Ivan and the Daughter of the Sun
Once upon a time, in a land far away, there were four brothers. Three of them chose to stay at home, tending to their daily lives, while the youngest set out on a journey to seek his fortune. This adventurous brother found himself in a foreign land, where he worked hard for a farmer, earning three gold pieces each year. After three years of diligent service, he set off with nine gold pieces in his pocket.
Curious about his honesty, he decided to test himself. Beside a spring, he threw three gold pieces into the water, hoping that if he had been honest, they would come back to him. As he lay down to rest, he drifted into a deep slumber. When he awoke, the gold pieces were nowhere to be seen. Determined, he repeated the process twice more until, on the third attempt, all nine gold pieces resurfaced, floating on the water.
Relieved, he continued his journey, crossing paths with three travelers pulling a loaded wagon. Inquiring about their cargo, they revealed it to be incense. Intrigued, he bought the incense from them with his gold pieces, and, after kindling a fire, he offered it as a sweet-smelling sacrifice to God.
To his surprise, an angel descended, commending his offering and granting him a wish. Faced with the choice of a kingdom, great wealth, or a good wife, he sought advice from his ploughing brethren. The youngest suggested a good wife, claiming it to be a lifelong blessing. Trusting this wisdom, he asked the angel for a good wife.
Continuing on his journey, he reached a wooded area with a picturesque lake. There, he witnessed three doves transforming into beautiful ladies. Seizing the opportunity, he hid one of the lady's garments, agreeing to return it only if she became his wife. She agreed, and they traveled to the nearest village.
Instructing him to request land from a local nobleman, she guided him to cut down a specific young oak. A hut was built, and the overseer, impressed by the wife's beauty, plotted against Ivan. They sent him on a dangerous mission to discover why the sun turned red as it set, knowing it was an almost impossible task.
Heartbroken, Ivan returned to his wife, who revealed her celestial origins as the sun's daughter. She instructed him to tell the nobleman that three fair ladies rose from the sea, causing the sun's reddening. The nobleman, unsatisfied, ordered Ivan to visit hell and report back. Ivan, wise with his wife's guidance, insisted the overseer accompany him.
In hell, the overseer faced retribution, leaving Ivan to return alone. The nobleman, upon hearing the news, took his own life. Ivan, free from the sinister plots, lived happily ever after with his celestial wife, their love enduring the trials and challenges thrown their way.
Source: The Story of Ivan and the Daughter of the Sun by Robert Nisbet Bain