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Main page » Coursebooks » Russian Fairy Tales

Russian Fairy Tales


Russian Fairy Tales
by Peter Polevoi
translated by Robert Nisbet Bain
(Rare Book Collection)

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 Asbjornsen 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 Shaksperian scholar), selected from the inexhaustible stores of Afanasiev some three dozen of the Skazki most suitable for children, 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 Märchen). To manipulate these quaintly vigorous old-world stories for nursery purposes was, as may well be imagined, no easy task, but, on the whole, 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.

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Tags: Russian, Skazki, stories, Polevoi, Tales