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A Story for children age 4 to 6.
Huntsman the unlucky.By John T. Naaké.
Start of Story
ONCE upon a time there lived a huntsman. He would go every day in
search of game, but it often happened that he killed nothing, and so
was obliged to return home with his bag empty. On that account he was
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 a
kopek left. The wretched man wandered about the forest, cold and
hungry; he had eaten nothing for three days, and was nearly dying of
starvation. He lay down on the grass determined to put an end to his
existence; happily better thoughts came into his mind; he crossed
himself, and threw away the gun. Suddenly he heard a rustling noise
near him. It seemed to issue from some thick grass close at hand. The
hunter got up and approached the spot. He then observed that the grass
partly hid a gloomy abyss, from the bottom of which there rose a stone,
and on it lay a small jar. As he looked and listened the hunter heard
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 the
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 Unlucky.
"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 me in
this jar, sealed it with the seal of King Solomon, and then threw me
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 the seal
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 three
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 what."
As soon as the hunter had uttered these words there appeared before him
a table covered with dishes, each filled with the most delicious
viands, as if they had come direct from a banquet of the czar. The
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, and the
hunter continued his journey.
After walking some distance he sat down by the roadside to rest. It so
happened that while the hunter was resting himself, there passed
through the forest a gypsy thief, leading a horse which he wanted to
"I wish I had the money to buy the horse with," thought the hunter;
"what a pity my pockets are empty! However, I will ask my invisible
"Go there, I know not where; bring something, I know not what."
In less than a minute the hunter heard the money chinking in his
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 agreed
upon the price, he paid the man in gold, who, staring at the hunter
with his mouth wide open, wondered where Huntsman the Unlucky had got
so much money from. Parting from the hunter, the gypsy thief ran with
all his speed to the farther end of the forest, and whistled. There
was no answer. "They are asleep," thought the gypsy, and entered a
cavern where some robbers, lying on the skins of animals, were resting
"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
The hunter heard the clatter, and seeing himself suddenly surrounded by
robbers, cried out- "Murza!"
"Ready!" answered a voice near him. "Go there, I know not where;
bring something, I know not what."