Fairy Tale Thriller: Miraculous Hen

Esteemed Readers, today I would like to present you a mysterious tale, which might be successfully enlisted as a thriller story. It contains all the necessary elements: mystery, killing, blood & other creepy things. Savage tales are rather popular in the Russian mythology. All of them show, on one hand, a difficult relationship with nature and on the other, the process of a human growing by collaborating with its wild side.

This very story touches such an important topic as prosperity and shows how people change if they suddenly become rich. A miraculous hen bought by an old man from a drunkard destroys the family peace. Together with money it brings envy, evil & death. In the Russian language “zlo” (evil) & “zoloto” (gold) derive from the same root. Many our tales highlight the peril of richness & never describe the last one from a positive point of view. For Slavs to live happily meant to live in simplicity, to work hard & to have just enough for living.

So, the Miraculous Hen, that at the culminating point became the victim of those who it made rich, is a good reminder to ponder upon the true values & the evil big money bear.

Here is the full text:Russian Folk Tale 3

Maria KethuProfumo

The Source: Afanasiev A.N. “Russian Folk-Tales”, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co, Ltd. London. 1915

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Louis XIV Asks Riddles III

Esteemed Readers,

it’s time for a new curious riddle. I will give you a little hint: this is a plant known to all of you. Good luck!

‘I long for an eternal spring. My colour is the colour of hope. I desire to keep my youth. I’m regarded as a treasure. All children of mine are dressed in gold. They often spend their time with Ladies. Those Ladies kiss them & touch with their hands. And when they feel pleasant burning of my children, they become less vanish’.

REPLY to the Riddle posted on February 21, 2019: COFFEE

Vive le Roy! 🙂 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

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Fairy-Tale: Dwelling

‘The Dwelling’ is one of the most mysterious animal tales in the Russian folklore…at least for me. This is a short story about forest animals who tried to build their own community dwelling peacefully in a huge horse skull until the bear-destroyer crushed all of them.

This plot has numerous interpretations: an animal hierarchy (a mouse-a frog-a hare – a fox – a wolf and a bear-destroyer) is comprehended as a society consisted from various groups or as stages of a personal development, while the dwelling is meant as the world or the univese in the process of growing. Personally I like the interpretation where the dwelling is explained as an allegory of a free peaceful society which animals try to build. Before the bear appearing all of them live happily together, help each other and at the same time fulfil their own duties. The allegory of Bear might be understood as death or a radical change that sooner or later interferes into this pretty paradise.

In some regions of Russia the horse skull was exchanged with a pot, while the Soviet version exchanged both of them with a wooden cottage. I believe that the original version represents the fairy-tale deeper as the horse skull is also a sort of a temple, connecting the live and the death, so it is no coincidence that the mouse chooses it for dwelling.

Here is the ful text:Russian Fairy Tale 2

Maria KethuProfumo

The Source: “Сказки: Теремок, Мизгирь” изд. И.Кнебель, Москва, 1910

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Treasures of “Mercure Galant”: 1685

Esteemed Readers,

I have discovered a wonderful collection of coins published in various editions of “Mercure Galant”. So I will share it with you, as besides a numismatic & historical value, they are true gems of art. These coins come from 1685 & they depict the most important events happened in France of that time, sometimes in an allegoric way. The curious thing is that the coin role in the past was indeed informative: it allowed anyone to learn what happened in the country even without reading any newspaper. We would call these messages a sort of an ancient “Instagram”.

Vive le Roy! 🙂

Maria KethuProfumo

Source: The image belongs to the National French Library (BNF). The purpose of its posting is educative.

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Mercure Galant: Messenger of the Past – The Spirit of Carnival

Esteemed Readers,

Carnival always creates a special sort of spirit! It is a joy, hope for better life & finally sunny warm days. So, I have discovered this curious drinking song in one of “Mercure Galant” editions & share it with you. Those who know to play the piano might even perform it.

French Original text: “Que le temps soit laid, ou qu’il soit beau, c’est de quoy jamais je ne murmure. Il n’apartient qu’aux Beuveurs d’eau de se plaindre de la froidure. Pour avoir chaud dés le matin, le vray secret est de prendre du vin”.

Translation: ” No matter if the weather is nasty or nice. I will never grumble about that. It belongs not only to water Drinkers who complain about cold. To get warm in the morning a true secret is to have some wine.”

Happy Spring Spirit to all of you!

Vive le Roy! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  Maria KethuProfumo 

Source: The image belongs to the National French Library (BNF). The purpose of its posting is educative.

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Animals in The Russian Fairy Tales

If we classified the Russian fairy tales according to the plot, we would divide them into 3 main groups: animal tales, animal-human tales & human-spirit tales. The first group represents a set of rather simple stories commonly known as “for kids”. The second & the third ones are more complicated & usually have a deep, profound sense, so they are for those who are older.

Unlike the modern trend telling foreigners that Russia is the place where bears with balalaikas wander, the bear is not a common animal in our folklore. Certainly, there are stories about them, (mostly belonging to the second group), – but rather few.

The most popular animals in the Russian fairy-tales are Fox, Wolf, Hare, then Bear and Rooster or other birds. Fox symbolizes slyness & too often wisdom. Its behaviour has something in common with the famous le Roman de Renart veiled with the Slavic spirit. Wolf represents simplicity or cowardice & he often is punished for his friend Fox‘s doing, but never anger or violence. It is very likely that originally this character was a dog. Its manner of behaviour points to that. Hare is an example of courage, creativity & helplessness. He usually suffers from Fox & Wolf’s crafty designs. Bear is stupid & ignorant. He always gets into a pretty mess due to his reluctance to think or to learn. Rooster is a symbol of justice, but he is a rather rare character in our folklore.

I wonder why we have no horse, pig or cow stories though. Maybe because our Slavic ancestors used to live in the forests & they did not regard domestic animals as ones deserved to be mentioned in folk-tales.

Maria KethuProfumo

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Fairy-tale: The Languages of the Birds


Esteemed Readers, here is the first Russian folk-tale I would like to share with you. The name Vasili derives from the Greek Βασίλειος (king), in English is more common as Basil. It is very rare in our folk-tales…well at least in those I have read or heard. I suppose that it comes from the South as it tells about sea-voyages. 

The structure of the fairy-tale is traditional. It tells about a boy who tells their parents the truth but instead of gratitude he is mistreated. As a result the boy is forced to travel overseas, but there he is welcomed by foreigners. His wit & talents are appreciated abroad, he helps others to solve their problems & is rewarded afterwards. In the end of the story he encounters his wicked parents and forgives them, as he is a noble man, so they all live to enjoy good. 

The plot is very popular in our tales. The topic of a family ingratitude touches almost all of them. Animals & birds are other important characters of the Russian fairy-tales. There are few magic creatures, though. Most of those who help humans are real, forest or sea creatures, while their help is mostly practical: a piece of advice, an action, very rarely magic weapons & never spells.

Here is the full text: Russian FairyTale 1

Maria KethuProfumo 

The Source: Afanasiev A.N. “Russian Folk-Tales”, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co, Ltd. London. 1915

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