SOZH AND DNIEPER.
A Russian Fairy Tale Story
There was once a blind old man called Dvina. He had
two sons--the elder called Sozh, and the younger Dnieper.
Sozh was of a boisterous turn, and went roving about the forests,
the hills, and the plains; but Dnieper was remarkably
sweet-tempered, and he spent all his time at home, and was his
mother's favorite. Once, when Sozh was away from home, the
old father was deceived by his wife into giving the elder son's
blessing to the younger son. Thus spake Dvina while blessing
"Dissolve, my son, into a wide and deep river. Flow past
towns, and bathe villages without number as far as the blue sea.
Thy brother shall be thy servant. Be rich and prosperous to
the end of time!"
Dnieper turned into a river, and flowed through fertile meadows
and dreamy woods. But after three days, Sozh returned
home and began to complain.
"If thou dost desire to become superior to thy brother,"
said his father, "speed swiftly by hidden ways, through dark
untrodden forests, and if thou canst outstrip thy brother, he will
have to be thy servant!"
Away sped Sozh on the chase, through untrodden places,
washing away swamps, cutting out gullies, tearing up oaks by
the roots. The Vulture told Dnieper of this, and he put on
extra speed, tearing his way through high hills rather than turn
on one side. Meanwhile Sozh persuaded the Raven to fly
straight to Dnieper, and, as soon as it had come up with him
to croak three times; he himself was to burrow under the earth,
intending to leap to the surface at the cry of the Raven, and by
that means to get before his brother. But the Vulture fell on
the Raven; the Raven began to croak before it had caught up
the river Dnieper. Up burst Sozh from underground, and fell
straight into the waves of the Dnieper.