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‘She boiled water and poured it into the barrels, thus scalding the six robbers to death.’ Illustration for The Wise Maiden and the Seven Robbers, from Myths and Legends of Russia, collected by Aleksandr Afanas’ev and translated by Norbert Guterman; published by The Folio Society, 2009. Ink and gouache on Arches hot pressed.

In honour of International Women’s Day.

Do you notice how frequently a woman’s quick wit and resourcefulness triumphs in folk and fairy tales? Like Morgiana, the wise maiden in this Russian variant of the Ali Baba story from the Thousand and One Nights saves her household from the clutches of murderous thieves.

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