In the work of Alexander Pushkin, there is a period called the Boldin Autumn (1833). It was during this period that “The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights” was written. According to the plot, Pushkin’s fairy tale resembles the classic European fairy tale “Snow White”. However, “The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights” is written in poetic form in the most beautiful Russian language, which distinguishes all of Pushkin’s works.
A brief tale of a dead princess and seven heroes.
During the absence of the Tsar, he had a daughter. The queen dies when the king returns home. The king grieves, but one year passes, and a new queen appears in the palace.
The new queen is very beautiful, but her character is heavy: she is cruel, willful, envious. The queen has a magical object – the Mirror. The mirror talks to the queen. When the queen looks in the mirror, she asks him who is most beautiful in the world. Mirror from year to year honestly answered that there is no one more beautiful than the queen in the whole world.
But the years go by, the queen is no longer young. But her stepdaughter – a princess, on the contrary grows up and becomes more beautiful. One day a mirror says to the queen that she is beautiful, but there is one that is much prettier. The nature of the queen makes itself felt. Envy of the stepdaughter does not have limits. The Tsarina bequeathed her servant to Chernavka, and orders in any way to destroy the princess. Chernovka, carrying out the order of the tsarina, leads the princess in a dense forest to be eaten by wolves.
On the way to the forest Tsarevna suspected the evil intentions of Chernavka. She asks Chernivka to let her go. The maid does not want the evil princess, she only executes the order of the mistress, so she agrees to let the princess. Then, Chernavka returns to the queen and informs her of the death of the princess.
The king, learning about the loss of his daughter, grieves. The princess’s wife, Elisha, goes around the world searching for the missing bride.
The prince, long walks through the dense forest. As a result, in the deaf often finds a big house. The princess enters the house. The owners do not have a home. Towards evening the hosts appear. This seven brothers are heroes. The princess tells what happened to her, and the heroes leave her to live in their house. The princess is housekeeping.
The princess liked the warriors. The bogatyrs offer her to choose one of them for herself as a husband. The princess answers that all the heroes are nice to her, but she already has a fiancé, and she is forced to refuse.
Meanwhile, the queen, thinking that the stepdaughter has long been dead, asks the mirror “Who is the most beautiful in the world?” The mirror answers that the queen is beautiful without controversy, but the princess is still prettier.
Under pressure, the servant of Chernavka confesses to the queen that she let go of the princess. The queen decides to finish herself with her stepdaughter. She disguises herself as an old woman and goes to the forest to search for the princess. She finds the house of the seven heroes. The princess does not recognize her stepmother, pities the old woman and gives alms. Only the guard dog barked harshly at the old woman. The queen gives the stepdaughter a poisoned apple. The princess bites it and falls dead.
When the heroes returned in the evening, they saw the body of the princess. The dog that swallowed the poisoned apple lies next to it. The heroes realize that the princess was poisoned. At first, the bogatyrs wanted to bury the princess, but she looked alive, as if asleep. Bogatyrs put the princess in a crystal coffin. The coffin is suspended in a mountain cave.
A satisfied queen hears from the mirror the long-awaited answer that she is the most beautiful in the world.
Elisha seeks the princess in all the white light. But nowhere is his bride. Desperate, he turns to those who see everything – to the sun, the moon and the wind. The sun and the month do not know anything about the missing princess. Only the wind gave Elisha a sad response:
“in the… hole, in the darkness of the sad,
The coffin is rocking the crystal “
“In that coffin is your bride.”
Saddened, Elisha goes to see her bride.
“… about the bride’s cute coffin
He struck with all his strength
The coffin crashed. Virgo suddenly
Has come to life. Looks around
And, swaying over chains,
“How long I slept!”
Happy lovers return home to play a wedding. At this time, the queen asks the mirror “Who is the fairest of all in the world?” and again hears that the princess is more beautiful than her. In a frenzied fit of rage, the queen shatters the mirror into a rattle. At a personal meeting with the princess, the queen dies of anger and envy. The fairy tale ends with the wedding of the princess and the prince Elisha.
The plot taken by Pushkin as the basis of “The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights” has deep historical roots. A similar plot can be found in Zhukovsky’s ballad “The Sleeping Princess” and in the folk German fairy tale, in the literary treatment of the Brothers Grimm in different translations is called “Snow White” or “Snow Maiden.”
But there are a number of characteristic differences between Pushkin’s “Tales of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights” and other works in which the same plot was used. The plot and meaning of these fairy tales practically does not change. As in most fairy tales, in the end good triumphs over evil: the princess marries a loved one, and her stepmother dies. But in Pushkin’s fairy tale, the moral qualities of the heroes are manifested more brightly than in the fairy tale of the Brothers Grimm: the loyalty of the princess to his chosen one, the desire of the prince to find his beloved and devotion to a sentinel dog dying from a poisoned apple.
In addition, in Pushkin’s tale, the evil stepmother dies for an unknown reason, that is, as a result of a high court. The way she ends her life in “Snow White”, suggests that the queen is overtaken by the stepdaughter, her husband and the girlfriends of gnomes who make her dance in red-hot iron shoes.