general
Legends
Narrative

Legend – Russian

“Ilya Muromets is a huge legend in Russia. When he was young, he was sick and was unable to walk until his 30s, when he two pilgrims healed him. Then, a dying knight gave him super-human strength, and he traveled to free the city of Kiev and to serve Prince Vladimir.  He killed the monster Nightingale the Robber, a Russian mythological creature, who murdered travelers with his whistle in the Bryansk forest.  In Kiev, Ilya was made chief bogatyr (knight) by Prince Vladimir, and he defended Rus many enemies.  It is said that Ilya had a very bad temper and once went on a rampage and destroyed all the church steeples in Kiev after Prince Vladimir didn’t to invite him to a party.”

My informant learned of this legend in school around the age of nine.  They were reading epic poems in her class, and several of the poems told of Ilya Muromets, the Russian hero.  When one of her classmates asked if Ilya Muromets was real, the teacher said that no one knows for sure, but it is said that he is buried in Kiev Pecherski Monastery.  Throughout school, my informant heard stories Ilya Muromets several different times in poems that they were required to read for class.

My informant says that most Russians know the legend of Ilya Muromets and that he is very similar to the English legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.  However, Ilya Muromets is known for fighting Nightingale the Robber, a mythical creature while King Arthur mostly fought human people.  Ilya Muromets is very widespread in Russia and can be found in art, movies, cartoons, and statues.

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