The Golden Cockerel

Once upon a time there was a proud tsar named Dadon. When he was young, he was known for invading and destroying neighboring lands. As he grew older, his strength began to fail and he wanted peace. But now his enemies sensed his weakness and it was their turn to wage war on him. To protect his people from such invasions, he asked for help from his court magician, who gave him a present - a golden cockerel. When enemies approached, the cockerel, sitting on a spire atop Dadon's palace, would see them and crow a loud warning. The tsar was very pleased with the magician's gift and promised to grant him any reward he desired.

For two years Dadon's people lived in peace as the cockerel did its job, crowing whenever danger approached. One day the golden cockerel cried out more loudly than ever before and Dadon sent a great army, under the command of his elder son, to seek out the danger. Nothing was heard of them for eight days. The cockerel cried out again and the tsar sent out more troops, led by his younger son. There was no news again for eight days and then the cockerel cried out for a third time. This time Tsar Dadon set out on his own with a small band of his best warriors to investigate.

After several days, he came upon a terrible battlefield where both of his armies and his two sons lay slain. At the edge of the battlefield he saw a tent with a beautiful woman inside. She was the Queen of Shamakha. She invited him into the tent with a bewitching smile, and Dadon stayed with her for a week. Madly smitten with love, he then took her back home to his kingdom. The magician appeared at the gates and asked the tsar to pay for the golden cockerel by giving him the Queen of Shamakha. Infuriated, Dadon hit the magician with his staff, wounding him fatally. The golden cockerel left his spire, flew down and pecked Tsar Dadon to death.. The Queen of Shamakha then disappeared, as if she had never been there. Dadon had learned too late that the most dangerous enemies are not without, but within.