Fairy Tales of Eastern Europe
Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches
Many of the plots, motifs, and structural elements in these Slavic tales are found in other stories told around the world.
In “The Three Golden Hairs,” for example, we see the Soudiche, the eastern European Equivalent of the Greek Fate Sisters. A peasant child is ordered killed to evade an ominous prophecy but survives to fulfill the dire predictions, much like Oedipus in the play by Sophocles. The endangered child is found in a basket floating down the river, and eventually becomes part of the king’s household as does the biblical Moses. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a message to kill the hero is secretly changed to save the bearer.
An apple tree in the Slavic tale, “The Fruit of Everlasting Youth,” evokes the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. The ages of man described by the Fate Sisters are quite similar to the ancient “Riddle of the Sphinx.” A snake impedes the function of the Tree of Everlasting Youth, again reminiscent of the Garden of Eden.
Perhaps the reader will recognize Cinderella in the character of Marouckla, or Rumpelstiltskin in the story of Kinkach Martinko. So enjoy this sparkling collection of richly imaginative folktales that stretch back in time and space to a tantalizingly remote past. — Dr. Harry Oster, folklorist