Firebird

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Firebird

 

an image encountered in Slavic, primarily Rus-sian, folk tales; its feathers shine in the dark “as a fire glows.” Catching the firebird is the miraculous task that must be performed by the hero of the fairy tale. In The Tale of Ivan Tsarevitch, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf, three brothers are sent by their father to catch the firebird; it is caught by the youngest son. This tale was first published in an inexpensive edition in the 18th century. The image of the firebird has been used repeatedly in Russian literature, painting, and music— for example, in the works of V. A. Zhukovskii, P. P. Ershov, I. la. Bilibin, and I. F. Stravinsky.

REFERENCE

Afanas’ev, A. N. Narodnye russkie skazki, vol. 1. Moscow, 1957. Numbers 168-70. (See vol. 3, pp. 473-74, for bibliography of texts.)