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    Anonymous
    from Exclusively Slavonic Sources

    by A. H. Wratislaw

    This collection of Slavic folktales at first glance appears to have all of the usual suspects of European <em>Märchen</em>. Evil stepmothers: check; plucky youths overcome impossible odds to marry kings’ daughter: check; dimwitted peasants given magical gifts: check. What makes this book special are some tales and motifs that hint at even older lore. Number 27 is for all intents and purposes identical to the Native American ‘Earth Diver’ creation myth. In 47, man is created from a drop of God’s sweat. There are two tales of a global flood in 48 and 49. In 36 there is a very dark ‘Abraham and Isaac’ story which goes a bit further than the Bible. In 51, there is a story of a hundred-leaved rose bush which resembles images from the Kabbalah and Yogic lore. And number 59 is the tale of St. Patrick in a Balkan setting. All in all, a great anthology of eastern European folklore.

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