Svyatogor is a Titanic figure, attached to the conception of the Earth mother, rather elusively undefined, certainly not human in all respects. The name looks like an obvious compound of the Holy Mountain, but popular etymology has turned Sviatya Gory into Svyaty Egor, St. Gregory, Gregory the Brave, and so contaminated the legend with the man, as Egor Svyatogor. When he moves, a great noise is heard from the North, and the dark forests quake, the Mother, the Grey Earth, trembles, and the streams gush forth over the steep banks. He could lift up the earth on his shoulder hangs a crystal coffer, in which he carries his young wife (of whom more will be heard under the head of Ilya Muromets). Such beauty as hers was never seen on earth, she was a tall, light-footed, eye like the piercing hawks, and brows black as sable, and her body a fair white. She tempts Ilya and is slain. Then a Svyatogor repair to the Northern Hills, to a grave made ready, and lies down in it. As Ilya smites the roof to escape, sparks glisten and walls strong as iron rise to withstand him. Svyatogor breathes on Ilya and lends him magical strength; a third breath would have been deadly. So Svyatogor reposes forever in his tomb of rock, and invests Ilya with his keen sword.
There is something of Scandinavian flavor in this; like the tale of Thor fighting Skrimir, the Giant, in Utgard, and lodging in there as in a mansion. Further, on Rambaud's authority, Svyatogor the Smith (possibly a distant relation on Wayland) has distinct analogies with the Finnish "Smith" Karelainen, or the Ilmarinen of the Kalevala; and some regard the tale as a simile of Night as the unveiling of the Dawn. Some nature-myth of he northern winter is certainly part of this story.
The meeting of Svyatogor with Mikula, the Villager's Son, will come most appropriately when we deal with the latter.
Another version of this characteristic tale of Svyatogor makes him instruct Ilya to buy a foal for five hundred rubles of a peasant near the white hazel bridge: it will turn into a heroic steed. Svyatogor invites Ilya to visit him, bidding him warm a bit of iron, but not put forth his hands.
Svyatogor lives, like all the fabulous beings, beyond the limits of Holy Russia. Now Svyatogor's father was blind and wanted to handle Ilya, and test his strength, so Ilya placed the iron in the blind man's hands, and so convinced him of his strength. This episode is very similar to the Irish story of Finn, who dresses up as his own child and gives his enemy the Giant a great white stone to suck instead of bread, so breaking the tooth in which his strength lies; as also with the device by which Skrimir cheats Thor, when he lays mountains on which Thor hammers in vain, between his head and Mjollnir, Thor's lightning.