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.
When the white steed was beyond the boundary of the castle land, he said to Jalmir: "Open the cage and let the bird fly".
"But shall I not bring it to the king?"
"Only do what I ask," said the steed, with such a stern voice that Jalmir obeyed without thinking.
It was yet night when they reached home. Jalmir tied the horse in the stable and went to his room to strengthen himself with sleep, but he did not sleep long. The morning dawn had barely shown itself when in the king's garden was heard such a loud and cheerful singing of birds that all the people were soon on their feet, and earlier than any the king. At the first moment he was so astonished that he asked whence these wonderful creatures had come.
"Royal Grace," said one of the brothers, "thou didst send Jalmir for them".
"True," said the king, as he bethought himself; "but where is Jalmir?"
A courtier soon brought him, and the king fell on his neck from very joy. He was now really dear to the king; but for that reason was held in more hatred by his brothers.
"How can we get rid of him?" asked the brothers when they were alone.
"Maybe we can read something else," said one of them.
"Very good," answered all, at once; and they hurried to the chamber in which so many books were collected, and it was not long before one of the brothers cried out: "The king has no beasts, and they cost him more than the birds, since he uses many more of them in a year".
"Then let Jalmir go for them," said the sixth brother, smiling maliciously; and they went straight to the king, to whom they told their minds. The king nodded graciously; dismissed them, called Jalmir and said: "I have no beasts in my kingdom; and since they cost me much in a year, I command thee to get me beasts".
"I, gracious king," said Jalmir in wonder, "know of none".
"Thou knowest well," said the king in anger, "for thy brothers told me".
"Did they?" said Jalmir in astonishment. "Well, I will try; ' and he went to his white steed, to whom he told everything.
"Be not down-hearted," said the steed, comforting him. "Come to me in the evening; we will go for the beasts".
When it was dark the good steed was flying through the air. "But where shall we go?" asked Jalmir.
"To the sorceress from whom we got the birds," answered the steed.
"But I am afraid that she will catch me," said Jalmir.
"Fear not," said the steed; "only do to a hair what I tell thee." When he came to the ground in front of the castle, he said: "In the first chamber thou wilt see a beast with silver hair, tied with silver chains; in the second chamber a beast with golden hair and golden chains; in the third, one with pearl hair and pearl chains. Touch not any of these, or a blow will fall so that the whole castle will tremble, and the sorceress will seize thee to kill thee. But go to the fourth chamber; there seize an ugly dog that is tied with a ragged rope, and hurry to me".
Somewhat timidly, but all the more carefully, did Jalmir pass the first, second, and third chamber, shading his eyes with his hands so the glitter of the silver, gold, and pearl might not blind him. When he entered the fourth chamber he broke the rope, seized the dog in his arms, rushed out, and swift as an arrow sprang on the horse, which rose in the air. And it was high time; for scarcely had he sat on the horse when the sorceress ran out after him. When she was unable to stop him, she cursed fearfully, and screamed: "But thou wilt come here again!
When the steed had sprung over the boundary of the castle land, he said: "Now let the dog go".
Jalmir obeyed at once, for he was sure the steed gave good counsel. When they came home, dawn was already appearing; still Jalmir lay on the bed, for he was greatly wearied. He did not sleep long, however; for barely had the dawn come when there was a noise in the castle, in the town, and outside the town, as if the earth were breaking. The king sprang in wonder to the window. But how astonished was he! Right in the garden he saw deer, stags, rabbits; on the trees squirrels; on the ground under the trees mice; in short, such myriads of beasts that his eyes danced. In the king's garden it was pleasant for the beasts; but in the town and outside the town the people killed them, chased wildly after them, and threw stones at them. This displeased the king; and he issued an order that all beasts belonged to him, and that no man should dare to injure them. Then he went to Jalmir, thanked him cordially, and expressed his friendship with an ardent embrace.
The whole kingdom was pleased with the beasts, but Jalmir's brothers were not pleased.
"What shall we do with him?" asked the eldest of the others. "Instead of getting rid of him we have brought him into still greater favor with the king".
"But let us go and read again".
"Yes, yes," said a third; and all hurried off to the well-known room. They had read a long time when at last one cried out: "The king has no wine, and of course wine costs him money".
"Then let Jalmir go for it," answered the eldest, quietly; "and he must get luck from hell if he comes back".
They went straight to the king, and very insinuatingly they told him that Jalmir might easily supply him with wine.
"Then he will do it;" and dismissing them graciously he had Jalmir summoned, and told him his wish.
"Gracious king," answered Jalmir, "I know nothing of wine, but I will go and see".
The king was somewhat angry, thinking surely that Jalmir was unwilling, and thereupon said: "Thou wilt answer to me with thy head." - Jalmir, bowing in silence, went out to the steed.
"Fear not," said the steed; "in the evening we will go for the wine." The moment it was dark the kind steed shot away with Jalmir through the air.
"Where are we going this time?" asked Jalmir, a little frightened.
"To the sorceress from whom we got the birds and the beasts. But now pull a hair from my tail, and one from my mane; from the first make a rope three hundred yards long, from the other a net large enough to contain thee".