Ivan and the Greedy Innkeepers

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The star of this traditional Ukrainian fairy tale is a clever man called Ivan. The people of his village didn’t like the local innkeepers because they encouraged people to drink too much alcohol. So Ivan decided to teach them a lesson! In this story, you’ll discover how things ended up for those greedy innkeepers.

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Ivan and the Greedy Innkeepers
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Long ago, there was a village that contained several taverns. Innkeepers ran those taverns and sold people moonshine. People would drink the moonshine and go wild, getting into fights and wrecking everything. The townsfolk became fed-up with this. They decided to drive all the innkeepers out of the village so that they wouldn’t harm anyone or anything else.

So the innkeepers were forced to roam the countryside, aimlessly wandering here and there. They hadn’t a clue where to go. One day they met a young man. “Who are you?” they asked.

“I’m Ivan. And who are you?”

“We are innkeepers. We were kicked out of our village for selling moonshine because it was causing chaos and the townsfolk became angry. We’re looking for a place to build new taverns. Come with us and help. You can guide us so that we don't go astray.”

Ivan nodded and joined them. But then he thought to himself: Hmm, the locals kicked the innkeepers out of town, and yet they want to settle somewhere else and keep causing harm? I can’t let them do that! Instead I’ll teach them a lesson!” So he guided them as requested, but he had another idea in mind.

After walking all day long, they reached the forest. It was already late in the evening.

“We shall spend the night here,” Ivan declared.

“Here? On the ground? Without blankets?” asked the innkeepers, perplexed.

Ivan looked around for some blankets, and his eyes fell on a series of anthills. He pointed: “There’s a bunch of blankets. Lie down on those and have a sleep.”

And the innkeepers did as they were told. But when ants noticed that someone was crushing their home, they wriggled out and crawled onto the intruders. They walked…

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