The Legend of the Firebird


In a far away land a thief stole golden apples from Tsar Berendey`s magic Garden. These apples had the power of bestowing youth and beauty. The guards of the Tsar were unable to stop the thief, for as hard as they tried, the thief always got away. None of the guards could even see the thief. The Tsar was frustrated for he needed the golden apples for himself, as he was married to a very beautiful young Queen.

The only person who spotted the thief was the Tsar’s son, Prince Ivan Tsarevitch. As the night came upon the Garden, the young Tsarevitch hid under a water bucket and listened closely to every sound around him. At dawn the Prince almost fell asleep, but a magical being broke the silence. The Prince pulled the water bucket up slightly so he could just see through the thin opening. And there it was – the Fire Bird.

In the depth of night the Fire Bird would fly into the garden with its feathers blazing with a golden sheen. Its eyes shone like crystals and would light up the place as brightly as a thousand burning fires. The Tsarevitch crawled up to the unsuspecting Fire Bird, and rushed to grab it by the tail.

The next day Prince Ivan told his father the old Tsar about the Fire Bird. He showed his father the only feather he had managed to get from the Fire Bird’s tail, as the Fire Bird was too smart and had flown away. From that day on the Tsar was obsessed with the idea of capturing the Fire Bird for himself. In order to find the Fire Bird he sent his three sons on a journey to another Kingdom.

Ivan Tsarevitch’s adventure began when after a long day’s ride he fell asleep, only to awake in the morning and find his horse gone. Wandering through the woods he met a grey wolf that confessed that he had eaten the horse. Grateful that Ivan spared his life, Grey Wolf offered to let Ivan ride on his back. Grey Wolf took Ivan to Tsar Afron’s kingdom, where the Fire Bird was kept in a golden cage inside the Tsar’s walled garden.

The Prince, warned by the Grey Wolf to take only the Fire Bird and not the cage, took the cage as well and triggered an alarm. Captured by Tsar Afron, he was told that in order to have the Fire Bird he must pay for it with the Horse of the Golden Mane, which was in the possession of Tsar Kusman.

The Grey Wolf carried Ivan to Tsar Kusman’s palace and advised him to acquire the horse but not the bridle. Once again the gold and diamonds in the bridle tempted the Prince, so he ignored the advice. He was captured by Tsar Kusman, who said he will only give him the horse in exchange for the fair Princess Elena, who was residing with Tsar Dalmat.

This time the wolf did the work himself and seized Elena. He brought her back to Ivan and the Prince fell in love with her. The wolf offered to trick Tsar Kusman by assuming Elena’s shape and also to trick Afron too by assuming the form of the horse.

Ivan returned with Elena, the horse and the Fire Bird, however when the wolf left him he was ambushed and killed by his brothers. The wolf then returned and revived him with the Waters of Life and Death, the brothers were banished, and Ivan Tsarevitch met Tsar Berendey to tell his tragic story. When the Tsar’s grief faded, the Prince married Elena the Fair and they lived happily ever after.