Monday, May 18, 2009

The Story of Tsar Saltan

I've been thinking about this story lately. I just began condensing it to increments of 140 characters or less for Twitter and Facebook. 

I studied Russian at the University of Vermont almost 30 years ago. One summer I had some extra tutoring by a Russian woman who lived in Claremont, NH, across the river from my hometown of Springfield, VT. Galina's husband was Father Andrew Tregubov, a Russian Orthodox priest, iconographer and, as far as I understood, one of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's main guides in the US. Galina was learning English, so we spent time working on both languages.

I don't remember how I helped Galina, but I do remember very well that we read Skazka o Tsare Tsaltane, by Alexander Pushkin, a story-poem based on folk tradition. Galina gave me a cassette tape of the story. I loved the sound of the beginning, about 2:10 minutes in on this clip:

The illustrations by Ivan Bilibin show a cat in many scenes. The end of the story translates this way: 
I was there. I drank mead and beer, and barely got my whiskers damp.

The first lines have been popping into my head at odd times (in Russian), nudging me to learn the story to tell. Wonder when I'll be ready.  I'll continue the installments over on Twitter and Facebook.

1 comment:

RRR said...

Ahh, Twitter Tales. A wonderful idea.