Ledia Runnels' "World of Fantasy Fiction"











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.

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The Tsaritsa and her son afloat in the barrel,...

The Tsaritsa and her son afloat in the barrel, by Bilibin, corresponds to the Introduction to Act 2, and the second movement of Rimsky-Korsakov's suite from the opera. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the messenger brought him this message, the Tsar‘s anger waxed hot. He ordered the puppies to be thrown into the seaocean, and would have slain his wife but for his great love. However, after his anger had softened, he said to him self: “This second fault also I will pass over. Perchance even yet she will bear me sons fit for a Tsar.” And, returning to his capital, he lived happily with her as before.

It happened at length that the Tsar went to a distant Tsardom to pay a visit of ceremony, and this time he set a strong guard about the Palace, with strict command to allow no one whatever to go in or out. When he had been absent six months, two more babes were born to the Tsaritsa-sons of a loveliness that is known only in a tale, with legs golden to the knee, arms silver to the elbow, and with little stars in their hair. And the Tsaritsa, deeming herself safe by reason of the guard about the Palace, bade them peal all the bells for joy.

Hearing the rejoicing, the sisters guessed what had occurred, and sent at once for the Baba Yaga, who by a witch’s charm caused a deep sleep to fall upon all the guardsmen so that each slumbered where he stood, and she herself entered the Palace. When the Tsaritsa saw her, however, she hid one of the babes, whom she had named Guidon, in her sleeve, so that the Baba Yaga, though she carried away the other, did not see it. In place of the babe, the old witch left a piece of wood, and the sisters, as before, bribed the attendants, and sent a messenger to the Tsar to say: “Thy Tsaritsa, our sister, who boasted that she would bear thee sons of gold and silver, hath borne thee now neither son nor daughter, neither is it a frog nor a snake, but a little log of wood.”

When the Tsar heard this message, he well-nigh lost his senses in the violence of his rage. After his anger had some what subsided, he ordered the log of wood to be thrown into the sea-ocean, and sent a letter to his Prime Minister, bidding him call together his Boyars and Princes of all the Realm to consider the matter on his return.

The messenger rode back with the royal letter, but the two wicked sisters met him on his way, and by stealth stole the letter from his pocket and put in its place another, which read: “I, Tsar Saltan, bid my Boyars without delay to seize the Tsaritsa, put her into a chest bound with iron, and cast it into the deepest abyss of the sea-ocean.”

(Continued… https://fairytalesbylediar.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/the-tale-of-tsar-saltan-part-four/)

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.



It befell when the Tsar had been three months absent that three babes were born to his Tsaritsa-such lovely little sons that their like cannot be told or described, but can only be imagined, and each had legs golden to the knee, arms silver to the elbow, and little stars in his hair set close together. And Tsaritsa Marfa sent to her husband a fleet messenger to tell him of their birth.

Her sisters, however, kept back the messenger and sent another in his place with this message: “Thy Tsaritsa, our sister, who boasted that she would bear thee Princes of gold and silver, hath borne thee now neither sons nor daughters, but instead, three wretched little kittens.”

Then they bribed the nurses and attending women, took from the Tsaritsa, while she slept, the three boy babies, and put in their jeweled cradles three kittens. As for the beautiful children, they gave them to a Baba Yaga [Witch Grandmother], and the cruel old witch put them into an underground room, in a forest, under a crooked oak tree, whose entrance was closed by a great flat stone.

When the Tsar heard the words of the messenger, he was greatly angered. He sent orders to throw the kittens into the sea-ocean, and was minded also to kill his wife. This, however, he could not bear to do, so much did he love her. “I will forgive this fault,” he said to himself. “Perchance she may yet give me sons fit for a Tsar.”

He returned at length to his Tsardom, and lived with his wife happily as before, till there was held a great hunt on the open steppe [plain], and he rode away to kill wild geese and swans. And scarce had he been gone three days, when two more sons were born to his wife, the Tsaritsa Marfa-such lovely babes that one could not look sufficiently at them- and each had legs golden to the knee, arms silver to the elbow, and little stars in his hair clustering close together.

The Tsaritsa sent in haste for a nurse, and the servant, as it happened, met on his way the old witch. “Where dost thou haste so fast?” she asked him.

“Not far,” he replied.

“Tell me instantly,” said the Baba Yaga, grinding her teeth, “or it will be the worse for thee!”

“Well,” said the servant, “if thou must know, I go to fetch a nurse to the Palace, for two hero-sons have just been born to our mistress, the Tsaritsa.”

“Take me as nurse,” commanded the witch.

“That I dare not,” the servant replied, “lest the Tsar, on his return, strike my head from off my shoulders.”

“Obey me,” snarled the Baba Yaga, “or meet a worse fate this instant!”

The servant, trembling for his life, returned with the old witch, who, as soon as she came in to the Tsaritsa Marfa, took from her, while she slept, the two lovely babes, put in their place under the sable coverlet two blind puppies, and carried the children to the underground room in the forest. Having done this, she told the two sisters, who, hastening to the Palace, bribed the serving-women and despatched a messenger to the Tsar to say: “Our sister, thy Tsaritsa, who boasted that she would bear thee Tsarevitches of silver and gold, hath borne thee now neither sons nor daughters, but instead two miserable little puppies.”

(Continued… https://fairytalesbylediar.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/the-tale-of-tsar-saltan-part-three/)

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.



In ancient days, long before our time, in a certain Tsardom of a realm far beyond the blue sea-ocean, there was a Tsar, young in years, named Saltan, who was so hand some and so clever that songs were sung and tales told of him, and beautiful maidens everywhere dreamt of him at night. Minded to rule his Tsardom well, he used to wander forth at dusk in all four directions of his capital, in order to see and hear, and thus he perceived much good and much evil and saw many strange sights. One evening, as he passed the house of a rich merchant, he saw through the window three lovely damsels, the merchant’s daughters, sitting at their needlework, and drawing near he overheard their conversation.

The eldest said: “If the Tsar were to wed me, I would grind flour so fine that the like of the bread I would bake from it could not be found in the whole world.”

The Tsar, hearing, thought: “That would be good bread truly; however, the bread I eat now is not so bad.”

The second said: “If the Tsar were to wed me, I would weave for him a kaftan [Great-Coat] of gold and silver thread, so that he would shine like the Fire Bird.”

“That would be good weaving, indeed,” thought the Tsar; “though little enough need have I for such a splendid coat.”

Then the youngest daughter, who was named Marfa, said: “As for me, if the Little Father Tsar became my husband, I know how neither to spin nor to weave, but I would bear him seven hero-sons like bright falcons, that should be the comeliest in his Tsardom; and their legs should be golden to the knee and their arms silver to the elbow, and in their hair should be little stars.”

Tsar Saltan, listening, was well pleased with this speech. “Glad would I be to be the father of seven such sons,” he said to himself; and returning to his Palace, he summoned his Boyars [Noblemen] and Court Ministers, and despatched them to the house of the merchant to bring his youngest daughter, whom he purposed to make his Tsaritsa. He ordered a great festival and spread tables of oak, at which all the folk of the Tsardom ate, drank and made merry.

On the third day he and the merchant’s daughter were married, and slept on an ivory bed, and began to live together, soul with soul, in all joy and contentment. The two elder daughters of the merchant, however, were envious; one sulked over her oven and the other wept over her loom, and both hated their sister because the Tsar had preferred her over them.

Now there was war in those days and whether after a long time or a short time, it became necessary for Tsar. Saltan to take the field. Tsaritsa Marfa wept long and would not be comforted; so before he departed he sent for her two sisters to remain with her until his return. And they, although they hated their sister, pretending great love for her, came at once to the Palace. So the Tsar mounted his good horse and bid ding his wife care for herself for his sake, rode away to the fight.

(Continued…  https://fairytalesbylediar.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/the-tale-of-tsar-saltan-part-two/)

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.



(Here is the second half of the Russian fairy tale entitled: Marya Morevna)

When he came again to Koshchey‘s palace he found his beloved Marya Morevna alone again and asked her, “Could you ask Koshchey where he got such wonderfully fast horse?”

That night she asked Koschey about the horse. He told her, “Behind the Fire River lives Baba Yaga. She has many good horses. Once I worked as a herdsman for her and she gave me this horse as a present.”

The next day, Prince Ivan decided to go to Baba Yaga and get a horse even better than Koshchey’s. He walked for a long time and became very hungry. All of a sudden he saw a bird with nestlings. He drew an arrow to shoot them for his meal.

But the mother bird begged him, “Don’t touch my children, Tsar Ivan. I could be helpful to you.”

Ivan had a kind heart and did not kill the small birds. Later in the woods he saw a beehive. But the bees begged him not to take their honey.

Then Ivan saw a lioness and her cub. “This is a good dinner,” he thought, aiming his arrow. But the lioness begged him, “Oh, Tsar Ivan, please, don’t kill my baby. I could be useful for you in the future.”

At last, tired and very hungry, Ivan came to the house of Baba Yaga and asked to work for her. She told him, “You can be my herdsman for three days. If you bring all my horses back safely at the end of the day, I will give you the pick of my horses. But if a single horse is missing, I’ll kill you, Ivan.”

The next morning when Ivan opened the stable door, all the horses ran away and disappeared. He started weeping and just lay down to sleep, since there was nothing he could do.

At sunset the bird whose nestling he had spared awakened him, saying, “Get up, Tsar Ivan, all your horses are back in the stable!”

When Baba Yaga found out, she cursed at her horses, yelling, “Why did you come home?”

They answered, “We were frightened back here. All the birds from the whole world came and pecked us!”

The next day the lioness helped Ivan round the horses up when they ran away. Baba Yaga was more furious than before at the horses. “Why did you come home this time?”

“Ah, we were so frightened. Wild animals from around the world came and chased us.”

On the third day the bees helped Ivan and one old bee said, “Do not go back to Baba Yaga. Go to the stable, take a scruffy small horse and run away.” He did everything as the bee recommended.

In the morning Baba Yaga discovered the loss and ran after Prince Ivan, but fell down into the Fire River and drowned. Ivan took good care of the small horse and before long it turned into a wonderful, strong horse.

Ivan returned to Koshchey’s house and took Marya Morevna away. Koshchey did his best to overtake them. But Ivan’s horse vanquished Koshchey’s.

Marya Morevna and Ivan visited his brothers-in-law and then returned home. Everybody lived happily ever after.

(If you like what you read here, you might also enjoy “Creative Musings” http://creativemusingsoflediar.com/, another blog of creative writing.)

Enjoy!

Links:

Russian Folklore” http://stpetersburg-guide.com/folk/ilya.shtml

“One of Kyives Oldest Tress” http://explorationart.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/one-of-kyives-oldest-trees/



et cetera