpleton.
"Well, then, untie it." The Tsarevna unbound his head, recognized the mark, and grew faint.
The Tsar said to her, "It is impossible to change the word now; it has to be so, - be his wife".
They married the simpleton and the Tsarevna. She was weeping bitterly; her two sisters, who had married Tsars' sons, were laughing at her, and said: "There it is; she has married a fool!"
Once the Tsar called all his sons-in-law and said: "I have heard that in such a state, in such a kingdom, there is a wonder, - a pig with gold bristles. Is it not possible in some way to get this pig? Try".
Well, the two crafty sons-in-law saddled the very best horses, sat on them, and rode away.
The fool took from the stable the very last miserable horse, and followed his brothers. He came out into an open field, and cried with a shrill voice: "Come, blue-brown, cunning bay, stand before me as leaf before stem!" Wherever he came from, the wondrous horse was snorting and tearing the ground with his hoof. The simpleton crawled into one ear and out of the other.
Wherever they came from, there stood before him two youths, and they asked, "What dost thou wish, what is thy pleasure?"
"To have a tent here, and in the tent a bed; beside the tent to have the pig with gold bristles walking".
All was done in a moment. The tent was there, in the tent a bed; on the bed lay the simpleton, but such a hero that no one could know him. The pig with gold bristles was walking by the side of the tent in the meadow.
The other brothers-in-law travelled and travelled; nowhere could they see a pig with gold bristles. On their way home they approached the tent and saw the wonder. "Oh! here is where the pig with gold bristles is walking; let us go," said they, "and whatever must be given we will give, we will buy the pig and please our father-in-law".
They went to the tent and saluted the owner. The simpleton asked: "Where are ye travelling? what are ye looking for?"
"Wilt thou sell us the pig with gold bristles? we are looking for this pig a long time".
"No, I want it myself".
"Ask what will please thee, but sell".