Russian Fairy Tales

Peter Nikolaevich Polevoi (1839 - 1902)
Translated by Robert Nisbet Bain (1854 - 1909)

The existence of the Russian Skazki or Märchen was first made generally known to the British public by Mr W. R. S. Ralston in his “Russian Folk-Tales.” That excellent and most engrossing volume was, primarily, a treatise on Slavonic folk-lore, illustrated with admirable skill and judgment by stories, mainly selected from the vast collection of Afanasiev, who did for the Russian what Asbjörnsen has done for the Norwegian folk-tale. A year after the appearance of Mr Ralston's book, the eminent Russian historian and archaeologist, Peter Nikolaevich Polevoi (well known, too, as an able and ardent Shakespearean scholar), selected from the inexhaustible stores of Afanasiev some three dozen of the Skazki, and worked them up into a fairy-tale book which was published at St Petersburg in 1874, under the title of “Narodnuiya Russkiya Skazki” (“Popular Russian Tales”). M. Polevoi did his work excellently well, and, while softening the crudities and smoothing out the occasional roughness of these charming stories, neither injured their simple texture nor overlaid the original pattern. It is from the first Russian edition of M. Polevoi's book that the following selection has been made. With the single exception of Morozko, a variant of which will be familiar to those who know Mr Ralston's volume, none of these tales had seen the light in an English dress before the publication of the first edition of my book; for though both Ralston and Polevoi drew, for the most part, from the same copious stock, their purposes were so different that their selections naturally proved to be different also. As to the merits of these Skazki, they must be left to speak for themselves. It is a significant fact, however, that scholars who are equally familiar with the Russian Skazki and the German Märchen unhesitatingly give the palm, both for fun and fancy, to the former. - Summary by Robert Nisbet Bain

Genre(s): Myths, Legends & Fairy Tales

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 00 Translator's Preface Expatriate
Play 01 The Golden Mountain Expatriate
Play 02 Morozko Expatriate
Play 03 The Flying Ship Expatriate
Play 04 The Muzhichek As Big As Your Thumb With Moustaches Seven Versts Long Expatriate
Play 05 The Story of the Tsarevich Ivan & of the Harp that Harped without a Harper Expatriate
Play 06 The Story of Gore-Gorinskoe Expatriate
Play 07 Go I Know Not Whither; Fetch I Know Not What Expatriate
Play 08 Kuz’ma Skorobogaty Expatriate
Play 09 The Tsarevna Loveliness Inexhaustible Expatriate
Play 10 Verlioka Expatriate
Play 11 The Frog Tsarevna Expatriate
Play 12 The Two Sons of Ivan the Soldier Expatriate
Play 13 The Woman-Accuser Expatriate
Play 14 Thomas Berennikov Expatriate
Play 15 The White Duck Expatriate
Play 16 The Tale of Little Fool Ivan Expatriate
Play 17 The Little Feather of Fenist the Bright Falcon Expatriate
Play 18 The Tale of the Peasant Demyan Expatriate
Play 19 The Enchanted Ring Expatriate
Play 20 The Brave Labourer Expatriate
Play 21 The Sage Damsel Expatriate
Play 22 The Prophetic Dream Expatriate
Play 23 Two Out of the Knapsack Expatriate
Play 24 The Story of Marko the Rich and Vasily the Luckless Expatriate