"Ilya Muromets and Solovey Razboynik"

 

The legend of "Ilya Muromets and Solovey Razboynik" is one of the most popular legends of Russian folklore. The legend was written in more than 100 versions. This version was told by Trofim Grigorievich Ryabinin and written by A.F. Gilferding in the town of Kizhi in 1871.

A young bogatyr named Ilya Muromets left the town of Murom , the village of Karachirov . He was wending his way to the town of Kiev . On the way, he decided to visit the town of Chernigov . The citizens of Chernigov opened the town gates and let Ilya Muromets in. They noticed that the stranger looked like a real bogatyr and offered him the position of voevode (commander) of their small forces.

"I don't want to be your commander," answered Ilya Muromets "I am going to the town of Kiev . Please, show me the way there!"

"Now it's impossible to get to Kiev neither riding a horse nor on foot defended by an infantry," said said the people of Chernigov "Solovey Razboynik is sitting in the hollow of the old oak at the cursed birch, not far from the River of Smorodina. He whistles loudly and shouts like a beast. Trees and grass bend from his whistle, flowers and branches of trees fall on the ground. People who accidentally find themselves nearby die at once. It will take you six months to get to Kiev if you go along the straight road and a year if you go the roundabout way."

Ilya Muromets saddled his steed and went along the straight way. He passed many towns, forests, mountains and rivers and at last came to the River of Smorodina , to the high cursed birch. Solovey Razboynik noticed the bogatyr and whistled terribly and shouted like a beast. Trees and grass bent from his whistle, flowers and branches of trees fell on the ground.

Ilya Muromets took his tightly strung bow and fired at Solovey. The bandit fell from the old oak onto the ground. His right eye was torn out by the bogatyr's arrow. Ilya tied Solovey Razboynik, fastened him to the right stirrup, saddled his steed and galloped along the wide field, dragging the bandit along the ground.

The bogatyr was riding by the den of Solovey Razboynik where his three daughters were hiding. The daughters looked out of the window and saw that his father was in trouble. They were very frightened and began to call their husbands:

"Our dear husbands! Look! A stranger is dragging our father by his steed along the wide field! Take your clubs and go help our father!"

The husbands snatched their clubs and ran to help Solovey Razboynik. The bandit saw his sons-in-law running with big clubs and told them furtively:

"My dear sons-in-law! Throw away your clubs! Try to lure Ilya Muromets into our den. Offer him delicious food and rich presents. In the den you will kill him easily."

The sons-in-law threw away their clubs and began to offer the bogatyr rich presents and delicious food, trying to lure him in the den. Ilya Muromets refused to enter Solovey's den and went straight to Kiev , to glorious Prince Vladimir.

When the bogatyr arrived to Kiev , the Prince was having dinner in his chamber. He was very surprised when his servants informed him that a stranger had came to the city and demanded to see him.

Ilya entered the chamber and bowed to the prince. Prince Vladimir asked, "What is your name? Where are you from?"

"My name is Ilya Muromets, the son of Ivan. I am from the town of Murom , from the village of Karachirov ."

"How did you get here? What road have you taken?"

"I came here by the straight road. I went through the town of Chernigov , by the River of Smorodina , by the cursed birch."

Prince Vladimir became very angry and said, "How dare you, a country pumpkin, mock me? An evil spirit reigns at the town of Chernigov . Solovey Razboynik is sitting in the hollow of the old oak at the cursed birch, not far from the River of Smorodina . He whistles loudly and shouts like a beast. Trees and grass bend from his whistle, flowers and branches of trees fall on the ground. People who accidentally find themselves nearby die at once. It's impossible to get to Kiev along the straight road neither riding a horse nor on foot defended by an entire infantry!"

"You offend me, Prince Vladimir. Solovey Razboynik is now in your yard. His eye is torn out and he is fastened to my steed." The prince put his fur coat on and ran out to the porch. In the yard he saw Solovey Razboynik more dead than alive.

"Solovey Razboynik, whistle as loudly as you can!" ordered the prince.

"It was Ilya Muromets who has caught me. I won't follow your orders. Only Ilya Muromets may give orders to me."

Prince Vladimir called Ilya Muromets and asked him to order Solovey Razboynik to whistle. Ilya went out of the house and ordered Solovey to whistle.

"I can't whistle," said Solovey Razboynik "My wounds will again open. Ask Prince Vladimir give me a bowl of wine. I will drink the wine and all my wounds will close and be healed."

Prince Vladimir ordered that Solovey be given a big bowl of wine and the bandit whistled. Domes on the towers shook from that whistle and all the people who were standing nearby died. Ilya Muromets saddled his steed and rode to the open fields. There he cut off the head of Solovey Razboynik, repeating the words:

"Now you, bandit, won't whistle violently,
Now you, bandit, won't growl like a beast,
Now you, bandit, won't make parents cry,
Now you, bandit, won't deprive young wives of their husbands,
Now you, bandit, won't deprive little children of their fathers."