Full text:


Author: Mikhail Yu. Ljustrov
Information about the author:

Mikhail Yu. Ljustrov, DSc in Philology, Professor of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Head of Old Slavic Literature Department, 1) А.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 а, 121069 Moscow, Russia; Professor, 2) Russian State University for the Humanities, Miusskaya sq. 6, 125993 Moscow, Russia.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8475-0700

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

For citation:

Ljustrov, M.Yu. “The Magpie, Speaking in Hebrew, and a Jewish Monk: on a Contradiction in the Russian Translation of the ‘Story of the Seven Wise Men’.” Germenevtika drevnerusskoi literatury [Hermeneutics of Old Russian Literature]. Issue 20. Ed.-in-chief O.A. Tufanova. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2021, pp. 208–220. (In Russian) https://doi.org/10.22455/ HORL.1607-6192-2021-20-208-220

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22455/HORL.1607-6192-2021-20-208-220
Keywords: The Story of the Seven Wise Men, Russian literature of the 17th century, the magpie speaking in Hebrew.
Date of publication: 08.07.2021


The article examines the Russian translation of the novel which is included in the Story of the Seven Wise Men — the story of the third wise mаn which tells about a gullible man, an evil wife and a faithful magpie who speaks Hebrew. In the process of analyzing of some Russian lists we can discover a non- obvious contradiction: apparently, the native language of the hero is Hebrew, but at the end of the story he goes to the Holy Land and becomes a monk. To explain this contradiction we use the European (Latin, French, German, Spanish, Swedish, Danish and Polish) versions of the novel and make a careful assumption that in Russian translation the author used a special narrative manner.


  1. Adrianova-Peretz, V.P. “Istoriia semi mudretsov” [“The Story of the Seven Wise Men”]. Istoriia russkoi literatury: v 10 t. [History of Russian Literature: in 10 vols.], vol. 2, part 2. Moscow, Leningrad, Izdatel’stvo Akademii nauk SSSR Publ., 1948, pp. 110. (In Russian).
  2. Artakserksovo deistvo. Pervaia p’esa russkogo teatra XVII veka [Artaxerxes Action. The first Play of the Russian Theater of the 17th Century]. Moscow, Leningrad, Izdatel’stvo Akademii nauk SSSR Publ., 1957. 345 p. (In Russian)
  3. Belova, O.V. Slavianskii bestiarii: Slovar’ nazvanii i simvoliki [Slavic Bestiary: Dictionary of Names and Symbols]. Moscow, Indrik Publ., 2001. 316 p. (In Russian)
  4. Zinov’eva, E.I. “Ornitonim ‘soroka’ v russkom iazyke i kul’ture: universal’noe i natsional’no-spetsificheskoe” [“Ornithonym ‘Magpie’ in Russian Language and Culture: Universal and Nationally Specific”]. Mir russkogo slova, no. 4, 2012, pp. 82–86. (In Russian)
  5. Istorii semi mudretsov, izd. I. Zabelinym [Stories of the Seven Wise Men, ed. I. Zabelin], issue Moscow, Nobel’ Press Publ., 2011. 90 p. (In Russian)
  6. Odesskii, M.P. “Evrei v doklassitsisticheskoi russkoi drame” [“Jews in Preclassic Russian Drama”]. Jews and Slavs, vol. 13. Anti-Semitism and Philo-Semitism in the Slavic World and Western Europe. Haifa, Jerusalem, 2004, pp. 96–109. (In Russian)
  7. Odesskii, M.P. “Funktsiia ivrita v ‘Artakserksovom deistve’.” [“The Function of Hebrew in ‘Artaxerxes Action’.”]. Drevniaia Rus’. Voprosy medievistiki, no. 4 (14), 2003, pp. 51–52. (In Russian)
  8. Pamiatniki literatury Drevnei Rusi. XVII vek. Kn. 1 [Literary Monuments of Old Rus. 17 Century. Book 1]. Moscow, Khudozhestvennaia literatura Publ., 1988. 704 p. (In Russian)
  9. Pypin, A.N. “O romanakh v starinnoi russkoi literature” [“About Novels in Old Russian Literature”]. Sovremennik, vol. 48, no. 12, 1854, p. 98. (In Russian)