Old Peters Russian Tales
by Ransome, Arthur
pub. by Jonathan Cape Ltd, London, UK, 1984 (first edition in 1916)       isbn 0-224-029592 -- Contents. p.vii - - Note (1915) p. viv - - Note to 1938 ed. p. v - - this edition is illustrated with black and white line drawings by Faith Jacques - - 243 p. - - total - - (an earlier edition produced by Thomas Nelson and Sons - NY. Edinburgh, London...printed in USA probably during WWII 1943 perhaps) is illustrated by Dimitri Mikrokhin it has 334 p.) in both editions the illustrations are small and serve the stories well.
This is a collection of delightful folk tales collected by Arthur Ransome when he was in Russia in 1914. He traveled to Russia to escape a disasterous marriage and for the express purpose to learn Russian, collect Russian folk tales, translate them to English and publish them. In that he succeded.
He arrived shortly before the Russian Revolution and stayed there through it and on through most of WWI. He also served as a correspondent for the Englisn Daily News and the Manchester Guardian as he was a reliable man living there who had good connections.
There are 20 independent folk tales and a final story of The Christening in the Village which along with the narrative includes 2 smaller folk tales.
Included in the main body are Frost - The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship - one of the Baba Yaga (witch) tales - The little daughter of the Snow - The Golden Fish - among others. Each is introduced by the grandfather who has his 2 grand children (orphans), a dog and a cat living with him. They live in a hut some distance from the local village, and are comfortable living there. Some conversation introduces the folk tale he tells. There is often some discussion about it.
These tales reinforce virtues of courage, kindleness and cleaverness. They also punish the mean spirited and evil. Help often comes from unexpected elements. They are plain and delightful. Both of the copies I own are ex-public Library. I do hope they were replaced, but doubt it. As literature they are timeless.
Highly recommended for a fun read.
~ 2016-11-02 ~

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