Folkways: The Other Tales
The basic pattern of the animal tale is simple:
- There is a meeting between animals (or between an animal and a person).
- There is a repetition, not necessarily three-fold
- Of a situation
- Of a speech
- Of an event
- The tales are heavy in dialogue
- Which can be either all prose
- Or rhymed, song-like:
- Petushok, petushok, zolotoi grebeshok
- Kolobok: quote
- Today they are treated mostly as children’s tales (see books)
- Many of them have a cumulative structure (See the Castle of the Fly or The Turnip; tell Kolobok; compare)
- There is a lot of play with names, with sounds.
This category makes up 60% of the folk tales.
The main subjects are:
- The marriage of the hero
- The taming of the shrew
- Wise advice (that leads to success)
- Wise youth or maiden
- Fate and good fortune (or misfortune)
- Highwaymen and robbers
Some of the tales are similar in subject to the magic tales, but they are realistic in content, and the structure differs, as well as the characters (no Baba Yaga).
The narrative is based on sharp social contrast:
- Social position
- Nationality, etc.
For instance, the opposition between master and servant, soldier and officer, king and subject, etc.
The main character is a trickster type. The plot is usually based on tricking oneself out of trouble or solving a riddle or riddle-like situation.
The tale is low comedy, not unlike the commoners in Shakespearean plays.