Brother and Sister Part 2 - The Bull Sprite

All his effort had been of no avail. His sister had not been cured by the wolf’s milk. “Please, brother. It is not wolf’s milk that can cure me but bear’s milk. Get me some of it and I shall be all right.”

“Come on, dear sister. How can you possibly know that? I think I should take you back to civilization and get a doctor to see you.”

“You know we can’t do that, my dear brother. The demon will get us the moment we leave the island.”

“But it’s been so many years. Do you think the demon will still be waiting for us? I think it is time we got back to the world. I think you are homesick. That is what is making you sick. “

“No, brother. I am scared. Let’s not leave this island. It is bear’s milk I need. I saw it clearly in my dreams.”

“Like how you saw about the wolf’s milk? Do you even know how difficult it was to get hold of that animal and milk her? I also feel terrible about the way I treated that poor beast.”

“This time I am sure I have the dream right. Please get me some bear’s milk and I shall be all right. Don’t you love me anymore, brother? Will you watch me die away doing nothing?”

“Ok. I will see what I can do.”

He rode into the jungle followed by Protius and Nejvada as well as the wolf cub.

The dogs caught a scent of a bear and were soon on its trail. He was so glad to have Protius and Nejvada by his side. Nothing could harm him as long as they were there. The two dogs, his horse as well his sword – they were all magical –  gifts from the great bull sprite.

The bull sprite! He had been more of father to them than the father of his blood who had only sold them off to the demon.

The demon had taken them away and kept them in captivity for months. He had let them roam around in his yard for he was sure they could not escape. He had a magical horse which ran like the wind. However fast they ran they could not escape him.

But they had had their first hope when a horse sprite had come that way and offered to help them. “My dears, why do you stay with this terrible demon? He sacrifices small children for his magical rituals. That is how he gains his power.”

“No, dear horse. We are not staying by our own will but being held captive.”

“Come with me then. I will take you away from him.”

They had left with the horse. But hardly had they ridden for a day when demon was upon them. The demon’s horse was breathing fire and the tail of the children’s horse was aflame.

“I am sorry, children. But I will be burnt to cinders unless I go to a river and douse the flames.”

So saying the horse had left them behind and disappeared. The demon had once again seized them and taken them back to his home.

“This time I will let you off lightly but do not expect me to be merciful always.”

He had starved them for two days and given Ivanko a sound whipping. He still winced he remembered how his back had hurt.

A few days later, a giant bumblebee sprite had arrived. “What are you children doing here? The demon who owns this place is dangerous. He will keep you as slaves and work you to death. Come away with me. “

“No, dear bumblebee. We had tried escaping with a horse and the demon had caught up with us. We were badly punished. We don’t want to be caught again.”

“Do not worry. I can fly high. The demon can’t reach us in the sky.”

They had flown for two days when the demon had been upon them. The demon’s horse which now seemed to have sprouted wings and flying right behind them, had let out a stream of fire and the bumblebee’s wings had caught fire at once.

“I am really sorry my children. I can’t be of help to you anymore. I must dive into a lake to douse out the fire or I will surely die. I hope you will understand. I had underestimated the demon’s horse. I am sorry to have got you into more trouble than you already were. But there is nothing I can do.”

So saying the bumblebee had left them to the tender mercies of the demon and flown away. Once again there had been two days of starvation and even more merciless flogging for Ivanko.

“This is the last time I am going to tolerate anything of this sort. Next time no matter what creatures comes and tempts you, don’t you dare try to flee. For if I catch you fleeing, I won’t let you off with small punishments. I will boil you in the cauldron and have you for dinner. Disobedient children are too much trouble for me.”

A few more days had passed, and a bull sprite had passed that way. “What are nice children like you doing in a place like this? Don’t you know this entire land is full of dangerous magic and the demon who owns this place is one of the most dangerous beings?”

“We know. But we are held captive and can see no means of escape.”

“Maybe I can rescue you. Come along. Get on to my back.”

“No, friend bull. We have already tried to escape twice, and the demon has caught up with us. He has a most powerful horse that can even fly. It could catch up with that swift horse and bumblebee so easily. You can’t fly, nor do you possibly run as fast as a horse. We will definitely be caught. This time the demon will definitely kill us.”

“Do not underestimate me due to my physical form. For I have powerful magic and I will not abandon you like the other two. I shall be with you and fight  till then end. I am what they call a guardian spirit and I have made it my life's purpose to aid hapless beings in clutches of vile faerie beings. I shall fight for you even if that destroys me.”

“We appreciate your intention, friend bull. But we fear for our lives.”

The quite Marya, who had hardly spoke so far spoke up. “What life is this, brother that we fear to lose?  Lifelong captivity with a sword hanging over our heads. For all we know the demon may kill us any day even now. Then we will regret not even having tried to escape when we had the chance.”

“But sister…”

“Your sister is right. I at least offer you a chance for life. With the demon, you face sure death or worse. It is only a matter of time. Come with me. I am not of feeble spirit like the horse or the bumblebee. And I have my own magic you will see. Come along.”

Ivanko had needed no more goading.

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