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Sixty Folk-Tales from Exclusively Slavonic Sources, by A.H. Wratislaw, [1890], at


THERE was here once in our village a certain Avstriyat, who was such a wizard that he could cause rain or hail to pass away when he chose. It happened that we were cutting corn in the country; a cloud came up. We began to hurry off the sheaves, but he took no notice, cut and cut away by himself, smoked his pipe, and said: 'Don't be frightened--there'll be no rain.' Lo and behold, there was no rain. Once--all this I saw with my own eyes--we were cutting rye, when the sky became black, the wind rose: it began to

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whistle at first afar off, then over our very heads. There was thunder, lightning, whirlwind--such a tempest, that--O God! Thy will be done! We went after our sheaves, but he--'Don't be frightened, there'll be no rain.' 'Where won't it be?' We didn't hearken to him. But he smoked his pipe out, and cut away quietly by himself. Up came a man on a black horse, and all black himself: he darted straight up to Avstriyat: 'Hey! give permission!' said he. Avstriyat replied: 'No, I won't!' 'Give permission; be merciful!' 'I won't. It would be impossible to get such a quantity in.' The black horseman bowed to the man, and hastened off over the country.

Then the black cloud became gray and whitened. Our elders feared that there would be hail. But Avstriyat took no notice. He cut the corn by himself and smoked his pipe. But again a horseman came up; he hastened over the country still quicker than the first. But this one was all in white, and on a white horse. 'Give permission he shouted to Avstriyat. 'I won't!' 'Give permission, for God's sake!' 'I won't. It wouldn't be possible to get such a quantity in.' 'Hey! give permission; I can't hold out! Then, and not till then, did Avstriyat relent. 'Well, then, go now, but only into the glen, which is beyond the plain.' Scarcely had he spoken, when the horseman disappeared, and hail poured down as out of a basket. In the course of a short hour it filled the glen brimful, level with the banks.

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