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Vasily Buslaev

T.Milushina. "Vasily Buslayev"

T.Milushina. "Vasily Buslyaev"
Box. 1977 Kholui

    In the rich trading city of Novgorod lived Buslay, a rich man who lived an honourable and peaceful life. When he was 90 his wife Amelfa Timofeyevna bore him a son whom he named Vasili. The father died before the boy was seven years old. The mother had her son taught by a master to read, write, and sing very well, but when he weas 12 years old Vasili had had enough of education, and developed to become Novgorod's strongest and cruel street-fighter. Furious citizens regularly came to visit his mother. She urged him to assemble a band of soldiers to fight the unbelievers as his father had done, instead of doing evil.
    Vasili interpreted his mother's advice in his own way. He wrote down on strips of paper: "Anyone who wishes to eat and drink as much as he likes, come to me. Vasili Buslayev." He folded the strips of papers into arrows and shot them into the town. Then he took a large number of barrels of wine from his father's stores, filled up a beaker with the contents of a bucket and a half, and placed it outside. It did not take long for the guests to arrive. Vasili took hold of a club weighing 12 pud and said: "Anyone who can lift this beaker with one hand, drain it in one gulp, and withstand a blow of my club on his head without falling over can be my friend and may come in to celebrate with me." Everyone left discouraged, except for the latecomer Kostya Novotorzianien who managed to lift the beaker with one hand, drained it in one gulp, repeated this once again, and bore Vasili's blow on his head without falling over, merely saying: "I will just empty a third beaker."
    The two lads entered the house and made friends. Then, through the window, they saw Potanya the Cripple approaching. He also achieved and endured what Kostya had achieved and endured. The next few days another 27 strong lads achieved and endured the same. Celebrating day after day, they formed Vasili's band of men. The hero continued to feed and clothe them generously. The people of Novgorod wondered where it would all lead.
    During a meeting about this matter, a stranger struck his staff on the ground three times and suggested: "Let us too give a feast and not invite Vasili and his band." Of course, he and his followers will come anyway. Then we will offer the leader a flagon of green wine with the words: "Anyone who is a friend of Great Novgorod, drain this flagon. If he accepts it, he obviously has no evil intentions towards us. If he refuses it, we should watch out."
    They all agreed, and a great feast was prepared. Vasili and his band arrived uninvited, exactly as the stranger had predicted. The aggressive young fighter was offered a flagon of green wine with the words "For anyone who is a friend of the city." Vasili accepted the beaker and called out, "Long live Novgorod." He drank the wine in a single gulp, and everyone was relieved. However, befuddled by the alcohol, he became aggressive later in the evening and threatened: "Whatever you do, you are, and will always be fools. You will all be in my power and pay tribute to me."
    The furious citizens doubted this. Then Vasili suggested holding a duel on the bridge over the Volchov between him and his band, on the one side, and an army of townspeople, on the other. If the latter won, they could take his head, but if he won, everything and everyone in Novgorod would belong to him. The drunken Vasili went home and boasted about this bet to his mother. He predicted: "Tomorrow will prove to all those unbelievers in Novgorod that Vasili Buslayev is the boss over everyone." His mother locked him up.
    The next morning Vasili's band awaited their leader in vain, and then decided to fight the townspeople without him anyway. The band was heavily outnumbered and in danger of losing, but Amelfa Timofeyevna's housekeeper, who was doing the washing in the Volchov, saw what was happening to the band. She ran back home and freed Vasili from his bedroom. Hastily the hulk grabbed the axle of a cart, ran to the bridge over the Volchov and defeated the army of Novgorod. He went berserk to such an extent that his godfather, the kalika Ondronich Piligrimitch was called from the Cyrille abbey nearby to negotiate. Perhaps Vasili would sign a peace treaty in return for a dish of pearls, a dish of silver, and a dish of gold. The monk was refused. Finally Vasili's mother was called and she persuaded her son to accept peace. Novgorod accepted Vasili Buslayev as mayor.

V.Khodov "Bylines"

V.Khodov "Bylines"
Box. 1963   Kholui

    Travelling down the great rivers of Russia, Vasili and his band subjugated the Finns, the Mongols and most of the people around the Caspian Sea. They returned after a victorious campaign lasting many years. With Kostya Novotorzianien at the rudder, and Potanya and Foma at the bows, their ship entered the port of Novgorod via Lake Ilmen and the Volchov. Vasili looked grave. He set foot on land and went straight to his old mother. He wished to do penance for all his former violent acts, even if they sometimes served a good purpose.
    He announced: "My next trip will first lead to the grave of the Lord and then to the Jordan to cleanse me of all my sins. Finally I will climb Mount Tabor to gain an insight into what must happen both to me and to Novgorod." Obviously Amelfa Timofeyevna gave her blessing for this excellent plan. She even predicted that the earth would no longer tolerate her son if he continued to plunder and murder.
    The next day Vasili and his band sailed away from the port of Novgorod to Jerusalem. For a month they saw no one, for everyone fled from them. Then sails appeared on the horizon; they appeared to belong to a pair of trading ships. Vasili sailed alongside and informed the frightened merchants that he was no longer a robber. Could they show him the shortest route to Jerusalem? The merchants pointed out that there was a route across the Caspian Sea that only took seven weeks, but they added: "That sea was recently blockaded. Robbers have occupied the Cumin Island. We advise you to take the detour through the western seas, which takes a year and a half."
    Vasili did not feel like this at all. Once again he allowed his temper to get the better of him, he sailed to the largest landlocked sea in the world, and soon landed on Cumin Island. There he again challenged the robbers to tell him the shortest possible route to Jerusalem. They were rather intimidated, and decided not to overpower the colossus and his helpers straightaway. They decided instead to subject Vasili to a test. If he was able to drain a flagon of wine containing a bucket and a half in one gulp after raising it to his lips with one hand, and if he was able to endure a blow to the head with a club of 10 poed without falling down, they would send a pilot along with him.
    However Vasili succeeded and endured, all this without difficulty. After the blow with the club he mocked: "Have I been stung by a mosquito?"
    After a journey of seven weeks with the pilot, the ship reached Mount Tabor. They moored, and climbed the mountain. Halfway to the top Vasili stumbled on a skull. He cried out: "Speak, you desiccated death's head. Are you the head of a scoundrel, a robber, a Tartar or a Christian?" In his conceited way he kicked it right into the clouds. When it fell back to earth, the skull lamented: "Why did you do that, Vasili Buslayevich? I am the head of a Christian crusader, braver than you. Because of the dishonourable way you have treated me, your head will soon fall on this spot and be covered in dust."
    Vasili jeered at the skull, and climbed to the top of the Tabor with his band of men. He then climbed down again and hastened to Jerusalem. In the cathedral in that city he had a Mass sung for himself and for his old mother, prayed for forgiveness for all his former sins, and gave generous gifts to the priests. Then he went to the Jordan to bathe with his 29 followers. Vasili bathed naked. An old woman saw him and called out: "Why are you bathing naked, Vasili Buslayev? Only our Lord Jesus Christ could do that when he was baptized by John the Baptist. Oh brave band of men, know that you will soon lose your leader."
    Suddenly filled with fearful premonitions, Vasili led his men back to Mount Tabor so that they could all pray for forgiveness for his mockery of the skull. Where the skull had been, the hero now found a rock 40 vadem long and 20 vadem wide, with the following words hewn into it: "Anyone who has the courage to jump over me will not stand up alive." Once again Vasili felt challenged. He jumped, stumbled and hit his head against the ground. Dying, he sent his band of men back to his mother with the request not to spend any money in his memory. His friends buried him, sailed back to Novgorod, and told Amelfa Timofeyevna of the death of her son. She gave all her possessions away to monasteries so that the priests would pray incessantly for the peace of Vasili's soul.

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Message of the site creator

uslay lived and didn't grow old,
Having lived, Buslay passed away.
Buslay's dear child remained,
His dear beloved child,
The young Vasily Buslayevich.
Vasily started going out on the street,
His jokes were no laughing matter:
He'd grab someone's arm - the arm would come off
He'd grab someone's leg - the leg would come off,
And whoever he struck on the back,
That one would stoop when he walked.
And the men of Novgorod spoke:
"Hail to you, Vasily Buslayyevich!
With your young man's boldness
You'll make the Volkhov River turn sour."
Vasily went out into the wide streets,
He came home cheerless and joyless,
And his devoted mother met him,
The honorable widow, Avdotya Vasilyevna:
"Hail to you, my dear child,
My dear beloved child,
Young Vasily Buslayyevich!
Why are you coming home so cheerless and so joyless?
Did someone on the street insult you?"
"No one on the street insulted me.
When I grab someone by the arm - the arm comes off,
When I grab someone by the leg - the leg comes off
And whoever I strike on the back,
That one will stoop when he walks.
And the men of Novgorod said
That with my young man's boldness
I'd make the Volkhov River turn sour."
And the mother spoke these words:
"Hail to you, Vasily Buslayyevich!
Choose a brave druzhina for yourself,
So that no one in Novgorod will insult you."

nd Vasily filled a chalice with green wine,
A chalice measuring a bucket and a half.
He put the chalice in the middle of the courtyard,
And he uttered these words over the chalice:
"Whoever takes this chalice with one hand
And drinks this chalice in one draught
Will belong to my brave druzhina!"
And he sat on a chair with leather thongs
And quickly wrote letters in cursive.
In the letters Vasily wrote these words:
"Vasily is calling and inviting you to a feast of honor"
He tied the letters to arrows,
And he shot the arrows around Novgorod.
And the men of Novgorod gathered in bunches,
They gathered in bunches and in crowds,
And they went to Vasily's feast of honor.
And they were in Vasily's wide courtyard,
And they spoke these words themselves:
"Hail to you, Vasily Buslayyevich!
Now that we've come to your courtyard,
We'll eat up all your food,
And we'll drink up all your drinks,
We'll take away your colorful clothing,
We'll drag away your red gold."
He didn't like these words.
Vasily rushed to the wide courtyard,
Vasily grabbed his scarlet club,
And Vasily walked around the courtyard,
And he swung his club.
Wherever he swung - a street would appear,
Wherever he swung again - a lane would appear.
The men of Novgorod were lying in bunches,
They were lying in bunches and in crowds,
As though bad weather had struck the men down.
And Vasily entered his gold-topped palace,
Soon someone came, a new one came
To Vasily in his wide courtyard.
Kostya Novotorzhanin approached
The goblet of green wine,
And he took the goblet with one hand,
He drank the goblet in one draught.
Vasily rushed from the new vestibule,
Vasily grabbed his scarlet club.
He struck Kostya on the back,
Kostya stood without flinching,
The curls on his reckless head hadn't budged.
"Hail to you, Kostya Novotorzhanin!
Be my brave friend,
Enter my white-stone palace..."

asily went to the River Jordan,
Vasily took off his colorful clothing,
He went into the River Jordan.
An old and aged woman came,
She spoke these words herself:
"Hail to you, Vasily, Buslay's son!
People here don't bathe in the River Jordan,
They only wash themselves in the
River Jordan - Jesus Christ
Himself bathed in the River Jordan.
Vasily, you won't return to Holy Russia,
You won't see your own dear mother again,
The honorable widow, Amelfa Timofeyevna."
Vasily spat and uttered a spell:
"You were sleeping and saw your own fate in a dream."
The old and aged woman spoke:
"I was sleeping, and I saw you in a dream."
Vasily came out of the River Jordan,
Vasily put on his colorful clothing,
Vasily set out for his scarlet ship,
Vasily boarded his scarlet ship,
With all his brave druzhina,
They pulled up the oaken gangplank,
They stowed the gangplank along the deck of the ship,
They weighed the steel anchors,
They raised the thin canvas sails
They set out sailing for their tsardom.
Whether they sailed for a long or a short time,
They approached the Saracen Mountain,
Vasily came on deck of the scarlet ship,
He glanced and looked in all directions,
When Vasily saw the miraculous cross,
Vasily spoke these words:
"Hail to you, my brave druzhina!
Brothers, let's disembark for the steep mountain,
Let's pray to the miraculous cross and to God."
All his brave druzhina didn't disobey him,
They lowered the thin canvas sails,
They cast the steel anchors,
They set out, the brothers, for the steep mountain.
They went to the steep mountain,
They approached the steep mountain,
They couldn't find the miraculous cross,
They found a gray grieving stone,
The stone was thirty elbows in width,
The stone was forty elbows in length,
The stone was three elbows in height.
Vasily, Buslay's son, then spoke:
"Hail to you, my brave druzhina!
Let's jump across the stone,
Let's jump forward and then jump back.
One of us, Potanya, is small,
Potanya is small and lame,
He can jump forward but can't jump back."
They jumped across the stone,
They jumped forward and jumped back.
Vasily, Buslay's son, then spoke:
"That's no honor or praise for a youth,
That's no merit for a bogatyr.
Let's jump the length of the stone,
Let's jump forward and then jump back.
One of us, Potanya, is lame,
He can jump forward but can't jump back."
They jumped the length of the stone,
They jumped forward and jumped back.
Vasily, Buslay's son, then jumped,
But Vasily fell on his white chest,
He fell and crushed his white chest,
Vasily's tongue still moved in his head:
"Hail to you, my brave druzhina!
Please make me a coffin of white oak,
Find the dry human bone,
Lay the bone with me in a single coffin,
In a single coffin, on the right side..."
At that time Vasily's mother,
The honorable widow, Amelfa Timofeyevna,
Was waiting for Vasily Buslayevich,
She was looking through a spyglass.
The scarlet ship was sailing from beyond the sea,
The ship was not what it was
Before and not what it was of old,
There was no pennant on the ship,
There were no bright eyes on the ship,
There were no black brows on the ship.
Amelfa Timofeyevna wept,
She wept bitter tears.
"It's obvious there's no master on the ship,
No young Vasily Buslayevich."
Vasily's mother set off walking,
The honorable widow, Amelfa Timofeyevna,
She went to God's church
To hold an honorable requiem
For the young Vasily Buslayevich.