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There was a rich widowed merchant, who had three daughters. The two elder daughters were only interested in parties, fashion and new clothes. They spent their days by powdering and rouging their faces and trying new clothes. Dresses, shawls, belts and boots were their all time priorities. But the youngest, Maryushka, was a hard working girl who tried to help her father with good housekeeping. She knew how to do everything well and was not afraid of any type of work. She was also very beautiful unlike her other sisters, who was envious of her. Maryushka was father’s favorite daughter.One day the merchant was going to the market and asked his daughters what treats they would like him to bring for each one of them. The two elder daughters asked the father to bring them each an expensive kerchief with golden flowers embroidered on them. When it was Maryushka’s turn, she humbly said, “Dear father, find for me the feather of Finist the Bright Falcon." When the father came back home from the market, he brought new beautiful kerchiefs for the elder daughters, but he told his youngest one that he could not find anyone at the market who would ever sold the feather of Finist the Bright Falcon. On his next trip to the market, the merchant asked his daughters to name their gifts. His elder daughters asked for new boots with silver hills, but Marya’s only wish was the feather of Finist the Bright Falcon. Again, the merchant brought home expensive presents for the elder daughters, but had no luck with finding the precious feather. On his third trip to the market merchant asked his beloved daughters once again to name their wish for a perfect gifts. The elder daughters asked for new dresses, but Maryushka said: “Father, buy me the feather of Finist the Bright Falcon. This is my only wish.” The old man spent the entire day on the market looking, but could not find the Falcon’s feather anywhere again. After he left the market and was on his way back home he met an aged man with a red box in his hands. "What do you have in the box, good man, " asked the merchant. "The feather of Finist the Bright Falcon" the old man replied. "Would you please sell it to me, I will pay you any amount of money you ask,” begged the merchant. The old man replied: "This feather is very dear to my heart and is not for sale, but I can give it as a present to a kind man like you."
When he returned home with the feather, Marya thanked him with a great joy for her long desired gift and ran into her room being anxious to open the box. She took the feather out of its red box, tossed it on the floor, and a falcon appeared; Maryushka did it again and the bird turned into a young man more handsome than any tale or story can describe. They talked happily with each other far into the night. The elder daughters thought they heard a man's voice in Maryushka’s room and knocked on the door, demanding to come in. Right before they managed to get in, Finist took off out of the window. Breaking into the room and finding no one, both elder sisters were very disappointed and left with suspicion and anger.
Every night for the next three nights, Finist flew in through the window to visit Marya when she took out and tossed the feather. But on the forth night the two wicked sisters saw him leaving. They stuck sharp knives and needles into the window frame and hid in the thick bushes to witness what will happen next. When Finist tried to enter the Marya’s room he flew right into the sharp objects, which cut him and injured his wings. Maryshka was then asleep and did not hear anything. The falcon struggled and struggled trying to get inside, but kept injuring himself, so he finally said with a human voice, "Good bye, Sweetheart. Whoever needs me will find me, but it will not be easy."And he flew away... Next morning Marya discovered the knives and needles covered with blood on the window frame. She washed the bloody marks away with her tears and knew that Finist may be in danger. Maryushka decided to go and find her beloved Finist. She asked her father for a blessing before going on a long journey. “If I stay alive, we shall see each other soon, if I die that is how it meant to be,” she said The father was very sad hearing that from his favorite daughter, but he agreed with Marya and blessed her. She walked for days and nights through the dark forests and tall mountains. Finally, she walked right on the clear green field and saw there a hut on chicken legs turning around. As soon as girl has approached it closer, the hut turned its front to Marya. The brave merchant’s daughter climbed inside and met Baba Yaga who said: “Hmm, I sense the Russian Spirit here again. Well, well, my dear child, are you looking for an adventure or trying to avoid one?” “I’m looking for the Finist the Bright Falcon, grandma,” Maryushka replied.
"Oh, it's going to be a long and difficult journey," said Baba Yaga. Your Bright Falcon is now in a kingdom far, far away. However, I will help you, dear child. Take this silver plate and this golden egg. Don't give them away for money, but trade them for a word with Finist." Marya took the presents, thanked Baba Yaga and proceeded on her journey. She came across two more small houses on chicken legs with claws, where Baba Yaga’s sisters treated her well and gave her two other presents to take along – a silver embroidery hoop, a golden needle, a silver distaff and a golden spindle. The needle had a magic power of stitching on its own with golden and silver threads. “Pick up this spindle, my child,” Baba Yaga said “and it will spin on its own not an ordinary thread, but the one of a pure gold. If someone asks you to sell it, refuse. Ask to see Finist instead. Maryushka thanked Baba Yaga’s Sister and went on her way. The girl was walking through the dark forest when she saw a huge gray wolf running towards her. Suddenly, the wolf said: “Do not be afraid, Maryushka, the wolf said. “Climb on my back and rest, I will take you to the kingdom in far, far away. The wolf ran faster than a wind passing by countless forests, mountains, rivers and fields. Finally, Marya found herself in front of a beautiful crystal palace with a carved porch. Maryushka was told by Baba Yaga that her bright Finist was there and that the Tsarina of this kingdom wanted him to marry her. Marya went to see Tsarina, bowed in her presence and asked to hire her as a servant by the palace. The Tsarina was looking for a servant for a long time, the maid that knows how to stitch, spin and weave. “I can do it all”, Maryushka replied and started working for Tsarina. She worked all day, but when the night fell, Marya took her silver plate and a golden egg and said: “Roll, my golden egg around this silver plate and show me my beloved one. The egg started rolling around the plate showing Marya an image of Finist. The Tsarin happened to be close by and saw her maid’s presents. She immediately suggested Marya to sell her these beautiful things. They are not for sale, but I can give them to you as a gift if you let me to see Finist. The Tsarina agreed, but she was suspicious so she added a sleeping medicine to the Finist's dinner a night before. Next evening Marya went to Finist's room and tried to call him: "My dear friend, Finist, the Bright Falcon, listen to me and wake up." This is me, Maryushka, the merchant’s daughter. But he was deeply asleep and could not hear the girl’s voice. The next day the same thing happened when the Tsarina saw Marya playing with the golden needle. On the third night, when she had won the right to speak with Finist by giving up her golden spindle, she entered the room and knelt by his bed as she called to him, but he again had been drugged and could not hear her. Maryushka started crying and one of her tears fell on Finist’s cheek and suddenly woke him up. “Dear Maryushka, is it you next to me,” said joyfully Finist as soon as he opened his eyes. They started preparing for their long trip back home, but Tsarina would not let them go that easily. She managed to gather all wise men and merchants of her kingdom in order to began discussion on how the Finist, the Bright Falcon, should be punished for betraying her. Then Finist spoke up in front of the public that was about to judge him: “Which do you think is the real love, the one that is unconditional or the one that is based on deception and lies?” Everyone has agreed that Maryushka is the Finist’s only true love. The couple was set free to return to their own land. Their wedding was such a great event that people who were invited, still remember it now.