HOW WILKA WENT TO SEA: And Other Tales From West of the Urals by Mirra -- Ed. & Trans. Ginsburg

HOW WILKA WENT TO SEA: And Other Tales From West of the Urals

Email this review


Cold air from north of the Arctic Circle adds crispness to some familiar folk themes, and Mongol and Buddhist influences from far west of the Urals contribute some exotic shamanist transformations and shulmus demons. In this eclectic collection of Finno-Ugric and Turkic tales, our favorites are the heroes from the far north -- Wilka, who went to sea on an ice floe and returned to defeat a race of one-eyed, one-legged monsters and win a bride from the eerie moss-eaters, and the Saam who fell from heaven into a marsh where his head was used for a swan's nest until he escaped by biting and holding fast to a wolf's tail. Even the better known morals are dressed in fresh images -- the old wife who nags her husband for more and better wishes from a benevolent talking birch tree gets both of them turned into bears at her own request, and Clever Durmian outwits a dumb giant Pyary with alacrity. A handsome presentation -- and Mikolaycak's illustrations which combine folk motifs and monumental figures -- give the multiethnic selection a sense of continuity it might otherwise lack. Folklorists will welcome this third of Ginsburg's projected series of six volumes on non-Russian Soviet peoples and the stories' rich texture and foreign settings will be a treat for the more romantic segment of the fairytale audience.

Pub Date: March 3rd, 1975
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Crown