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Folk Tales from the Russian   By:

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[Illustration: " She gave him a touchstone and flint "]

FOLK TALES

FROM THE RUSSIAN

RETOLD BY

VERRA XENOPHONTOVNA KALAMATIANO DE BLUMENTHAL

FOREWORD

In Russia, as elsewhere in the world, folklore is rapidly scattering before the practical spirit of modern progress. The traveling peasant bard or story teller, and the devoted "nyanya", the beloved nurse of many a generation, are rapidly dying out, and with them the tales and legends, the last echoes of the nation's early joys and sufferings, hopes and fears, are passing away. The student of folk lore knows that the time has come when haste is needed to catch these vanishing songs of the nation's youth and to preserve them for the delight of future generations. In sending forth the stories in the present volume, all of which are here set down in print for the first time, it is my hope that they may enable American children to share with the children of Russia the pleasure of glancing into the magic world of the old Slavic nation.

THE AUTHOR.

THE TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword

A List of Illustrations

Dedication

Notes

FOLK TALES

The Tsarevna Frog

Seven Simeons

The Language of the Birds

Ivanoushka the Simpleton

Woe Bogotir

Baba Yaga

Dimian the Peasant

The Golden Mountain

Father Frost

A LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

"She gave him a touchstone and flint".

The Tsarevna Frog

"Hunters, grooms, and servants rushed in all directions"

Ivan learns the language of the birds

"The old man went begging from town to town"

"One brother was sent to watch the turkeys"

The rich brother

"The children ran away as fast as their little feet could possibly carry them"

"Well, I struck a snag"

"Old Frost gave the gentle girl many beautiful, beautiful things"

TO MY LITTLE FRIEND

EDITH EVANS

AND ALL AMERICAN CHILDREN

[Illustration: The Tsarevna Frog ]

THE TSAREVNA FROG

[Illustration] In an old, old Russian tsarstvo, I do not know when, there lived a sovereign prince with the princess his wife. They had three sons, all of them young, and such brave fellows that no pen could describe them. The youngest had the name of Ivan Tsarevitch. One day their father said to his sons:

"My dear boys, take each of you an arrow, draw your strong bow and let your arrow fly; in whatever court it falls, in that court there will be a wife for you."

The arrow of the oldest Tsarevitch fell on a boyar house just in front of the terem where women live; the arrow of the second Tsarevitch flew to the red porch of a rich merchant, and on the porch there stood a sweet girl, the merchant's daughter. The youngest, the brave Tsarevitch Ivan, had the ill luck to send his arrow into the midst of a swamp, where it was caught by a croaking frog.

Ivan Tsarevitch came to his father: "How can I marry the frog?" complained the son. "Is she my equal? Certainly she is not."

"Never mind," replied his father, "you have to marry the frog, for such is evidently your destiny."

Thus the brothers were married: the oldest to a young boyarishnia, a nobleman's child; the second to the merchant's beautiful daughter, and the youngest, Tsarevitch Ivan, to a croaking frog.

After a while the sovereign prince called his three sons and said to them:

"Have each of your wives bake a loaf of bread by to morrow morning."

Ivan returned home. There was no smile on his face, and his brow was clouded.

"C R O A K! C R O A K! Dear husband of mine, Tsarevitch Ivan, why so sad?" gently asked the frog. "Was there anything disagreeable in the palace?"

"Disagreeable indeed," answered Ivan Tsarevitch; "the Tsar, my father, wants you to bake a loaf of white bread by to morrow."

"Do not worry, Tsarevitch. Go to bed; the morning hour is a better adviser than the dark evening."

The Tsarevitch, taking his wife's advice, went to sleep. Then the frog threw off her frogskin and turned into a beautiful, sweet girl, Vassilissa by name. She now stepped out on the porch and called aloud:

"Nurses and waitresses, come to me at once and prepare a loaf of white bread for to morrow morning, a loaf exactly like those I used to eat in my royal father's palace... Continue reading book >>




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