Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Tale of Tsar Saltan
The story is of three sisters, of whom the youngest is chosen by Tsar Saltan to be his wife, while he makes the other two his royal cook and royal weaver. They are jealous of course, and when the tsarina gives birth to a son, Prince Guidon, they arrange to have her and her child ordered to be shut up in a barrel and thrown into the sea. The sea itself takes pity on them, and they are cast up on the shore of a remote island. The son having quickly grown up while in the barrel, he goes hunting, but ends up saving an enchanted swan from a kite. The swan creates a city for Prince Guidon to rule, but he is homesick, and the swan turns him into a mosquito, in which guise he visits Tsar Saltan's court, where he stings his aunt's eye and escapes.
Back in his distant realm, the swan gives Guidon a magical squirrel. But he continues to pine for home, and so the swan transforms him into a fly, and in the Tsar's court he stings the eye of his other aunt. In a third round he becomes a wasp (or bee) and stings the nose of his grandmother. In the end, he expresses a desire for a bride instead of his old home, upon which the swan is revealed to be a beautiful princess, whom he marries, and is visited by the Tsar, who is overjoyed to find his wife and now-married son.
It was later adapted as a libretto for a 1901 opera of the same name by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and has also been filmed. "The Flight of the Bumblebee" is the opera's vivid tone rendering of Guidon's third flight home.
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