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Huntsman the unlucky.By John T. Naaké.

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There was a rustling noise heard in the forest, and then something from behind the trees fell upon the robbers. They were knocked from their horses, and scattered on all sides; yet no hand was seen to touch them. The robbers, thrown upon the ground, could not raise themselves, and the hunter, thankful and rejoicing at his deliverance, rode on, and 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 the Unlucky was told that an enormous army of Tartars had come, under the command of their khan, who, angry at being refused the hand of the beautiful Princess Milovzora, the daughter of the czar, had declared war against him. The hunter had seen the Princess Milovzora when she was out hunting in the forest. She used to ride a beautiful horse, and carry a golden lance in her hand; a magnificent quiver of arrows hung from her shoulder. When her veil was lifted up she appeared like the spring sunlight, to give light to the eyes and warmth to the heart. The hunter reflected for a little while, and then cried, "Murza!"



n an instant he found himself dressed in splendid attire; his jacket was embroidered with gold, he wore a beautiful mantle on his shoulders, and ostrich feathers hung gracefully down from the top of his helmet, fastened by a brooch of a ruby surrounded by pearls. The hunter went into the castle, presented himself before the czar, and offered to drive away the forces of the enemy on condition that the czar gave him the beautiful Princess Milovzora for his wife. The czar was greatly surprised, but did not like to refuse such an offer at once; he first asked the hunter his name, his birth and his possessions. "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 got that splendid dress they could not tell. Then the czar demanded: "Do you hear what they say? If you are telling lies, you will lose your head. Let us see, then, how you will overcome the enemy with the 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 lost man." He then whispered, "Murza, go there, I know not where; do this, I know not what." A few minutes passed, and there was nothing to be heard or seen. Huntsman the Unlucky turned pale; the czar, enraged, ordered him to be seized and put in irons, when suddenly the firing of guns was heard in the distance. The czar and his courtiers ran out on the steps leading to the castle, and saw bodies of men approaching from both right and left, their standards waving gracefully in the air; the soldiers were splendidly equipped. The czar could hardly believe his eyes, for he 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 of dust arose. When the dust had cleared away, the army was gone. The czar invited Huntsman the Unlucky to dinner, and asked him numerous questions about Murza the Invisible. At the second course the news came that the enemy was flying in every direction, completely routed. The terrified Tartars had left all their tents and baggage behind them. 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 began 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. The princess smiled at this, and overcome with pleasure gave her hand to Huntsman the Unlucky-unlucky no longer. Then began the feast. But here the story must end.

       



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