Sadko the musician loved his city of Novgorod, the richest and most free in all Russia. Thanks to its great feasts, its white stone churches, and its merchant visitors from many lands, Sadko felt there was no better place to be.
One night he takes his twelve-string gusli and goes alone to play by the River Volkhov. Suddenly from the water rises the Sea King, who invites the astonished musician to play at his underwater palace. But how will Sadko get there? And how will he get back? And will he want to return at all after he meets the Sea King's lovely daughter?
One of the most popular legends of Russia, Sadko's story is found in medieval epic ballads, as well as in a popular opera by Rimsky-Korsakov. It is retold here in elegant prose, complemented by the entrancing illustrations of a modern Russian master.