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WE find this story in a familiar form in that of “The Lucky Rouble” (Kreutzwald). The father of three sons, before his death, gives Peter,2 the youngest, a magic silver rouble, which always returns to the pocket of its possessor. Peter afterwards meets a one-eyed old man, who sells him three black dogs, named Run-for-Food, Tear-Down, and Break-Iron. Afterwards, when passing through a forest, he meets a grand coach, in which a princess, who has been chosen by lot to be delivered over to a monster, is being conveyed to her doom. Peter abides the issue, and encounters the p. 7 monster, which is described as like a bear, but much bigger than a horse, covered with scales instead of hair, with two crooked horns on the head, two long wings, long boars’ tusks, and long legs and claws.1 With the assistance of the dog Tear-Down, Peter kills the monster, cuts off his horns and tusks, and leaves the princess with the coachman, promising to return in three years. The coachman compels the princess by threats to say that he killed the dragon; but the princess contrives to delay her marriage with the coachman, and on the wedding-day Peter returns, is imprisoned by order of the king, but released by Break-Iron. Then he sends Run-for-Food to the princess, who recognises him, and reveals the secret to her father. The coachman is condemned to death, and Peter produces the horns and claws of the dragon, and marries the princess, when the dogs, whose mission is accomplished, assume the forms of swans, and fly away.



2 Peeter.

p. 7

1 Not a bad description of a conventional dragon. If these stories could be traced back to their original source, we should certainly find them to be founded on traditions of some of the great extinct Saurians. They are too explicit, and too discordant, to be founded only on rumours of the existence of crocodiles.