Ilya Muromets and Nightingale the Robber
Illustration by Ivan Bilibin
In this graphic illustration, Bilibin depicts the moment before the capture of Nightingale the Robber by Ilya Muromets - a
portion of the bylina (Russian oral tradition) known as 'The First Journey of Ilya Muromets'.
Ilya Muromets is among a triumvirate of legendary Medieval heroes who were bogatyrs (Knights of Kievan Rus) - the two
other great legendary bogatyrs are Dobrynya Nikitich and Alyosha Popovich.
According to Russian folklore, Nightingale the Robber was features of both a human and bird - he was able to fly and
lived in a nest, but had a human family and received drinks with his hands. Living in a forest near Bryansk, he would sit
in a tree by the road to Kiev and stun strangers with his powerful whistle - it was said he would scream, "All the grasses
and meadows become entangled, the azure flowers lose their petals, all the dark woods bend down to the earth, and
all the people there lie dead".
Ilya Muromets brought the terror of Nightingale the Robber to an end by shooting the brigand with arrows to the eye
and temple. According to legend, Muromets then dragged the defeated monster to Vladimir, Prince of Kiev, who foolishly
wished to hear Nightingale the Robber whistle. Having been allowed to recouperate, the monster showed the folly of the
Prince's wish when he whistled so loud that all of Vladimir's palaces were destroyed and many lay dead. After this final
assault, Ilya Muromets took Nightingale the Robber into an open field and cut off his head.
Single Greeting Card (with matching Envelope)
Code: IB IMNR C1 SGC
Detail (for reference)