Poems and Songs of Vladimir Vysotsky.

Vladimir Vysotsky.

A Song about the King’s Shooter.

In a kingdom, where all was neat and quiet,
Where had never been deluges, droughts or shocks,
Once appeared a wild boar, very giant,
Who was, maybe, a big wolf or an ox.

At that time His Kingship suffered from quinsy—
People scattered when he coughed or just sneezed—
And this roaring wolf or ox, dread and beastly,
Dragged away and ate the persons he pleased.

So His Kingship promptly passed a decision:
That foul monster must be stripped of his life!
And the one, who’ll carry out this mission,
In reward take our fair daughter to wife.

In that kingdom, which was close to distraction—
As you enter, there’s a short walk sideways—
Lived a fellow in debauch and inaction—
Once the king’s best shooter, now in disgrace.

Merry fellows lay on skins on the ground,
They drank port-wine and played cards, sang and talked,
When the king’s guard read the order aloud,
And the shooter was dragged straight to the court.

There His Kingship coughed to him, “Listen, youngster!
We determined to restore you to life.
Save the kingdom from this awful disaster,
And We’ll give you our fair daughter to wife.”

Said the shooter, “No offense to your daughter,
I’d prefer a cask of port-wine instead.
Keep the princess as she is, I don’t want her,
I’ll for free get you that foul monster’s head.”

Said His Kingship, “Ye’re too sassy and choosy,
But the princess isn’t the thing to debate!
She’s a daughter of a king, not some floozy!..”
And the shooter said, “She won’t be my mate!”

While these two debated even to shout,
Almost all hens and young women were lost,
And nearby the palace door loafed about
That wild boar or, maybe, wolf or just ox.

In the end, the shooter got what he ought to,
Shot the monster and escaped from that place...
Thus he put to shame the king and his daughter—
Once the king’s best shooter, now in disgrace.

1966.

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