In a kingdom where things are calm and pleasant, And thereís rarely a battle or a storm, A mysterious wild beast was eating peasants, Like a weasel or a buffalo in form. Their king was sick with hernia and measles And his cough alone could give a man a fright; In the meantime that half-buffalo half-weasel Gobbled peasant after peasant every night. So the ailing monarch made a proclamation: "This vile creature must be trounced, by force or guile! And whoever undertakes this operation, Will escort the kingdomís princess down the aisle!" And in that desolate and miserable region, In a castle just beyond the northern border, Lived a marksman from the Royal Archersí Legion, Now retired, in corruption and disorder. Mead and ale flowed like a river in his castle, And the singing could be heard from miles away; But one night the Royal Guards informed the vassal, He was wanted by the King without delay. And the King coughed up an offer: "I decided To discount your lack of morals and class; So if you overcome the beast by this Friday, You will lead my only daughter to the Mass." But the man said: "No offense to your daughter, But Iíd rather get a cask of wine instead! Keep your precious little princess, I donít want her - By this Friday you will have the monsterís head." Said the King: "You know what, pal, youíre too choosy: I have offered you my girl and you gripe? Sheís the daughter of a King, not some floozy!" Said the archer: "I donít care, she ainít my type." While the archer and the king conferred and bartered, That half-weasel, who had since gained a load, Got fed up with eating peasants and had started On a trip towards the monarchís own abode. In the end, the archer got what he wanted, Killed the beast and rolled away his reward. And he even to this day remains undaunted By the fact that heís detested by his lord.
© Anna Zaigraeva. Translation, 2004