Monday, January 13, 2014

Let the Games Begin! Russian Folktales to Celebrate the 2014 Winter Olympics

Ivan Tsarevich
 and the Grey Wolf
by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1889
We are fast approaching the biggest sporting event in the world , the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, which will be held in Sochi, Russia along the Black Sea coast.Russia is a culture rich with storytelling traditions so I thought I would offer you some tales to celebrate the hosts of our athletes from around the globe.

May all of the athletes revel in their accomplishments, whether or not they return home with a medal.  Good luck and safe journey's to all!


Alenoushka and Her Brother

Baba Yaga

The Enchanted Princess

The Golden Fish 

Ivan and the Chestnut Horse

The Lime Tree

The Little Daughter of the Snow

Magic Ring

Masha and the Bear
The Tsar's Son and the Frog
 Ivan Bilibin, 1903

The Sea King’s Daughter 


The Soldier and Death

The Snow Maiden

The Tale of Tsar Saltan

The Tale of the Tsar, the Firebird and the Gray Wolf

The Tale of the Golden Cockerel

The Twelve Months

The Merchants Visit the Tsar
Ivan Bilibin


Cossack Fairy Tales and Folktales by Robert Nisbet Bain, 1902 – Bain collected these folktales from Ruthenian, the language of the Cossacks, a language intermediate between Russian and Polish.

Folktales From the Russian Nine folktales collected by Verra Xenophontovna Kalamatiano de Blumenthal, 1903.

The Golden Rod Fairy Book edited by Esther Singleton and published in 1903. Stories from England, France, Poland, Bohemia, Russia, India, China, Italy, Denmark, Ireland and Spain are contained between these cyber covers and include such authors as Perrault, Grimm and Anderson. In the words of Esther, “All you need is a comfortable chair and a bright fire…”

Myths and Folk-Tales of the Russians, ‘Western Slavs, and Magyars by Jeremiah Curtin 1903. 

Russian Expedition - Since 1995 volunteers have traveled to 12 countries in and recorded 1415 songs, over 4000 mythological stories and videotaped 36 folklore rituals. While all of the work is not online, there is enough specific, cultural information to complement a Russian folklore program.

Russian Fairy Tales - The site shares twenty-one fairytales. Most offer both a short and long version, for those who want more details.

Russian Folk-tales by William Ralston Shedden Ralston - Download this book from 1880, full of myths, legends, and folktales of demons, witches, vampires and ghouls if you dare! 

The Russian Garland – Seventeen Russian folktales translated from a collection of chapbooks, circa 1916.

Russian Sunbirds - While this site is home to Russian lacquer art it also offers a stunning array of Russian folktales, fairytales, songs, literature and poetry.

Russian Folk Tales - Many delightful tales from Russia and the Ukraine and details on Russian traditions from Christmas to weddings.

The Red Horsemen
Ivan Bilibin
The Russian Story Book by Richard Wilson, 1916. Fifteen tales, several featuring the hero Ilya, others with Nikita the Footless, the Cake-Baker and more.

Russian Tales
Many delightful tales from Russia and the Ukraine and details on Russian traditions from Christmas to weddings.

Sixty Folktales from Slavonic Sources - A delightful mix of tales from Russia, Bohemia, Moravia, Serbia, Hungary and more.

Tales of Laughter from 1908. A collection tales from Ireland, Spain, France, Russia and other countries from around the globe. They are sure to have you smiling with delight!

Vampire and Ghost Stories from Russia
Six stories to make your blood run cold.


Culture Guide: Russia – Grade K-6.

Lesson Plan for Masha and the Bear

Russian History and Culture
This resource is no longer offered at the original link, however, I was able to locate it via the wayback machine. You can still access all of the resources. - This link will take you to a blog post I wrote in 2012 for the Summer Olympics. There are additional ideas for curriculum, crafts and recipes connected to the games, as well as historical information on the Olympics.


Traditional Russian Children’s GamesWhy not have some of your own games at home or in the classroom? Here is a list of some of those played by the children in Russia.

Russian Proverbs and Sayings Perhaps you will find something to add to your storytelling shows.


Songs of the Russian People – “This book is a treasure-trove of Slavic mythology, tradition, folklore and ethnography. There are songs from Russia and every Slavic region from Serbia to Siberia. There are n musical transcriptions…However, the massive, well documented, and very entertaining collection of Slavic traditions in this book more than makes up for this deficiency.”

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Karen Chace 2014 ©
This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.