home page

A traditional Siberian folk tale about Lake Baikal and its associated rivers, taken from a book of Russian folk tales.

The grey-haired Baikal-lake had an only daughter - the beautiful Angara-river. He kept her deep under his waters in a chamber surrounded by the rocks and did not allow anybody even to cast a glance at her. He made up his mind to find a bridegroom for her among his neighbours, because he did not want his daughter to be carried far away from him. He loved her so dearly.

Baikal chose for his daughter a rich and noble bridegroom, his neighbour - the Irkut- river. But Angara the Beautiful refused to marry him. Suddenly there appeared a Gull before her and said: "I have been to Sayan mountains and have flown all along the Yenisei-river. Oh, how strong and handsome he is! He got through the Sayan mountains and is bound for the Arctic Ocean. He is strong and brave!" - "What colour are his eyes?" - "They are like emeralds, like mountain cedars in the sunlight" - the Gull answered.

The Gull flew to the Sayan mountains and gave the Yenisei-river the greetings from Angara the Beautiful. Yenisei had already heard about Angara, famous for her beauty and fallen in love with her. He sent the Gull to ask Angara whether she was willing to run with him to the wide spaces of the Arctic Ocean? Angara accepted the proposal with joy. But how could she escape? The Beauty's brothers and sisters - brooks and small rivers - came to her rescue. They washed out a way under the rocks and Angara was set free one night. She rushed to the place where her beloved Yenisei was waiting for her.

Baikal woke up but it was too late. Mad with rage, he threw a large rock to stop the fugitive. Angara managed to break through the cliffs and ran further. The Gulls showed her the way where Yenisei was waiting. At last the blue waters of Angara and the green ones of Yenisei came together and merged for ever and ever. Freely and happily they went running together to the mighty Arctic Ocean.

Just at the place where Angara the Beautiful set herself free from the gorge of the Baikal-lake, the Shaman-Stone is seen. Angara's father had thrown it over there. They say if the stone was removed, the waters of the Baikal-lake could overflow its banks and submerge everything around. The Gulls keep flying over there guarding the love of Angara the Beautiful and the mighty Yenisei.