The Boy with the Bridle (Мальчик с уздечкой, 1974) by Nina Vasilenko

Current Page || History

The Boy with the Bridle
Мальчик с уздечкой
Хлопчик з вуздечкою
Malchik s uzdechkoy (ru)
Hlopchyk z vuzdechkoyu (uk)
Момчето с юзда (bg)
Valjastega poiss (et)
Chú bé cầm cương ngựa (vi)

Year 1974
Director(s) Vasilenko Nina
Studio(s) Kievnauchfilm
Language(s) (wordless)
Genre(s) History
War & battles
Animation Type(s)  Drawn (cel)
Length 00:09:21
Wordiness 2.11 profile Ru, En
425 visitors

Malchik s
Date: November 09 2023 21:41:37
Language: English
Quality: good
Upload notes: 169 characters long (view)
Creator(s): Niffiwan, konst1

Malchik s
Date: January 03 2021 02:23:23
Language: Russian
Quality: unknown
Upload notes: 77 characters long (view)
Creator(s): konst1

Malchik s
Date: October 30 2023 15:03:17
Language: Vietnamese
Quality: unknown
Upload notes:
Creator(s): Cynir

Is the video not playing correctly? Click here.


In 968 the Tatars attacked Kiev, ruled by Prince Svyatoslav, and salvation depended on a brave boy who had to slip between the enemy lines and get help.

Two versions of the film were made, narrated in Russian and Ukrainian. There was also a version with no narration at all, probably released much later. The first video above is the Ukrainian version, and the next two are the Russian and wordless versions. The Russian version has very bad image quality.

The film is based on a story recorded by Nestor in "The Tale of Bygone Years" in the 12th century, taking place in the year 6476 by the old count (from the Biblical creation of the world), and 968 by the modern count. The passage in question can be read here (translated to modern Russian), and here in English:

While Svyatoslav was at Pereyaslavets, the Pechenegs invaded Rus’ for the first time. So Olga shut herself up in the city of Kiev with her grandsons, Yaropolk, Oleg, and Vladimir. The nomads besieged the city with a great force. They surrounded it with an innumerable multitude, so that it was impossible to escape or send messages from the city, and the inhabitants were weak from hunger and thirst. Those who had gathered on the other side of the Dnieper in their boats remained on that side, and not one of them could enter Kiev, while no one could cross over to them from the city itself.

The inhabitants of the city were afficted, and lamented, “Is there no one that can reach the opposite shore and report to the other party that if we are not relieved on the morrow, we must perforce surrender to the Pechenegs?” Then one youth volunteered to make the attempt, and the people begged him to try it. So he went out of the city with a bridle in his hand, and ran among the Pechenegs shouting out a question whether anyone had seen a horse. For he knew their language, and they thought he was one o£ themselves. When he approached the river, he threw off his clothes, jumped into the Dnieper, and swam out. As soon as the Pechenegs perceived his action, they hurried in pursuit, shooting at him the while, but they did not succeed in doing any harm. The party on the other shore caught sight of him, and rowed out in a boat to meet him. They then took him into their boat, and brought him to their company. He thus reported to them that if they could not relieve the city on the next day, the inhabitants would surrender to the Pechenegs.

Then their general, Pretich by name, announced, “Tomorrow we shall approach by boat, and after rescuing the Princess and the young Princes, we shall fetch them over to this side. If we do not bring this to pass, Svyatoslav will put us to death.” When it was morning, they embarked before dawn in their boats, and blew loudly on their trumpets. The people within the city raised a shout, so that the Pechenegs thought the Prince himself had returned, and accordingly fled from the city in various directions. Thus Olga went forth with her grandsons and her followers to the boats. When the Prince of the Pechenegs perceived their escape, he came alone to Pretich, the general, and inquired who had just arrived. Pretich replied that it was a boat from the opposite bank. The Prince of the Pechenegs inquired whether Pretich was the Prince himself. The general then replied that he was the Prince’s vassal, and that he had come as a vanguard, but that a countless force was on the way under the Prince’s command. He made this statement simply to frighten the Pechenegs. So the Prince of the Pechenegs invited Pretich to become his friend, to which request Pretich assented. The two shook hands on it, and the Prince of the Pechenegs gave Pretich his spear, sabre, and arrows, while the latter gave his own breastplate, shield, and sword. The Pechenegs raised the siege, and for a time the inhabitants could no longer water their horses at the Lybed’ on account of the retreating enemy.

But the people of Kiev sent to Svyatoslav, saying, “Oh Prince, you visit and frequent foreign lands. But while you neglect your own country, the Pechenegs have all but taken us captive, along with your mother and your children as well. Unless you return to protect us, they will attack us again, if you have no pity on your native land, on your mother in her old age, and on your children.” When Svyatoslav heard these words, he quickly bestrode his charger, and returned to Kiev with his retinue. He kissed his mother and his children, and regretted what they had suffered at the hands of the Pechenegs. He therefore collected an army, and drove the Pechenegs out into the steppes. Thus there was peace.




Well, since I know this is going to come up...
I'm aware of the whole Kyiv/Kiev thing. In this case, I used "Kiev" and Russian personal names for the credits in the subtitles because this film was made in the Soviet era and that was more widespread at the time (plus for names, I'm less likely to make a mistake that way).

For post-independence Ukrainian cartoons on this site, I use the Ukrainian transliterations.


To add comment, please login or register.