About Russian Folk Tales

There Are No Fairies in Russian Folk Tales

… and so there are no fairy tales.
Even though you will find them called “Russian Fairy Tales” in the most reputable and scholarly books and libraries, even in some that I use in my courses!
I guess it’s a losing battle.
But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
There are grand tales, however, with male heroes, and with female heroes, and funny tales with animals that talk and behave like humans, or with soldiers who are on the way home from a long service and who encounter good, or sometimes bad fortune.
What is, then, a folktale?
It’s a story, first and foremost.
In Russian, it is called SKAZKA. The word is from the same root as the verb “to say” — сказать (skazat’). Therefore it is, quite simply, “that which is told” — a tale. But by implication, it is fiction, not news, something someone came up with.
So entertain yourself with a tale or two (or three). There are notes to each of them to explain the odd turn of phrase or the strange cultural reference. And the Introduction for those wanting to know more about each type of tale.
Feel free to use this material for your classes. I would love to know if you do. Drop me a note.
Feel free to link to this page. I would also love to know if you do. Please remember the author/translator of these pages and attribute properly. That’s all I ask.

If you’d like to contact me, you can do so here.