Friday, July 31, 2015

Fairy Tale and Folktale Fridays #3: The Firebird




Hey there!  Welcome to "Fairy Tale and Folktale Fridays," a new feature on my blog where I discuss about some fairy tales and folktales I have read throughout the years.  This feature was inspired by Chrissi Reads' "Fairy Tale Friday" meme and I was so inspired by those posts that I wanted to do a feature that details my love for fairy tales and folktales!


THIS WEEK'S FOLKTALE IS:

The firebird

 

 


INFO:


TYPE: folktale


Country of Origin: Russia


Main Character Hero or Heroine: Hero


Recommended?: Yes!

Summary:


In this story, a young man named Ivan was riding in the forest with his Horse of Power when all of a sudden, he finds a Firebird's feather on the ground and he wanted to present the feather as a gift to the Czar.  The Horse of Power however tried to warn Ivan that it wouldn't be a good idea to take the feather to the Czar.  But, Ivan ignored his horse's advice and went to the palace of the Czar to give him the Firebird's feather as a present.  Unfortunately, the Czar was not pleased with this as he wanted the Firebird itself and he forced Ivan to go and retrieve the Firebird or else he will have Ivan executed.  The Horse of Power then helps Ivan by giving him instructions in how to catch the Firebird and when Ivan successfully captures the Firebird, the Czar then wanted Ivan to retrieve Princess Vasalissa and threatened his life once more if he didn't complete this task.  So, Ivan went to retrieve Princess Vasalissa, but then he suddenly fell in love with the princess and was heartbroken when she has to marry the Czar.  However, Princess Vasalissa seems to have a secret plan up her sleeve to avoid marrying the Czar...


My Thoughts:


I have read many Russian folktales, but this tale was probably the most interesting story I have ever read!  It's interesting to note that this story is sometimes called "The Magic Pony" or "The Humpbacked Horse" as both versions have the firebird and a horse companion within the plot and I always thought that these titles were pretty fitting for the tale.  I always loved looking at the Firebird itself as it is usually shown as a thing of beauty, no matter which version you happen to pick up.  I also loved the fact that the Horse of Power is the voice of reason in these tales as it's great seeing a character who has common sense and also see them trying to help the protagonist out of the situation he is thrown into.


Discussion Questions:


1. Which title sounds more appropriate: The Firebird or the Magic Pony?

Well, I think it depends on which character the story is focusing on.  Some versions of this tale that I have read have focused more on the Firebird than on the Horse of Power or the Magic Pony.  Other versions have focused on the Horse of Power and its relationship with Ivan while the Firebird is a background character.




2. Is this a good story about the consequences of being greedy?

Yes, I think that this story would be great in teaching children about the consequences of being greedy as the Czar was very greedy in this tale and he suffered the consequences for it towards the end of the book.


3. Should Ivan have heed the Horse of Power's warnings?
Yes, I think that if Ivan had actually listened to the Horse of Power when it had warned Ivan about the danger of giving the Firebird's feather to the Czar, then Ivan would have never been put into this situation in the first place.

4. What other Russian folktales would you like to check out?

Well, I'm already a huge fan of "The Fool and the Flying Ship," but I wanted to read more about Kastchei the Deathless since he seems like a pretty interesting character!




Other versions to check out:



The Firebird by Brad Kessler



Firebird by Saviour Pirotta


 

The Tale of the Firebird by Genaddy Spirin

 


The Firebird by Demi

 

The Firebird by Robert D. San Souci

Next Week's Fairy Tale:


The Fisherman and his Wife

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