THE LAKE OF A WATER-SPRITE

 

In the days of old, as a word goes, there was a lake at about three kilometres from the Maksut village. The host of this lake, a water-sprite, was bathing there every morning in the guise of a beautiful girl. All the yeget's* efforts to approach her were in vain: "The beauty" was elusive. And then one yeget made the following suggestion: "Let's leave a boot for the water-sprite and see what he will be doing". And so they did. The water-sprite came out of the lake early in the morning and saw the boot on the shore. He grabbed it and started pulling it on his leg straight away. He was trying so hard, even panting, but alas! If he shoves one foot into the boot, the other one is left bare; then he thrusts in another foot, and the other one is bare again. He was messing about the boot for a long time until it dawned on him to thrust both his legs into the boot. He tried to stand up but in vain: he could not make a step and was constantly falling down. Then the villagers rushed at him and caught him. But he uttered such a piercing shriek that people dashed aside of him.

They say that since then the water-sprite fled from the lake and the water in it soon dried out. No host - no water.