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 all the hares had come together he drove them home.
The king stood at the gate and let them in singly, counting, "One, two, three . . . ninety-nine, a hundred." Not one was missing.
Next day the Useless Wagoner drove the hares out again, and when they had barely touched the edge of the field they ran off in as many directions as there were hares.
But this time the Useless Wagoner took no thought of running and chasing after them; he thought to himself that he would take his whistle and blow, and they would come. So he lay down in a nice shady place, and slept to his liking.
But the king did not sleep; he was racking his brain to destroy the Useless Wagoner. So he called his only and dearly beloved daughter, and said to her, "My darling daughter, I have a great favor to ask of thee".
"What may it be, my father the king?"
"Of a truth nothing but this, - that thou dress in peasant's clothes, and go out to the field where the Useless Wagoner is herding the hundred hares, and beg one of him. If he gives it not for a good word, mayhap he will give it for a sweet kiss; but come not home to me without the hare, even if he asks a piece of thy body for it".
The princess granted her father's request. She gathered her wits about her, dressed up in peasant's clothes, and went in the field to the Useless Wagoner, who was sleeping at his leisure under a shady tree. The princess pushed him with her foot; he woke, and saw in a moment with whom he had to deal.
"God give thee a good-day, hareherd!"
"God save thee, king's daughter! What good dost thou bring the poor hareherd?"
"I have brought nothing but this, that I have come because I would like to get one little hare. Wouldst thou not give even one for good money?"
"High princess, I will not give one for money; but if thou wilt give me three kisses, I can give them back. Then I don't mind; I'll give thee a hare".
So the princess got a hare for three pairs of kisses, and ran home very joyfully; but just as she was touching the latch to open the gate, the hareherd sounded his whistle, the hare jumped like lightning from her bosom, and stopped not till it reached the flock.
The hareherd drove home his flock; the king was waiting for him at the gate, and let them in one by one, counting till he came to a hundred.
Next day the hareherd drove out his hares the third time, and left them to go their way.
The king now called his wife to the white chamber, and spoke thus to her: "My heart's beautiful love, I have a great favor to ask of thee".
"And what may it be, my dear husband?":
"Of a truth, nothing but this, - that thou dress in peasant's clothes, go to the hareherd in the field, and ask a hare of him. If he will not give it for fair words, he may for a sweet kiss; but come not home to me without a hare, even if he asks a piece of thy flesh".
Well, the queen yielded to her husband's request, put on a peasant's dress, and went to the field, where she found the Useless Wagoner sleeping in the shade. She roused him with her foot; he knew at once who was in the peasant's dress.
"God give thee a good-day, hareherd!"
"God save thee, kind queen! What good hast thou brought the poor hareherd? Why hast thou come, may I ask?"
"I have only come to ask if thou wilt give me a hare for good money".
"I will not give a hare lor money, my queen; but if thou wilt give me three kisses, I will return them again. Then I don't mind; I 'll risk my head, and let thee have a hare".
So the queen got a hare for three pairs of kisses, and took her way home joyously; but just as she was putting her hand on the latch to open the gate, the hareherd sounded the whistle, the hare jumped like a flash from the queen's bosom, and stopped not till it joined its companions.
When the hares were all together, the hare-herd drove them home. The king was waiting for him at the gate, let each in singly, counting till he reached a hundred, - .not one missing from the round number.
Next morning the hares were driven out as before; but the king now put on a peasant's dress, and went to the field himself. When he came to the hareherd he said: "God give thee good-day!"
"God save thee, poor man!" answered the hareherd. "What art thou looking for?"
"Well, what's the use in delay or denial? I have come to buy a little hare of thee for good money. Of course thou wilt part with one".
"I will not give one for money; but if I can wear out twelve rods on thy back, I don't mind; I 'll risk my head on it".
What was the king to do? He stretched himself out with face and hands on the grass, and the hareherd flogged him as a corporal does a soldier; but he endured it all, gritting his teeth, and thinking to himself, "Wait a bit, thief of a Useless Wagoner, thou wilt have a dose when I get at thee!"
But all to no use, for when the king had reached home, and was just putting his hand on the latch to open the gate, the whistle sounded, and the hare sprang away from him like a flash, and ran till it joined the flock.
Then the Useless Wagoner drove home the hundred hares a fourth time. The king was standing at the little gate; he counted them one by one, but could find no fault, for they were all there.
The Useless Wagoner drove out the hares the fifth time to pasture; but the king mounted the chariot which went wherever the owner commanded, and drove to the Useless Wagoner, taking three empty bags with him. "Dost hear me, thou! - this-and-that-kind-of-work-shunning? Hareherd, I revile thy soul! If thou wilt not fill these three bags with truth, I will strike off thy head".
To all this the Useless Wagoner answered in words: "The king's daughter came out; I gave her, and she gave me. The queen came; I gave her, and she gave me. The king came; I gave him, and he - "
"Stop! stop!" cried the king, "the three bags are full; and I 'd rather be in hell than hear thy words".
At this speech the chariot started off with the king, and never stopped till it took him to the bottom of hell.
Then the Useless Wagoner went home, married the king's daughter, became king, and reigns yet with his queen, unless he is dead.