In the village of Mandrogi, there lies an enchanted pathway dedicated to Pushkin, a Russian poet exalted for his artistic spinning of fantastical tales.
One must forge a river to reach this forest of apparitions.
Kasey pitched in her woman-power to get us there.
Once we reached the other side, we wandered through woods where Pushkin's prologue to "Ruslan and Ludmila," his first and most lionized poem, was brought to life:
There on trails past knowing are tracks of beasts you never met . . .
A hut on chicken feet,
Without a door, without a window,
An evil witch's lone retreat
A grieving princess in a cell, and faithful wolf that serves her well . . .
There pines Koshchei (and Kasey!) and lusts for gold....
What marvels there! A mermaid sitting (and my mom gazing!)
The woods and valleys there are teeming
With strange things....
Here I am at the mercy of Baba Yaga.
And making my escape . . .
Pushkin knew we were coming! He surely wrote the passage below for us:
For you, queens of my soul, my treasured
Young beauties, for your sake did I
Devote my golden hours of leisure
To writing down, I'll not deny,
With faithful hand of long past ages
The whispered fables.... Take them, pray,
Accept these playful lines, these pages
For which I ask no praise.... But stay!
Alas, despite his asking so prettily, we could not stay . . .
And in our abandonment . . .
. . . left only wooden figures for company.
But our lyricist was not deterred:
And there I stayed, and drank of mead;
That oak tree greening by the shore
I sat beneath, and of his lore
The learned cat would chant and read.
One tale of these I kept in mind,
And tell it now to all my kind…
The below verse isn't related to the tale Pushkin was gearing up to tell, but it's a lovely accompaniment for the parting shot . . .
Dawn brings waves that, gleaming . . .
There’s Russian spirit! Russia’s scent!