An oak tree greening by the ocean;
A golden chain about it wound:
Whereon a learned cat, in motion
Both day and night, will walk around;
On walking left, he tells a lay.
A magic place: there wends his way
The woodsprite, there's a mermaid sitting
In branches, there on trails past knowing
Are tracks of beast you never met;
On chicken feet a hut is set
With neither door nor window showing.
There wood and dale with wonders teem;
At dawn of day the breakers stream
Upon the bare and barren lea,
And thirty handsome armored heroes
File from the waters' shining mirrors,
With them their Usher from the Sea.
There glimpse a prince, and in his slave;
Alot, before the people massing,
Across the wood, across the wave,
A warlock bears a warrior brave;
See Baba-Yaga's mortar glide
All of itself, with her astride.
There droops Kashey, on treasure bent;
There's Russia's spirit... Russian scent!
And there I stayed, and drank of mead;
That oak tree greening by the shore
I sat beneath, and of his lore
The learned cat would chant and read.
One tale of these I kept in mind,
And tell it now to all my kind...
So reads the famous preface to Pushkin's poetic tale of Ruslan and Ludmila. In Russian it is called "Lukomorye", and it gives hints at the fantasy world of Pushkin's fairy tales--not only Ruslan and Ludmila, but the Tale of Tsar Saltan, Sadko, the Golden Fish, and many others that have enchanted young and old alike