Funday Times

Emelya and the Pike – Part VI
Russian Fairytales

Emelya the Fool was known to every one around as the laziest man alive. Emelya spent most of his days lounging on the stove, doing nothing, while his family worked hard in the fields. One day,
however, Emelya caught a Pike. The Pike was no ordinary fish. Filled with magic, it was able to grant Emelya anything he wanted in exchange for its freedom. At first, living in his little village, Emelya found only simple uses for his new magic – he got wood to cut itself, and the sled to run without a horse. But soon Emelya's antics brought him to the attention of the Tsar. Forced to go before the Tsar, Emelya actually flew there on his stove. But once at the palace, an unexpected event led to a dramatic change in plans – Emelya fell in love with the Tsar's beautiful daughter, Tsarevna Marya, and she with him. But the Tsar wasn't very happy with this state of affairs, and he had both Emelya and his daughter put into a barrel and cast into the ocean. But Emelya, with the Pike's help, escaped the barrel and made a beautiful palace for himself and Marya. All was well until the Tsar rode by the castle one day, and sent his messengers to investigate.

On the day that the Tsar rode by, Emelya and Marya were busy entertaining guests. The castle was full with visitors from all over the tsardom. Some had even come from distant lands, as ambassadors from their kings. Everywhere, word of Emelya's magic had spread.

Emelya and Tsarevna Marya had gotten used to a life of luxury in the palace. Remembering his family, Emelya sent for them. His two brothers, and their two wives were brought to the castle. In amazement they looked around as Emelya showed them around. This was luxury like they had never seen. By day they explored all the great halls and the beautiful gardens. By night they slept in soft, high beds, under warm, cosy quilts. The Tsar's messengers ran up the steps and onto the grand porch of Emelya's new palace. They stood under the window and called to Emelya asking him to tell them who he was.

"Tell the Tsar to come and visit me and he shall hear from my lips who I am," said Emelya. Overcome with curiosity, the Tsar did as Emelya bade, and Emelya met him at the palace gate, led him into the palace, seated him at his table and feasted him royally. The Tsar ate and drank and marvelled.

"Who are you my good fellow?" he asked at last. The Tsar was nervous, something about this man was familiar to him, but he could not for the life of him remember. "Do you remember Emelya the Fool who came to visit you on top of the stove?" said Emelya. "Do you remember how you had him put into a tarred barrel together with your daughter Tsarevna Marya and cast into the sea? Well I am the same Emelya and if I so choose, I can set fire to your whole tsardom and level it to the ground."

The Tsar was very frightened and he begged Emelya to forgive him. You can have my daughter in marriage and you can have my tsardom, too, only spare me Emelya," said he.

Emelya accepted both the tsar's kingdom and his daughter, because he loved both. Then such a grand feast was held as the world had never seen. Emelya married Tsarevna Marya and began to rule the realm. Emelya changed a great many things during his reign and he was no longer known as Emelya the Fool. And as in all the best stories, he and Marya both lived happily ever after.

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