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Friday, 22 July 2011

Fairy-Tale Friday: From Russia with Love #18

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.

Click HERE for link to Posts 1 – 10 of this feature.
Post 11 - A Chapter of Fish
Post 12 - The Golden Fish
Post 13 - Alenoushka and Her Brother
Post 14 - The Firebird, The Horse of Power and the PrincessVasilissa
Post 15 - The Hunter and his Wife
Post 16 - The Three Men of Power – Evening, Midnight andSunrise
Post 17 - Salt

The end
I have reached the final chapter of the book and rather than finishing with a fairy-tale,  Ransome gives the reader a sense of a Russian village in times gone by.

The chapter is titled: The Christening in the Village

It sees the  two children who listen to the tales told by Old Peter attend the christening of a baby. The Christening takes place the day immediately after the birth. The children travel with Old Peter on the back of a cart to the village. They ask their Grandfather questions about things they see on the journey and he answers them with a folk tale. It reminded me of animal folk tales like how the Lion got his roar. These are the heart of oral tradition. One of the mini stories was about two rivers that run through Russia and how the smaller one bets his water will reach the sea first in Spring. He thaws first but the bigger river (I forget its name) has more power so even though it takes longer to melt after the winter, the great torrent that it powers reaches the sea first. It was a fitting end to a journey through Russian fairy-tales.

It has taken me many weeks, into months, to complete this feature but I'm glad I've been on this journey. I've really enjoyed seeing a new culture and some of the tales have inspired me. My favourite was The Firebird, the Horse of Power and the Princess Vasilissa.

I have seen archetypes appear again and again through these stories. It seems as if the youngest child in any family is the most challenged but wins through in the end. The hero's are often flawed and yet gifted with courage, bravery and occasionally stupidity. The villain is more often than not a familial figure - a sister, a brother, a wife, a mother, a father, a husband. I wonder what this implies about life...

This has been a wonderful adventure and I thank Irena for giving me the inspiration to set out into this fairy-land of Russia. I hope you've enjoyed it too.

1 comment:

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

Wow, you've come to the end of the collection! I really enjoyed journeying through the stories with you, and I intend to read them myself because they really have a unique Russian feel about them; I like that.

I find it nice that the collection rounds up with Old Peter attending a christening, it's a lovely finale.

Thank you for the post, Becky!