Fairy-Tale Files, published once weekly, feature three variations of a fairy tale chosen by one of Fairy Tale Review’s editors, interns, or past contributors.
The Death of Koschei the Deathless is a Slavic folktale originating in Russia which tells of an eternal man who menaces young women with his magic. Slaying him isn’t enough, as Koschei’s soul remains separate from his body inside a needle, which resides in an egg inside a duck, in a hare, in an iron chest on the island of Buyan. And you thought turducken was complex.
Koschei is the first of several antagonists who are pretty much impossible to dispatch.
The main villain of the Harry Potter series, Voldemort seeks to become the ultimate ruler over the entire wizarding world. His mad scramble for power led to the discovery of the Horcruxes, objects that can hold a piece of one’s soul. No harm will come to the individual, as long as the Horcrux is intact. Voldemort created seven such Horcruxes (with an unplanned eighth), so his immortality seemed assured. He became less and less human, resembling a snake-like entity as a result of splitting his soul into as many pieces.
In the British science-fiction show Doctor Who, the titular character is an alien renegade descended from a race of beings known as the Time Lords who regenerate when near death, though their personality and appearance change because of this. Time Lords are afforded twelve lives, sometimes earning another cycle through good deeds. The Doctor’s arch nemesis, the Master, is also a Time Lord, and at one point went by the name Koschei. The original Slavic tale describes Koschei as an evil person with a senile appearance, a trait the Master shares in his various incarnations, which, as of 2014, includes the female Missy.
Meanwhile, get a load of those theme songs…
This edition of Fairy-Tale Files is brought to you by Fairy Tale Review editorial assistant Jared Hughes and poetry editor Jon Riccio.