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      /  Literature   /  The Sun, the Moon and the Crow

    The Sun, the Moon and the Crow

    Alexander Nikolaevich Afanasyev

    Once upon a time there was an old man and an old woman who had three daughters.

    The old man went into the loft for some groats, and took them home, but there was a hole in the sack, and the groats were running and running out of the sack.

    The old man went home, and the old woman asked, “Where are the groats?” But all the groats had dripped out.

    So the old man went to collect them, and said, “If only the Sun would warm the grain, and the moon show its light on it, and the crow help me to get the groats, I would give my eldest daughter to the little Sun, and my middle daughter to the Moon, and my youngest to the Crow .”

    So the old man set to collecting the grain, and the Sun warmed it, and the Moon shone on it, and the Crow helped to collect the grain.

    The old man came back home and said to the eldest daughter: “You must dress nicely and go out on the steps.”

    So she dressed and went out on the steps. And the Sun laid hold of her. And he commanded the next daughter in the same way to dress herself finely and to stand on the steps. So she dressed herself up and went out, and the Moon seized and took away the second daughter. And he said to the third daughter, “Dress yourself prettily and stand on the steps.” So she dressed herself prettily and stood on the steps, and Crow seized her and carried her away.

    Then the old man said, “I think I might go and visit my sons-in-law.” So he went to the Sun, and at last he arrived there.

    The Sun asked him, “With what shall I regale you?”

    “Oh, I don’t wish for anything!”

    So the Sun bade his wife make a custard ready. So the daughter prepared the custard; the Sun sat down in the middle of the floor, and his wife put the pan on him and the custard was soon cooked. So they gave the old father refreshment.

    Then the old father went back home and bade his wife make him a custard; and he sat down on the floor and commanded her to put the pan with the custard on to him.

    “What are you talking about? Bake it on you!” said the old wife.

    “Go on!” he replied. “Put it there; it will be baked!”

    So she put the pan on him, and the custard stood there for ages and was not ever cooked, only turned sour. It was no good. So in the end the wife put the pan into the stove, and this time the custard was baked and the old man got something to eat.

    Next day the old man went to stay as a guest with his second son-in-law, the Moon, and he arrived.

    And the Moon said, “With what shall I regale you?”

    “I do not wish for anything,” said the old man.

    So the Moon got the bath heated ready for him. The old man said, “Won’t it be very dark in the bath?”

    “No,” said the Moon to him, “quite light; only step in.”

    So the old man went into the bath, and the Moon twisted his little finger into a chink, and it was quite light in the bathroom. So the old man steamed himself thoroughly, went back home and told his wife to heat the bath at night. So the old woman heated it, and he sent her there to steam herself.

    “But,” she said, “it will be much too dark to steam myself!”

    “Go along! it will be light enough.”

    So the old woman went. And the old man saw how the Moon had lit the place up for him, and he went and bored a tiny hole in the bathroom and thrust his finger through it.

    But there was still no light in the bath, and the old woman shrieked out to him, “Dark! much too dark!”

    It was not any good. So she went out, brought a lamp, and enjoyed her steam bath.

    On the third day the old man went to the Crow. He got there.

    “How shall I regale you?” asked the Crow.

    ”Oh,” said the old man, “I don’t want anything!”

    “Well, let us come and sleep on the perch.”

    So the Crow put a ladder up and climbed up there with his father-in-law. Crow settled himself comfortably with his head under his wing. But as soon as ever the old man dropped off to sleep both of them fell down and were killed.