Last year at this time, Jess in Ukraine intercepted a bunch of prints from their path to the trash after her Ukrainian school decided to get rid of them. She was kind enough to give me one as a gift during my visit. I chose the one below because of its awesome color and the amazing artistry in the chains and lighting.
I knew it was about the youth army, but could only speculate as to the true story behind the prints. UNTIL NOW. This morning I got an e-mail. Jess in Ukraine was talking to her language teacher and got the whole story behind her collection of salvaged prints!
Here we go:
Malchish Kibalchish was a little Soviet boy like any other. He worked at home with his family. He took joy in his play and worked steadfast through his chores. One day a man on a white horse came into town. He announced that he was forming a people’s army to help defeat the German Army. Malchish Kibalchish watched as the town gathered together its fathers, uncles, and elder brothers and sent them off with the man on the white horse.
The seasons wore on and the day came when the man on the white horse returned to Malchish’s village. The man was visibly tired and worn but held his head high. His horse’s tired gait betrayed the struggles on the front line.
His torn clothes hanging wearily from his shoulders, the man announced that they were doing well but needed more support. He asked for the help of the able elder men of the town. Malchish watched as the man on the white horse led his village’s able grandfathers and seniors off to war.
With much of his family off at war, Malchish Kibalchish had taken on a greater role at the household. His hopes of seeing his family’s quick return faded when he saw the man return one more time to his village. Now without a horse, the man struggled to walk forward. He brought news of near victory, but pleaded for more help.
Malchish Kibalchish stepped up proudly “Come on young boys. We have been helping everyone at home the whole time our fathers, uncles and grandfathers went off to fight and now it is our time.”
Malchish and the young privateers headed off with the man and began their fight on the lines. The Fascists were falling under the renewed spirit of the Soviet army.
This is where his arch enemy comes in. Jess remembered his name as Malchish Spalchish. He was a fat and spoiled son of a fascist. The fascists tell Spalchish that they will give him barrels of candy and soda if he will tell them where Kibalchish has his headquarters.
Spalchish accepts his role as traitor and readily tells them. The Fascists find and capture Kibalchish. They chain him up and torture him, demanding the secrets of the Red Army. Malchish remains stoic in his refusal to speak.
The Germans kill him.
There is a monument and a ship named after Malchish Kibalchish. All of the Young Pioneers go to his monument when they are officially sworn in to salute Malchish Kibalchish, the most loyal and bravest Young Pioneer.
I’ll try and get photos of some of the other prints that Jess got her hands on so that we can see more pictures from the story. Special thanks to Jess for the new information!