‘It’s so hard to make things sometimes, you know?’
~ The ‘Hi, Stranger‘ Stranger.*
Pudgy Horse and I thank you for your support.
Cover illustration for The Arthurian Concordance, ‘an encyclopedia of all things Arthurian’ by Phyllis Ann Karr, to be published as a companion to the new edition of Le Morte d’Arthur, whose cover I posted a little while ago.
I quite enjoyed working on this piece, although it progressed at a glacial pace, as usual.
Trivia: the beast’s snake head is actually an amalgamation of three snakes (though of no specific genera): cobra, python, and horned viper.
Familial, material, and romantic love all play their parts in this Russian tale, in which Tsarevich Ivan, Tsar Andronovich’s youngest son, discovers the culprit who nightly steals the Tsar’s golden apples: the firebird.
Some more recent retellings have occasionally conflated this tale with that of Koschei the Deathless by casting him as the antogonist, and indeed this was the basis for Stravinsky’s ballet of 1910. Here, the firebird’s brilliant feather, which had torn away in Ivan’s grasp when he attempted to catch the bird, becomes the light which frees Koschei’s prisoners from enchantment and aids Ivan in Koschei’s destruction.