Nikita the Tanner

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Nikita the Tanner or Nikita Kozhemyaka, spelled in modern Ukrainian as Mykyta (Russian: Никита Кожемяка, Ukrainian: Мики́та Кожум'я́ка), is a medieval Russian folk hero from the times of Kievan Rus. In some sources[citation needed] he is called Kyrylo the Tanner (Ukrainian: Кирило Кожум'я́ка) or Elijah the Tailor (Russian: Илья Швец, Ukrainian: Ілля Швець). The oldest prototype on it could be found in Laurentian Chronicle.

The bylina of Nikita tells that dragon Zmey Gorynych used to take beautiful girls prisoners. One day he even kidnapped the daughter of Kievan prince (kniaz). To find out dragon's weakness, the woman pretended to love him, so Zmey told her there's only person in the world that is stronger than he: a tanner from Kiev, Nikita. The princess sent her father the message about it with pigeon post. It took Prince a while to persuade Nikita into fighting. The tanner refused the wealth and power Prince offered him, but agreed when he learned how devastating Zmey Gorynych is to common people.

Nikita then went to Zmey's lair and had him heavily beaten with the simple wooden club. Frightened, dragons offered Nikita to become allies and rule the world together. Nikita demanded that they plow the border of their halfs of the world, and he used the dragon instead of plow horse. After they have plowed the furrow across the whole world, Nikita demanded that they plow further to divide the sea as well. The foolish Zmey obeyed and drowned in the ocean.

In media[edit]

  • Nikita Kozhemyaka (animated film, 1987)

See also[edit]