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|Ilya of Murom:Ilya, Murom, Bilyny, Whistler, Solovey, Bandit
Ilya Muromets is the most famous of the mighty warriors, known as Bogatyrs, of the Russian "Bilyny" legends. This famed hero was unable to move during the first 33 years of his life. Then one day he was visited in his house by the three Holy Old Men, who asked Ilya for some water. Ilya became furious, as he thought the Old Men were playing a joke on him when they commanded Ilya to get up. Much to his own surprise, Ilya rose. From that moment on he became a warrior of extraordinary powers and the defender of Holy Russia.
Among his most famous deeds are the single handed destruction of the Tatar army, the sleight of the town of Chernigov, and the capture of the Evil Bandit the Nightingale Whistler, (also known as "Solovey Razboynik" ), who had the power of killing people with the sound of his whistle. Ilya captured the evil whistler after many heroic feats that challenged Ilya's strength and wisdom.
Ilya of Murom, a defender of the Lands of Russia, is portrayed as a friend of the simple folk, a symbol of liberty and fairness, and sometimes as a raging rebel who dared to quarrel with the Duke of Kiev, and who almost destroyed the city of Kiev. In the end he returned to his senses, and Ilya Muromets became the best warrior and the wisest adviser to Duke Vladimir of Kiev.
Composed and translated by
Michael I. Marinchenko