Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (FAIRY TALES)

Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (FAIRY TALES)'s image
Created: 2014-09-15 12:40
Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology
Description: The Kalmyks have a rich fairy-tale tradition. Fairy-tales were composed by tuulchi, or story tellers, who lived in great numbers in Kalmykia until the mid-20th century.
In the study of Kalmyk folklore there is a convention to divide fairy-tales into the following genres: magical, heroic, every-day fairy-tales and those about animals.
Although many Kalmyk fairy-tales are universal, they have their specificity stemming from the nomadic lifestyle, traditions, worldviews and history of the Kalmyks. In terms of story length, which correlates with the number of events in a given fairy-tale, Kalmyk fairy-tales are divided into 'long' (ut tuul') and 'short fairy-tales' (ahr tuul'). Magical and heroic fairy-tales usually belong to the former category, with everyday fairy-tales and those about animals to the latter.
Many fairy-tales start with stories originating in the real world – for example, at the khan’s court or in the steppe – and then shift to the afterlife or to other worlds, such as the so called 'upper' and 'lower' worlds, or to the 'water kingdom'. The central character or hero of a story is sent off on a difficult mission to carry out the orders of, for example of the khan himself, an evil step-mother, his parents or those of his older brothers. The fairy-tales have happy endings, with good triumphing over evil, a poor man becoming wealthy, a fool becoming wise, an ugly man becoming handsome, etc.
Heroes in Kalmyk fairy-tales are blessed with extraordinary skills, can move between different worlds with ease, can understand the language of animal and birds, and can transform themselves into creatures of various types.
Regrettably, the tradition of telling fairy-tales and their oral transmission are gradually disappearing, being increasingly replaced by other forms of entertainment and methods for imparting knowledge.

72 Fables
Among Kalmyk fairy-tales a genre called the '72 Fables' stands out with its originality and humour. Uttered either in poetic or prosaic form accompanied by short poems, this genre has enjoyed great popularity among the Kalmyks. It has the following content. The khan announces that his daughter is to be married to a man who can tell seventy two fables in the most entertaining manner. A commoner takes up the challenge and does a brilliant job in storytelling. The khan, however, refuses to give his daughter away, arguing that the commoner had told seventy three fables instead of only seventy two.
The fables consist of a series of absurd, impossible, comical situations and events. The happenings, actions and objects in the fables do not reflect earthly reality. For example, time runs backwards, both animate and inanimate objects share the same characteristics, etc.
 

Media items

This collection contains 44 media items.

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Media items

Alena Lidzhieva, A Fairy Tale

   26 views

Once upon a time a Buddhist monk set out on a journey to a distant settlement. The road was long and the weather smoggy. As he had been travelling longer than it usually took to...

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (FAIRY TALES)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Fri 12 Jun 2015


Alexandra Sanzheeva, The Daughter-In-Law and the Plucked Hare

   9 views

That was a long time ago. One girl got married. At that time, it was customary for daughters-in-law to eat leftovers only. The girl’s in-laws ate well, leaving almost no leftovers...

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (FAIRY TALES)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Sun 11 Nov 2018


Badma Narmaev, About the Heroic Epos Geser

   19 views

Badma studies a Tibetan version of the epos Geser which is stored at the Russian National Library in St Petersburg. One of the oldest versions of this epos, the Tibetan version,...

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (FAIRY TALES)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Sat 24 Sep 2016


Baira Goryaeva, About 72 fables

   6 views

Baira says the following: Professor A. Sh. Kichikov classifies ‘72 fables’ as myths. Another famous Kalmyk folklorist, M. E. Dzhimgirov, sees them as fairy tales about animals,...

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (FAIRY TALES)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Wed 19 Sep 2018


Baira Goryaeva, About Kalmyk Fairy Tales and Myths

   7 views

An expert on Kalmyk folklore, Baira talks about Kalmyk fairy tales and myths.

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (FAIRY TALES)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Wed 19 Sep 2018


Bembya Fedorov, About the Heroic Epos Geser

   25 views

Bembya displays two pictures of Geser and explains that there are many legends about this epic hero. In 1802 during his trip to the Volga Kalmyks, the German scholar Benjamin...

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (FAIRY TALES)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Mon 30 Jan 2017


Bembya Fedorov, The Cow and the Well

   9 views

Once upon a time there was a Kalmyk man who lived by a dried up well. He had an old cow that had stopped giving milk. One day the old cow fell into the well. Since he was thinking...

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (FAIRY TALES)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Mon 30 Jan 2017


Bembya Fedorov, The Great Khan and His Friends

   21 views

Once upon a time there lived a khan. His name was Naran Arslan meaning ‘a solar lion’. He had three dear friends – his younger brother, a yellow elephant that could fly, and a...

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (FAIRY TALES)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Mon 30 Jan 2017


Dordzhi Nandyshev, The Two Friends

   21 views

Dordzhi relays a legend about two best friends: One day the angel of death takes one man and flies with him to the afterlife. Not wishing to depart with the man, his best friend...

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (FAIRY TALES)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Tue 8 Aug 2017


Gennadiy Korneev, Arza-Burza Khan

   5 views

Once upon a time, there lived a khan called Arza-Burza who judged people’s disputes. One day Arza-Burza misjudges two cases just to be corrected by the boys who were herding...

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (FAIRY TALES)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Thu 11 Jul 2019


Gennadiy Korneev, The Fox, the Bull and the Crow

   3 views

A fairy tale: Once upon a time, there lived a fox, a bull and a crow. One day, envious of the bull’s ability to find food easily, the fox decides to kill it by sending it to a...

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (FAIRY TALES)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Thu 11 Jul 2019


Ivan Mengleev, A Fairy Tale About the Wolf

   13 views

Once upon a time there lived an old man with his wife. They had a fat red-haired daughter, a son, 5 goats, and a red cow. Since his son did not have any toys, the old man made a...

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (FAIRY TALES)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Tue 21 Aug 2018


Ivan Ulyumdzhiev, About Fairy Tales

   14 views

Ivan says that in the past old people were very knowledgeable and knew many fairy tales, legends and riddles. Ivan’s favourite fairy tales are ‘The stingy rich man (Khatuch...

Collection: Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Project (FAIRY TALES)

Institution: Department of Archaeology and Anthropology

Created: Sun 22 Oct 2017


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