Discovering Russian Tales


I remember when I was a kid, my dad used to buy us books on his salary day. My mom was getting upset with him because instead of buying food or something we needed for the day-to-day life he was spending money on books. We read because we wanted to learn. We considered reading part of anybody’s personal education.

The word went around fast when someone found a good book. We were borrowing books from each other and then discussed them. I actually had my own small library in my room. I learned how to be very selective about the titles I was collecting. I still collect books.

I was in 7th grade when one of my classmates brought to school a beautifully illustrated book with Russian folk tales.

It was written in French. Our French teacher read and translated it to us. We were captured  by the stories immediately because they were so different from our folk tales and the ones written by the Grimm Brothers or Hans Christian Anderson that we were familiar with.

Photos above: Public Domain (Wikimedia Commons)

We knew very little about Russia at that time. We were so surprised to learn that not everything Russian was as negative as people wanted us to believe. This book opened our eyes to another world and another kind of culture.

Every year, around the winter holidays, I buy a book or two to read during my winter break. I was so delighted when I found this book translated in English. This particular book contains only five stories with beautiful drawings. There is a paperback that contains 175 fairy tales. This one may not be as attractive as the first one. However, it is believed to be the largest compilation of Russian tales that has been translated in English. I am sure it will make a nice addition to any personal library regardless the reader’s age.

Photos I took: hardcover and inside book, photos 1-6 left, illustrations by  Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin and paperback cover photo 6 right

Some people may think that fairy tales are only for children. The Russian fairy tales offer something for everyone. Both adults and children will be impressed by the energy that emerges from these stories. They are filled with action and excitement that represent the high spirited nature of the Russian people. The readers will also get a chance to get acquainted with traditions and customs of one of the most famous country in the world and find out that there are beautiful things they can learn about it.

Photos:”Vasilisa The Beautiful” and “Tsarevich Ivan, The Firebird and The Grey Wolf” – Public Domain (Wikimedia Commons)

You will be pleasantly surprised by the vivid colors of the illustrations with intricate Slavic folklore details that depict a world beyond imagination. It will be a nice reading when you want to cuddle by the fire and sip hot chocolate with your loved ones.

Featured Image: “Tsarevich Ivan, The Firebird and The Grey Wolf” – Public Domain (Wikimedia Commons)

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