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Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin (1878—1942)  Flight of the mosquito  Illustration for the book
Goback 14 / 22 Forward

Title: Flight of the mosquito
Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin (1878—1942)
Flight of the mosquito
Illustration for the book "The Tale of Tsar Saltan", 1905

The Tale of Tsar Saltan, of His Son the Renowned and Mighty Bogatyr Prince Gvidon Saltanovich, and of the Beautiful Princess-Swan (Russian: Ñêàçêà î Öàðå Ñàëòàíå, î ñûíå åãî ñëàâíîì è ìîãó÷åì áîãàòûðå Êíÿçå Ãâèäîíå Ñàëòàíîâè÷å è î ïðåêðàñíîé öàðåâíå ëåáåäè) is an 1831 poem by Aleksandr Pushkin, written after the Russian fairy tale edited by Vladimir Dahl.
The story is of three sisters, of whom the youngest is chosen by Tsar Saltan to be his wife, while he makes the other two his royal cook and royal weaver. They are jealous, of course, and when the tsaritsa gives birth to a son, Prince Gvidon, they arrange to have her and her child ordered to be shut up in a barrel and thrown into the sea. The sea itself takes pity on them, and they are cast up on the shore of a remote island, Buyan. The son, having quickly grown while in the barrel, goes hunting. However, he ends up saving an enchanted swan a kite. The swan creates a city for Prince Gvidon to rule, but he is homesick, and the swan turns him into a mosquito. In this guise he visits Tsar Saltan's court, he stings his aunt's eye and escapes.

Back in his distant realm, the swan gives Gvidon a magical squirrel. But he continues to pine for home, so the swan transforms him into a fly, and in the Tsar's court he stings the eye of his other aunt. In a third round he becomes a wasp (or bee) and stings the nose of his grandmother. In the end, he expresses a desire for a bride instead of his old home, upon which the swan is revealed to be a beautiful princess, whom he marries. He is visited by the Tsar, who is overjoyed to find his wife and newly-married son.

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Goback 14 / 22 Forward
Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin (1878—1942)  llustration for the book Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin (1878—1942)  Flight of the mosquito  Illustration for the book Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin (1878—1942)  The Island of Buyan  Illustration for the book
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