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Folklore or fakelore: What is the secret of the popularity of the Ural fairy tales by Pavel Bazhov
Folklore or fakelore: What is the secret of the popularity of the Ural fairy tales by Pavel Bazhov
Folklore or fakelore: What is the secret of the popularity of the Ural fairy tales by Pavel Bazhov

The Ural tales of Pavel Bazhov, familiar and beloved from childhood, formed an impression for millions of readers about the culture of the Ural land, about its past, traditions and values. The stories about Danilo the Master and the Silver Hoof are so harmoniously inscribed in the notions of this mountainous region that one has to make an effort to believe: all this is not a folk epic, but pure artistic fiction of the writer.

Childhood, the Urals and the stories of grandfather Slyshko

Pavel Petrovich Bazhov (truly Bazhev) was born in 1879 in the Urals, in Sysert, a town in the Yekaterinburg district of the Perm province, in the family of a mining foreman. Pavel's childhood was filled with stories and observations of the work of miners, miners, both in his hometown and in Polevskoy, where the family moved in 1892. The boy graduated with honors from the factory school, after he entered the Yekaterinburg Theological School, then graduated from the seminary. Before the 1917 revolution, Bazhov taught Russian, was a member of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, and later became a Bolshevik.

P.P. Bazhov

Bazhov actively participated in the formation of the new government, led the red partisan detachments during the Civil War, and then devoted himself to journalism and literature.

Ural working folklore

In 1931, Bazhov was commissioned to compile a collection dedicated to pre-revolutionary folklore in the Urals. The requirements were tough - no references to religious topics, rough vernacular, stories about peasant life. The emphasis needed to be placed on collective labor and the life of the working class. The predecessor of the writer, a specialist in Uralogy and local history, Vladimir Biryukov, who had previously received such an assignment, stated that it was impossible to find him. Bazhov, whose searches also did not give the desired result, nevertheless wrote several Ural tales - "Hostess of the Copper Mountain", "About the Great Snake", "Dear Name", allegedly written from the words of Vasily Khmelinin, or grandfather Slyshko.

Illustration for the tales of Bazhov, artist - V.M. Nazaruk

Khmelinin was indeed Bazhov's acquaintance - in the writer's childhood, at the Polevskoy copper smelter, this former miner, who worked as a watchman, loved to tell the miners' children the legends of the Ural land. Nevertheless, childhood memories of the Ural legends rather served as a source of inspiration for Bazhov than as a real material for "tales". The writer later admitted that all works are the product of his own composition.

Frame from the cartoon

Folklore or fakelore?

Meanwhile, it is obvious that the success of Bazhov's tales was predetermined precisely by the similarity with folklore texts - in rhythm, in mood, in sound. The books included both characters borrowed from the old Uralic beliefs, and those who nevertheless had prototypes in folk tales. For example, the jump-fire from Bazhov's tale is close to the image of the Golden Woman from the ancient beliefs of the Siberian peoples. As for the Mistress of the Copper Mountain, Malachitnitsa, she personifies the pagan spirit of the keeper of the Ural riches, helps the miners and adjudicates on everyone who is in her possession. The hostess cannot be called a positive character, "it is grief for the bad to meet her, and there is little joy for the good."

Sculpture of the Mistress of the Copper Mountain in the city of Berezovsky near the mine

Observing the ban on the inclusion of religious elements in the tales, received from the customers, Bazhov reflected much more ancient, deep ideas of the Urals about the structure of the world - the worship of the powerful forces of nature, their deification. But the main idea of ​​the tales is the glorification of the master, his skillful and talented hands, his work. It corresponded to the political situation of the Soviet era, but also reflected Bazhov's values ​​in full.Serving his work is an example not only of his father's life, but also of his own, one cannot but admit that in literature Bazhov was a real master, which was the reason for his recognition by the reader.

Still from the film

The tales have received real recognition, in the Ural cities no, no, and you will also come across a sculptural image of the Mistress of the Copper Mountain, and based on the books, both cartoons and full-length films have been created. Folklore - or fakelore - of Bazhov survived both the creator himself and the Soviet regime, for the service of which he was created. It is quite possible that centuries later, the Ural tales will become truly popular, deserving the status of a folk epic.

And in continuation of the theme of folk legends - about the beliefs and legends of the Chukchi people, whose culture is not only richer than Europeans usually imagine, but also harbors many unsolved mysteries.

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