|HUNTSMAN THE UNLUCKY
By John T. Naake
ONCE upon a time there lived a huntsman. He would go every day
search of game, but it often happened that he killed nothing,
was obliged to return home with his bag empty. On that account
nicknamed "Huntsman the Unlucky." At last he was reduced
by his ill
fortune to such extremities that he had not a piece of bread nor
kopek left. The wretched man wandered about the forest, cold and
hungry; he had eaten nothing for three days, and was nearly dying
starvation. He lay down on the grass determined to put an end
existence; happily better thoughts came into his mind; he crossed
himself, and threw away the gun. Suddenly he heard a rustling
near him. It seemed to issue from some thick grass close at hand.
hunter got up and approached the spot. He then observed that the
partly hid a gloomy abyss, from the bottom of which there rose
and on it lay a small jar. As he looked and listened the hunter
a small voice crying-
"Dear, kind traveler, release me!"
The voice seemed to proceed from the little jar. The courageous
hunter, walking carefully from one stone to another, approached
spot where the jar lay, took it up gently, and heard a voice crying
from within like the chirping of a grasshopper-
"Release me, and I will be of service to you."
"Who are you, my little friend?" asked Huntsman the
"I have no name, and cannot be seen by human eyes,"
answered a soft
voice. "If you want me, call 'Murza!' A wicked magician put
this jar, sealed it with the seal of King Solomon, and then threw
into this fearful place, where I have lain for seventy years."
"Very good," said Huntsman the Unlucky; "I will
give you your liberty,
and then we shall see how you will keep your word." He broke
and opened the little jar-there was nothing in it!
"Halloa! where are you, my friend?" cried the hunter.
"By your side," a voice answered.
The hunter looked about him, but could see no one.
"Ready! I await your orders. I am your servant for the next
days, and will do whatever you desire. You have only to say, 'Go
there, I know not where; bring something, I know not what.'"
"Very well," said the hunter. "'You will doubtless
know best what is
wanted: Go there, I know not where; bring something, I know not
As soon as the hunter had uttered these words there appeared
a table covered with dishes, each filled with the most delicious
viands, as if they had come direct from a banquet of the czar.
hunter sat down at the table, and ate and drank till he was satisfied.
He then rose, crossed himself, and, bowing on all sides, exclaimed-
"Thank you! thank you!"
Instantly the table, and everything else with it, disappeared,
hunter continued his journey.
After walking some distance he sat down by the roadside to rest.
happened that while the hunter was resting himself, there passed
through the forest a gypsy thief, leading a horse which he wanted
"I wish I had the money to buy the horse with," thought
"what a pity my pockets are empty! However, I will ask my
"Go there, I know not where; bring something, I know not
In less than a minute the hunter heard the money chinking in
pocket; gold poured into them, he knew not how nor whence.
"Thanks! you have kept your word," said the hunter.
He then began to bargain with the gypsy for the horse. Having
upon the price, he paid the man in gold, who, staring at the hunter
with his mouth wide open, wondered where Huntsman the Unlucky
so much money from. Parting from the hunter, the gypsy thief ran
all his speed to the farther end of the forest, and whistled.
was no answer. "They are asleep," thought the gypsy,
and entered a
cavern where some robbers, lying on the skins of animals, were
"Halloa, comrades! Are you asleep?" cried the gypsy.
"Get up, quick!
or you will lose a fine bird. He is alone in the forest, and his
pockets are full of gold. Make haste!"
The robbers sprang up, mounted their horses, and galloped after
The hunter heard the clatter, and seeing himself suddenly surrounded
robbers, cried out- "Murza!"
"Ready!" answered a voice near him. "Go there,
I know not where;
bring something, I know not what."
There was a rustling noise heard in the forest, and then something
behind the trees fell upon the robbers. They were knocked from
horses, and scattered on all sides; yet no hand was seen to touch
The robbers, thrown upon the ground, could not raise themselves,
the hunter, thankful and rejoicing at his deliverance, rode on,
soon found his way out of the dark forest, and came upon a town.
Near this town there were pitched tents full of soldiers. Huntsman
Unlucky was told that an enormous army of Tartars had come, under
command of their khan, who, angry at being refused the hand of
beautiful Princess Milovzora, the daughter of the czar, had declared
war against him. The hunter had seen the Princess Milovzora when
was out hunting in the forest. She used to ride a beautiful horse,
carry a golden lance in her hand; a magnificent quiver of arrows
from her shoulder. When her veil was lifted up she appeared like
spring sunlight, to give light to the eyes and warmth to the heart.
The hunter reflected for a little while, and then cried, "Murza!"
In an instant he found himself dressed in splendid attire; his
was embroidered with gold, he wore a beautiful mantle on his shoulders,
and ostrich feathers hung gracefully down from the top of his
fastened by a brooch of a ruby surrounded by pearls. The hunter
into the castle, presented himself before the czar, and offered
drive away the forces of the enemy on condition that the czar
the beautiful Princess Milovzora for his wife.
The czar was greatly surprised, but did not like to refuse such
offer at once; he first asked the hunter his name, his birth and
"I am called Huntsman the Unlucky, Master of Murza the Invisible."
The czar thought the young stranger was mad; the courtiers, however,
who had seen him before, assured the czar that the stranger exactly
resembled Huntsman the Unlucky, whom they knew; but how he had
splendid dress they could not tell.
Then the czar demanded:
"Do you hear what they say? If you are telling lies, you
your head. Let us see, then, how you will overcome the enemy with
forces of your invisible Murza?"
"Be of good hope, czar," answered the hunter; "as
soon as I say the
word, everything will be completed."
"Good," said the czar. "If you have spoken the
truth you shall have my
daughter for your wife; if not, your head will be the forfeit."
The hunter said to himself, "I shall either become a prince,
or I am a
He then whispered, "Murza, go there, I know not where; do
this, I know
A few minutes passed, and there was nothing to be heard or seen.
Huntsman the Unlucky turned pale; the czar, enraged, ordered him
seized and put in irons, when suddenly the firing of guns was
the distance. The czar and his courtiers ran out on the steps
to the castle, and saw bodies of men approaching from both right
left, their standards waving gracefully in the air; the soldiers
splendidly equipped. The czar could hardly believe his eyes, for
himself had no troops so fine as these.
"This is no delusion!" cried Huntsman the Unlucky.
"These are the
forces of my invisible friend."
"Let them drive away the enemy then, if they can,"
said the czar.
The hunter waved his handkerchief. The army wheeled into position;
music burst forth in a martial strain, and then a great cloud
arose. When the dust had cleared away, the army was gone.
The czar invited Huntsman the Unlucky to dinner, and asked him
questions about Murza the Invisible. At the second course the
came that the enemy was flying in every direction, completely
The terrified Tartars had left all their tents and baggage behind
The czar thanked the hunter for his assistance, and informed his
daughter that he had found a husband for her. Princess Milovzora
blushed upon receiving this intelligence, then turned pale, and
to shed tears. The hunter whispered something to Murza, and the
princess's tears changed into precious stones as they fell. The
courtiers hastened to pick them up-they were pearls and diamonds.
princess smiled at this, and overcome with pleasure gave her hand
Huntsman the Unlucky-unlucky no longer. Then began the feast.
here the story must end.