The Tsar had a walled garden, so rich and beautiful that in no kingdom of the world was there a more splendid one. Many rare trees grew in it whose fruits were precious jewels, and the rarest of all was an apple tree whose apples were of pure gold, and this the Tsar loved best of all .
One day he saw that one of the golden apples was missing. He placed guards at all gates of the garden; but in spite of this, each morning on counting, he found one more apple gone. At length he set men on the wall to watch day and night, and these reported to him that every night there came flying into the garden a bird that shone like the moon, whose feathers were gold and its eyes like crystal, which perched on the apple tree, plucked a golden apple and flew away.
Tsar Vyslav was greatly angered, and calling to him his two eldest sons, said: "My dear children, I have for many days sought to decide which of you should inherit my Tsardom and reign after me. Now, therefore, to the one of you who will catch the Fire Bird, which is the thief of my golden apples, and will bring it to me alive, I will during my life give the half of the Tsardom, and he shall rule after me when I am dead ."
The two sons, hearing, rejoiced, and shouted with one voice: "Gracious Sir! We shall not fail to bring you the Fire Bird alive!"
Tsarevitch Dimitri and Tsarevitch Vasilii cast lots to see who should have the first trial, and the lot fell to the eldest, Tsarevitch Dimitri, who at evening went into the garden to watch. He sat down under the apple tree and watched till midnight, but when midnight was passed he fell asleep.
In the morning the Tsar summoned him and said: "Well, my son, didst thou see the Fire Bird who steals my golden apples?" he had fallen asleep, however, Tsarevitch Dimitri answered: "No, gracious Sir; last night the bird did not visit thy garden reenex hong kong."