Verra Xenophontovna Kalamatiano de Blumenthal


Folk Tales from the Russian (1903)


Folk Tales from the Russian (1903)

I love folk tales. I have two shelves of them, and discovered when I got my Kindle there are lots of collections available out there FOR FREE.

Free, of course, means the books are from the public domain, and were scanned and formatted by volunteers, but still. Free!

Now, I am extremely fond of Aleksandr Afanasev’s Russian Fairy Tales in the Pantheon series, so I wasn’t expecting much from this collection, yet it was surprisingly good.

If you are a reader of folktales, then you are already familiar with the common threads that run through so many of these tales, and if you’ve read a collection of Russian folk tales, than many of these will be familiar to you. However, each teller would tell his tale in a slightly different manner, so every collection is unique in some aspects. But even better, there are a handful of notes throughout the story, on some of the terms used in the book.

It’s nice to be reading and just click to jump to a description and learn a little more. For example:

2. Boyar was the world formerly used to mean a Russian nobelman; so a boyar-house is a lord’s house; boyarishnia, a lord’s daughter. The terem was that part of the boyar-house in which the women’s rooms were situated.

Isn’t that lovely? Or how about the following?

8. Moujik, a peasant; his duties are those of a farm laborer, yet this phrase would not be a fair translation. This word, which is rendered “tiller of the soil” has no exact equivalent in English.

There are ten stories in this collection: The Tsarevna Frog, Seven Simeons, The Language of the Birds, Ivanoushka the Simpleton, Woe Bogotir, Baba Yaga, Cimian the Peasant, The Golden Mountain, Father Frost.

Some of them might sound familiar from the titles, others have a familiar ring once you start reading them. But they are lovely translations and it’s always fun to see these tales from a different perspective.
Rating: 8/10

Public Domain ebook