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.
Mirko called a mason, went with him to the seventh cellar, found the hollow place in the wall, took out the horn, and carried it away. Then standing on the square before the palace, he sounded towards the east, the west, the south, and the north, and having waited a little, behold! he hears the golden horse bells ringing so that the whole city is full of the sound. The steeds came in, one more beautiful than the other in appearance and in breed. At a distance he saw the shaggy-haired, crooked-legged mare; and when she came to the gate, as true as I live, she struck the pillars with her tail so that the whole palace trembled.
When the steeds had stopped in the courtyard, Mirko went up to the mare, led her away to the stable, and then said that he had taken her to try his fortune. The magic mare answered: "That is well, my lord king's son; but first thou must feed me, for without that it will be hard to endure the long road".
"What kind of food dost thou wish? - for whatever my father has, I will give thee with a good heart".
"Very well, kind master; but a steed must be fed before starting, not while on the road".
"I know not what I can do," said Mirko, "except to give what I have with a good heart".
"Bring me straightway a measure of peas, and turn them into the manger".
Mirko obeyed, and when the peas were eaten, he brought a measure of beans; when these were eaten the mare turned to Mirko and said: "Now bring me half a measure of glowing coals".
The coals were brought; and when she had eaten the glowing coals, she became such a golden-haired steed as the Star of Dawn, and spoke further to Mirko. "Go now, my master, to the king, and ask of him that saddle which he used when he coursed the meadow with me in his youth".
Mirko went to the old king and asked for the saddle. The king answered that it was useless, for it had been thrown about a long time in the carriage-house, but if he could find it, he might take it. Mirko went to the carriage-house and found the saddle all befouled by the hens and turkeys. He took it, however, to his steed, which said that it was not proper for a king's son to sit on such a saddle. Mirko was about to carry it away and have a fresh cover put on, when she said: "Place it before me." He obeyed. Straightway she blew on it, and in an instant it became such a golden saddle that its like could not be found in seven kingdoms.
With this he saddled the magic mare, and she said: "Go now, my dear master, to thy father, and ask him for the weapons and the sword with which he fought when he journeyed with me".
Mirko asked his father; the old king said they were on the shelf if he wanted them. Mirko took them to the mare, who blew on them, and instantly they became the most beautiful gold-mounted sword and weapons. Mirko girded on the sword and took the weapons. Then the bridle was brought, and when blown upon became of the most beautiful gold.
Mirko bridled the mare, led her out of the stable, and wished to sit in the saddle, but she said: "Wait, my dear master; lead me out of the city first, and then sit on me." He hearkened to these words, and led her out of the city; then she stood still, and he sat in the saddle.
The magic steed now asked: "How shall I bear thee, dear master; with the speed of the fleet whirlwind, or of quick thought?"
"Carry me as may please thee," answered the prince; "only manage so that I shall endure the swift flight".
"Well, close thy eyes," said the steed, "and hold fast".
Mirko closed his eyes; the steed shot on like a rushing whirlwind, and after a short time struck the earth with her foot, and said to Mirko: "Open thy eyes! What dost thou see?"
"I see," said he, "a great river and a copper bridge".
"That, my dear master, is the bridge the top of which thy first brother brought home; but look for the open place".
"I see it," said Mirko; "but where are we going from here?"
"Only close thy eyes; I will take thee straight there".
With that she moved as quick as thought, and in a few moments struck the earth, stood still, and said to Mirko: "Open thy eyes! What dost thou see?"
"I see a great river, and across it a silver bridge".
"That is the bridge the top of which thy second brother took home; look for the open place".
"I see it," said Mirko; "but where do we go from here?"
"Only close thy eyes," said the steed; "I will take thee at once".
With that she moved on like lightning, and in a flash stamped on the ground, and said to the prince: "Open thy eyes! What dost thou see?"
"I see," said Mirko, " an enormously wide and deep river, across it a golden bridge, and at both ends of the bridge, at this side and that, are four unmercifully large lions. Must we cross this bridge?"
"Never mind," said the steed, "I 'll manage; only shut thy eyes".
The mare sped on like a swift falcon, and thus flew across the bridge. After a short time she struck the ground, and said: "Open thy eyes! What dost thou see?"
"I see," replied Mirko, "a summitless, high glass mountain, as steep as the side of a house".
"We must cross that very mountain, my master".
"That, I think, is impossible," said Mirko.
"Fear not," said the steed; "for I have on my feet the shoes which thy father fastened to me with diamond nails, seven hundred years ago. Only shut thy eyes and hold to me firmly".
Now the steed sprang up, and in an instant was on the glass mountain. She stamped, and said, " Open thy eyes! What dost thou see?"
"I see," said Mirko, "when I look behind, something dark, as large as a great plate".
"Oh, my master, that is the round of the earth. But what dost thou see before thee?"
"I see a narrow glass road, rising like a half circle. On both sides of it is emptiness of bottomless depth".
"My dear master, we must pass over that road; but the passage is so delicate that if one of my feet slip the least bit to one side or the other, there is an end to our lives. But trust thyself to me, and close thy eyes. Hold fast, I will manage".