Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Book Review: Russian Folk-Tales

Riordan, James. Russian Folk-Tales. New York; Oxford University Press, 2000.

This was in the kids section at my library. Someone needs to tell librarians that classic folk tales are not really appropriate for children. The skulls with the glowing eyes that char people to cinders? Yeah, that's gonna give nightmares.

Anyway, it shows just how far we've come. Sibling rivalry used to be a deadly game. Children weren't friends, they were competitors.

It was also interesting the role the Tsar played in these. He was a hidden instigator of many of the changes and quests that started the stories. I suppose that's how the typical Russian experienced the Tsar. A power from afar that on a whim could turn their world upside down.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Noumenon said...

Sibling rivalry used to be a deadly game. Children weren't friends, they were competitors.

I know a lil' sis who could have told you that! But seriously, where else does this turn up? Jacob and Esau?

8:35 AM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...

But seriously, where else does this turn up? Jacob and Esau?

My perspective could be skewed, just because most historical examples are from the elites, where there's much more at stake, but it's everywhere. Read the history of any royal/noble family and fratricide is almost universal.

From the "selfish gene" perspective, your siblings share half your genes, but you share 100%, AND they are your most direct competitors. You would expect, therefore, that siblings would cooperate only when the cost of cooperation is weighted in their favor.

10:39 PM  
Blogger Noumenon said...

Hmm... Wikipedia's article and list of fratricides are both almost all fictional. Perhaps royalty have to watch their back more than normal brothers. Brothers might compete for parental attention and inheritance, but those are both kind of limited in a lot of cases. Royalty has something to fight for, and free time to do it in.

8:16 AM  

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