In old times there lived a rich landowner who had many servants. One of them was Ivan, who was a hunter.
Once day Ivan went shooting. He went out of the forest and saw a beautifuf Crystal Lake situated on the sunny glade. Twelve snow-white swans were peacefully swimming on the surface of the lake. Ivan felt sorry for these wonderful birds and didn’t dare to shoot at them. He came back to the landowner empty-handed. The landowner ordered to whip Ivan.
Next day the hunter went shooting again. He reached the Crystal Lake and concealed himself behind a big stone. Some time later twelve snow-white swans flew and began to splash and play on the water. Ivan was astonished by the swans’ beauty and couldn’t shoot at them. He came back to the landowner without game. The landowner sternly punished Ivan.
The other day the hunter was ordered to go shooting for the third time. He came to the Crystal Lake again and hid himself behind bushes. Some time passed and the swans flew again. They touched the ground and unexpectadly turned into beautiful maidens. The youngest maiden was the most beautiful of them. The maidens began singing and dancing in a ring. Ivan was very surprised; he had never seen so beutiful maidens. Finishing to dance the maidens took their shoes and dresses off and went to swim in the lake.
Ivan sneaked up to their clothes and took the shoes of the youngest maiden.
The maidens stepped ashore, put their clothers, turned into white swans and flew away. The youngest one couldn’t find her shoes and stayed. She said: “Who will return me shoes? If you are an old man, I will respect you as I respect my father. If you are younger than I, you will be my sworn brother. If we are of the same age, you will be my bridegroom.”
Ivan went out and showed himself. The maiden blushed because Ivan was a hansome lad. They married and lived happily.
One day there was a feast in the village and Ivan’s wife went for a walk with her girlfriends. The landowner saw Ivan’s wife, fell in love with her and decided to get rid of Ivan. He called Ivan and ordered: “You must find and catch me the ominous monster in the forest. Otherwise I will kill you!”
Ivan went home and told his wife everything that has happened with him.
“Very well”, said his wife. “I know how to perform this task!”
In the morning she gave him a clew and a cord and said: “This clew will be moving and showing the way to you.”
Ivan took the clew and began his journey. The clew stopped near a big oak under which the forest monster was sleeping. Ivan tied up the monster with the cord and brought it to the landowner.
The landowner was very afraid of the monster and fell ill having seen it.
Three days passed Ivan was again called by the landowner.
“Bring me the magic psatery (gusli) that can play by itself. Otherwise I will kill you!”, ordered he.
Ivan returned home and told his wife about the new order.
“Don’t be so sad”, said his wife. “I know how to perform this task!”
In the morning she gave him a clew and gave the following instructions: “This clew will show you the way to the Crystal Palace guarded by two lions. Don’t be afraid of them and enter the palace. Pass eleven rooms and the twelveth one will be mine. Enter it and wait.”
Ivan thanked his wife and began his journey. He passed wild forests, wide fields and meadows and at last the clew stopped near the Crystal Palace adorned with emeralds and dimonds. The palace was surrounded with splendid garden where walked wonderful amimals which Ivan had never seen. Ivan entered the palace, passed eleven rooms and came into his wife’s room. He lied on the bed and fell asleep. When he woke up, he saw an old women sitting on the bench. She said: “I’m your wife’s mother. What can I do for you?”
Ivan told the old woman about the landowner’s order.
The old woman left the room and returned with the magic psatery in her hands.
“Take it and send my kind regards to my dear daughter!”, she exclaimed.
Ivan brought the magic psaltery to the landowner. Ivan ordered: “Magic psaltery, play!” At that moment everything around began to dance. The landowner was a single one who didn’t dance because he was very angry.
Next day the landowner called Ivan and ordered: “Bring me something that nobody has never seen. Otherwise I will kill you!”
Ivan returned home and told his wife about the new misfortune.
“It will be difficult to perform this service!”, - said the wife.
She opened her magic book and began to read it trying to find the solution of this riddle; everything was in vain, she couldn’t find anything.
Then the wife entered the porch and waved her kerchief. At that moment plenty of different birds, animals and insects gathered near the porch.
She asked them: “Do you know where it’s possible to find something that nobody has never seen.”
“We don’t know”, replied the animals, birds and insects.
In the morning the landowner ordered to kill Ivan. His servant rushed into Ivan’s house, but they didn’t find there anyone, because Ivan and his wife had escaped.
Ivan and his wife reached the marsh and met there an old frog.
“Dear frog, you have been living in the marsh for three hundred years and you know everything. Please tell us where we can find something that nobody has never seen.”
“I know where you can find it”, answered the clever frog.
Ivan’s wife turned into a white swan and flew away and Ivan followed the frog. They came to the Crystal Lake and the frog said: “Orlets, Orlets (eagle), open the palace!”
At that moment the magic lake opened and the wonderful palace appeared. The frog exclaimed: “Orlets, Orlets give us something to eat!”
At that moment different delicious food appeared on the table. Then the frog said: “Orlets is something that nobody has never seen, because he is invisible. Orlets will go with you and he will serve you.”
Ivan thanked the frog and returned to his landwner.
“Show me something that nobody has never seen!”, ordered the landowner.
“I will show it to you if you arrange a feast!”, answered Ivan.
The landowner arranged a feast and invited many rich guests.
Ivan exclaimed: “Orlets, Orlets give us something to eat!”
As soon as he said these words different delicious food appeared on the table. The landowner and his guests were very surpriesed.
The Ivan said: “Orlets, Orlets give everybody a tobacco-pipe to smoke!”
The order was fulfilled.
Then Ivan ordered: “Whip and beat the landowner and his guests!”
This order was also carried out. The guests scattered and the landowner was beaten to death.
Since that time Ivan and his wife lived happily. They respected and helped poor people and told everybody about something that nobody had never seen.