Ledia Runnels' "World of Fantasy Fiction"











Chapter One

PROPHETIC DREAMER

He cried, it is both

a blessing and a curse to

know the awful truth…

–Tsuru no Megumi

The bird man flew low beneath stars that crackled like ice chips in the moonless sky. Expanding his wings, he glided on the jet stream, directing his flight a kilometer short of where the sandy embankment stretched on either side of the “Sea of Japan“. Dreading what he would find there, he closed his eyes and drew in a ragged breath while a single wish filled his thoughts.

Tonight, things will be different from all the nights before. Back the way they should be.

His greatest hope sprang from his greatest horror that the terrible revelations he remembered from previous journeys would turn out to be mere dreams dredged up from nightmares. Not a horrific foretelling of the future, as all of his most vivid visions always turned out to be.

Megumi Tsuru landed soft as a leaf blown by the wind. The current blew strong near the ground so it pulled his outstretched wings, snowy white with jet-black tips. The next instant, the fetid stench of dead fish, matted with decayed seaweed, assaulted his senses.

So it remains the same. He shook my head while anxiety washed over him like a dull film.

The voice of the sea thrummed in his ears. The gulls that chattered overhead seemed too loud. Still, he swallowed his sorrow, letting the crash of the waves soothe instead of annoy him while a different, yet familiar sensation burned deep inside his bones. It quickly blazed over and through him to the deepest regions beneath his feathers to the very tips of his claws and beak.

Moments later when he opened his eyes, he peered out from the smooth face–of a man. The warmth of a summer‘s night caressed his human body while an inner chill made him shiver.

He dug his toes into the sand, dry where it should be wet, next to a notched branch shoved into the sand when snow had covered the ground–over six months ago. He had put it there himself to mark the place where high tide used to hit the shoreline.

Now dried seaweed stuck cracked and black to the upper nodes of the branch severed from the sacred Sakai, the same tree that once hung with brightly colored cloth and a mirror to lure Sun from her cave hiding place millennia before.

From the defiled branch, Megumi made his way on foot toward the edge of the sea, his gaze focused on the sand near his feet. He could have flown, but he wanted to feel the tremors when they rumbled beneath him, shooting like a spear up his spine. The terrible sensation reminded him that this was more than a dream.

Megumi shook his head. The quakes grew in intensity each time he ventured to the devastated shore. Nothing could deny that.

He had read about a time, lost in the distant past, when the moon came so close to the Earth that it seemed the two colossal spheres would collide. From the account he had heard, the terrible phenomena caused cascading tons of ocean to eat away the shorelines, drowning everything that stood in the towering water’s path.

Most saw this event as pure mythology. But not Megumi.

The visions he saw now told of a time in the near future when the moon would take an opposite sojourn and slowly pull away from the Earth causing low tides to yank the oceans farther and farther away from the present shoreline. If this happened, the creatures of the sea would lie gasping for breath, helpless on dry land.

A grim smile tugged at Megumi’s lips. The meat eaters would find themselves stalking the shorelines for a mere glimpse of fresh food.

He shook his head in dismay. If things did not change for the better and soon, all of creation would face a slow agonizing death of starvation and worse. The Tribe of Crane included. But that was not the worst to come.

Pressure. Pressure.

His chest ached with frustration. The weight of what he knew, of what he must do squeezed like an invisible hand trying to crush out his existence–before the coming atrocities ever could.

He stopped at the edge of the sea, staring into the endless darkness beyond while cool salted water lapped around his ankles. Like a cold slap in his face, he could not get the image of the dried branch he had stuck in the ground or the heaps of dead fish piled up on the sand, reminding him that he must never give up his search for a way to stop it any of it from happening.

Megumi spun toward a mound of sand littered with decayed seaweed and fish carcasses. For one night, this bird had seen enough to make him miserable for eternity.

Head ducked low in determination; he trudged to the top of one rotten heap. Lifting his arms a wingspan apart the wind beat against his back, whipping his white hair, with jet black tips, into stiff, damp swirls. Nose tilted eastward toward the Brother Mountains, he took a running start. By the time he reached the edge of the dune his arms became wings spread open in flight…

***

In the Northern Province of Yamagata JapanMount Haguro stood the smallest of the three Brother Mountains. Nestled atop the summit the monastery slept. Tsuru no Megumi woke drenched in sweat. He felt the chill in the room as he slipped from beneath the covered sleeping mat.

Soft snoring drifted toward him. He paused, watching the sleeper beneath the colorful quilt. He wanted to wake his friend and tell him about the latest, terrible dream. Shojika would know how to ease the ache in Megumi’s heart even in the dark, cold hours before dawn. But courtesy would not allow him to disturb his friend’s precious sleep.

Head bowed in deep concentration, he turned and made his way through the darkened corridor of the living quarters. In his human form, man‘s feet pattered softly against the rice rush floors.

Situated at the backside of the monastery, Megumi stepped into the library where he spent long hours poring over ancient manuscripts of Nippon history and what others would call folklore. A place of profound peace, Megumi knew the library as a refuge from the insanity and chaos that the visions brought. Today, he went to there, desperate to find answers.

Tsuru no Megumi, “Crane of Mercy”, was the meaning of his name. And for the most part, he lived up to the title. With the abilities of a powerful seer since a very young age, he had grown accustom to knowing the future before it happened.

The outside world held in great demand one with such a “talent” as he possessed. But the over stimulation of attention he received in the past had almost driven him mad. It was the reason he now hid in the Mountains of Dewa where he had lived a quiet life—until the recent visions came to bombard his peace of mind.

He made his way toward cubbyholes that covered every wall, filled with rice paper scrolls. He stopped at a familiar niche.

A gentle slick gave way as he pulled a paper scroll loose from its slot and then made his way to a low-standing tea table. He knelt on a floor pillow tucked beside a tea table that sat beneath a round skylight, like a perfect full moon, that hung near the top of the high-beamed ceiling. Outside the window, the branches of a towering cryptomeria spruce scritch-scratched against the glass pane where the sun’s light had yet to rise.

Continued…

Enjoy!



Ivan Bilibin 102

Ivan Bilibin 102 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tsar Saltan, hearing, was silent, thinking of his dead wife and of her promise to bear him such hero-sons. He dismissed the merchants with rich gifts and they bought goods to fill their ships and sailed away again on the wide sea-ocean.

In time they touched at the island of Tsaritsa Marfa, and being entertained, recounted to her their visit to Tsar Saltan’s court and told how, for a third time, he had purposed to voyage thither, until his wife had told of the underground room, and of the six Tsarevitches with legs golden, arms of silver, and with stars in their hair.

When the shipmen had departed on their way, Tsaritsa Marfa told Tsarevitch Guidon the story of her life with Tsar Saltan and what she had suffered at the hands of her wicked sisters. “These six Tsarevitches,” she said, “whom the witch hides in the forest, are surely none other than my own dear sons and thy little brothers. Let us depart to search for them.”

So the Tsarevitch struck together his flint and steel and bade the ax and hammer build a ship which would fly either on land or sea and which should take them to the witch’s forest. Next morning all was ready, and they straightway embarked and sailed over the sea-ocean, and over the open steppe to the edge of the forest, where the Baba Yaga had hidden the stolen Princes.

Whether the journey was long or short, whether it took a twelvemonth or a day, they found the crooked oak tree and the Tsarevitch lifted the great flat stone and they entered the underground room. They looked here and there and presently saw six little soiled shirts lying on chairs. The Tsaritsa took them, washed them clean, rinsed, wrung and hung them to dry. Six little plates sat on a table unwashed. She washed them all and dried them and swept the floor. Hearing a noise outside, she said: “Someone is coming. Let us hide behind the stove.”

They hid themselves, and the six Tsarevitches entered, all with legs golden to the knee, arms silver to the elbow, and with little stars in their hair. They saw how the room had been swept and the plates and shirts made clean, and were glad. “Show thyself,” they cried, “thou who hast washed and tidied our house. If thou art a beautiful girl, thou shalt be our little sister, and if thou art a Tsaritsa, thou shalt be our little mother!”

Then Tsaritsa Marfa showed herself, and the six Tsarevitches ran to her, and she took them in her arms and kissed and caressed them and told them who they were-that she was indeed their mother and Tsarevitch Guidon their little brother. She brought them from the forest to the magic ship and it sailed with them like a white swan, over the open steppe and the blue sea-ocean to the Tsaritsa’s island, to her Palace of white stone, and there they began to live happily together.

Now when its voyage was finished, the ship of the merchants came back from the ends of the world and put in at the island. The Tsaritsa welcomed them and she and her seven Sons gave them such feasts and amusements that for delight they would have remained there forever. “O merchant-travelers,” she asked them, “in what cargoes do ye traffic, and whither go ye from here?”

“We have sailed about the whole world,” they answered, “with goods of every sort that tradesmen carry, and from here our course lies eastward to the Tsardom of Tsar Saltan the Splendid.”

“Fair weather to you,” she said, “and take a greeting to Tsar Saltan from me and from these my seven sons.”

The ship departed, and when it was come to the Tsardom of Tsar Saltan, he made the merchants yet again his guests. And as they ate and drank and made merry, he said to them: “O tradesmen and far-journeying adventurers, ye have sailed to the uttermost lands. What strange thing have ye seen, and is there any new wonder in the white world?”

“O great Tsar Saltan!” they replied, “thou didst hear from us before of the island in the blue sea-ocean, of its Tsaritsa and her Tsarevitch, and their Palace of white stone, with the marvels there to be seen. On our way hither we again stopped there, and now the lady hath with her not one Tsarevitch but seven, so handsome that we know no words o tell thee of them, and each has legs golden to the knee, and arms silver to the elbow, and in their hair are little stars set close together. And when we departed the Tsaritsa sent to thee greeting from herself and these seven sons.”

When the merchants spoke thus the wicked wife of Tsar Saltan opened her mouth to speak, but the Tsar rose up and silenced her.

“Tell me no more of thy marvels,” he said to her. “What am I, a Tsar or a child?” And having dismissed the merchants with presents, he sent for his Ministers and Boyars and bade a fleet to be prepared, and that same day set sail for the island.

Tsarevitch Guidon, sitting with his brothers at the window, saw the ships of Tsar Saltan coming over the blue sea- ocean, and called to his mother, “See, our little father is coming!” He went to meet him and brought him into the Palace to the Tsaritsa.

Seeing her, Tsar Saltan recognized her, and his breath stopped and his face flowed with tears. He kissed her and embraced his seven sons and all began to weep and rejoice together.

When they had spent some days in such happiness, they went aboard the ships and sailed back to Tsar Saltan’s realm. He summoned his Ministers and Boyars, his Princes and Judges, and they condemned his evil wife, and she and her sister were put into a chest barred and bound with iron, and the chest was thrown into the sea-ocean. But God did not protect them as He had protected the Tsaritsa and her son, for they sank at once into the lowest abyss and were drowned.

But Tsar Saltan and Tsaritsa Marfa, with the seven Tsarevitches, lived always together in bright-faced joy, and increased in all good things. And Tsaritsa Marfa was as beautiful in her old age as she had been in her youth.

Continued…

Enjoy!

Links:

“Sur La Lune Fairy Tales: Russian Wonder Tales”

http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/russian/russianwondertales/tsarsaltan.html

Images

Ivan Bilibin’s art:

https://www.google.com/search?q=ivan+bilibin+finist+the+falcon+images&hl=en&prmd=imvnso&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=1R6AT4uFBMiG2gX_v82EBw&sqi=2&ved=0CCMQsAQ&biw=1600&bih=775

EXTRA

Legend of the Tengu Prince — Finally Available on Amazon.com!

http://creativemusingsoflediar.com/2012/04/15/legend-of-the-tengu-prince-finally-available-on-amazon-com/

Synopsis:

Fantasy Action Adventure set in feudal Japan.

During a time of civil war, Karasu Hinata is born the son of a powerful warlord. When he is still a child, his family castle is taken by a rival clan. His father and mother are murdered right before his eyes.

Barely escaping with his life, he is spirited away by the king of the tengu. The shape-shifting raven leads him to the hidden mountain retreat of a sect of mystic warriors. Mountain priests who practice the magic of Shugendo.

Ten years have passed. The time has come for Karasu to leave the mystic’s protective lair and face his demons in the world beyond. But the fiend that haunts his nightmares is also the one that shattered his life. More than a bad dream, it wants him dead.

In Legend of the Tengu Prince, nothing is as it seems. Shape-shifting creatures, both good and evil, populate the magical world of feudal Japan. And a young man will pay the ultima

te price for a deadly rival spawned in the mists time. This riveting first volume of a epic fantasy adventure will leave you stunned and begging for more.



The Merchants visit Tsar Saltan (Act 3)

The Merchants visit Tsar Saltan (Act 3) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hearing of this new wonder, the Tsar gave up his purpose to visit the island.

The merchants, having loaded their ship with other goods, sailed on a second voyage, and, passing the Tsaritsa‘s island, cast anchor, and were again entertained; and they recounted there how Tsar Saltan had desired to sail thither till his wife had told him of the mill, the golden column, and the story-telling cat.

As soon as they had made their farewells and sailed away, Tsarevitch Guidon took from the purse the flint and steel, and struck them sharply together, and immediately the ax and the hammer appeared, saying: “Here we are, thy servants! By God’s blessing, by the Order of the Pike, what dost thou bid us do?”

“I will have, near this Palace,” said the Tsarevitch, “a mill which grinds and winnows of itself and throws the chaff a hundred versts away. By it must be a column of gold on which climbs a cat, telling tales and singing songs.”

At once the ax and hammer disappeared, and, next morning, when he went to his balcony, the Tsarevitch saw that the gardens the mill, the golden column, and the clever cat bad all been brought as he had commanded.

He caused his servants, the ax and hammer, to build by the column a crystal summer-house, in which the cat should live, and each day the Tsaritsa and Tsarevitch Guidon amused themselves by listening to its songs and stories.

Time passed, and again the ship returned from her voyage, and the merchants wondered to see the new marvels. They landed, and the Tsaritsa, meeting them, bade them enter and taste of her hospitality. She gave them honey to eat and milk to drink, and treated them so handsomely that they scarce knew themselves for pleasure. “O tradesmen,” she asked them, “what do ye barter, and whither sail ye from here?”

“We have bartered carpets and stallions from the Don around the whole world,” they answered. “Now we sail to the eastward, to the Tsardom of Tsar Saltan the Mighty.”

“A good journey to you,” said the Tsaritsa. “Bear to Tsar Saltan greeting from my son, Tsarevitch Guidon.”

The merchants spread sail and voyaged to the Tsardom of Tsar Saltan, and a second time he summoned them to bear him company. And as they ate and drank in his sumptuous hail, he asked them: “O tradesmen and mariners, doubtless ye have traversed the whole earth. What have ye seen, and what news do ye bear? And is there any new marvel in the white world?”

Continued…

Enjoy!

Links:

“Sur La Lune Fairy Tales: Russian Wonder Tales”

http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/russian/russianwondertales/tsarsaltan.html

Images

Ivan Bilibin’s art:

https://www.google.com/search?q=ivan+bilibin+finist+the+falcon+images&hl=en&prmd=imvnso&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=1R6AT4uFBMiG2gX_v82EBw&sqi=2&ved=0CCMQsAQ&biw=1600&bih=775

EXTRA

Legend of the Tengu Prince — Finally Available on Amazon.com!

http://creativemusingsoflediar.com/2012/04/15/legend-of-the-tengu-prince-finally-available-on-amazon-com/

Synopsis:

Fantasy Action Adventure set in feudal Japan.

During a time of civil war, Karasu Hinata is born the son of a powerful warlord. When he is still a child, his family castle is taken by a rival clan. His father and mother are murdered right before his eyes.

Barely escaping with his life, he is spirited away by the king of the tengu. The shape-shifting raven leads him to the hidden mountain retreat of a sect of mystic warriors. Mountain priests who practice the magic of Shugendo.

Ten years have passed. The time has come for Karasu to leave the mystic’s protective lair and face his demons in the world beyond. But the fiend that haunts his nightmares is also the one that shattered his life. More than a bad dream, it wants him dead.

In Legend of the Tengu Prince, nothing is as it seems. Shape-shifting creatures, both good and evil, populate the magical world of feudal Japan. And a young man will pay the ultima

te price for a deadly rival spawned in the mists time. This riveting first volume of a epic fantasy adventure will leave you stunned and begging for more.



The Merchants visit Tsar Saltan (Act 3)

The Merchants visit Tsar Saltan (Act 3) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, before many days it befell that a ship came sailing that way, and the shipmen wondered greatly to see there, on what had been an uninhabited island, a stately Palace, with golden domes and walls of white stone, and they landed to see this marvel.

The Tsaritsa met them and made them her guests, giving them food and drink to their hearts’ desire.

“O merchants,” she said, “in what trade are ye concerned, and whither sail ye from here?”

They answered: “We have traded in the skins of sables and black foxes in foreign marts; now we sail to the east, to the Tsardom of Tsar Saltan the Glorious.”

“A happy voyage to you,” said the Tsaritsa, “and give a greeting from me to Tsar Saltan.”

The merchants re-embarked and sailed to the Tsardom of Tsar Saltan, who called them to be his guests; and they came before him, where he sat sad-faced on his golden throne, with his new wife and her sister by his side. As they sat at table the Tsar said: “O merchants and tradesmen! Have ye voyaged far, and to what lands went ye? Is it well or ill across the blue sea-ocean? And what new wonder is there in the white world?”

The shipmen replied: “O Tsar’s Majesty! We traveled over all the world, and were on our way hither when we saw a new wonder more marvelous than any. There has been of old time in the sea-ocean an island, without inhabitants, save they were wizards or wild beasts. It had a great flat meadow on which grew a single oak tree, and about it was a dense forest. So hath it always been; yet but now, as we came to it, we found there a splendid Palace, with towers whose tops were golden, and with green gardens about it. In it dwells a beautiful Tsaritsa and a Tsarevitch, and the Tsarevitch has legs golden to the knee, and arms silver to the elbow, and in his hair are little stars. We landed there, and the Tsaritsa entertained us royally, and sent a greeting to thee.”

Tsar Saltan wondered greatly to hear, and said: “As God lets me live, I will visit this wonderful island and see it with my own eyes.” But his wicked wife, not wishing him to go, began to sneer.

“A Palace on an island! What is that to be compared to a marvel of which I can tell thee?”

“What marvel is that?” asked the Tsar.

She answered: “Across three times nine countries, in the thirtieth Tsardom, there is a green garden, and in the gar den is a mill which grinds of itself. It winnows the grain and throws the chaff a hundred versts away. By the mill stands a golden column, and up and down the column climbs a learned cat. As it goes up it sings songs, and as it comes down it tells stories.”

Continued… https://fairytalesbylediar.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/the-tale-of-tsar-saltan-part-six/

Enjoy!

Links:

“Sur La Lune Fairy Tales: Russian Wonder Tales”

http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/russian/russianwondertales/tsarsaltan.html

Images

Ivan Bilibin’s art:

https://www.google.com/search?q=ivan+bilibin+finist+the+falcon+images&hl=en&prmd=imvnso&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=1R6AT4uFBMiG2gX_v82EBw&sqi=2&ved=0CCMQsAQ&biw=1600&bih=775

EXTRA

Legend of the Tengu Prince — Finally Available on Amazon.com!

http://creativemusingsoflediar.com/2012/04/15/legend-of-the-tengu-prince-finally-available-on-amazon-com/

Synopsis:

Fantasy Action Adventure set in feudal Japan.

During a time of civil war, Karasu Hinata is born the son of a powerful warlord. When he is still a child, his family castle is taken by a rival clan. His father and mother are murdered right before his eyes.

Barely escaping with his life, he is spirited away by the king of the tengu. The shape-shifting raven leads him to the hidden mountain retreat of a sect of mystic warriors. Mountain priests who practice the magic of Shugendo.

Ten years have passed. The time has come for Karasu to leave the mystic’s protective lair and face his demons in the world beyond. But the fiend that haunts his nightmares is also the one that shattered his life. More than a bad dream, it wants him dead.

In Legend of the Tengu Prince, nothing is as it seems. Shape-shifting creatures, both good and evil, populate the magical world of feudal Japan. And a young man will pay the ultima

te price for a deadly rival spawned in the mists time. This riveting first volume of a epic fantasy adventure will leave you stunned and begging for more.



Nikolai Gogol

Nikolai Gogol (Photo credit: seriykotik1970)

Evening had already come when they left the high-road; the sun had just gone down, and the air was still heavy with the heat of the day. The theologian and the philosopher strolled along, smoking in silence, while the rhetorician struck off the heads of the thistles by the wayside with his stick. The way wound on through thick woods of oak and walnut; green hills alternated here and there with meadows. Twice already they had seen cornfields, from which they concluded that they were near some village; but an hour had already passed, and no human habitation appeared. The sky was already quite dark, and only a red gleam lingered on the western horizon.

“The deuce!” said the philosopher Thomas Brutus. “I was almost certain we would soon reach a village.”

The theologian still remained silent, looked round him, then put his pipe again between his teeth, and all three continued their way.

“Good heavens!” exclaimed the philosopher, and stood still. “Now the road itself is disappearing.”

“Perhaps we shall find a farm farther on,” answered the theologian, without taking his pipe out of his mouth.

Meanwhile the night had descended; clouds increased the darkness, and according to all appearance there was no chance of moon or stars appearing. The seminarists found that they had lost the way altogether.

After the philosopher had vainly sought for a footpath, he exclaimed, “Where have we got to?”

The theologian thought for a while, and said, “Yes, it is really dark.”

The rhetorician went on one side, lay on the ground, and groped for a path; but his hands encountered only fox-holes. All around lay a huge steppe over which no one seemed to have passed. The wanderers made several efforts to get forward, but the landscape grew wilder and more inhospitable.

The philosopher tried to shout, but his voice was lost in vacancy, no one answered; only, some moments later, they heard a faint groaning sound, like the whimpering of a wolf.

“Curse it all! What shall we do?” said the philosopher.

“Why, just stop here, and spend the night in the open air,” answered the theologian. So saying, he felt in his pocket, brought out his timber and steel, and lit his pipe.

But the philosopher could not agree with this proposal; he was not accustomed to sleep till he had first eaten five pounds of bread and five of dripping, and so he now felt an intolerable emptiness in his stomach. Besides, in spite of his cheerful temperament, he was a little afraid of the wolves.

“No, Khalava,” he said, “that won’t do. To lie down like a dog and without any supper! Let us try once more; perhaps we shall find a house, and the consolation of having a glass of brandy to drink before going to sleep.”

At the word “brandy,” the theologian spat on one side and said, “Yes, of course, we cannot remain all night in the open air.”

Continued…

Enjoy!

Source Link:

A short story by Nicolai Vasilievi  Gogol, “The Viv”  http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/61041/

EXTRA!

LEGEND OF THE TENGU PRINCE

— Finally Available on Amazon.com!

http://creativemusingsoflediar.com/2012/04/15/legend-of-the-tengu-prince-finally-available-on-amazon-com/

Synopsis:

Fantasy Action Adventure set in feudal Japan.

During a time of civil war, Karasu Hinata is born the son of a powerful warlord. When he is still a child, his family castle is taken by a rival clan. His father and mother are murdered right before his eyes.

Barely escaping with his life, he is spirited away by the king of the tengu. The shape-shifting raven leads him to the hidden mountain retreat of a sect of mystic warriors. Mountain priests who practice the magic of Shugendo.

Ten years have passed. The time has come for Karasu to leave the mystic’s protective lair and face his demons in the world beyond. But the fiend that haunts his nightmares is also the one that shattered his life. More than a bad dream, it wants him dead.

In Legend of the Tengu Prince, nothing is as it seems. Shape-shifting creatures, both good and evil, populate the magical world of feudal Japan. And a young man will pay the ultimate price for a deadly rival spawned in the mists time. This riveting first volume of a epic fantasy adventure will leave you stunned and begging for more.



Ivan Bilibin 086

Ivan Bilibin 086 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The old woman gave the girl to eat and drink, a portion of all God had given her, and a bed to sleep on, and in the morning when the dawn began to break, she awoke her. “Finist, who flies as the falcon with colored feathers,” she said, “is now in the fiftieth Tsardom of the eightieth land from here. He has recently proposed marriage to a Tsar‘s daughter. Thou mayest, perhaps, reach there in time for the wedding-feast. Take thou this silver spindle; when thou usest it, it will spin thee a thread of pure gold. Thou mayest give it to his wife for a wedding-gift. Go now with God across three times nine lands to the house of my second cousin. I am bad-tempered but she is worse than I. However, speak her fair and she may direct thee further.”

The girl thanked the old woman and bidding her fare well, set out again, though with a heavier heart, on her journey. She walked and walked, whether for a short time or a long time, across green steppe and barren wilderness, until at length, when a second pair of iron shoes were worn through, a second staff broken to pieces and a second stone church-loaf gnawed away, she came one evening, on the edge of a swamp, to a little hut on whose door-step sat a second old woman, sourer than the first.

“Whither goest thou, lovely girl?” asked the dame.

“O Grandmother,” she answered, “grant me thy kindness. Be my hostess and protect me from the dark night. I seek my dear friend, who is called Finist the Falcon, whom my cruel sisters wounded and drove from me.”

“He is a relative of mine,” said the old woman, “but thou wilt have to walk many versts further to find him. He is to marry a Tsar’s daughter and today is her last maiden feast. But enter and rest. The morning is wiser than the evening.”

The old woman put food and drink before her and gave her a place to sleep. Early on the morrow she woke her. “Finist the Falcon,” she said, “lives in the fiftieth land from here. Take with thee this golden hammer and these ten little diamond nails. When thou usest them, the hammer will drive the nails of itself. If thou choosest thou mayest give them to his wife for a wedding-gift. Go now with God to the house of my fourth cousin. I am crabbed but she is more ill-tempered than I. However, greet her with politeness and perhaps she will direct thee further. She lives across three times nine lands, beside a deep river.”

The girl took the golden hammer and the ten little diamond nails, thanked the old woman and went on her way. She walked a long way and she walked a short way, and at last, when the third pair of iron shoes were worn through, and the third iron staff broken to pieces and the third stone church-loaf gnawed away, she came, in a dark wood where the tops of the trees touched the sky, to a deep river and on its hank stood a little hut, on whose door-step sat a third old woman, uglier and sourer than the other two put together.

(Continued… https://fairytalesbylediar.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/russian-fairy-tales-the-feather-of-finist-the-falcon-part-seven/)

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The Feather of Finist the Falcon by Ivan Bilibin”                                                                                                                                                                               http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Bilibin

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Research Links:

“Sur La Lune Fairy Tales:Russian Wonder Tales” http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/russian/russianwondertales/featherfinistfalcon.html



Ivan Bilibin 086

Ivan Bilibin 086 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the dark fell, Finist the Falcon came flying to his love, and the needles pierced his breast and the knives cut his brilliant wings, and although he struggled and beat against it, the window remained closed. “My beautiful dearest,” he cried, “hast thou ceased so soon to love me? Never shalt thou see me again unless thou searchest through three times nine countries, to the thirtieth Tsardom, and thou shalt first wear through three pairs of iron shoes, and break in pieces three iron staves, and gnaw away three holy church-loaves of stone. Only then shalt thou find thy lover, Finist the Falcon!” But though through her sleep she heard these bitter words, still she could not awaken, and at last the wounded Falcon, hearing no reply, shot up angrily into the dark sky and flew away.

In the morning, when she awoke, she saw how the window had been barred with knives set crosswise, and with needles, and how great drops of crimson blood were falling from them, and she began to wring her hands and to weep salt tears. “Surely,” she thought, “my cruel sisters have made my dear love perish!” When she had wept a long time she thought of the bright feather, and ran to the porch and waved it to the right, crying: “Come to me, my own Finist the Falcon!” But he did not appear, and she knew that the charm was broken.

Then she remembered the words she had heard through her sleep, and telling no one, she went to a smithy and bade the smith make her three pairs of iron shoes, and three iron staves, and with these and three church-loaves of stone, she set out across three times nine countries to the thirtieth Tsardom.

She walked and walked, whether for a short time or a long time the telling is easy but the journey is not soon done. She wandered for a day and a night, for a week, for two months and for three. She wore through one pair of the iron shoes, and broke to pieces one of the iron staves, and gnawed away one of the stone church-loaves, when, in the midst of a wood which grew always thicker and darker, she came to a lawn. On the lawn was a little hut on whose door-step sat a sour-faced old woman.

“Whither dost thou hold thy way, beautiful maiden?” asked the old woman.

“O Grandmother,” answered the girl, “I beg for thy kind ness! Be my hostess and cover me from the dark night. I am searching for Finist the swift bright Falcon, who was my friend.”

“Well,” said the dame, “he is a relative of mine; but thou wilt have to cross many lands still to find him. Come in and rest for the night. The morning is wiser than the evening.”

(Continued… https://fairytalesbylediar.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/russian-fairy-tales-the-feather-of-finist-the-falcon-part-six/)

(The text came from: Wheeler, Post, Russian Wonder Tales, New York: The Century Company 1912.)

Enjoy!

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The Feather of Finist the Falcon by Ivan Bilibin”                                                                                                                                                                               http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Bilibin

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Research Links:

“Sur La Lune Fairy Tales:Russian Wonder Tales” http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/russian/russianwondertales/featherfinistfalcon.html



Иван Царевич и Серый Волк

Иван Царевич и Серый Волк (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the elder sisters returned, they said: “What a beauty came today to church! No one could gaze enough at her. Thou, little slattern, shouldst have seen her rich gown! Surely she must have been a Princess from some other Province!”

Now so hastily had she changed her clothes that she had forgotten to take out of her hair a diamond pin, and as they talked her sisters caught sight of it. “What a lovely jewel!” they cried enviously. “Where didst thou get it?” And they would have taken it from her. But she ran to her attic room and hid it in the heart of the scarlet flower, so that though they searched everywhere they could not find it. Then, filled with envy, they went to their father and said: “Sir, our sister hath a secret lover who has given her a diamond ornament, and we doubt not that she will bring shame upon us.” But he would not hear them and bade them look to them selves.

That evening when all went to bed, the girl set the flower on the window-sill, and in a moment Finist the Falcon came flying in and was transformed into the handsome Prince, and they caressed one another and talked together till the dawn began to break.
Now the elder sisters were filled with malice and spite and they listened at the attic door hoping to find where she had hidden the diamond pin, and so heard the voices. They knocked at the door, crying: “With whom dost thou con verse, little sister?”

“It is I talking to myself,” she answered.

“If that is true, unlock thy door,” they said.

Then Finist the Falcon kissed her and bade her farewell, and turning into a falcon, flew out of the window and she unlocked the door.

Her sisters entered and looked all about the room, but there was no one to be seen. They went, however, to their father and said: “Sir, our sister hath a shameless lover who comes at night into her room. Only just now we listened and heard them conversing.” He paid no heed, however, but chided them and bade them better their own manners.

Each night thereafter the spiteful pair stole from their beds to creep to the attic and listen at the door, and each time they heard the sound of the loving talk between their sister and Finist the Falcon. Yet each morning they saw that no stranger was in the room, and at length, certain that whoever entered must do so by the window, they made a cunning plan. One evening they prepared a sweet drink of wine and in it they put a sleeping powder and prevailed on their sister to drink it. As soon as she did so she fell into a deep sleep, and when they had laid her on her bed, they fastened open knives and sharp needles upright on her window-sill and bolted the window.

(Continued… https://fairytalesbylediar.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/russian-fairy-tales-the-feather-of-finist-the-falcon-part-five/)

(The text came from: Wheeler, Post, Russian Wonder Tales, New York: The Century Company 1912.)

Enjoy!

Image Links:

The Feather of Finist the Falcon by Ivan Bilibin”                                                                                                                                                                               http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Bilibin

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Research Links:

“Sur La Lune Fairy Tales:Russian Wonder Tales” http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/russian/russianwondertales/featherfinistfalcon.html



Иван Царевич и Серый Волк

Иван Царевич и Серый Волк (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Sorrow not, little father,” said she. “Thou hast done my desire, and if Finist the Falcon will woo me then will I wed him.” And she took out the scarlet flower and caressed it, and held it close to her heart.

When night came the merchant kissed his daughters, made over them the sign of the cross and sent them each to her bed. The youngest locked herself in her room in the attic, took the little flower from its box, and setting it on the window-sill, began to smell it and kiss it and look into the dark blue sky, when suddenly in through the window came flying a swift, beautiful falcon with colored feathers. It lit upon the floor and immediately was transformed into a young Prince, so handsome that it could not be told in speech nor written in a tale.

The Prince soothed her fright and caressed her with sweet and tender words so that she began to love him with such a joyful heart that one knows not how to tell it. They talked
-who can tell of what?-and the whole night passed as swiftly as an hour in the daytime. When the day began to break, Finist the Falcon said to her: “Each evening when thou dost set the scarlet flower in the window I will come flying to thee. Tonight, ere I fly away as a falcon, take one feather from my wing. If thou hast need of anything, go to the steps under the porch and wave it on thy right side and whatsoever things thy soul desireth, they shall be thine. And when thou hast no longer need of them, wave the feather on thy left side.” Then he kissed her and bade her farewell, and turned into a falcon with colored feathers. She plucked a single bright feather from his wing and the bird flew out of the window and was gone.

The next day was Sunday and the elder sisters began to dress in their finery to go to church. “What wilt thou wear, little fool?” they said to the other. “But for thy scarlet flower thou mightst have had a new gown, instead of disgracing us by thy appearance.”

“Never mind,” she said; “I can pray also here at home.” And after they were gone she sat down at her attic window watching the finely dressed people going to Mass. When the street was empty, she went to the steps under the porch and waved the bright feather to the right side, and instantly there appeared a crystal carriage with high-bred horses harnessed to it, coachmen and footmen in gold livery, and a gown embroidered in all kinds of precious stones. She dressed herself in a moment, sat down in the carriage, and away it went, swift as the wind, to the church.

When she entered, so beautiful she was that all the people turned to look at her. “Some high-born Princess has come!” they whispered to each other; and in her splendid gown and head-dress even her two sisters did not recognize her as the one they had left in her little attic room. As soon as the choir began to sing the Magnificat she left the church, entered the crystal carriage and drove off so swiftly that when the people flocked out to stare there was no trace of her to be seen. As soon as she reached home she took off the splendid gown and put on her own, went to the porch, waved the bright feather to the left side and the carriage and horses, the coachmen in livery and the splendid gown disappeared, and she sat down again at her attic window.

(Continued… https://fairytalesbylediar.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/russian-fairy-tales-the-feather-of-finist-the-falcon-part-four/)

(The text came from: Wheeler, Post, Russian Wonder Tales, New York: The Century Company 1912.)

Enjoy!

Image Links:

The Feather of Finist the Falcon by Ivan Bilibin”                                                                                                                                                                               http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Bilibin

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Research Links:

“Sur La Lune Fairy Tales:Russian Wonder Tales” http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/russian/russianwondertales/featherfinistfalcon.html



The merchant set out to the Fair, and he purchased the pair of satin shoes and the silken petticoat, and then he bethought himself of the scarlet flower and went all about inquiring for one. But search as he might, he could find not a single blossom of that color in the whole town, and drove home sorrowful that he must disappoint his youngest daughter for the third time.

And as he rode along wondering where he might find the flower, he met by the roadside in the forest a little old man whom he had never seen, with a hooked nose, one eye, and a face covered with a golden beard like moss, who carried on his back a box.

“What dost thou carry, old man?” he asked.

“In my box,” answered the old man, “is a little scarlet flower which I am keeping for a present to the maiden who is to marry my son, Finist the Falcon.”

“I do not know thy son, old man,” said the merchant, “nor yet the maiden whom he is to marry. But a scarlet blossom is no great thing. Come, sell it to me, and with the money thou mayest buy a more suitable gift for the bridal.”

“Nay,” replied the little old man. “It has no price, for wherever it goeth there goeth the love of my son, and I have sworn it shall be his wife’s.”

The merchant argued and persuaded, for now that he had found the flower he was loath to go home without it, and ended by offering in exchange for it both the satin shoes and the silken petticoat, till at length the little old man said: “Thou canst have the scarlet flower for thy daughter only on condition that she weds my son, Finist the Falcon.”

The merchant thought a moment. Not to bring the flower would grieve his daughter, yet as the price of it he must promise to wed her to a stranger.

“Well, old man,” he said, “give me the flower, and if my daughter will take thy son, he shall have her.”

“Have no fear,” said the little old man. “Whom my son woos, her will he wed!” and giving the box to the other, he instantly vanished.

The merchant, greatly disturbed at his sudden disappearance, hurried home, where his three daughters came out to greet him. He gave to the eldest the satin shoes and to the second the silken petticoat, and to see them they clapped their hands for delight. Then he gave to his youngest daughter the little box and said: “Here is thy scarlet flower, my daughter, but as for me, I take no joy of it, for I had it of a stranger, though it was not for sale, and in return for it I have promised that thou shalt wed his son, Finist the Falcon.”

(Continued… https://fairytalesbylediar.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/russian-fairy-tales-the-feather-of-finist-the-falcon-part-three/)

Enjoy!

Image Links:

The Feather of Finist the Falcon by Ivan Bilibin”                                                                                                                                                                               http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Bilibin

More Images of Ivan Bilibin’s art:                                                                                                                                                                                                                         https://www.google.com/search?q=ivan+bilibin+finist+the+falcon+images&hl=en&prmd=imvnso&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=1R6AT4uFBMiG2gX_v82EBw&sqi=2&ved=0CCMQsAQ&biw=1600&bih=775

Research Links:

“Sur La Lune Fairy Tales:Russian Wonder Tales”                                                                               http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/russian/russianwondertales/featherfinistfalcon.html

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