Sixty Folk-Tales From Exclusively Slavonic Sources by A. H. Wratislaw
MR. RALSTON does not seem to have been directly acquainted with these tales; at any rate, none of them are given in either his book of Russian folk-tales or in that of Russian songs. It is, therefore, the more necessary for me to supplement his admirable work by giving all the Galician stories in Erben's collection.
The Little Russians, or Ruthenians, form the bulk of the population in the Austrian province of Galicia, formerly the principality of Halicz, and also designated 'Red Russia.' The capital is Lemberg (contracted from Löwenberg), or Lvóv. They are also found in the adjoining parts of the north of Hungary, and in the Bukovina.
I think that the present selection is the first introduction of the literature of the Austrian Russians to the notice of the British reader.
The prophet Elijah (Ilya) is a very important and powerful personage in Russian folklore, and we find him accordingly in No. 27 holding a prominent position in the heavenly hierarchy, even before the creation of man! He seems to have taken the place of Perun, the god of thunder, among the heathen Slavonians.
I must also draw attention to the extreme stupidity of the 'devils' of Slavonic folklore. They are still less intelligent than their Teutonic brethren, and do not appear to have any connection with the Arch Enemy, but to be, as Mr. Ralston says (p. 370), rather 'the lubber fiends of heathen mythology, beings endowed with supernatural might, but scantily provided with mental power.' No. 26 gives a specimen of their average intelligence.
The text came from:
Wratislaw, A. H. Sixty Folk-Tales From Exclusively Slavonic Sources. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, & Company, 1890.