Folk archive


Koshchey the deathless

Koschei the Deathless roams the countryside molesting young virgins. He is invincible, because he has hidden his soul on the point of a needle, inside an egg in a duck, which is inside a hare, locked in an iron chest. buried under an oak tree on an island in an ocean. If the chest is dug up and opened the hare will run away. If it’s caught and killed the duck will fly away. Anyone possessing the egg makes Koshei weak, but they have to smash it against his forehead to kill him.

In my novel, when the villain, Boris, was growing up his mother and later Auntie , told him this tale and that’s why he believes he is invincible until……


SADKO – A Fairy tale of NOVGOROD
Posted: June 30, 2014
Sadko Sadko palekh box.
The city is Novgorod.

Sadko by Repin Repin’s Sadko. Click to enlarge
Note Chernava in upper left of painting.

In Novgorod there lived a poor young musician that no girl, including Lubava who admired him, could afford to marry. One day, as he often did, he was playing his gusli (traditional stringed instrument) beside the river Volkhov when the waves began to swirl into a whirlpool as the sky darkened. Suddenly the Tsar of the Sea, with blue hair and a golden crown, rose up from the waves and in a thunderous voice praised him for his golden tones on the gusli. ‘I want to reward you,’ he said. ‘Tommorow bring a net of silk and cast it into the waters and you will catch a fish of gold, but make sure you bet others that you can do it’

None of the merchants believed he could catch a fish of gold and took huge bets against it. When he returned with the net and cast it he caught a huge fish made of gold. Thus, he became the richest merchant in town, married Lubava, and stopped playing his gusli.

For twelve years his ships sailed far and wide, but one day when he was sailing with his fleet they all were becalmed. Sadko threw barrels of gold into the sea as an offering to the Sea Tsar, but the ships didn’t move. Then he jumped overboard and sank down to the palace of the Sea Tsar, who said, ‘I have waited a long time to hear your music again.’

The Sea Tsar wanted Sadko to stay to play his gusli, and to marry a sea maiden. However, whenever Sadko played the seas erupted in storms and the more he played the worse they became.

The Sea Tsar offered his numerous daughters for Sadko to choose from for his bride. Nine hundred potential brides paraded past Sadko in a long line, but the patron saint of sailors, St Nicholas, advised Sadko that if he ever wanted to see his wife again he must choose the plain one, Chernava, at the end of the line.

When Sadko chose her, he found he was on the river bank outside Novgorod and returned to Lubava and his prosperous business.

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