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Friday, 28 January 2011

Fairy-Tale Friday: From Russia with Love #4

Each week Irena @ This Miss Loves To Read hosts Friday is for Fairy-Tales.




It is an opportunity to share a love of the fairy-tale genre throughout the blogosphere and discuss your favourite character, your childhood memories, new authors and all time favourites. You can find out more by visiting her POST.
Ever since I read Marcus Sedgwick’s Blood Red Snow White, I have wanted to read Arthur Ransome’s Old Peter’s Russian Tales. If you’ve read Blood Red, you’ll understand why. If you haven’t, then I suggest you add it to your wish list. I never realised how poetic fairy-tales could be until I read it.


So I am going to read one of Old Peter’s Russian Tales by Arthur Ransome each week and then share it with you here.


Post 1: The Hut in the Forest, The Silver Dish and the Transparent Apple
Post 2: Sadko
Post 3: Frost

The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship


The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship is a difficult tale to retell because there are so many characters. It is a story about a simple boy who is ignored by his parents. He is sweet and innocent and referred the whole way through the story as the Fool of the World. There is a distinct moral in this tale and it is about valuing everyone whatever their skills or gifts. The Fool is underestimated by his parents, his brothers and the great Tsar. But of course, this is a fairytale and the Fool triumphs over everyone through the help of his friends that he meets and travels with in his flying ship. It is another happily ever after tale where the Fool gets to marry the Princess and have her undying love.



This is the first Russian tale that spoke of God. There is a mysterious presence in the story and it seems that this presence gifts the Fool with the Flying Ship because of his blind faith in the old man who shares a meal with him.


The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship has certainly given me food for thought. I really liked how all the unusual characters – The Eater, The Drinker, The Listener and more – had something special about them which may have been confused by someone other than the Fool on first sight. It makes me think of the wise fools that Shakespeare wrote about. This is a fairytale with many layers, I think.


Here is an illustration from the book of the Fool with his friends in the Flying Ship:


Hopefully you can just about make it out.

Next week's story is Baba Yaga ...

5 comments:

Cliona said...

Oooh, Baby Yaga sounds good! This tale doesn't really seem as good as the rest, no offence.

Bookworm1858 said...

I think this tale sounds really interesting-I love reading fairy tales with a motley assortment of characters.

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

What an interesting and lovely tale! The Fool is just the sort of character I usually like in a story. He's very endearing and I'm so glad that he finds his happiness in the end. It would be great if he found a name for himself along the way, too.:)

Oooh, Baba Yaga! I know her! I mean, not personally.:) I wonder how the Russian fairy-tale will use her in the story, can't wait to read about it!

Thank you for another delightful post, Becky!

asamum said...

These fairytales are just brilliant. I love how they work on so many levels.
Thank you for sharing them - I wish I had time to read them myself :D

Rabbitearsblog said...

This Russian folktale has always been a favorite of mine for so many years and I just loved how all the characters are developed in this story. I have actually seen several versions of this tale and have enjoyed them all, my favorites being of:

Cosgrove Hall's version of "The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship"

Rabbit Ears' Version of "The Fool and the Flying Ship" where Robin Williams narrates the story