Monday, 24 December 2012

The Feather of Finist the Falcon

Continuing with the Russian fairy tales, the next one to talk about is a beautiful The Feather of Finist the Falcon (Пёрышко Финиста ясна сокола). Yes, I found my dear witches in it as well :). One of them - our very well known Baba-Yaga  and another- a queen enchantress.
The story about Finist the Falcon is a traditional Russian folk tale about a lad who can turn to a feather or a falcon and about a girl who fell in love with him.
Obviously, that being in love with a supernatural guy has its difficulties and challenges. Finist the Falcon has to fly away from the girl Maryushka after wicked sisters prevent him from entering the room by inserting blades in the window frame. He says at last that she'll find him only after she wears out three pairs of iron shoes, breaks three iron staves and three iron caps. The number 3 has always been a magical number (lucky too) in Russian folklore. So many actions are repeated for three times in the fairy tale (and in life's superstitious moments) as to ensure success. Maryushka is able to reach the palace where her Finist is held by the Queen, exactly after she breaks all those iron items (3 items, three each of them).
I had been speaking already about traditional folklore theme of the meeting of the main character with Baba-Yaga  several times with regard to Olesya and Russian folklore. Same is in the Finist the Falcon as the protagonist can't accomplish her journey without help. This help, as usual, comes from Baba-Yaga. In fact, there are 3 of them in the story, each of which helps on the particular stage as the plot unwinds. Each of Baba Yagas gives Maryushka a bewitched thing which is supposed to aid her in future. Maryushka gets to know that Finist the Falcon was given a potion and, befuddled, was forced to marry the queen. First Baba Yaga provides her with a golden plate and a golden egg.
Second Baba Yaga's  gift is the needle which can do embroidery with gold and silver on its own. The third bewitched object she is given is a spindle which can spin on its own. Maryushka has to exchange all three things on the right to see Finist the Falcon.
Moreover Maryushka is assisted by animals as well. She meets a cat and a dog, who encourage her (yes, they can speak!) to continue her way through the dark forest in spite of fear. The third animal she meets is a wolf who gives her a ride on his back.
I.Bilibin, Finist the Falcon
When Maryushka dwells to the walls of the crystal palace, she, following an advise of the first Baba Yaga, hires out as a queen's maid. The queen, seeing all Maryushka's peculiar objects, wants to buy them. Maryushka however  requests to see Finist the Falcon in exchange. Another challenge now is that Finist, being befuddled, fell into a wakeless sleep, and she can't make him to see her. Last time, when she almost lost hope to wake him, and starts crying, one of the tears drops on the shoulder of her beloved and this awakens him. He is happy to see her, they head back home and get married.
I.Bilibin, Finist the Falcon
Russian Wedding in old times
Hope you liked this fairy tale with few witches in them. I'm going to make a post about a winter fairy tale, with little bit of magic in it too, of course:)
   *** Hope you had a great Winter Solstice day. Merry Christmas and Yule to all! ***
Yours sincerely,
Witchcraft and Literature


  1. Loved it! Love, magic, endurance and sacrifice. Maryushka is such a strong soul and the animals and BabaYaga know this, which is the reason they help.

    I love the way numbers are so important in folklore like in witchery ;-)

  2. Such a fascinating story! Thank you. Though I am disappointed no goats were met> :) Hope your Solstice was happy, and your Yule and Christmas the merriest ever!