Animals in Russian folklore

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Animals in Russian folklore are used alongside human characters, as well as alongside other animals. Some of the most common animals found throughout many folktales are foxes, sheep, goats, roosters and wolves.[1] These animals are sometimes given human qualities, including the ability to speak both with other animals as well as human characters. They have the same emotions as human characters as well. They are given human qualities such as wit, humor, slyness and even stupidity.[2] Foxes, for example, are usually female and are very witty and like to trick their counterparts. This can be adult humans or wolves, roosters and bears. Wolves, on the other hand, are usually male and are not very smart. They are often susceptible to being led into traps and being tricked out of food or prey by foxes.

The characteristics of these animals have persisted through time. For example, the slyness and wittiness of foxes has remained constant.[3]


  1. ^ Hall, Masha G. Or Why Magic Tales are not Fairy Tales, Where Animals Talk and Strange Creature Roam. August 2005.
  2. ^ Zenkovsky, Serge A., editor. Medieval Russia's Epics, Chronicles, and Tales. Second Edition. New York, E. P. Dutton, 1974.
  3. ^ Goldberg, Christine. The Construction of Folktales. Journal of Folklore Research. Vol. 23, No. 2/3, Special Double Issue: The Comparative Method in Folklore (May, 1986), pp. 163-176.