Baba Yaga. Vasilisa the Beautiful. Ivan Tsarevich. Veles. Koschei the Deathless. Boginka. Kikimora. Domovoy. Vodyanoy. The Firebird. Ded Moroz. Snegurochka. Vampir. And, of course, the Tsars. These are just a few absolutely iconic characters from Slavic folklore. And with this podcast, Slavic Fairy Tales, they will become your most loved heroes and your most notorious enemies, regular figures in your imagination and the stars of your dreams. I’m your host, Rhea Kapur, a student absolutely enchanted by the Russian language and Slavic culture. I’ll be reading you all kinds of Slavic stories, passed down through the generations by babushka after babushka, told in a fiery pechka or as a little rebyonechek snuggles into bed. We’ll hear the tales of Russia, Poland, Serbia, Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, Croatia, Macedonia, and more, all with a little cultural context tidbit at the end of each show. So, every Wednesday night, grab a soft blanket, dim the lights, get cozy, and let your mind travel into the story. Check out rheasslavicadventures.com/slavic-fairy-tales-podcast for more. До скорого, Рая!
Snegurochka, or Snow Maiden: A Russian New Year’s Tale
Haven’t we all at some point wished snowmen could come alive? They’d play into our snowball fights, or sing like Frosty… a girl can dream. Well, today’s the day, folks! That’s exactly what happens in this Russian holiday tale. We’ll meet an elderly couple and their darling Snegurochka, or Snow Maiden: she’s a miraculous child born from snow. Tethered to wintry days, she's forever pale, and snow cold... Snegurochka longs for warmth, for love, for affection. Just what lengths will she go to obtain it? The answer, as always, lies in the story – listen in to find out. And С Новым Годом to all!
WEBSITE ILLUSTRATION DESCRIPTION: A vintage Russian postcard with a beautiful depiction of the Snow Maiden. From the LucyMarket shop on Etsy. See it here: https://rheasslavicadventures.com/2021/01/01/snegurochka-or-snow-maiden-a-russian-new-years-tale/
SKAZKI iOS APP STORE LISTING: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/skazki-learn-russian/id1537668257
Morozko, or Frost: A Russian Christmas Tale
Frost? Ded Moroz? Morozko? Which is it? Could it be… all of them, all at once? Yes! Dive into this classic Russian Christmas tale and meet Father Frost, the omnipresent Russian Winter figure, the famed Slavic Santa Claus. Which of the story’s stepdaughters will win Frost’s winter favor? (Or flavor, if you please!) Will they all make it out alive? And don’t even get me started on that evil stepmother. Can Frost put her in her place? You bet… listen in to find out how.
The Golden Cockerel: A Russian Fairy Tale
There are some things that we humans go to any lengths to protect. Family? Definitely. Reputation? Yup. A wealthy and extensive Tsardom? Of cour– wait, what?! Okay, fine. Most of us don’t carry the fate of an entire Tsardom on our shoulders. Tsar Dadon, on the other hand? Yeah, I don’t envy that guy. In this hilarious Pushkin tale, Tsar Dadon is so desperate to protect his Tsardom that he actually goes so far as to buy a magic golden cockerel from a sketchy eunuch. Highly recommend against this, folks. Yes, the cockerel might (keyword: might) be able to protect the Tsardom, but at what cost? What will Tsar Dadon lose in the process? Will it be family? Reputation? A wealthy and extensive Tsardom? All of the above and more? Bargains always have a way of coming back to you. The question is: will the mighty Tsar Dadon end up with the short end of the stick? This time, the answer might surprise you – listen in to find out!
WEBSITE ILLUSTRATION DESCRIPTIONS: A selection of Ivan Bilibin’s original set and costume sketches for Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s corresponding opera (of the same name). Super cool stuff. See them here: https://rheasslavicadventures.com/2020/11/19/the-golden-cockerel-a-russian-fairy-tale
The Feather of Finist the Falcon: A Russian Folk Tale
Ok, raise your hand if you know (and love!) Cinderella. All right, all right, I can’t see your hands, but regardless, I bet you’re going to love this classic Russian twist on the story. For once, it’s not the prince chasing his princess, but rather, the other way around – so refreshing. Not to mention, there’s falcons, feathers, and Finists in the midst! Two last notes before you get started: pay attention to the things that come in threes in this tale (spoiler alert: there’s a lot of them!). And, always remember: the morning is wiser than the evening. Confused? Listen in, and I promise, it will all come together.
WEBSITE ILLUSTRATION DESCRIPTIONS: The complete set of the illustrations of Ivan Bilibin, a renowned Russian illustrator, for the tale “The Feather of Finist the Falcon,” all in their original Russian context. Bilibin’s iconic illustrations propelled the story into the world’s eye; he is, in large respect, responsible for its fame. Can you guess who each of the characters in the depictions are after listening to the story? Comment down below!
Mogarzea and His Son: A Romanian Fairy Tale
Don’t remember the Pied Piper of Hamilton? Just listen into this classic Romanian tale, and I promise you – the memories will come flooding back. Meet Mogarzea, a kind, unbothered giant man who, oh, just happened to have his soul stolen away from him. But fear not, for his son comes with in clutch with the… what? “What’s the saving grace?!” you ask. The answer? Oh, it’s just one play button away.
The Stirrup Moor: An Albanian Folk Tale
False brides? Magic apples? Wait until you hear what this treasured Albanian tale has in store. Meet the Stirrup Moor, the ultimate, all-powerful shape-shifter, both beautiful and terrible. How will he (or she? Hmm…) help the son of the king of the humans pursue his treasured fair maiden, the daughter of the king of the jinns, and resolve their Romeo and Juliet type plight? Dive into this story to find out. Oh, and? Don’t be surprised if you find yourself drifting into the supernatural realm along the way…
Just delighted with having found this podcast. It's beautiful and very well done.
I’ve fallen in love with folklore again!
Listen to this show, and you won’t be disappointed. The stories from all the different Slavic countries are the best of the best. And the interpretations at the end are great, too. I listen to this show with my 5-year old daughter, and we both love it. It’s the perfect combo of storytelling and learning; great for kids, adults, anyone. Really well done.
Loved the recent episode on Reygoch, the Croatian giant. Learning so much about Slavic folklore from this show. Would love to hear more tales from the Balkans!!