Title: Russian Folk Tales

Skazki: title by Bilibin

There are no fairies in Russian folklore,

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" -- skazat'. Therefore it, 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) by clicking on the navigation links on the left. 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 of these page and attribute properly. That's all I ask.


This page is maintained by Masha Gedilaghine Holl. I hold a Master of Arts degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My interests include Russian culture, folklore, medieval literature and history.

I also maintain a page on Russian History Trivia .

And don't miss my main site, Masha Holl's Place: there you will find features for writers and helpful links.