This collection of 150 ancient animal tales illustrates all 119 animal tale types. They feature forest animals and domestic animals. Fish and birds appear less often, and humans play a minor role, if any, in these tales. But it is human, not animal, behavior that is displayed by the sneaky, greedy, adulterous, murderous, conniving, and egotistical creatures who populate them. These stories, translated to preserve the art of the village storyteller, both entertained peasant children and taught them lessons needed in their quest for survival.
Haney (Slavic languages and literature, U. of Washington, Seattle) presents the first in a planned series of volumes aimed at acquainting the English reader with the world of the Russian folktale. He considers the origin, structure, and language of folktales; tale- tellers and their audiences; the relationship of folktales to Russian ritual life; and the folktale types that are to be translated in subsequent volumes. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)