Ledia Runnels' "World of Fantasy Fiction"

Nikolai Gogol

Nikolai Gogol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(The “Viy” is a monstrous creation of popular fancy. It is the name which the inhabitants of Little Russia give to the king of the gnomes, whose eyelashes reach to the ground. The following story is a specimen of such folk-lore.)


As soon as the clear seminary bell began sounding in Kieff in the morning, the pupils would come flocking from all parts of the town. The students of grammar, rhetoric, philosophy, and theology hastened with their books under their arms over the streets.

The “grammarians” were still mere boys. On the way they pushed against each other and quarrelled with shrill voices. Nearly all of them wore torn or dirty clothes, and their pockets were always crammed with all kinds of things–push-bones, pipes made of pens, remains of confectionery, and sometimes even young sparrows. The latter would sometimes begin to chirp in the midst of deep silence in the school, and bring down on their possessors severe canings and thrashings.

The “rhetoricians” walked in a more orderly way. Their clothes were generally untorn, but on the other hand their faces were often strangely decorated; one had a black eye, and the lips of another resembled a single blister, etc. These spoke to each other in tenor voices.

The “philosophers” talked in a tone an octave lower; in their pockets they only had fragments of tobacco, never whole cakes of it; for what they could get hold of, they used at once. They smelt so strongly of tobacco and brandy, that a workman passing by them would often remain standing and sniffing with his nose in the air, like a hound.

About this time of day the market-place was generally full of bustle, and the market women, selling rolls, cakes, and honey-tarts, plucked the sleeves of those who wore coats of fine cloth or cotton.

“Young sir! Young sir! Here! Here!” they cried from all sides. “Rolls and cakes and tasty tarts, very delicious! I have baked them myself!”

Another drew something long and crooked out of her basket and cried, “Here is a sausage, young sir! Buy a sausage!”

“Don’t buy anything from her!” cried a rival. “See how greasy she is, and what a dirty nose and hands she has!”

But the market women carefully avoided appealing to the philosophers and theologians, for these only took handfuls of eatables merely to taste them.

Arrived at the seminary, the whole crowd of students dispersed into the low, large class-rooms with small windows, broad doors, and blackened benches. Suddenly they were filled with a many-toned murmur. The teachers heard the pupils’ lessons repeated, some in shrill and others in deep voices which sounded like a distant booming. While the lessons were being said, the teachers kept a sharp eye open to see whether pieces of cake or other dainties were protruding from their pupils’ pockets; if so, they were promptly confiscated.

Continued… https://fairytalesbylediar.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/the-viy-by-nikolai-vasilievi-gogol-part-two/


Source Link:

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



— Finally Available on Amazon.com!



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.

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/)


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

Related articles

I am doing research for a new book that takes place in Kiev, Ukraine. In my search I came across these awesome Russian fairy tales that I will share each day with you. Find the first part of the second story below:

Marya Morevna

Once a long time ago there was a kingdom ruled by a young tsar named Ivan. He had three sisters, Maria, Olga and Anna. Their father, just before he died, asked Ivan to take good care of them.Once when Ivan was walking in the garden with his sister Maria, there was a clap of thunder and a falcon appeared out of the sky. He landed, turned into a handsome young prince, and asked Maria’s hand in marriage. Ivan gave his blessing and the two were married.The same thing happened with his other two sisters: Olga married an eagle and Anna married a raven, and all three girls went away to their husbands’ kingdoms.One day Tsar Ivan decided to visit his sisters. On the way he saw the wonderful palaceof a beautiful warrior-princess named Marya Morevna. He stayed there as a guest for several days.  The two fell in love with each other and married.

One morning Marya Morevna went to fight with her enemies. She gave him the keys to all the rooms in her palace, but warned him, “Don’t go to the dark room in the cellar.” But after she left, his curiosity got the better of him and he unlocked the door.

Inside, he saw Koshchey the Deathless chained to the wall. Koshchey begged him, “Give me some water, please. I am so thirsty.”

The kind Tsar Ivan felt sorry for him and gave him three pails of water. Koshchey became strong, broke his heavy chains and laughed, “Thank you, Prince Ivan. But from now on you will not see your beloved Marya Morevna any more.”

Koshchey flew away like a storm and Tsar Ivan wept.Ivan was determined to find his beloved wife. On his journey he visited his sister Maria and her husband the hawk and told them everything that had happened.

The hawk said, “It will be very difficult to find Marya Morevna and take her from Koshchey. Give us your silver spoon. We will look at the spoon and think of you. If it turns black, we will know something terrible has happened.”

After that Ivan visited his sister Olga and the eagle. He left them his silver fork.

Ivan then went to the home of his sister Anna and the raven and gave them his silver knife. Tsar Ivan journeyed for a year and a day and at last came to the palace of Koshchey, who was away from home.

Marya Morevna was very happy to see Prince Ivan. He said, “I am so sorry that I didn’t listen to you and that I set Koshchey free. But now I want you to go with me; maybe he can’t overtake us.”

But Koschey did overtake them and cut Ivan into small pieces. Koshchey took Marya Morevna back to his palace.At the same time Ivan’s brothers-in-law saw that his spoon, fork and knife had turned black and they knew something terrible had happened to Tsar Ivan.

The hawk, eagle and raven found him and revived him with the Water of Life. He thanked them and went away in search of Marya Morevna again.

(Continued…  https://fairytalesbylediar.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/russian-fairy-tales-marya-morevna-part-two/)

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



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/

I am doing research for a new book that takes place in Kiev, Ukraine. In my search I came across these awesome Russian fairy tales that I will share each day with you. Find the first part of the first story below:

Ilya Muromets

Ilya Muromets is like Lancelot, a legendary figure who was the greatest knight of the court and most represented the values it stood for. Legends about Muromets might have been created during the difficult period when Russia was under the Tatar yoke and ancient cities had to fight for their independence. Muromets is the subject of many ancient song-legends. Here is an interpretation of several stories.

According to one legend, Ilya Muromets, the son of a peasant family in the town of Murom(that’s where his name came from), was born a cripple who could not walk. His family left him lying on the great stove in their house every day when they went out to work.

One day when Ilya was alone, several men in old rags came to the house. “Good day, Ilya Muromets, good day, famous knight. You are the protector of the Russian land and invincible victor over enemies.”

Ilya replied to them gloomily: “Whom do you call a knight? Me, a cripple? I cannot walk, people laugh at me.”

The men persuaded him to stand up, chanting: “Get up, Ilya Muromets, joy to your eager heart, straighten your strong shoulders, stretch your quick legs.”

Suddenly Ilya became joyful and stood up. And, Oh! A miracle! He could walk, jump, dance and felt great power surge through his body. He was healed.

Meanwhile his elderly parents were trying to take out tree roots and stumps for a new field. They worked very hard, but were not successful. All of a sudden they heard a great noise, the ground shook, the forest cracked. It was Ilya who came to help them and did so very quickly.

The parents did not believe their eyes, “Is it you, dear son? Who gave you the strength and healed you?”

He replied: “Good day, my dear parents, several guests visited me today and gave me power beyond belief.”

Ilya chose a strong foal named Karushka and took good care of him, walked him, washed him and said to him, “You will be a knight’s horse and your duty will be difficult.”

In the smithy several masters hammered arms and armor for the knight Ilya. They made chain mail, a steel sword, a big lance and a purple shield. They asked him where he would go.

“My path is to the city of Kiev,” Ilya answered and after his equipment was ready he rode to Kiev.Enjoy!


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


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