Monday, February 12, 2018

A basketful of Belarusian folktales (Following folktales around the world 58. - Belarus)

Today I continue the blog series titled Following folktales around the world! If you would like to know what the series is all about, you can find the introduction post here. You can find all posts under the Following Folktales label, or you can follow the series on Facebook!

For the second time over the course of this challenge, I have run into a country where I could not locate a folktale collection in any of the languages I speak. As a result, I tracked down several Belarusian folktales from various sources, and I am presenting all of them below. Some were in Hungarian, and some in English.

The gifts of the storm
Belarusian version for the common folktale type of the magical tablecloth and the gold-pooping sheep, except this time it is not God who gives them to the poor man, but rather the Storm, who feels guilty for scattering the poor man's flour.

The peasant and the nobleman
Another classic folktale, about the poor man that brings a gift to the king and the noble only lets him in if he promises to share the king's rewards with him. So the peasant asks for a hundred lashes, and generously shares them with the noble (to the king's great amusement).

The wicked wizard's servant
A variant of the Magic Flight, with a boy unwittingly promised to an evil wizard, and ultimately rescued by the handmaid who works for the same evil master.

The fox. the wold, and the bell
The fox receives a bell from a man, the wolf borrows the bell and loses it. Man is so angry that his gift was disrespected that he chases the animals into the woods, and they have been afraid of the sound of bells ever since. Reverse Pavlov...

The piece of gold
A clever peasant pretends that he has a valuable piece of gold, and tricks the landlord into treating him as a noble guest.

The wolf and the she-wolf

She-wolf claims that she is invisible to humans - they only see wolf (the male). To prove her point she runs out of the woods, and people stat screaming "wolf! wolf!" I am assuming this tale got lost in translation, and it originally played on wolf and she-wold being two different words, and people not being able to tell make from female.

The redhead and the bald man
A man is cheated by a red-headed innkeeper, but a bald man helps him trick the innkeeper to give the money back. Once again, a play on language: The bald man asks the innkeeper "How much does your flank cost?" and when he gets the price, he proceeds to try to cut the flank off the innkeeper.

Wits over strenght
A woodcutter tricks a bear into putting his paw in the wedge of a tree, therefore proving that he can defeat the beast without having to wrestle it.

The spotted hen
Chain story in which the hen's eggs break, therefore all other animals succumb to mass hysteria, and eventually the bear loses his tail.

How hen saved rooster
Chain story in which hen saves rooster from a bean he choked on by starting a chain reaction and getting him some water.

Fox and heron
Classic animal fable: Fox feeds Heron from a plate, Heron feeds Fox from a bottle, they both go hungry in the end.

Where to next?

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