Alkonost is a unique bird, a resident of the Iria — Slavic paradise. She has a woman’s face, a bird’s body, and a voice as sweet as love itself. He who has heard the singing of Alkonost can forget everything in the world from delight, but there is no evil from her to people, unlike her friend the bird Sirin. Alkonost lays eggs «on the edge of the sea», but does not hatch them, she plunges them into the depths of the sea. At this time, the weather is calm for seven days-until the chicks hatch.
Myth: Cherished wish
Once in the evening young bird-catcher prepared his fly-nets for quails, and in the morning went to check them. He came to the hemp field, where many birds flocked — and could not believe his eyes: a beautiful girl was struggling in the cage. She had a woman’s face and a bird’s body. Her beauty darkened the young man’s eyes. — «What’s your name?» — he asked. «Alkonost,» — she answered. The bird-catcher was about to kiss the captive, but the maiden covered herself with her wing-arms and began to weep and wail, assuring him that after a man kissed her, she would lose her magic power forever and would never be able to fly to heaven again, and on earth she would be destroyed. «Let me go,»- said the bird, «and in re- turn ask for what you want, I will grant you any wish!» The young man thought: «What to wish for? Wealth? It will run out. The love of beauties? — they will cheat…I want to expe- rience the bliss of paradise during my life!», — the fowler exclaimed at last. At the same time, there was a roar in his ears, a darkening in his eyes, the ground went out from under his feet and the wind whistled around him.
A moment later, he saw himself in a bright and unusual country. It was Iria — heavenly Kingdom — on the other side of the clouds. Iria was a home to the winged souls of the dead. Singing flowers smelled everywhere, and streams of living water flowed. Alkonost sang sweet songs that brought clear, sunny weather to earth. Every- thing was beautiful, and the young man realized that he had reached the limit of his desires. Once he dozed off under a tree, but was awakened by a raven: «What are you doing in Iria, wingless? What are you looking for among the dead? You have not yet experienced the love and happiness that fate measures in full measure, so why did you hurry to voluntarily say goodbye to the joys of life? Return to your native land immediately!» To tell the truth, birdman was beginning to get tired of idleness, the flying beauties here didn’t pay attention to him, and the apples of paradise were already boring. But you don’t catch birds of paradise in paradise to make your own soup! «I should be glad to return,» — he said timidly. — «But how do I find my way back?» «So be it,’ — croaked the raven, — «I will lead you out into the world of humans.» As a reward for the fact that your great — great — grandfather let me out of the nets once. «Great-great-grandfather?»- The young man didn’t believe him. — «But how — when — it can’t be!» «It can, can!» — the prophetic bird nodded. — «Don’t you know that we crows live for three hundred years? Now close your eyes and grab my tail.» He squeezed his eyes shut… the winds whistled around him… and a moment later he felt solid ground beneath his feet.
He opened his eyes and found himself in the same clearing where the quails were pecking at the hemp. He returned home, lived to a great old age, and only at the end of his life told his grandchildren about Iria — the paradise, where he was lured by the sweet songs of the bird Alkonost.