When I can’t sleep at night, I like to read from this book of Russian Fairy Tales in a Russian accent.
I picked up this book at The Museum of Jurassic Technology, a magical place in Los Angeles that makes no sense, defies all logic and makes the world a better place. The stories in this book usually start with a character who must overcome obstacles involving livestock and produce and end with the character failing or dying. There is something comforting about the predictable futility of their efforts. Below, please find summaries of my Top 5 Russian Fairy Tales:
Top 5 Russian Fairy Tales
Grandfather plants a turnip. The time comes to pick it. He can’t pull it out himself so he asks grandmother to help. She can’t do it so she asks Granddaughter. Granddaughter can’t so she asks a puppy. The puppy can’t do it so he asks a beetle. Then the beetle asks a second beetle. Then the second beetle asks a third beetle. Then a fourth beetle. They all pull and pull, but can’t pull out the turnip. The End.
The Snotty Goat
A merchant had three daughters. He built them a new house and sent them there to have dreams. The first daughter dreams she will marry a merchant’s son. The second daughter dreams she will marry a nobleman. The third daughter dreams she will marry a goat. The merchant was frightened and forbade his third daughter from leaving the house. She snuck out anyway and was captured by a goat. Back at the goat’s place, he had a lot of snot on his face so the third daughter wiped it up for him with a handkerchief and fell in love. Everyone made fun of her for loving the goat, but she didn’t care. Then one day she came home and the goat was dead. The End.
The Old Woman Who Ran Away
An old woman and an old man lament their regrets of not having children. They begin to argue about what their children would or would not have been like. The old man drags the old woman by the braid and hits her face against the stove. The old woman packs a bag and runs away. When she gets really far into the forest, she opens the bag and realizes the old man is inside of it. She promises never to leave home again. The End.
Two brothers lived in a village. One was poor and one was rich. The poor brother asks the rich brother for money because his family is starving to death. The rich brother invites him to come back the next day with his family for his birthday feast. At the party, the rich brother forgets to offer his poor brother’s family anything to eat, so they just sit there with empty stomachs and watch all the guests enjoy themselves. The End.
The Stubborn Wife
Once a peasant shaved his beard and told his wife about it. His wife told him he didn’t really shave his beard, he just trimmed it. The husband thrashed his wife and demanded she admit that his beard was shaved or else he would drown her in the river. The wife insisted it was just trimmed, not shaved. The peasant held his wife underwater till she drowned. The End.