An old woman had two sons. They were Ivan and Tatya, The woman loved them both. Tatya lost his life in an accident.
It made the old woman very sad. One day, Ivan had to go out of the village on some business. A soldier came to the woman in Ivan’s absence. The old woman asked. ‘Where do you come from, son?’
“Mother' I am from another world," the soldier replied.
‘Then, you must have seen my Tatya. How's my son?"
“I saw Tatya many times. He is in trouble.'
‘Why?' Old woman asked worried.
‘Ma… Tatya has to travel fifty miles on the back of a cat. Then he has to feed dry bushes to horses," he informed.
“Oh! So, my son has to work hard. How could my poor Tatya be feeding dry bushes to horses. Here, only camels eat them O’ my poor Tatya.'
The old woman went in and came back with 100 roubles, a long piece of cloth and new shoes. Handing over those items to the soldier the woman said, 'Give these to Tatya. My poor Tatya is in trouble.'
The soldier went away with the goods very pleased. When Ivan came back the old woman told him about the soldier. Stupidity of his mother angered Ivan. He told his mother that the soldier had made an utter fool of her and that there could be no bigger idiot than her. He left home announcing that he would come back only after he met a sillier person
Ivan reached nearby village. Some hen and chicken were feeding outside a house. He paid obeisance to a hen and said something. The lady of the house was watching from the window. She called Ivan inside and asked, ‘What are you doing?'
Ivan greeted the lady and said, ‘Madam…. You will be glad to know that your hen is elder sister of my hen who is getting married tomorrow. So, I have come to invite your hen with family. I hope you will have no objection.’
The lady laughed. She thought the man was stupid. She said, ‘My hen would go with family to attend the marriage, of course. Feed them well and send them back with all the gifts and sweets.’
'That's natural lady. She will get plenty of sweets, fine clothes and jewellery as wedding gifts….’ Ivan said.
She gave her horse cart with hen and chicken in it to Ivan. There was a big basket for gifts also. She was happy that Ivan would feed the chicken for some days and her hen
would bring back gifts. Ivan went away.
When the husband of the lady returned home, she told him about Ivan and remarked ‘What a fool that man…' He thought our hen was elder sister of his hen.’
Angry husband sad, ’You are the one who is a fool. That man tricked you of our hen, chickens and horse plus cart.'
The woman turned red and stammered; 'Oh' It's only an hour since he has gone. Please go, get him"
The husband picked up his gun and went into the direction Ivan had gone on his horse.
Ivan had reached into the jungle. He heard faint sound of horse hooves. He guessed that the husband of the silly lady could be coming after him. So, he hid the horse and the cart behind the bushes. He took the basket and placed it upside down. Then he covered it with his shirt and waited for the horseman. The husband of the lady arrived soon after.
He asked, 'Man! Did you see a man on horse cart with a hen and chicken?"
“Yes sir…. But he must be gone too far by now," Ivan replied.
“I must go after him," the man announced.
'Do you know the dangerous road through the jungle?"
“No….. I never came this way. If you go and get that thief I will pay you 200 roubles," the man offered.
‘But I can't go, sir. I bought a costly pair of talking parrots. The parrots predict future. If I lose even one of them I will be ruined," Ivan said pointing at the covered basket.
“Man! If any parrot flies away, I will pay,’ the man promised.
"I bought them for three hundred each. You may not pay that money."
The man gave 600 roubles to Ivan and urged; ‘Now you can go. Get that thief!*
'But how can I go? I got no horse," Ivan quizzed
The man said, “I will guard your parrots. For God's sake take my horse and gun too. You might need it. Hurry up."
Ivan galloped away with money, horse and the gun. When he didn't return till evening, the man removed the shirt and saw under the basket. There was no parrot.
Ivan reached home and informed his mother, ‘There are bigger fools than you in this world"
The next day he went into the jungle and brought home the horse cart and the chickens.