Now deep in this forest, as the stepmother well knew, there was a green lawn and on the lawn stood a miserable little hut on hens’ legs, where lived a certain Baba Yaga, an old witch grandmother. She lived alone and none dared go near the hut, for she ate people as one eats chickens. The merchant’s wife sent Vasilissa into the forest each day, hoping she might meet the old witch and be devoured.
Okay so this is a silly idea I couldn’t get rid of, so I had to sketch it out ) It’s based on a traditional Russian fairytale, Prince Ivan and The Grey Wolf. The main character, Tsarevitch(=Prince) Ivan has to complete several tasks throughout the story, including stealing the Fire Bird, the Horse with the Golden Mane, and the most beautiful princess of the lands, Elena the Beautiful for three different kings. He’s helped by the Grey Wolf who owes Ivan a debt because he ate the prince’s horse. Each time Ivan messes up and the Wolf has to do evetything himself help him out of trouble, he also helps the prince keep all three of the treasures after it becomes apparent Ivan can’t bear parting with them. At some point the Wolf even turns into Elena to deceive the king who wanted to marry her while Ivan escapes with the princess. Anyway, it was one of my favorite fairy tales growing up and the Wolf was my favorite character, and after I discovered Fables and TWAU I couldn’t help but imagine Bigby as a participant of that story :’D
Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin (August 1876 – February 1942) was a 20th-century illustrator and stage designer who took part in the Mir iskusstva and contributed to the Ballets Russes. Throughout his career, he was inspired by Slavic folklore.
Ivan Bilibin was born in a suburb of St. Petersburg. He studied in 1898 at Anton Ažbe Art School in Munich, then under Ilya Repin
in St. Petersburg. In 1902-1904 Bilibin travelled in the Russian North,
where he became fascinated with old wooden architecture and Russian
folklore. He published his findings in the monograph Folk Arts of the Russian North in 1904. Another influence on his art was traditional Japanese prints.
Bilibin gained renown in 1899, when he released his illustrations of Russian fairy tales. During the Russian Revolution of 1905, he drew revolutionary cartoons. He was the designer for the 1909 première production of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel. The October Revolution, however, proved alien to him. After brief stints in Cairo and Alexandria,
he settled in Paris in 1925. There he took to decorating private
mansions and Orthodox churches. He still longed for his homeland and,
after decorating the Soviet Embassy in 1936, he returned to Soviet
Russia. He delivered lectures in the Soviet Academy of Arts until 1941. Bilibin died during the Siege of Leningrad and was buried in a collective grave.
His death is hidden separate from his body inside a needle, which is in an egg, which is in a duck, which is in a hare, which is in an iron chest, which is buried under a green oak tree, which is on the island of Buyan in the ocean. As long as his soul is safe, he cannot die.