Thirty good friends were drinking wine
in the Vlach city of Kotar
- there were exactly thirty and four of them,
with Marko Kraljevich at their head
and Andriya Kraljevich in their midst, 5
who was holding a winesack and a cup in his hands,
serving wine to all present.
He filled each man's cup to the brim
except his brother Marko Kraljevich's,
upon the foot of which he poured the wine 10
so that it splashed across his belly and his right hand.
Marko Kraljevich spoke out:
"Brother of mine, Andriya Kraljevich,
why have you poured the wine onto the base of my cup?
Has not your brother appointed you 15
to be wine-steward to everyone,
to pour for the best of us no differently than for the worst,
and for the worst man no differently than for the best?
What have I done to offend you so
that you would pour the wine onto the base of my cup?" 20
Andriya Kraljevich spoke out:
"You have offended me mightily!
Full three years ago
you said that you would sponsor me in marriage.
All the maidens of my own age have now been married, 25
my own agemates have married them every one;
some of the women already have children in the cradle,
some even have toddlers by this time."
Marko Kraljevich said to him,
"Brother of mine, Andriya Kraljevich, 30
here about us are thirty of our good friends;
every one of them has in his family a girl of marriageable age
- some have a dear daughter, brother,
and some have a sister -
and every one of them would be glad to give her to you; 35
all you need do is choose one of them!"
Andriya Kraljevich spoke out:
"I'll not wed any girl
from our city of Kotar
- all that were fit to wed have already been married, 40
and all that are left are the unfit,
every one of them mean as a yellow dog!
But I've heard folks say
that there's a lovely girl in Ledjen, daughter of the Mufti, 45
a noble girl named Zlata.
From what I've heard, she would be right for me."
Marko Kraljevich said to him,
"Give over, own brother of mine!
It's no easy thing to go down to Ledjen town, 50
not to speak of spiriting a girl away from it.
The Mufti has set up guardhouses,
one on cursèd Jadiya mountain
- on the high mountain of Jadiya,
and no small guard either, but fully a hundred soldiers - 55
and he has set up a second guardhouse, brother, at the bridge,
with a guard of no less than five hundred men;
and there is a third guardhouse too,
at his own bright castle in Ledjen town itself, 60
with fully a thousand soldiers, brother."
When Andriya Kraljevich had heard that,
he threw down the cup and the winesack,
left the groggy tavern,
mounted his sturdy black horse, 65
and rode off across the green field.
Soon he came to the bright castle
where he found his agèd mother.
His elderly mother said to him,
"My son Andriya Kraljevich, 70
has your brother made you angry?"
Andriya Kraljevich said to her:
"Mother mine, old one,
fry me some sweet wheatcakes
- sweet for me, and light in weight for my black mount - 75
for I mean to make a far journey, mother,
all the way to Ledjen town,
to the castle of the Mufti of Ledjen,
to seek his daughter in marriage."
His agèd mother said, 80
"Give over, only son of mine!
But Andriya Kraljevich said to her,
"I'm going to do it - by my father's eyesight! -
and let the outcome be whatever God and destiny ordain!''
Then he went to the warm stable 85
and led forth his sturdy black steed
which he proceeded to dress,
bathing its coat with clear water and Iraqi soap.
when the man had readied the horse,
he tossed the reins onto the saddle horn 90
and gave it a slap on its jaw,
whereupon it began to walk itself, my friend,
this way and that about the courtyard.
But behold Andriya Kraljevich meanwhile,
who went up again into the castle. 95
Coming to the clothes rack,
he took off what he was wearing and donned better garments,
and put on three bright bangles
- three bangles weighing eleven pounds,
two of them extruded and the third a solid casting, 100
two of them new and the third second-hand -
then he belted on his bright weapons
and went downstairs.
Quickly he descended into the courtyard
and went straight to his black warhorse, 105
when lo, he agèd mother appeared
hobbling along, dragging a pair of saddlebags.
They slung the saddlebags on the horse and tied a cape over them.
But see now what Andriya Kraljevich did:
he kissed his mother's hem and hand, 110
then he said to his agèd mother,
"Mother mine - old one -
you who nursed me, bless the milk wherewith you nourished me!
It might be that the hour of my death will be upon me
and I may perish, mother." 115
The old woman gave him her benediction:
"Go with my blessing, son!
May you tread your enemies underfoot;
may good fortune come forth to welcome you wherever you go,
and ill fortune get out of your way!." 120
See now what Andriya Kraljevich did:
From the hard-packed earth he sprang onto the horse's middle,
reined it about from right to left,
drove it out the courtyard gate
and rode off along the open road. 125
Whichever way he went and drove the horse,
he ended up on cursèd Jadiya Mountain.
Now just look at Andriya Kraljevich!
Grasping his hellish riding crop
- it had twelve strands, 130
with a lump of lead at the end of each strand -
he began to tap the black mount under him;
at each place where he tapped it, its hide burst
and red blood poured out.
But see now what the sturdy black steed did: 135
the maddened black became frenzied
and flecked with white foam
- white foam that was half blood,
so that whe he came down to the foot of Jadiya
and the sentries noticed him, 140
they were too afraid even to show themselves,
and so he safely passed them by.
And again when he came to the bridge, brother,
the sentries there noticed him too,
but they were too afraid to even show themselves, 145
and so there too he safely passed them by.
When he came to the bright castle,
the sentries there also noticed him,
and opened fire on him.
When Andriya found himself discomfited by them, 150
he charged the sentries
and scattered them this way and that all over Ledjen town.
Noble Zlata saw all this as it happened
and went down through the castle.
She opened the courtyard gate 155
and took Andriya's mount by the bridle;
then, spreading their arms, they embraced and kissed,
and asking each after the other's health,
they told one another that they were well.
Andriya Kraljevich said: 160
"O Zlatiya, heart of my own breast,
where is the Mufti of Ledjen?"
"He went to the mosque this morning;
he will return about noon tomorrow."
Then she led him into the bright castle, 165
where she set food and drink before him.
When Andriya had had his fill of wine,
he spoke to noble Zlata:
"O Zlatiya - may an adder sting you!-
now I'll lie down to sleep. 170
Do not fail me, Zlata,
and let the day dawn on me in Ledjen town."
Quoth noble Zlata,
"Fear not, heart of my own breast!"
See now what Andriya Kraljevich did: 175
he lay down in the soft bedding.
Meanwhile dark night departed
and the shining day took hold.
Andriya Kraljevich awoke 180
- the sun had just risen -
and noble Zlata was still asleep.
Andriya Kraljevich hit her:
"O Zlatiya - may an adder sting you!-
why did you not wake me, you hapless thing!" 185
Noble Zlata said,
"O Andriya - you coward! -
if I had known you were coward
I would never have pledged myself to you!"
Andriya Kraljevich said to her: 190
"Listen, noble Zlata:
I'm going to the warm stable
to fetch my black and the chestnut;
in the meantime, you dress yourself
for the journey to my bright castle." 195
Andy went to the warm stable
and led forth the black and the chestnut,
and as he did so noble Zlata
came quickly into the marble-paved courtyard.
See now what Andriya Kraljevich did: 200
he took noble Zlata
and mounted her on the chestnut horse,
then he mounted his own sturdy black,
and riding out at the gate
they struck out along the wide highway. 205
No matter which way they went or where they drove their horses,
the arrived at the bridge, brother,
where the sentries noticed them,
and the Mufti of Ledjen too, who was among them.
See now what the Mufti of Ledjen did: 210
he issued a command to the sentries,
and they opened fire on Andriya.
See now what Andriya Kraljevich did
- he drove his warhorse forward.
The gunfire scorched his black steed's mane, 215
but could do Andriya no harm, brother,
because he was wearing armor.
When he had gone some way up the mountain,
Zlata's father cried:
"Can't you see - may you never again see your mothers! - 220
Andriya Kraljevich is going to get away!
Make an avalanche of shrubs and stones,
block the passages and ravines!"
They made an avalanche of shrubs and stones,
blocked the passages and the ravines, 225
and captured Andriya Kraljevich,
and noble Zlata with him.
The Mufti of Ledjen said:
Andriya Kraljevich, you whoreson,
you've spent enough time in Ledjen 230
eating my goat's meat
and drinking my red wine!
Today is Friday - the Turkish holy day -
today is Friday, tomorrow is Saturday,
and day-after-tomorrow is Palm Sunday. 235
I'll lead you forth onto Ledjen Field,
where I'll have you cut in two
and hang the two halves on two beech trees."
Djerdjelez Ali happened to be there,
a true friend of Marko Kraljevich, 240
who lashed his warhorse
and came quickly to Prilep town,
to the castle of Marko Kraljevich.
When he arrived at the bright castle,
he first met the mother of the Kraljevich brothers; 245
the agèd mother said:
"Hail to thee, Djerdjelez Ali!
Where have you been? Which city have you visited?"
Djerdjelez Ali said to her,
"I've been in Ledjen town." 250
The old mother said to him,
"O, as God is your witness, Djerdjelez Ali,
when you were in Ledjen town,
did you happen to see my Andriya?"
"By my father's eyesight, old one, I did! 255
The Mufti of Ledjen has captured him
and said this to him:
`Andriya Kraljevich, you whoreson,
today is Friday and tomorrow is Saturday,
and day-after-tomorrow is Palm Sunday; 260
that's the day I'll have you drawn to Ledjen Field,
where I shall have you cut in two
and hang the two pieces of you from two beech trees.'"
When the agèd mother heard that,
the old one shrieked like a deadly adder 265
and away she went to the well-dight chamber
where Marko Kraljevich was.
She clasped her arms around Marko's neck,
kissed him on his manly forehead,
and told him all about Andriya: 270
"Go now, son - I adjure you by this world and the next!-
for you might perchance rescue Andriya."
"I will not do it, mother, by my father's eyesight!
I counselled him, mother,
not to go to Ledjen town." 275
The mother implored her own son,
but all in vain - it was useless.
See now what the old mother did;
she returned to the warm room
and told Djerdjelez Ali everything. 280
Ali leaped to his quick feet
and went to the pretty Angelia,
Marko Kraljevich's own sister,
and told her what had happened to Andriya.
"Go and beseech Marko Kraljevich, 285
if perchance Marko might rescue him."
When the pretty maid had heard it,
the lass shrieked like a deadly adder
and lo, there she is approaching her brother.
She clasped her arms about Marko's neck 290
and kissed him on both cheeks:
"Go now, Marko - by your father's eyesight! -
if perchance you might rescue Andriya."
"I swear to you by this world and the next, I will not do it!"
The sister implored her own brother, 295
but all in vain - it was useless.
The lass went away and told Ali.
Ali leaped to his quick feet
and went to Marko's wife,
whom he told what had happened to Andriya. 300
When Kraljevich's wife had heard it,
the young woman shrieked like a deadly adder,
and lo, there she is entering Marko's chamber,
where she spoke thus to him:
"Milord Marko Kraljevich, 305
come, go down to Ledjen town,
where perchance you might rescue Andriya."
But Marko Kraljevich retorted,
"I swear to you by this world and the next, I will not do it!"
His wife shrieked like a deadly adder 310
and spoke to him thus:
"Now what am I to do, despondent mourning dove that I am?
Next Sunday when I go to the shining church,
every other bride will have her brother-in-law at hand, 315
but not I, despondent mourning dove that I am!
What is to become of me now?"
When Marko Kraljevich had heard her say that,
he rose to his feet
and went down through the shining castle 320
into the warm stables
where he kept his piebald warhorse.
He lead it out into the courtyard
where he proceeded to dress the piebald,
and when the man had readied the horse 325
he threw a yellow bearskin onto it,
then went again into the bright castle.
Coming to the clothes rack,
he took off what he was wearing and donned better garments.
When the man had thus prepared himself, 330
he strolled down through the high castle,
where lo, he emerged onto the marble-paved courtyard.
There he put on a yellow wolfskin;
then the wolf mounted on the bear
and drove it out the courtyard gate 335
and down the highway along the frontier.
Whichever way he went a-driving his piebald,
he came quickly enough to Ledjen Field.
He arrived at the prettiest time of day,
when the sun was just rising from behind the hilltop 340
- just at daybreak on the Sunday.
When he reached the middle of the field,
he dismounted from his piebald
and began drinking distilled brandy.
A commotion arose from the direction of the woods and mountains 345
so terrific that it made leaves fall from the trees,
when what should appear but a mob of Turks
drawing Andriya Kraljevich.
But look now also at Andriya Kraljevich,
who kept looking to the right and to the left 350
from whence the sun would rise to warm him.
Marko leaped to his quick feet
and the wolf mounted upon the bear,
which he then drove across the green field.
The Turks of the border caught sight of him 355
and they called out one to another,
"Dear God - thanks be to Thee for everything! -
look there at the wolf riding the bear!"
But look at Marko Kraljevich,
who rode his horse into their midst, 360
right up to Andriya Kraljevich.
He drew his terrible sword,
cut Andriya's arms and legs free of their bonds,
and put the stump of a broken sword into his hands;
then he went to noble Zlata 365
and freed her arms and legs.
But look at Marko Kraljevich:
he rushed in amongst the Turks
- wherever Andriya Kraljevich passed through them
a good-sized cart could be driven, 370
and wherever Marko Kraljevich passed through them,
a pair of carts could be driven abreast.
Dear God - thanks be to Thee for everything! -
a fog fell upon the earth from heaven above;
from within it someone would shout, "Allah! Mother of mine!" 375
and someone else would shout, "Jesus and Mary!"
Meanwhile Andriya Kraljevich called out,
"O Zlatija, - may an adder sting you! -
get down on knees
and pray to the one and only God 380
that a sea breeze may spring up
and drive this fog from the field,
so that we may catch sight of Marko!"
She kneeled on both her knees
and prayed to God, who heard her prayer 385
- a sea breeze gusted
and drove the mist from the field.
When they could see again,
there was not a single Turk left alive to have seen
or to tell others what had happened to them; 390
when they could see again,
the caught sight of Marko Kraljevich
at the far end of the field, my brothers,
and Andriya Kraljevich called out,
"O Zlatija, - may an adder sting you! - 395
let us go to meet Marko Kraljevich;
but beware, you hapless thing, that you do not make the mistake
of going straight up to Marko Kraljevich.
Instead, look closely at at between his eyes;
should Marko break into a smile 400
- should his right moustache twitch good-humoredly,
and his left eye wink -
then go straight up to Marko Kraljevich
and kiss both his cheeks;
but if Marko does not smile, 405
make no mistake, you hapless thing,
he will surely slay you
- slay both you and me!"
So they drew near to Marko Kraljevich.
Look once more at Marko Kraljevich: 410
his right moustache tilted as he grinned,
and he winked with his left eye.
When noble Zlata saw that,
she clasped her arms about Marko's neck
and kissed both his cheeks. 415
Each asked after the other's health and well-being,
and when they had told one another that they were well,
they sat down in the green grass.
Marko jumped to his feet
and fetched some wine out of his saddlebags; 420
they all drank the red wine,
then mounted their warhorses
and went away to Prilep town.
Andriya Kraljevich celebrated his wedding
and held delightful festivities 425
in the bright city of Prilep,
and he christened noble Zlata
- from being Zlatija she became the maiden Rosie. 428


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