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1001 Stories Collection

The Silver Saucer and the Transparent Apple

1001 silversaucer
Added on 31st July 2020

Oral tradition Russian Folktale

Russia Folk and fairy tales Magic
1001

A curious folktale about forgiveness and love.

Story

A father asks his daughters what gifts they would like. The older sisters ask for dresses and jewels but the youngest, known as Little Stupid, asks for a silver saucer and a transparent apple. Her sisters ridicule her until they see what the saucer and the apple can do. Then they want to get rid of her to have the saucer and the apple for themselves.

Why we chose it

An unusual Russian folktale with many familiar fairy tale elements also found in stories like Cinderella, Snow White and Beauty and the Beast.

Where it came from

Russian and Slavic fairy tales were told orally until the 17th century as only religious stories were written down. Fairy tales were hugely popular in Russia. Arthur Ransome, while working in Russia, collected Russian fairy tales to publish them for British children. He says in the preface to his collection Old Peter’s Russian Tales, ‘I have even heard soldiers on the way to the war talking of very wise and very beautiful princesses as they drank their tea’.

Where it went next

Alexander Afanasyev was one of the first collectors of Slavic tales. Like collectors all over Europe he was influenced by the Brothers Grimm. The writer and poet Alexander Pushkin was also known for popularising folk tales – his nurse told him stories from her village when he was a child.

It is one of the stories in Old Peter’s Russian Tales by Arthur Ransome, published in 1913.

Associated stories

The story has similarities with Cinderella – a younger sister who is hated and treated coldly by jealous older sisters - and with The Singing Bone, in which the bone tells the story of a man murdered by his brothers.

Other stories in Old Peter’s Russian Tales include The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, Baba Yaga, Little Daughter of the Snow, The Golden Fish, Who lived in the Skull and The Firebird.

Added on 31st July 2020

Oral tradition Russian Folktale

Russia Folk and fairy tales Magic
1001