"Now there is another task," said the Tsar smilingly. "Have each of your wives weave a rug by to-morrow." Tsarevitch Ivan came back to his home. There was no smile on his face and his brow was clouded. "C-R-O-A-K! C-R-O-A-K! Dear Tsarevitch Ivan, my husband and master, why so troubled again? Was not father pleased?" "How can I be otherwise? The Tsar, my father, has ordered a rug by to-morrow."
He now wished to see the three wives of his handsome sons, and they were to present their brides on the next day. The Tsarevitch Ivan returned home. Cloudy was his brow, more cloudy than before. "C-R-O-A-K! C-R-O-A-K! Tsarevitch, my dear husband and master, why so sad? Hast thou heard anything unpleasant at the palace?" "Unpleasant enough, indeed!
He sits within his palace and his speech is always the same: 'I am a great king and I have a most beautiful daughter, the princess Helena. There is no one in the universe more beautiful and more wise than she; there is no bridegroom worthy of her in any place under the bright sun, no tsar, no king, no tsarevitch, no korolevitch.
The beautiful Vassilissa came forward, as bright as a star, bowed to her sovereign, bowed to the honorable guests and danced with her husband, the happy Tsarevitch Ivan. While dancing, Vassilissa waved her left sleeve and a pretty lake appeared in the midst of the hall and cooled the air. She waved her right sleeve and white swans swam on the water.
Ivan stepped in and saw a witch, one of the ugliest witches he could imagine. "Ho! Ivan Tsarevitch! What brings thee here?" was his greeting from the witch. "O, thou old mischief!" shouted Ivan with anger. "Is it the way in holy Russia to ask questions before the tired guest gets something to eat, something to drink, and some hot water to wash the dust off?"
Badmayev held the formula of the poisonous concoction which at intervals Anna Vyrubova secretly introduced into the food of the Tsarevitch, causing the poor lad those mysterious illnesses which were puzzling the physicians of Europe. That some fresh plot of a diabolical nature was in progress I felt confident, but of its actual motive I could ascertain nothing.
Ivan Tsarevitch entered his vast dominions, killed him with the magic needle, and in one of the palaces found his own dear wife, his beautiful Vassilissa. He took her home and they were very happy ever after. A famous Tsar he was, and a clever one. His wealth could not be counted; his warriors were innumerable.
When the cocks began their early "cock-a-doodle-doo," Tsarevitch Ivan awoke, and lo! there lay the most beautiful silk rug before him, a rug that no one could begin to describe. Threads of silver and gold were interwoven among bright-colored silken ones, and the rug was too beautiful for anything but to admire. The Tsar father was pleased, thanked his son Ivan, and issued a new order.
The plans of this ambitious usurper were probably laid from the time of the tragic death of Ivan's son, the Tsarevitch. He brought about the marriage of his beautiful sister Irene with Feodor, and from the hour of Ivan's death was virtual ruler.
There's going to be such an upset as the world has never seen before.... Russia will be overwhelmed with darkness, the earth will weep for its old gods..... Well, then we shall bring forward... whom?" "Whom?" "Ivan the Tsarevitch." "Who-m?" "Ivan the Tsarevitch. You! You!" Stavrogin thought a minute. "A pretender?" he asked suddenly, looking with intense-surprise at his frantic companion.