Goldfinch, Vasily Petrovich

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      <br><br>Vasily Petrovich Goldfinch (Shchegolyonkov) (April 15, 1817, Boyarshina, Medvezhyegorsk region – November 20, 1894, Boyarshina, Medvezhyegorsk region) – Olonets peasant, one of the outstanding storytellers of Russian epics.<br>Biography<br>Vasily Shchegolenok was born in the Boyarshina village of the Kizhi volost of the Petrozavodsk district of the Olonets province. In addition to farming, he was engaged in shoemaking.<br><br>According to Alexander Fedorovich Hilferding, who met the Goldfinch in 1871, the storyteller acquired a penchant for singing epics when he was still young, under the influence of his grandfather, and especially uncle Timofey, who, being legless and incapable of farming, doing the repair and manufacture of shoes, performed Russian epics. Having adopted the craft of a shoemaker from his uncle, Goldfinch learned from him most of the epics of his repertoire. The had a phenomenal memory, the versions recorded from him are recognized as the best. He himself did not know literacy, but he loved to walk to monasteries and listen to divine books, which was reflected in the tone of his stories.<br><br>The historical story of Goldfinch about Prince Yurik-Novosyol was recorded by Barsov («Voice„, 1879, No. 130). Several epics were reproduced from the words of the Shinny by Pavel Nikolaevich Rybnikov, Orest Fedorovich Miller, Hilferding («Onega epics„, Vol. II, 615-636 and»Collection of the Department of Russian Language and Literature of the Academy of Sciences„, V. LX, 287-363).<br><br>The stories about Sadko and Dobryna, Ilya Muromets, Churil, Khoten Bludovich, Duna Ivanovich, songs about Tsar Ivan the Terrible and about birds, recorded from the words of Vasily Petrovich Shchegolenok, were preferred by many 19th century folklorists over the versions of other storytellers. Hilferding makes the following characterization of his singing: «He sings epics in a low, but rather pleasant, albeit senile, voice, combining, however, often dissimilar objects into one epic and not adhering to a certain size„.<br><br> Portrait by Vasily Polenov<br><br>In the fall of 1871, with the singing of epics in St. Petersburg. In volume II «Onega epics»There is a portrait of the Goldfinch taken during his stay in the capital of the Russian Empire. In 1873 and 1879 he performed in Moscow, where he was recorded by P. A. Bessonov.<br><br>In March 1879, in Moscow, Vasily Petrovich met Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy and in the same year, at his invitation, arrived in Yasnaya Polyana, where he stayed for about a month. The goldfinch sang to Tolstoy many folk tales and epics, of which more than twenty were written down by Tolstoy, and the plots of some, Tolstoy, if he did not write down on paper, then remembered (these records are printed in volume XLVIII of the Jubilee edition of Tolstoy’s works). Six works written by Tolstoy have a source of legends and stories of the Goldfinch (1881 – „Than people are alive„, 1885 -„Two old men» and „Three elders„, 1905 -„Korney Vasiliev» and „Prayer„, 1907 -„Old man in church„). In addition, Count Tolstoy diligently wrote down many sayings, proverbs, individual expressions and words told by the Goldfinch.<br><br>The tunes from the voice of the Goldfinch were recorded by composers Rimsky-Korsakov, Balakirev, Borodin. In 1879 Ilya E. Repin created a portrait of the storyteller.<br><br>V.P. Shchegolenok was buried at the cemetery of the Kizhi churchyard.<br>

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