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Tales of the Malachite Casket--Sinyushka's Well:Sinyushka, Sinyushkin

When he was sixty years old, Pavel Bazhov (1879-1950) wrote a collection of interlinking stories and fantastic occurrences among the stoneworkers of the Ural Mountains entitled "The Malachite Casket -- Tales from the Urals". There are some fifty-two stories in this collection. 'The Tale of Sinyushka's Well' is an old gold-seeker's legend about an old magician woman, named Sinyushka. It was said that at the place where Sinyushka lived, there was a lot of gold and precious stones. But it was necessary to first drive her away from this place or else be spellbound through her enchantments. Many people tried to do it--some of them didn't find anything, and others perished. One day, a strong and handsome boy buried his last relative, his old grandmother. Before her death, she gave him her last things, which included many different feathers, and asked him to be kind and honest in his life. When he returned from the funeral, he saw that somebody had taken everything from her house and he found only three feathers remaining--white, black and red. These he kept and treasured. The next day he decided to go out digging and went through a famously dangerous swamp. At one place he saw a glade with clear blue water. It was very hot and he decided to drink a little water from the glade. But when he stooped down to drink, he felt very tired and lay down to sleep. Through his dream he saw how an old woman appeared from the glade, in blue clothes, blue headdress and shoes, with young blue eyes, and tried to catch him. Her arms became longer and got in his nose and he woke up, seeing that the woman was real. He said that he will return and win her over. She made fun of him and told him to try. He decided to wait for a strong wind so as not to breathe the poisonous gasses from the glade. Sinyushka told him that he was very brave, beautiful and kind, and invited him to return on the day of the next full moon. He came, but was first met by a very tall woman who appeared with a golden tray, full of gold and precious stones. He dismissed her, and another woman, also very tall, appeared with a silver tray full of precious stones. He dismissed her as well--he was an experienced gold-seeker and understood, that the tray was very heavy for a strong man and this woman was not Sinyushka. He told the second woman that he doesn't want her riches, but wants to see how she transforms into a young, pretty girl. The swamp remained silent, but suddenly he saw before him a young, beautiful girl in blue peasant's costume holding a large sieve full of berries and his grandmother's feathers on top. He took the sieve home, and the berries were transformed to gold and precious stones. He became rich, but also very sad, because he had fallen in love with the girl. The next summer, he went to the swamp to marry the young Sinyushka or die trying. At the beginning of the swamp, he met a young, nice girl, 18 years old, picking berries. She was in blue clothes and headdress. They married and lived happily ever after.