In a small village there lived three brothers. The two elder brothers were married. They were merchants. The youngest brother was a fool named Emelya. One day the elder brothers went to the market far away and asked him to take care of their wives. Emelya stayed home and slept on the warm stove.
The next morning his sisters-in-law asked him to bring some water from the river. He mumbled, "Leave me in peace. I want to sleep. Go yourself." The women persuaded him kindly and promised him a new red jacket and new red hat. They knew that Emelya liked red outfits. He jumped from the stove and went to the river. He took some water in his pails, then saw a pike in the ice-hole and caught it. "The pike pie will be delicious," he thought. But the pike begged him in a human voice, "Let me go free, Emelya. I will grant you anything you wish. You just need to say, 'By the pike's wish, at my command,' and everything will be done."
Emelya let it free and said in a loud voice: "By the pike's wish, at my command, pails, go home by yourselves." His sisters-in-law were very surprised to see pails full of water coming home by themselves. And Emelya jumped onto the stove and went back to sleep.
Another day the two women planned to bake pancakes, but there was not enough firewood. They persuaded him to go to the forest and promised to make him pancakes, which he liked a lot. Emelya went to the yard, sat down in a sledge and whispered, "By the pike's wish, at my command, sledge, go to the forest." His sledge almost flew there! There, Emelya let the axe do its job. Unfortunately on the way back he had to go through the town, and many people were hit by his sledge.
After he returned home, he jumped again onto the stove and fell asleep. The tsar heard about the incident in the town and sent his officer to find Emelya and bring him to the palace. The officer found Emelya's house, entered and shouted, "Emelya, come here. You must go with me to the tsar's palace!" From the stove Emelya mumbled, "Why? I am warm here. Leave me in peace." When the officer dragged him down, Emelya became angry and shouted, "By the pike's wish, at my command, cudgel, come and greet the tsar's officer." The cudgel appeared and beat the officer hard.
Then the tsar sent another officer to Emelya. This officer was smarter; he brought raisins, prunes, and gingerbread and came to persuade Emelya to come to the tsar's palace. Emelya finished eating the sweets and finally agreed to go to the palace. He took his old jacket with a fancy pattern and said in loud voice, "By the pike's wish, at my command, stove, go straight to the tsar's palace!".
When Emelya, riding on the stove, appeared in the tsar's courtyard, everybody was watching from the steps, anxious to see him. It happened that the tsar's daughter was among them. When Emelya saw her, he liked her and whispered, "By the pike's wish, at my command, I want this beautiful girl to fall in love with me." And he told the stove to take him back home.
The tsar's daughter longed for him and asked her father to let her marry him. The Tsar became sad, but there was nothing that could be done, so he sent another officer to bring Emelya to the palace again. The officer bought a lot of sweets and came to Emelya's house. When Emelya finished all the treats, he got tired and fell asleep. The officer brought him to the tsar. Then he and the princess were placed in a big barrel and were thrown into the sea.
When Emelya awoke, he found himself in the barrel with a beautiful girl. Sobbing, she explained what had happened to them. Emelya said, "By the pike's wish, at my command, I want the waves to roll the barrel to shore." In a moment they were saved and found themselves on a beautiful island.
"My sweetheart, Emelya, where will we live? Could you build a small hut for us?" asked the princess. Emelya agreed and said loudly, "At the pike's wish, by my command, build me here the best palace in the world!" Immediately, a wonderful marble palace with many servants appeared.
Then the princess asked him, "My dear Emelya, could you be more handsome?" Instantly he turned into a handsome and intelligent young man. They lived happily for a while as rulers of the island.
One day the tsar came to the island and saw an amazing palace. When Emelya greeted him, the tsar did not recognize him. Inside the tsar found his own daughter and she told him everything that happened to her and Emelya. The tsar wept and asked their forgiveness. Then they held a great wedding ceremony and invited Emelya's brothers. After that everybody lived in peace and love.