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Prince Aleksey

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On November 21, 1716, Prince Aleksey, the son of Emperor Peter the Great, requested political asylum in Austria.…

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Peter Carl Faberge

Peter Carl Faberge was a world famous master jeweler and head of the ‘House of Faberge’ in Imperial Russia in the waning days of the Russian Empire.

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Of Russian origin: Kolobok

Vladimir Kremlev for RTVladimir Kremlev for RT

“Don’t eat me. I will sing you a song.”

 So the Kolobok sang,

“I'm a happy Kolobok, crunchy and brown. In the oven I was baked, on the window sill cooled. From Dedushka I ran away, from Babushka too. I ran away from the Rabbit, Wolf and Bear, and now I’ll run away from you.” 

This is the trick of the Kolobok (pronounced kah-lah-bohk, it means “roundie” in Russian), a tasty round ball of dough. He used it to distract his hungry adversaries long enough to make his escape. He’s a famous Slavic folktale character, and his story is known by children across Eastern Europe to this day.

The story starts in a small cottage where a Babushka and her hubby – Dedushka - are cooking some dough. They place their round dough ball on the window sill to cool. But this is no ordinary dough ball. The Kolobok decides he must make his escape. He rolls off the window sill and out into the countryside beyond, chased by his “masters”.

Once he has escaped, he bumps into a rabbit. The rabbit is hungry and views the Kolobok as his next meal.

“I will eat you up!”

The Kolobok, thinking quickly, offers to sing him a song.

The rabbit listens as the Kolobok sings:

“I'm a happy Kolobok, crunchy and brown. In the oven I was baked, on the window sill cooled. From Dedushka I ran away, from Babushka too, and I now I’ll run away from you.”

The distracted rabbit isn’t quick enough to catch the Kolobok and loses his meal.

Next the Kolobok meets a wolf, also hungry. 

“I will eat you up!”

The Kolobok decides to use the same trick, distracting the wolf with his song as he makes ready his escape.

“I'm a happy Kolobok, crunchy and brown. In the oven I was baked, on the window sill cooled. From Dedushka I ran away, from Babushka too. I ran away from the Rabbit, and I now I’ll run away from you.”

The wolf is left in the dust.

Next he comes to the mighty bear, and guess what, he’s hungry!

“I will eat you up!” says the Bear.

But why change a tactic when it works so well, thinks the Kolobok. So he sings for the bear:

“I'm a happy Kolobok, crunchy and brown. In the oven I was baked, on the window sill cooled. From Dedushka I ran away, from Babushka too. I ran away from the Rabbit, the Wolf and now I’ll run away from you.”

The bear is left floundering.

Lastly, he comes across the fox, well known as the most cunning of animals. But the fox too is not beyond hunger, saying,

“I will eat you up!”

So sure is he of his escape with his song, the Kolobok has grown boastful. He sings his song for the fox. But before he can make off, the fox stops him.

“Dear Kolobok, your song was beautiful, but alas, I’m hard of hearing. Could you come and sit on my nose and sing it again so I can hear properly?”

The Kolobok, wrapped up in his own genius, agrees. After the next recital, the fox again interjects.

“Dear Kolobok, your song is wonderful, but alas I just didn’t quite hear all of it. Could you do me the honor of sitting on my tongue and delivering it to me again?”

The Kolobok can’t resist such flattery, and jumps onto the fox’s tongue.

Quick as a flash, the fox snaffles up the poor Kolobok, and he is no more.

This fable-like fairytale serves as a lesson against hubris, the feeling that after some initial success one can do no wrong. But as children all over Russia learn, there will always be a cunning fox ready to catch a young Kolobok who gets too cocky!

Written by Tom Barton, RT correspondent