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What is The Firebird?

28. August 2009 by Gregg 0 Comments

In Slavic folklore, the Firebird was a magical glowing bird, often said to be from far away and mysterious lands that was the center of many quests and tales. Shaped like a small peacock, each of the bird’s many feathers would glow along with its eyes and its crest making it a prize that many heroes would be said to attain for their Kings.

Much like the Albatross was in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner; the Firebird was, upon capture, a magnet for trouble and bad luck. The hero in the tales (normally, but not always Ivan Tsarevich) would blame the caged Firebird for every obstacle he would come across on his way home.

The Firebird would often be depicted as a scavenger that develops a taste for the golden apples that grow only in the orchard of a King. The Prince would be sent, sometimes along with two other “false heroes” to capture the bird. Sometimes they would succeed, and in other stories they would not, merely catching a single feather that they would take home and use to illuminate dark rooms.