Sadko the musician loved his city of Novgorod, the richest and most free in all Russia. With its great feasts, its white stone churches, its merchant visitors from many lands, Sadko felt there was no better place to be. Yet he was lonely too, for the rich young ladies who danced to his music would never favor anyone so poor.
One night he takes his twelve-string gusli and goes alone to play by the River Volkhov. Suddenly from the water rises the Sea King, who invites the astonished musician to play at his underwater palace. But how will Sadko get there? And how will he get back? And will he want to return at all, when he meets the Sea King’s lovely daughter?
One of the most popular legends of Russia, Sadko’s story is found in medieval epic ballads, as well as in a popular opera by Rimsky-Korsakov. It is retold here in elegant prose, complemented by the entrancing illustrations of a modern Russian master.
Gennady Spirin was classically educated at the Moscow Art School at the Academy of Arts and at the Moscow Stroganov Institute. Influenced by Russian Renaissance painters, Mr. Spirin has developed his own unique style of illustration using traditional Russian art techniques. His work appeared four times on the annual New York Times Ten Best Illustrated Books of the Year list. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
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