"As a cart-wheel," answered the merchant.

The eagle shook his wings and threw the merchant, let him fall, gave him to feel mortal terror, and caught him before he had reached the water, - caught him, and rose still higher. "Look on the blue sea. Is it great?"

"As a hen's egg".

The eagle shook his wings, threw the merchant, let him fall, but did not let him reach the water, caught him, and rose up higher than ever. "Look on the blue sea. Is it great?"

"As a poppy seed".

A third time the eagle shook his wings and threw the merchant from under the heavens; still he did n't let him reach the water, caught him, and asked: "Well, merchant, good hero, hast thou felt what mortal terror is?"

"I have," said the merchant; "and I thought I was lost forever".

"And so did I when thou wert pointing thy gun at me".

The eagle flew with the merchant beyond the sea, straight to the copper kingdom. "Behold, my eldest sister lives here!" said the eagle. "When we shall be guests with her, and she brings presents, take nothing, but ask for the copper casket." The eagle said this, struck the damp earth, turned into a gallant hero.

They went through the broad court. The sister saw him, and was delighted. "Oh, my own brother, how has God brought thee? I have not seen thee for three years and more; I thought thou wert lost forever. How can I entertain thee? How can I feast thee?"

"Entertain not me, my dear sister, I am at home in thy house; but entreat and entertain this good hero. He gave me meat and drink for three years, - did not let me die of hunger".

She seated them at the oaken table, at the spread cloth; she feasted and entertained them, then led them to her treasure-chambers, showed treasures incalculable, and said to the merchant: "Good hero, here are gold, silver, and precious stones; take what thy soul desires".

The merchant gave answer: "I need neither gold, silver, nor precious stones. Give me the copper casket".

"Thou 'It not get it; that is not the boot for thy foot".

The brother was angry at his sister's words; he turned into an eagle, - a swift bird, - caught the merchant, and flew away.

"Oh, my own brother, come back!" cried the sister. "I 'll not stand for the casket".

"Thou art late, sister!"

The eagle flew through the air. "Look, merchant, good hero, what is behind us and what before?"

"Behind, a fire is in sight; before us flowers are blooming".

"That is the copper kingdom in flames, and the flowers are blooming in the silver kingdom of my second sister. When we are her guests, and she offers gifts, take nothing, but ask for the silver casket." The eagle came, struck the damp earth, and become a good hero.

"Oh, my own brother," said his sister, "whence hast come; where wert thou lost; why hast thou been so long without visiting me; with what can I serve thee?"

"Entreat me not, entertain me not, my dear sister, I am at home with thee; but entreat and entertain this good hero, who gave me meat and drink for three years, and did not let me die of hunger".

She seated them at the oaken tables at spread cloths, entertained and feasted them, then led them to treasure-chambers. "Here are gold and silver and precious stones; take, merchant, what thy soul desires".

"I want neither gold, silver, nor precious stones. Give me only the silver casket".

"No, good hero, thy desire is not for the right morsel; thou mightest choke thyself".

The eagle brother was angry, caught up the merchant, and flew away.

"Oh, my own brother, come back! I will not stand for the casket".

"Thou art late, sister!"

Again the eagle flew under the heavens. "See, merchant, good hero, what is behind us, what is before?"

"Behind us a fire is blazing; before us are flowers in bloom".

"That is the silver kingdom in flames; but the flowers are blooming in the golden kingdom of my youngest sister. When we are her guests, and she offers gifts, take nothing; ask only the golden casket".

The eagle came to the golden kingdom and turned into a good hero.

"Oh, my own brother," said the sister, "whence hast thou come? Where hast thou vanished so long that thou hast not visited me? With what shall I feast thee?"

"Entreat me not, feast me not, I am at home; but entreat and feast this merchant, good hero. He gave me meat and drink for three years, - saved me from hunger".

She seated them at the oaken table, at the spread cloth, entertained them, feasted them, led the merchant to her treasure-chambers, offered him gold, silver, and precious stones.

"I need nothing; give me only the golden casket".

"Take it for thy happiness. Thou didst give meat and drink to my brother for three years, and didst save him from hunger; I regret nothing that is spent on my brother".

So the merchant lived and feasted a while in the golden kingdom, till the time came for parting, for taking the road.

"Farewell," said the eagle; "think not on me with harsh feeling, but see that the casket is not opened till thou art at home".

The merchant journeyed homeward. Whether it was long or short, he grew tired and wished to rest. He stopped in a strange meadow on the land of the Tsar of the Sea; he looked and looked at the golden casket, could n't endure, opened it. That moment, wherever it came from, there stood before him a great castle all painted, a multitude of servants appeared, inquiring: "What dost thou wish for; what dost thou want?' The merchant, good hero, ate his fill, drank enough, and lay down to sleep. The Tsar of the Sea saw that there was a great castle on his land, and he sent messengers: "Go see what sort of an insolent fellow has come and built a castle on my land without leave; let him go off at once in health and safety".

When such a threatening word came to the merchant he began to think and conjecture how to put the castle into the casket as before; he thought and thought, - no, he could do nothing. "I should be glad to go away," said he, "but how, I can't think myself".