Ivan Krylov’s Fable “Swan, Pike & Crawfish”.


Illustration to Ivan Krylov's Fable Swan, Pike and Crawfish

In 1814 Ivan Krylov wrote a fable called “Swan, Pike and Crawfish“:

When partners can’t agree
Their dealings come to naught
And trouble is their labor’s only fruit.

Once Crawfish, Swan and Pike
Set out to pull a loaded cart,
And all together settled in the traces;
They pulled with all their might, but still the cart refused to budge!
The load it seemed was not too much for them:
Yet Crawfish scrambled backwards,
Swan strained up skywards, Pike pulled toward the sea.
Who’s guilty here and who is right is not for us to say –
But anyway the cart’s still there today.

The last line – to be more more precise – ‘the cart’s still there today‘ (воз и ныне там, voz i nyne tam) became a proverb which means: nothing has changedthings haven’t budged an inch.

Caricature based on Swan, Pike and Crawfish fable
Caricature based on “Swan, Pike and Crawfish” fable, 1906. The inscription above says: The Agrarian Question. Below: Who’s guilty here and who is right is not for us to say – But anyway the [First] State Duma cart’s still there today.

According to some versions the fable represents an allusion to discontent in Russian society with Russia’s allies actions in the War of the Sixth Coalition or disagreement between the members of the State Council.

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3 thoughts on “Ivan Krylov’s Fable “Swan, Pike & Crawfish”.

  1. Pingback: 3 Key Tips to Select and Grow Your Startup Team – ENVERACE Blog

  2. Pingback: Stories from Oles Buzina: Unheroic “bandera”e | Nina Kouprianova

  3. Pingback: My Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of the Quarter | Russian Universe

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