One upon a time, in a faraway Tsardom lived a Tsarevich whose name was Shorsky Glavnovich.

One day Tsarevich Shorsky was wandering in the eastern provinces of his land and strayed beyond his borders. There he found a boy feasting on steamed pork belly with preserved mustard greens, and a sour plum drink. As Tsarevich Shorsky approached, the boy asked:

«What is thy name, and what business brings thee here?»

«I am Shorsky Glavnovich, Tsarevich of the Swampland. Wouldst thou like to be my friend?»

To which the boy replied: «My name is Hans-Heinrich, Herzog of the Acorn Woods. I would gladly worth thy friend but thou shalt share three cups of tea with me.»

Then Tsarevich Shorsky took his travel flask out, and a cup, and said: «Good fortune! For just today I brought bergamot-scented black orange pekoe.» And shared some tea with Herzog Hans-Heinrich.

The next day, Tsarevich Shorsky came to the same place beyond his borders. He had prepared some tea to share. There he saw Herzog Hans-Heinrich feasting on steamed pork belly with preserved mustard greens, and sour plum drink. The latter asked:

«What is thy name, and what business brings thee here?»

«I am Shorsky Glavnovich, Tsarevich of the Swampland. Wouldst thou like to be my friend?»

To which Herzog Hans-Heinrich replied: «I would gladly worth thy friend but thou shalt share three cups of tea with me, and thou hast but one insofar.»

Then Tsarevich Shorsky took his travel flask out, and a cup, and said: «Indeed, I have brought today green tea with Arabian jasmine.» And he shared some tea with Herzog Hans-Heinrich.

The next day, Tsarevich Shorsky came again to the same place beyond his borders. He had prepared some tea to share. There he saw Herzog Hans-Heinrich feasting on steamed pork belly with preserved mustard greens, and sour plum drink. The latter asked:

«What is thy name, and what business brings thee here?»

«I am Shorsky Glavnovich, Tsarevich of the Swampland. Wouldst thou like to be my friend?»

To which Herzog Hans-Heinrich replied: «I would gladly worth thy friend but thou shalt share three cups of tea with me, and thou hast but two insofar.»

Then Tsarevich Shorsky took his travel flask out, and a cup, and said: «Indeed, I have brought today white hair silver needle.» And he shared some tea with Herzog Hans-Heinrich.

Then the Herzog said: «Very well, then let us blive ten thousand years to-gather. Let us celebrate!» And he shared some steamed pork belly with preserved mustard greens with Tsarevich Shorsky, and some sour plum drink. But he warned:

«Thou shalt however never crack a politically incorrect joke, blow into my ear, or poke me in the rib, for such deeds would do me away. Willst thou agree?»

And Tsarevich Shorsky agreed and made a new friend.

The next day, Tsarevich Shorsky and Herzog Hans-Heinrich were playing a game to recite correctly the headsteads of all known tsardoms in the world, when suddenly the Tsarevich felt an itch in the back of his brain. He tried shaking it off, but to no avail. He tried praying to St. Mary, the mother, he tried thinking about shashlik, and he tried calculating twice the arcsine of one, but to no avail. Then his turn came to answer the headstead of some faraway Tsardom, but instead of calling the name of this stead, he cracked a politically incorrect joke.

«What hast thou done, Tsarevich Shorsky? Thou crackedst a politically incorrect joke!», said Herzog Hans-Heinrich.

To which Tsarevich Shorsky replied: «I’m not sure. There was an itch in the back of my brain and I was urged to crack a politically incorrect joke. Please forgive me!»

Herzog Hans-Heinrich was silent for a moment, thinking, then he finally said: «Even though thou trespasst our agreement, let us forget this moment. But do heed: blow not into my ear, and poke me not in the rib.»

The next day, Tsarevich Shorsky and Herzog Hans-Heinrich were playing Stone-Paper-Scissor, when suddenly the Tsarevich felt an itch in the back of his brain. He tried shaking it off, but to no avail. He tried praying to the apostle St. Peter, he tried thinking about borscht, and he tried calculating 3-permutations of 2 with repetition, but to no avail. Then he came to Herzog Hans-Heinrich as if to say something in discretion, but then he blew into his ear.

«What hast thou done, Tsarevich Shorsky? Thou blewst into my ear!», said Herzog Hans-Heinrich.

To which Tsarevich Shorsky replied: «I’m not sure. There was an itch in the back of my brain and I was urged to blow into thy ear. Please forgive me!»

Herzog Hans-Heinrich was silent for a moment, thinking, then he finally said: «Even though thou tresspasst our agreement again, let us forget this moment. But do heed: poke me not in the rib.»

The next day, Tsarevich Shorsky and Herzog Hans-Heinrich were playing Age of Empires, when suddenly the Tsarevich felt an itch in the back of his brain. He tried shaking it off, but to no avail. He tried praying to St. Thomas of Aquino, he tried thinking about Portuguese egg tarts, and he tried deriving the expected value of a single round of a Martingale distribution, but to no avail. Then he came to Herzog Hans-Heinrich and extended his arm and pointing finger, and poked the latter in the rib.

«What hast thou done, Tsarevich Shorsky? Thou pokedst me in the rib!», said Herzog Hans-Heinrich.

To which Tsarevich Shorsky replied: «I’m not sure. There was an itch in the back of my brain and I was urged to poke thee in the rib. Please forgive me!»

«Nay! Thou hast three times trespasst our agreement. Therefore, I shall worth away and we cannot blive ten thousand years to-gather unless thou crossest thirty-six tsardoms to the east, and findest me in a burg guarded by an angry worm, and unless thou killest the angry worm.», said Herzog Hans-Heinrich. He turned into a mistcrow and flew away.

Tsarevich Shorsky sat down to sob and he sobbed for one day, and he sobbed for two days, and on the third day the Grey Wolf found him and said:

«What is a tsarevich doing here alone sobbing? I would eat thee very gladly, but child meat turns very bitter when they sob.»

«Alas!, Grey Wolf, I was friends with Herzog Hans-Heinrich but three times I felt an itch in the back of my brain, and I cracked a politically incorrect joke, and I blew into his hear, and poked him in the rib. Now he has gone to a burg guarded by a Worm, thirty-six tsardoms away from here and I cannot walk all of that, and there no regional train.»

The Grey Wolf sat down for a moment, wagging his tail very slowly, as if thinking very hard. Then he stood up and said: «I might know where thy friend has gone, but I cannot take thee there. A few miles away from here thou shalt find another tsardom where a certain Milkmaid lives, who is a friend of mine. Tell her that thou comest in my name, tell her thy story, and ask that she help thee.»

And the Tsarevich did as instructed and walked and walked many miles, and found another tsardom beyond the Tsardom of the Acorn Woods, beyond the Tsardom of the Swampland. There he found a hut where a milkmaid lived, who was a friend of the Grey Wolf.

Tsarevich Shorsky presented himself in name of the Grey Wolf and told her his story. The Milkmaid listened diligently. When he was finished, she agreed to help him:

«If thou doest me a certain service, I will gladly help thy cause. There are ten thousand cows under my care, but today they went astray and I am too tired to chase after them. But if thou gatherest them by the sunset, I shall help thee find thy friend Herzog Hans-Heinrich.»

The Tsarevich headed outside and tried to gather the cows, but without success. Then he started mooing very loud: «Moo! Moo!», and saw that the cows would come. And he mooed, and he mooed, and by sunset, he seemed to have gathered all the cows. And he counted them and indeed they were ten thousand.

When he went back to the hut, the Milkmaid confirmed his good work. Then she offered him a piece of bread with herring and mustard seed. Tsarevich Shorsky was about to protest, for he did not like herring, but she interrupted:

«This is a game called “I buy something I don’t like and then thou eatest it. Thou shalt grow used to it.”»

Then she added: «For this good work, I shall give thee an old shield. It might not be much, but it should deter a wyrm’s angry fangs. A few miles away from here, thou shalt find another tsardom where a certain henwife lives, who is a friend of mine. Tell her that thou comest in my name, tell her thy story, and ask that she help thee. Now go to sleep before parting, for the morning is wiser than the night.»

And the Tsarevich did as instructed and walked and walked many miles, and found another tsardom beyond the Tsardom where the Milkmaid lived, beyond the Tsardom of the Acorn Woods, beyond the Tsardom of the Swampland. There he found a hut where a henwife lived, who was a friend of the Milkmaid, who was a friend of the Grey Wolf.

Tsarevich Shorsky presented himself in the name of the Milkmaid and told her his story. The Henwife listened diligently. When he was finished, she agreed to help him:

«If thou doest me a certain service, I will gladly help thy cause. There are ten thousand hens under my care, but today they went astray and I am too tired to chase after them. But if thou gatherest them by the sunset, I shall help thee find thy friend Herzog Hans-Heinrich.»

The Tsarevich headed outside and tried to gather the hens, but without success. Then he started clucking very loud: «Cluck! Cluck!», and saw that the hens would come. And he clucked, and he clucked, and by sunset, he seemed to have gathered all the hens. And he counted them and indeed they were ten thousand.

When he went back to the hut, the Henwife confirmed his work. Then she offered him a piece of bread with blanched chicken. Tsarevich Shorsky was about to protest, for he did not like blanched chicken, but she interrupted:

«This is a game called “I buy something I don’t like and then thou eatest it.” Thou shalt be getting used to it!»

Then she added: «For this good work, I shall give thee an old lance. It might not be much, but it should pierce through a wyrm’s angry scales. A few miles away from here, thou shalt find another tsardom where a certain beekeeper lives, who is a friend of mine. Tell her that thou comest in my name, tell her thy story, and ask that she help thee. Now go to sleep before parting, for the morning is wiser than the night.»

And the Tsarevich did as instructed and walked and walked many miles, and found another tsardom beyond the Tsardom where the Henwife lived, beyond the Tsardom where the Milkmaid lived, beyond the Tsardom of the Acorn Woods, beyond the Tsardom of the Swampland. There he found a hut where a beekeeper lived, who was a friend of the Henwife, who was a friend of the Milkmaid, who was a friend of the Grey Wolf.

Tsarevich Shorsky presented himself in the name of the Henwife and told her his story. The Beekeeper listened diligently. When he was finished, she agreed to help him:

«If thou doest me a certain service, I will gladly help thy cause. There are ten thousand bees under my care, but today they went astray and I am too tired to chase after them. But if thou gatherest them by the sunset, I shall help thee find thy friend Herzog Hans-Heinrich.»

The Tsarevich headed outside and tried to gather the bees, but without success. Then he started buzzing very loud: «Buzz! Buzz!», and saw that the bees would come. And he buzzed, and he buzzed, and by sunset, he seemed to have gathered all the bees. And he counted them and indeed they were ten thousand.

When he went back to the hut, the Beekeeper confirmed his work. Then she offered him a a piece of bread with meat floss. Tsarevich Shorsky was about to protest, for he did not like meat floss, but she interrupted:

«This is a game called: “I buy something I don’t like and then thou eatest it. Thou shouldst be used to it by now!”»

Then she added: «For this good work, I shall give thee an old horse. It might not be much, but it should bring thee to the angry wyrm’s burg. Thirty-three tsardoms away from here, thou shalt find this burg guarded by an angry Worm, and when thou findest the Worm, cover thyself with the shield thou carriest, and slay the Worm with the lance thou wieldest. Now go to sleep before parting, for the morning is wiser than the night.»

And the Tsarevich did as instructed and with the old horse he rode and rode many miles, and found a tsardom beyond thirty-two tsardoms, beyond the Tsardom where the Beekeeper lived, beyond the Tsardom where the Henwife lived, beyond the Tsardom where the Milkmaid lived, beyond the Tsardom of the Acorn Woods, beyond the Tsardom of the Swampland. There the found a burg guarded by an angry Worm.

When the Angry Wyrm saw Tsarevich Shorsky, he exclaimed: «What is thy name, and what business brings thee here?». Then he charged towards the Tsarevich.

To which he answered: «I am Shorsky Glavnovich, Tsarevich of the Swampland. I have crossed thirty-six tsardoms to come here and kill thee, Angry Wyrm, and to find my friend Herzog Hans-Heinrich, to whom I cracked a politically incorrect joke, and whose ear I blew into, and whom I poked in the rib, and who transformed into a mistcrow and flew away and hid in this burg.» Then he charged towards the Angry Wyrm.

The Angry Wyrm tried to snap at Tsarevich Shorsky, but he covered himself with the old shield he carried. And then he pierced into the Angry Wyrm’s scales with the old lance he wielded. And the Angry Wyrm was thus slain. This is how Tsarevich Shorsky worth known as Saint Shorsky the Wyrm Slayer across many tsardoms for many centuries to come.

Then he entered the burg that used to be guarded by the Angry Wyrm. He looked after in many chambers until he found in one of them a mistcrow. The Mistcrow cawed very loud: «Cah! Cah!», and asked:

«What is thy name, and what business brings thee here?»

«I am Shorsky Glavnovich, Tsarevich of the Swampland. Wouldst thou like to be my friend again?»

The Mistcrow responded: «Very well. Then let us be friends and blive ten thousand years to-gather. Let us celebrate!» And the Mistcrow turned into a boy, and there was Herzog Hans-Heinrich again.

That evening Tsarevich Shorsky and Herzog Hans-Heinrich went to eat steamed pork belly with preserved mustard greens, and drank sour plum drink. And they blove ten thousand years to-gather.