Nikita the Tanner
Nikita the Tanner or Nikita Kozhemyaka, spelled in modern Ukrainian as Mykyta (Russian: Никита Кожемяка, Ukrainian: Мики́та Кожум'я́ка), is a East Slavic folk hero from the tales. In some sources he is called Kyrylo the Tanner (Ukrainian: Кирило Кожум'я́ка) (Russian: Кирилл Кожемяка) or Elijah the Tailor (Russian: Илья Швец, Ukrainian: Ілля Швець). The oldest prototype on it could be found in Laurentian Chronicle.
The fairy tale of Nikita tells that a dragon, Zmey Gorynych, used to take beautiful girls prisoners. One day he even kidnapped the daughter of the Kievan tsar (kniaz). To find out the dragon's weakness, the woman pretended to love him, so Gorynych told her there's only one person in the world that is stronger than he: a tanner from Kiev, Nikita. The princess told these news to her pigeon, who alerted her father, the tsar. The tsar decided to go meet Nikita in person, and went down to the leather tanner's house. It took the tsar a while to persuade Nikita into fighting. Nikita refused the wealth and power that the tsar offered him, but agreed after the tsar got hundreds of children in front of him and they begged him to save them, because they would be eaten by Gorynych in a few years too.
Nikita then went to Gorynych's lair, and, after a long earth-shattering fight, had him heavily beaten with his heavy wooden club. Frightened, the dragon offered Nikita to become allies and rule the world together. Nikita demanded that they plow the border of their halves of the world, then used the dragon instead of a plowing horse. After they plowed the furrow across the whole world, Nikita demanded that they plow further to divide the sea as well. The foolish Gorynych obeyed and drowned in the ocean.
- Nikita Kozhemyaka (animated film, 1987)
- Warner, Elizabeth (2002). Russian myths, illustrated. Legendary past. British Museum. p. 80. ISBN 9780714127439.
- Haney, Jack V. (1999). Russian Wondertales: Tales of heroes and villains. M.E. Sharpe. p. 135. ISBN 9781563244896.
- A poem "Mykyta Kozhem'jaka" by Oleksandr Oles' (in Ukrainian)
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