Russian folk-tales by Leonard Arthur Magnus

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Leonard Arthur Magnus
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Book review

This compendium of Russian and Muscovite folk and fairy stories is authentic, vivid and complete with original notes and references appended by W. R. S. Ralston.

Ralston collected and translated this collection of stories in a concerted attempt to introduce European and North American audiences to the myriad folk stories which had developed in Russia over many centuries. The tales found in this collection are imbued by vivid descriptions, fast moving and culturally rich narratives, and a keen sense of leaving readers with moral lessons.

The book categorizes Russian folklore into six principle parts:

We begin with myths and legends selected for their good introductory qualities and moral conclusions, as in The Bad Wife and The Three Kopecks.

The second part of the book contains stories about manifestations of evil, such as the infamous Baba Yaga.

The third contains tales concerning other manifest beings and entities, for instance Sozh, Dnieper and One-Eyed Likho.

In the fourth part, we hear tales of magic, witchcraft and warlocks, such as The Headless Princess.

The fifth part contains stories concerning ghosts and vampires, for example the Fox Physician and The Two Corpses.

Last of all, Ralston narrates traditional legends of Russian folklore, with particular focus upon the saints of the Russian Orthodox church, and the various demons said to have appeared long ago.

An accomplished researcher with a strong affinity for the Russian nation, Ralston was sure to select only the best quality Russian folk stories. This collection is unique for maintaining a sound balance the popularly known with obscure yet high quality examples. Whether you are already an expert in Eastern folklore, or desire a superb introduction to the Russian folk stories, this book is sure to satisfy.


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