Russian fairy tale
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Skazka is the English transcription of Сказка, the Russian word literally meaning story, but used to mean fairy tale. The term skazka can be used in many different forms to determine the type of tale or story being told. A volshebnaya skazka (plural volshebnyye skazki) is considered a “magical tale.” Skazki o zhivotnykh are “tales about animals”, and bytovye skazki are “tales about everyday life.” These variations of skazki give the term skazka more depth, giving it more meaning than just fairy tales.
Similarly to Western European tradition (especially the German one, established by Brothers Grimm) seeking to find the essence of a nation's spirit, Russian folklore started to be collected by scholars and systematically studied in the 19th century. Russian folk fairy tales were catalogued (compiled, grouped, numbered and published) then by Alexander Afanasyev , and his compendium is still referred to by folklore scholars when citing the number of a skazka plot. An exhaustive analysis of the stories describing the stages of their plots and classification of charactrers based on their functions was developed later, in the first half of the 20th century by Vladimir Propp.
Alexander Pushkin was one of the writers of skazka. When he grew up, he started to write poems, based on these tales and stories. From his pen seven masterpieces of world fairy tales were born:
- 1825 - Жених"; English translation: The Bridegroom
- 1830 - Сказка о попе и о работнике его Балде; English translation: The Tale of the Priest and of His Workman Balda
- 1830 - Сказка о медведихе; English translation: The Tale of the She-Bear (unfinished)
- 1831 - Сказка о царе Салтане; English translation: The Tale of Tsar Saltan
- 1833 - Сказка о рыбаке и рыбке; English translation: The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish
- 1833 - Сказка о мертвой царевне; English translation: The Tale of the Dead Princess
- 1834 - Сказка о золотом петушке; English translation: The Tale of the Golden Cockerel
Many others were penned anonymously.