A.Zinin. "The Marvellous Fish-Whale"
Sculpture. 194. Bogorodskoe
Well, Ivan rode off to bring
Back the Tsar-Maid's signet-ring;
And his horse flew like the wind,
Leaving miles and leagues behind-
Twenty thousand leagues, ere night,
Covered in a single flight.
Near the sea, he loudly neighed
Saying: "We will reach a glade
In a minute, maybe more,
Leading to the ocean shore,
Where, with monster head and tail,
Lies the Monster-Marvel Whale.
These ten years he lies in pain,
Ignorant of how to gain
Pardon, to this very day.
He will humbly beg and pray
That you pardon for him gain
When we reach the Sun's domain.
Promise him, Ivan, and see
That you do so faithfully!"
When they reached the glade, they flew
Straight towards the ocean blue;
There, across it, lay the whale-
Monster head and monster tail;
He was all one mass of holes,
From his ribs grew stakes and poles;
On his tail-a forest black;
And a village on his back;
Peasants on his lip drove ploughs,
Children danced between his brows;
Oak-trees on his huge jaws grew,
Maidens there sought mushrooms, too.
A. Kosterin. "The Marvellous Fish-Whale"
Box. 1965. Kholui
Clatter, clatter, clatter, clack,
Rode the humpback o'er his back,
While the Monster-Marvel Whale
Eyed them as he swished his tail,
Opening his huge jaws wide
As most bitterly he sighed:
"May God speed you, gentles two -
Whither bound, and whence are you?"
"We're the Tsar-Maid's envoys, see-
From the capital are we,"
Little humpbacked horse replied-
"Eastward, to the Sun, we ride,
To his residence of gold."
"Fathers, may I make so bold,"
Said the whale, "to beg of you,
When you reach the heavens blue,
Ask the Sun, how long must I
Suffer this disgrace, and why?
For what sins, let him explain,
Must I bear this grief and pain?"
"Yes, yes, Monster Whale, all right,"
Yelled Ivan with all his might,
While the whale, with bitter cries,
Begged Ivan, between his sighs:
"Please have pity on poor me -
These ten years I'm suffering, see -
Do this favour for me, do,
I will serve you some day too!"
"Yes, yes, Monster Whale, all right!'
Yelled Ivan with all his might.
Then his horse, with one leap bore
Vanya to the other shore,
Leaving clouds of dust behind
As he flew on like the wind.
L. Azarova. Butterdish "The Marvellous Fish-Whale"
Porcelain. 1972 Gzhel
Next day, our Ivan once more
Came up to the ocean shore;
Clatter, clatter, clatter, clack
Rode he over that whale's back,
While the Monster-Marvel Whale
Sighed and slowly waved his tail,
Saying: "Sires-about my boon?
Will I get my freedom soon?"
But the humpback merely said:
"Wait, 0 Whale," and ran ahead
To the village market-place
Where he called the populace;
Tossed his coal-black mane and head,
Snorted thrice, and loudly said:
"Heed my words, 0 Christians true-
Mark what I am telling you-
If you wish to keep away
From a briny grave today,
Get you gone this minute, now;
Wonders will take place, I vow,
For the Monster Whale will turn
And the sea will seethe and churn."
Here the peasants, great and small,
Christians true-they one and all
Hurried off to home and farm,
Crying out in wild alarm;
Gathered all their carts, and placed
All their goods on them in haste
And, with many a woeful wail,
Fled from off that Monster Whale;
And, by noon, you could not find
Anybody left behind.
Twas as though Mamai's fierce horde
Had swept the land with fire and sword.
O'er its tail the humpback sped,
Reached and bent down to its head,
Shouted loud as loud could be:
"Listen, Monster Whale, to me!
All this is your punishment-
For, without the Lord's consent,
Thirty ships, one day, you swallowed
As their ocean course they followed;
If you set them free again
He will take away your pain,
All your wounds he will assuage,
And reward you with old age."
And, when his long speech was said,
Bit his bridle, tossed his head,
Gave one leap-and lo, once more
Stood upon the distant shore.
Then the Monster Whale turned round,
Like a mighty heaving mound;
Threshed the ocean with his tail,
And a fleet of thirty sail
One by one cast from his jaws,
Sails and sailors, boats and oars.
© 2004 Artrusse
"What-our Tsar-Maid? - you don't say
It was you stole her away?"
With a gasp cried Moon Moonovich.
And Ivanushka Petrovich
Answered: "Why, yes-surely Ma'am-
I'm the Royal Groom, I am.
And our Tsar gave me just three
Weeks to find and fetch her, see?
Otherwise, you see, he said,
I would lose my curly head."
Here the Moon in glad surprise
Hugged Ivan and dried her eyes.
"Okh, Ivanushka Petrovich,"
Murmured gracious Moon Moonovich,
"You have brought such
That I don't know what to say;
When we lost our dear Princess,
How we mourned, you'll never guess;
That's the reason why, you see,
I've been grieving bitterly
These three nights and these three days,
In dark clouds concealed my rays;
All this time I mourned and wept,
Never ate a crumb, nor slept-
This is why her brother shrouds
His bright face in gloomy clouds;
Why he sends no warming rays
Down to Earth these many days,
Shedding many a bitter tear,
Mourning for his sister dear.
Let me know, though-is she well-
Is she homesick for us, tell?"
"She'd be pretty,
I would say,
But she's wasting right away;
She's as skinny as can be
Only skin and bones, you see-
When she's married, though, no doubt
She'll improve and get quite stout,
For the Tsar will wed her soon."
"What? The villain!"
screamed the Moon
"Why-he's eighty, if a day,
And he wants to wed with May!
I declare, upon my life,
She will never be his wife;
See what that old nasty toad
Wants-to reap, who never sowed.
Why, he's greedy as he's vain!"
|| Then the portals opened
And the Tsar, with his young bride,
Came to watch there, with the rest,
How Ivan would stand the test.
And the Tsar called out: "Ivan,
Now, undress yourself, my man-
Dive, and bathe without delay
In those cauldrons there, I say!"
Vanya stripped-no word said he,
And the young Tsaritsa, she
Veiled herself right then and there
So as not to see him bare.
To the cauldrons Vanya sped,
Peered inside, and scratched his head.
While the Tsar said: "Now, Ivan -
Come on-do your duty, man!"
Said Ivan: "Your Majesty,
Please to send my horse to me
So that I can say good-bye
To my horse, before I die."
Pondering o'er this request,
Graciously he acquiesced,
And the Tsar was pleased to send
For Vanyusha's faithful friend,
And Ivan then said adieu
To his humpbacked horse so true.
Humpback waved his tail about,
In each cauldron dipped his snout,
Then he squirted on him twice,
Whistled long and loudly thrice;
Vanya gave his horse one look,
Then a deep, long breath he took,
After which, as he was told,
In each cauldron dived, full bold.
In and out he dived, and when
He emerged-no words nor pen
Could describe him-he was so
Handsome, I should have you know.
Then he dried himself, and dressed,
To the Tsar-Maid bowed his best,
Glanced around with haughty air,
No prince handsomer, you'd swear.
"What a wonder-did you ever?"
Cried the crowd, and - "Well I never!"
Hastily the Tsar undressed,
Twice and thrice he crossed his breast,
Dived into the cauldron pot
And was boiled there on the spot!
Here the Tsar-Maid stood up, and
Called for silence with her hand;
Then, unveiling her fair face,
Thus addressed the populace:
"Listen, now! The Tsar is dead-
Will you have me in his stead?
Am I pleasing in your eyes?
Speak! If so, then recognise
As the lord of all the land,
My beloved husband" - and,
Pointing to Ivan, she placed
Her fair arm around his waist.
Cannons from the castle flashed,
Trumpets blared and cymbals crashed;
From the cellars, then and there,
Casks were rolled with vintage rare.
And all night the drunken throng
Shouted out in merry song:
"Long live Tsar Ivan!" they cried,
"And the Fair Tsar-Maid, his bride!"
In the palace, mirth held sway,
Wines like water flowed that day,
And before the groaning boards
Princes drank with Dukes and Lords.
Twas a pleasure! I was there,
Mead and wine I drank, I swear;
Though my whiskers bathed in wine,
Nothing passed these lips of mine.
"We are willing!" all replied-
"We would die for you!" they cried-
"For the sake of your sweet eyes,
Tsar Ivan we'll recognise."
Hand in hand, the Royal pair -
Tsar, and young Tsaritsa fair -
To the holy altar sped,
And in God's church they were wed.