Saturday, 1 September 2012

Four Russian fairy tales

...Busy these days after I arrived back to India, that even taking pictures for any blog post is not in my routine. But blogging is in! Today I am in a fantasy mood again, searching for some magical, inspiring pictures and I want to share the Russian fairy tales which were (and are) my favourite.
  The fairy tale in Russian is called skazka (ska'ska) what means something what is told. Fairy tale is one of the folklore genres and has its roots deep in the history of a nation. I used to adore all the fairy tale books my parents bought for me. Browsing through their pages, viewing colourful images of the creatures and heroes was the best time pass for me. The stories themselves fascinate with the world of magic where a prince still searches for his princess. So here are the picks from the fairy tale world of my childhood.
1" Ivan Tsarevich and the Gray Wolf" ( Иван-царевич и Серый волк) fairy tale is full of the thrilling moments, like the one in which Ivan is killed by his brothers and the Gray Wolf reincarnate (!) him..and the bright moments like the marriage of Ivan and Elena the Beautiful in the end. Well, not that typical princess story and the wolf is pictured more like a werewolf... isn't it some ancient version of Twilight saga Eclipse? :)
The Gray Wolf is carrying Ivan Tsarevich and Elena the Beautiful
 2. "Vasilisa the Beautiful" is a fairy tale about a girl Vasilisa who is sent by her stepmother to fetch the light for a candle from Baba Yaga. I guess this has to be considered as the beginning of my love for horror novels :) Looking at the picture below can give you goose bumps: Vasilisa carrying a skull with the light through its eye holes. However a really scary detail throughout the story was a small doll left to Vasilisa by her late mother. The doll could speak, eat and do house work! In research works you would find that the doll was made to replace a mother and help Vasilisa in the difficulties (as a inheritance of pagan tradition) but how would I know so deep meaning behind it? It was simply creepy for me.
Vasilisa, Ivan Bilibin's painting
3. "Go I know not Wither, fetch I know not What" fairy tale which was a bit complicated for me when I was small. It has a long story line, with rather many characters. The main hero Hunter has to perform one of the king's tasks called "go where I know not whither, fetch I know not what". He does it with the help of his wife and later his wife's mother, who all are of course...witches! (Leaving this topic to another blog Witchcraft and more). This fairy tale seemed the most unusual to me, it really has not so common plot or better involves different motives of other fairy tales.
The Hunter's wife suggests him what to do in his tasks
4. "The Frog Princess" fairy tale has always had good illustrations where the princess dances or makes a carpet for a king by the mean of magic. This fairy tale is one of the most famous and has a plot known to European folklore as well. A prince has to marry a frog as so was decided according to the ritual: a young man sends an arrow to any of the sides and where the arrow falls there his bride is. Isn't it weird? So that's why this story occurs in which the prince has to live with a frog wife he knows nothing about. The mystery of the frog princess reveals  when she turns to a beautiful girl for one of the occasions, but the prince burns the frog skin in anger by virtue of which attracts loads of troubles. Everyone is happy in the end but the way to happiness is a thorn one.
the Frog Princess dances at pir, by Vasnetsov
  Perhaps I would recollect few more fairy tales which somehow played a role in the world of my imagination. But let's keep only four of them listed on the page. If you want to read some of the fairy tales, you can follow the link of Gutenberg project, Russian fairy tales or site Old Russia. There is also loads of information in Wiki, as usual :)

   P.S. In Russia and other post Soviet countries the 1st of September is called the Day of Knowledge, when all the schools, colleges and universities start their study year. So congrats to all teachers and students!


  1. Так необычно было увидеть в англоязычном блоге пост о русских сказках. Так интересно было прочесть ваши комментарии :)

    1. Spasibo, Yudiya!Eto eshe ne vse posty, svyazannye s Russkoi kul'tuori)) Spasibo za to, chto zashli i ostavili kommentarii, ochen' priyatno :)

    2. А вы родом откуда?

  2. Anna - as I was scrolling down the side of your blog, I ran across a link for this post. The first picture of your post is the basis for the Matryoshka doll I brought my daughter last summer - it's all painted with different scenes on each doll, but the painting of Ivan and Elena on the wolf is on the largest doll!

  3. Tanya, I was so happy to see so many comments you left for me :)
    Wow, that's great! I guess they wanted to incorporate Russian folk art with Russian artist's paintings on Matryoshka dolls - what a nice idea! I got to know also that your daughter collects these dolls :) Thumbs up!

    1. She LOVES these dolls...we always make sure they are hand crafted in Russia before purchasing, too. XOXO


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