Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pushkin's The Tale of the Dead Princess and The Seven Knights

This has unintentionally become a Snow White week...but here's another Snow White poem for you from Russian author Alexander Pushkin: The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights. Obviously the dwarves have been replaced by knights, who all fall in love with her, but as she's already been betrothed she politely refuses and they all magically manage to go on living together as friends anyway.


"Yelisei, not losing courage,
To the Wind's abode now hurried.
"Wind, O Wind! Lord of the sky,
Herding flocks of clouds on high,
Stirring up the dark-blue ocean,
Setting all the air in motion,
Unafraid of anyone
Saving God in heaven alone!
Surely you'll not grudge an answer?
Tell me, did you ever chance to
See the Princess I revere?
I'm her fiance." "O hear!"
Said the Wind in turmoil blowing.
"Where a quiet stream is flowing
Stands a mountain high and steep
In it lies a cavern deep;
In this cave in shadows dismal
Sways a coffin, made of crystal.
Hung by chains from pillars six."

We might be so used to the image of the glass coffin that we forget how creepy this really is. Various versions of the tale feature different ways of displaying a beautiful girl's corpse as ornamental, such as this version where Snow White finds herself in a crystal coffin hung by chains.

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