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The tale of Tsar Saltan

    "In Tsar Saltan, Pushkin achieved the feat of putting the very words of his nanny Anna Rodionovna into utterly unforced rhythms and rhymes. The style was so unaffected, the material so commonplace, the phrases so familiar, that many critics mistook their purity for poverty. When Pushkin wrote his, he became Arina Rodionovna, and that is why the lines of Tsar Saltan still sing in the ears of Russian children, lulling them to sleep to the pink flicker of the vigil light, becoming part of the soothing little room, the warm silence, the gilding on the ikon and the picture book lying open on the floor. Thanks to Tsar Saltan and Pushkin's other tales, every one of us has had his Arina Rodionovna, leaning bent and wrinkled over his white infant's bed, filled with a mur-mur of soft words..."
Henri Troyat       

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Russian literature / A. Pushkin

  Ruslan and Liudmila
  Tale of the pope and of his workman Balda
  Tale of tsar Saltan
  Tale of the fisherman and the little fish
  Tale of the golden cockerel
  Marya Volkonsky
  Natalya Goncharova

 S.Kamanin "The tale of Tsar Saltan" (detaille)

S.Kamanin "The tale of Tsar Saltan" (fragment)
Plate. 1996   Palekh

Three fair maidens, late one night,
Sat and spun by candlelight.
"Were our tsar to marry me,"
Said the eldest of the three,
"I would cook and I would bake -
Oh, what royal feasts I'd make."
Said the second of the three:
"Were our tsar to marry me,
I would weave a cloth of gold
Fair and wondrous to behold."
But the youngest of the three
Murmured: "If he married me -
I would give our tsar an heir
Handsome, brave, beyond compare."
At these words their chamber door
Gently creaked-and lo, before
These three maidens' very eyes
Stood their tsar, to their surprise...


A.Smirnov. "Conte du tsar Saltan"

A.Smirnov. "The tale of Tsar Saltan"
Box. 1994    Kholui

...Then the tsar strode forth, and they
Palacewards all made their way.
There, he lost no time nor tarried
That same evening he was married;
Tsar Saltan and his young bride
At the feast sat side by side.
Then the guests, with solemn air,
Led the newly wedded pair
To their iv'ry couch, snow-white,
Where they left them for the night.
Bitterly, the weaver sighed,
And the cook in passion cried,
Full of jealousy and hate
Of their sister's happy fate.
But, by love and duty fired,
She conceived, ere night expired,
In her royal husband's arms.
These were days of war's alarms.
Ere he rode forth for the strife,
Tsar Saltan embraced his wife,
Bidding her to take good care
Of herself and coming heir...



V.Kuznetsov. "FairyTales;re"

V.Kuznetsov. "Weaver,Cook and Babarikha"
Porcelain sculptural composition. 1926   Petrograd

...While he battled on the field,
Forcing countless foes to yield,
God gave unto her an heir -
Lusty, large of limb, and fair.
Like a mother eagle, she
Guarded him most jealously;
Sent the news of God's glad gift
To the tsar, by rider swift.
But the royal cook, and weaver,
And their mother, sly deceiver,
Sought to ruin her, so they
Had him kidnapped on the way,
Sent another in his stead.
Word for word, his message read:
"Your tsaritsa, sire, last night
Was delivered of a fright -
Neither son nor daughter, nor
Have we seen its like before.



E.Zaitseva "Princess-Swan"

E.Zaitseva "Princess-Swan"
Scoop. 1999  Khokhloma

...He looked round him, and, behold,
Saw a swan in evil plight;
Circling over it - a kite,
Talons spread, and bloodstained beak
Poised, prepared her death to wreak,
While the helpless bird was splashing,
With her wings the waters lashing.
But his shaft, with baneful note,
Struck the kite full in the throat.
Bleeding, in the sea it fell,
Screeching like a soul in hell.
He, with lowered bow, looked on
As, with beak and wings, the swan,
Dealing ruthless blow on blow
On the cruel kite, her foe,
Sped its death, till finally
Lifeless it sank in the sea....



 N.Lopatin."The tale of Tsar Saltan"

N.Lopatin. "The tale of Tsar Saltan"
Box . 1999  Palekh

...Here Guidon with ardour swore
That he'd thought of this before;
That 'twas high time he was married,
Too long single had he tarried;
That for this princess so fair
He would any perils dare,
Sacrifice his very soul,
Barefoot, walk right to the pole.
Sighing thoughtfully, the swan
Murmured: "Why so far, Guidon?
Know, your future bride is here -
I am that princess, my dear."
Then she spread her wings, to soar
O'er the waves towards the shore.
There, amid a clump of trees,
Folded them with graceful ease,
Shook herself, and then and there
Turned into a maiden fair -
In her braids, a crescent beamed,
On her brow, a bright star gleamed;
She was sweet in form and face,
Full of majesty and grace.
When she spoke, her sweet voice seemed
Like the flow of tinkling streams. . .



A.Klipov "Gvidon"

A.Klipov "Gvidon"
Box. 199  Palekh

...From his casement, silently,
Prince Guidon gazed at the sea.
Scarce a ripple stirred the deep
As it sighed as though in sleep.
On the far horizon blue
Sails came one by one in view.
Tsar Saltan's fleet, at long last,
O'er the seas was sailing fast.
At this sight, Guidon rushed out,
Uttering a mighty shout:
"Mother dear, come hither, do -
You, my fair princess, come too -
Only look out yonder - there
Sails my father, I declare!"


Translated by Louis Zelikov

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