Olég,1 the Wise Prince, was preparing his shield To nail it above the main entrance,2 When suddenly someone starts running to him And urgently whispers and mumbles. "Hey, prince," this strange fellow says out of the blue, "Youíll die by your steed, and Iím telling you true!" The prince was about to ride out at the helm, To take his revenge on the Khazars, When suddenly he saw the grey-haired wise men That reeked of moonshine and looked plastered. And they, for some reason, say out of the blue That he will soon die by his steed and itís true. "From where did you come from? Enough is enough!" The troop quickly took up their cudgels. "Youíre plastered, old man, so go on grab a nap, And stop spreading tales that cause troubles. You canít go around and say out of the blue That he will soon die by his steed and itís true." They did not succeed in keeping their heads, You canít joke with princes or soldiers! The club-wielding riders attacked them at length, And magi were trampled by coursers. Just look what a fool to say out of the blue That someone will die by his horse and itís true! Oleg, the Wise Prince, did not change his tough stand And drove his campaign with persistence. Just one single time he recalled the wise men And laughed on the magiís insistence: "Those men were all mad to say out of the blue That I had to die by my steed and itís true. For he, my good steed, has been dead for a while, And here lies his skull, long neglected." Oleg laid his foot on the stallionís skull And died on the spot in a second. A treacherous viper was hiding from view, Oleg quickly died by his steed, so itís true. ...Thus everyone wants to admonish the wise And feels not a trace of repentance. If only heíd listened, he would have attached Another yet shield by the entrance. The wise men were telling Oleg what they knew: That he will soon die by his steed and itís true.
1 Oleg of Novgorod was a ruler of Rusí people during the late 9th and early 10th centuries.
2 A ref. to the campaign against the Constantinople during which Oleg fixed his shield to the gates of the city.
© Kirill Tolmachev. Translation, 2022