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.
Ivan Tsarevich let his mother down first on the linen, then Yelena the Beautiful and her two sisters. The brothers were standing below waiting, and they thought to themselves, "Let us leave Ivan Tsarevich up there; we will take our mother and the three Tsaritsas to our father, and say that we found them." "I'll take Yelena the Beautiful for myself," said Pyotr Tsarevich; "thou, Vassili, wilt have the Tsaritsa of the Silver Kingdom; and we will give the Tsaritsa of the Copper Kingdom to some general".
When it was time for Ivan Tsarevich to come down from the mountain, his elder brothers seized the linen, pulled and tore it away. Ivan remained on the mountain. What could he do? He wept bitterly; then turned back, walked and walked over the Copper Kingdom, over the Silver Kingdom and the Golden Kingdom, - not a soul did he see. He came to the Diamond Kingdom, - no one there either. What was he to do alone, - deathly weariness! He looked around; on the window of the castle a whistle was lying. He took it in his hand. "Let me play from weariness," said he. He had barely blown when out sprang Lame and Crooked.
"What is thy pleasure?"
Said Ivan Tsarevich, "I want to eat." That moment, from wherever it came, a table was set, and on the table the very best food, Ivan Tsarevich ate and thought, "Now it would not be bad to rest." He blew on the whistle. Lame and Crooked appeared.
"What is thy pleasure, Ivan Tsarevich?"
"That a bed be ready." The word was n't out of his mouth when the bed was ready. He lay down, slept splendidly, then whistled again.
"What is thy pleasure?" asked Lame and Crooked.
"Everything can be done, then?"
"Everything is possible, Ivan Tsarevich. Whoever blows that whistle, we will do everything for him. As we served Whirlwind before, so we are glad to serve thee now; it is only necessary to keep the whistle by thee at all times".
"Well," said Ivan, "let me be in my own kingdom this minute".
He had barely spoken when he appeared in his own kingdom, in the middle of the market square. He was walking along the square, when a shoemaker came toward him, - such a jolly fellow! The Tsarevich asked: "Whither art thou going, good man?"
"I am taking shoes to sell; I am a shoemaker".
"Take me into thy service," said Ivan.
"Dost thou know how to make shoes?"
"Yes, I can do everything. I can make not only shoes, but clothes".
"Well, come on".
They went to his house. The shoemaker said: "Go to work; here is leather for thee, - the best kind; I'll see what skill thou hast".
Ivan Tsarevich went to his own room, and took, out the whistle. Lame and Crooked came. "What is thy pleasure, Ivan Tsarevich?"
"To have shoes ready by to-morrow".
"Oh, that is not work, that is play!"
"Here is the leather".
"What sort of leather is that? That's trash, nothing more; that should go out of the window".
Next morning Ivan Tsarevich woke up; on the table were beautiful shoes, the very best.
The shoemaker rose. "Well, young man, hast thou made the shoes?"
"They are finished".
"Well, show them." He looked at the shoes and was astonished. " See what a man I have got for myself, - not a shoemaker, but a wonder!" He took the shoes and carried them to the market to sell.
At that same time three weddings were in preparation at the palace. Pyotr Tsarevich was to marry Yelena the Beautiful, Vassili Tsarevich the Tsaritsa of the Silver Kingdom, and they were giving the Tsaritsa of the Copper Kingdom to a general. They were making dresses for those weddings. Yelena the Beautiful wanted shoes. Our shoemaker's shoes were better than all the others brought to the palace.
When Yelena looked at them she said, "What does this mean? They make shoes like these only in the mountains." She paid the shoemaker a large price and said, "Make me without measure another pair wonderfully sewed, ornamented with precious stones, and studded with diamonds. They must be ready by to-morrow; if not, to the gallows with thee".
The shoemaker took the precious stones and money and went home, - such a gloomy man! "Misery," said he, "what am I to do now? How can I make shoes by to-morrow, and besides without measure? It is clear that they will hang me to-morrow; let me have at least a last frolic with my friends".
He went to the inn. These friends of his were numerous; they asked, "Why art thou so gloomy, brother?"
"Oh, my dear friends," answered he, "they are going to hang me to-morrow!"
The shoemaker told his trouble. "How think of work in such a position? Better I'll frolic to-night for the last time".
So they drank and drank, frolicked and frolicked; the shoemaker was staggering already.
"Well," said he, "I'll take home a keg of spirits, lie down to sleep; and to-morrow when they come to hang me, I 'll drink a gallon and a half right away. Let them hang me without my senses".
He came home. "Well, thou reprobate!" said he to Ivan Tsarevich, "see what thy shoes have done . . . so and so. . . . When they come in the morning for me, wake me up".
In the night Ivan Tsarevich took out the whistle and blew. Lame and Crooked appeared. "What is thy pleasure, Ivan Tsarevich?"
"That shoes of such a kind be ready".
Ivan lay down to sleep. Next morning he woke up; the shoes were on the table shining like fire. He went to rouse his master.
"It is time to rise, master".
"What! have they come for me? Bring the keg quickly! Here is a cup, pour the spirits in; let them hang me drunk".
"But the shoes are made".
"How made? Where are they?"
The master ran and saw them. "But when did we make them?"
"In the night. Is it possible that thou dost not remember when we cut and sewed?"
"Oh, I 've slept so long, brother! I barely, barely remember".
He took the shoes, wrapped them up, and ran to the palace.