This small and pretty composition was painted in the village of Mstera. It shows an episode from the popular Russian fairy-tale "By the Pike's Will" or "Emelya and the Magic Pike".
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In short, this tale is about a young man who finds a special fish when he goes to get water from the river. In return for releasing her, the Magic Pike offers to fulfill Emelia's wishes. Being a lazy fellow, Emelya light-heartedly uses magic forces, asking the pike to help him to perform his chores while he relaxes. He orders his water-pails to go home by itself, which they do, much to the surprise of his sisters-in-law. Then he orders the sledge to go by itself to the nearest forest where his ax falls wood for the fire. Afterwards he gets to the tsar's palace, riding a stove. In the palace he meets the tsar's daughter and falls in love with her. The tale ends happily and finally Emelya marries the tsar's daughter.
The scene depicted on the box's lid shows the very beginning of the story, when Emelya has catch Magic Pike.
The dominated colors are very soft and the tonality is subdued to convey the frozen sense of winter.
The box is constructed from paper-mache. The painting is framed with a silver line, edges of the lid are odorned with silver pattern. The interior is completed with red lacquer, while the exterior is black.
The lid is hinged to the left of the composition and the box rests flat. The work is not signed.
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