LITTLE RYSTU by Mirra Ginsburg


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Adapted from an Altai folktale of Soviet Central Asia, this concerns a musical nature boy named Rystu (""My father is the blue mountain, and my mother is the milk lake"") who is taken by the Khan to play a silver reed for his children. When Rystu refuses to play on command, he is sent to herd cows in the fields, and then to churn butter; but two magic words which he learns from the ants enable him to control not only the cows and other animals but also the Khan and his family--sending them dancing off and away, whereupon he runs off to freedom himself. In contrast to the harmonious natural surroundings, Chen's elegant dancing figures have an amusing absurdity, and the words and pictures are altogether pleasant, polished, and of a piece. Still, there is an artificial, almost pious note in the description of Rystu's pristine bliss, and an arbitrary ring to the magic, which limit involvement.

Pub Date: Feb. 13th, 1978
Publisher: Greenwillow