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.
Jalmir saw a great fish on the beach which was trying in vain to get back to the water. "Help it," said the steed; and Jalmir, springing to the ground, helped the fish.
The fish sank under the water, but soon came to the surface and said to Jalmir: "Wait, I must reward thee. Take this whistle, and shouldst thou need aught from me, blow".
Jalmir took the whistle from the fish's lips, gave thanks, and sat again on his steed. After a time they heard as it were distant thunder. "What is that?' asked he of the horse.
"We shall soon be at the end of our journey," said the steed; "those are giants talking".
In a short time Jalmir saw three giants lying on the beach. When he came up they rose, and now he saw their stature. When he looked in their faces he had to bend back his head as if looking at the highest tower.
"What is the good word?" roared one of them, so that Jalmir had to cover his ears.
"I bring three hundred loaves of bread, three hundred kegs of wine, and three hundred slaughtered oxen," answered he.
"That is good of thee," said the giants, nodding their heads with satisfaction; and they rushed to the wagons in which the things were placed. They built a fire, and stuck the oxen on great spits to roast; then they went to the bread and wine, and soon had half inside themselves. A great eagle settled down near by, and looked wistfully at the beeves. Jalmir cut off a quarter and gave it to the eagle.
"Thank thee!" said the eagle. "I will help thee in time;" and she rose in the air with the quarter.
The giants did not leave the oxen very long over the fire; and when they had finished, they said to Jalmir: "Now tell us thy wish; well do we know that ye little worms of the earth do nothing for nothing".
"I have no wish for myself," said Jalmir; "but my master has sent me to bring the princess from the golden castle which stands out in the sea".
"That one over there?" asked the other giant, pointing with his finger to the sea.
Jalmir looked around and saw for the first time a magnificent castle, which gleamed in the waves like the rising sun. "Yes," replied Jalmir.
"We will take thee to it," said the first giant; "but will the princess go with thee?"
"I will ask her," said Jalmir; "but how will ye take me there?"
"Thou wilt soon see," said the giants; and they took pieces of a cliff and hurled them into the sea. They went on breaking the cliff, and sooner than Jalmir expected there was a long stretch of dam in the sea. But the giants did not stop; they worked till the setting of the sun, so that in the evening they had one third of the dam finished, and on the third day it was possible to go with dry foot to the golden castle.
Jalmir thanked the giants heartily, and the morning of the fourth day he went to the princess. The castle was a wonder to look at; but he scarcely noticed it. He entered, and how surprised was he when in the first chamber he saw the princess. With downcast eyes he said: "My king and master has sent me to beg thee in his name to share his throne and crown".
"I will go," answered the princess, with a silvery voice; "but wilt thou remain at his court?"
"I must," said Jalmir. "I am the viceroy".
"Let us go, then," said the princess.
She mounted a splendid crow-black horse, Jalmir his white steed, and they galloped along the dam. On the way Jalmir took courage to look at the princess more closely, and thought that the king would grow younger, and lengthen his life, if the princess would marry him. At the same time he felt a certain agreeable straitening of the heart. He bent his head, and rode in silence at the side of the princess; and the nearer he came to the castle of the king, the more did trouble take hold of his heart. The more joyous, however, was the princess; and her eyes rested on him with a certain special delight. They arrived soon without great adventure.
The king went outside the town to meet them, and conducted them in solemn procession to the castle. "Art thou willing, honored princess, to become my spouse?" asked he of the princess when he had led her to the chambers prepared for her.
"First I must have my golden castle," replied the princess.
The king was amazed; but he bethought himself soon, and turned to Jalmir, gazing imploringly.
"I will go for it," said Jalmir, with decision, especially when the princess nodded graciously and smiled at him.
"Go, my dear Jalmir," said the king, with a soft voice. "I will reward thee in kings' fashion".
Jalmir went to the white steed for advice, and the steed said: "Tell the king to give thee three hundred loaves of bread, three hundred kegs of wine, and three hundred slaughtered oxen; then we will go for the golden castle".
Jalmir told the king his wishes, and the king gave him all. Everything was ready so soon that Jalmir was able to set out that very day. But it was a tedious journey; the wagons went slowly, and after them Jalmir still more slowly, and with drooping head, - why, he knew best himself. When they came to the giants, Jalmir gave them the loaves, the wine, and the meat, begging them urgently to bring the golden castle to the princess.
"Ah, little worm of the earth!" said the giants, laughing, "dost thou think that the castle is made of wood? but we will try," added they after they had looked at the three hundred loaves, at the kegs and the oxen.
They began eating, and when they had eaten heartily, they went to a neighboring forest, where they pulled up three of the strongest trees; and when they had played with them as men play with canes, they went along the dam to the golden castle. After a short time they moved the castle from its foundations, put it on the oak-trees, and then on to their shoulders; and as if it were nothing they walked after Jalmir without weariness till night, when they slept, and next morning went farther. They worked in this way till they drew near the king's castle; they did not go to it, however, but waited till night. Then they put the golden castle in the garden, bade farewell to Jalmir, and went home.