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Irena, age 16
Humpbacked Horse (1975)
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Artist Statement
This long humorous poem is a favorite among all Russian children. The Humpbacked Horse (konek-gorbunok) is known as the Golden-Maned Steed in Russian fairy tales. The dear little horse helps Ivan, a peasantís son, carry out many unreasonable demands of the tsar. Ivan completes all of the tasks. He gets the beautiful magic firebird for the tsar, keeps the Golden-Maned Steed and carries Elena home on it with him. The princess and the peasantís son live happily together in the castle for many years after.

Censors banned the story for over 30 years in the mid-19th century because it made the tsar appear foolish. It is meant to be a satire on the absurdities of Russian feudal life at the time. The story is similar to another wonderful tale about another Ivan, son of the tsar. It is my favorite Russian fairy tale.

Pyotr Ershov wrote this poem in 1834 at the age of 19.