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Dobrynya Nikititch

by Cyril Korolev
In Russian folklore Dobrynya is an epic hero, a mighty warrior, second in might and power after Ilya Muromets, distant relative of prince Vladimir of Kiev. Unlike his comrades Ilya and Alyosha Popovitch - Dobrynya had some aptitude to fine arts: he sang beautifully, could read and write and play chess; but first of all he was a gallant warrior who protected Russian borders and fought with enemies and monsters.

Dobrynya's main feat was his victory over the flying worm Zmei Gorynytch; it was a hard victory because Zmei was powerful enemy and very insidious. The first time they met was in the middle of a river, and Dobrynya won that day, but the Worm prayed for mercy; and Dobrynya felt sorry for him and let him go, but the Worm flew to Kiev and stole the niece of the prince Vladimir - Zabava. Then Dobrynya was sent on a quest to find the Worm's den. He went to netherworld, found Zabava, rescued her and killed the Worm at last.

He also killed the Worm's mistress who tried to put him under a spell, and later he went to find a bride for the prince Vladimir. While Dobrynya was away, Alyosha Popovitch began gossiping that he was dead. The people believed those gossips, and Dobrynya's wife, Nastasya, had to marry another by the will of prince Vladimir. The wedding ceremony was in progress when Dobrynya returned unexpectedly; he stopped the ceremony and thumped Alyosha badly for his malice.

His nickname means "the son of Nikita". Dobrynya's father was a prince or a merchant ("rich guest", as he is called in folk songs).

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