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 tsar (kniaz). To find out dragon's weakness, the woman pretended to love him, so Gorynych told her there's only person in the world that is stronger than he: a tanner from Kiev, Nikita. The princess told these news to her pigeon, who alerted here 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 the 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, and he 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.

In media[edit]

  • Nikita Kozhemyaka (animated film, 1987)

See also[edit]