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Importance of Folk Tales in Russian History Essay

Essay Topic:

Modern day knowledge of the early Russian history exists because of folk tales. In the developing Russian society between the years of 1100 A.D. and 1400 A.D., plagued by poverty, the Mongol invasion, and most importantly, illiteracy, keeping a written history of past events, obviously, was out of the question and oral tradition passed on the history from generation to generation. Although mythological and fantastical, folk tales repeatedly depict basic elements of Russian daily life and provide historically accurate details that give present-day historians insights into the Russian culture during its infancy.
The tales convey the significance of key factors such as the lack of arable land in an agriculturally dependent society, the degree of poverty in the country, and the importance of autocratic rule. With virtually every opening similarly looking like, "In a certain village there was once a peasant…" (The Seven Simeons), "In a certain town there once lived a merchant and his wife…" (The Lad Who Knew the Language of the Birds), and "In a certain kingdom, in a certain realm there was once a soldier who served the king…" (The Petrified Kingdom), the reader is immediately able to identify a few major characteristics. The word "certain" echoes the troubles and uncertainties of the times and works to emphasize the importance of the oral tradition's role in retaining the nation's history. Otherwise, right from thefirst sentence, it is evident that the tale will address a major theme of Russia's early history, be it agriculture, poverty, or autocracy.
Folk tales are used chiefly to set moral and ethical codes in the society. Each story distinguishes between what is right and what is wrong, what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, what is moral and what is immoral. Obedience of authority whether to a king, "he decided to take him to the king and ask him to take th…

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