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Nightingale the Robber

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Title: Nightingale the Robber  
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Collection: Characters of Russian Folklore, Russian Folklore
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Nightingale the Robber

Ilya Muromets and Nightingale the Robber, by Ivan Bilibin.

Nightingale the Robber or Solovei the Brigand (Russian: Солове́й-Разбо́йник, Solovey-Razboynik), also known as Solovey Odikhmantievich (Соловей Одихмантьевич), was an epic robber from bylinas poetry of Kievan Rus'.

The bylina concerning Nightingale the Robber is also called "The First Journey of Ilya Muromets", and is one of the most popular Russian epics, having been recorded 132 times (Bailey, p. 25). This monster had partial human and bird like features, was able to fly, and lived in a nest, had a human family, and received drinks with his hands (Bailey, p. 27). He was said to live in a forest near Bryansk, and would sit in a tree by the road to Kiev and stun strangers with his powerful whistle. It is said that Nightingale the Robber would scream, "All the grasses and meadows become entangled, the azure flowers lose their petals, all the dark woods bend down to the earth, and all the people there lie dead!" (Bailey, p. 34).

According to legend, he was defeated by Ilya Muromets, who survived even though Razboynik levelled half of the surrounding forest. Nightingale the Robber was shot down with arrows to the eye and temple by Ilya Muromets, who then dragged the defeated monster to Vladimir, the prince of Kiev. Vladimir the Great wished to hear Nightingale the Robber whistle, but the creature claimed he was too wounded to whistle. Nightingale the Robber requested wine to drink so that his wounds would disappear, then he would whistle for the prince. When he whistled all of Vladimir's palaces were destroyed and many lay dead. After this, Ilya Muromets took Nightingale the Robber into an open field and cut off his head (Bailey, pp. 28–36).

Depictions

References

  • Bailey, James and Ivanova, Tatyana. An Anthology of Russian Folk Epics. M.E. Sharpe, Inc. Armonk, New York, 1998.

External links

  • Recording of this bylina.
  • Ilya Muromets and Nightingale the Robber, as included by A. H. Wratislaw in Sixty Folk-Tales from Exclusively Slavonic Sources
  • Reinhold Gliere and his Third Symphony Ilya Murometz
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