Sunday, February 24, 2013

Foxy Tricks

A couple of years ago I dedicated a post to the fox character in Russian tales. Since then,
 the theme has continued to hold my interest, and I've gathered more images and information.
 As mentioned before, a large number of Russian and Ukrainian folk tales feature forest animals
 such as the fox, the wolf, the bear, and various birds. Domestic animals including the cat, 
the dog, and the rooster also appear, usually in secondary roles in combination with the wild ones. 
All of these characters mix human abilities and habits with animal instincts and behavior. 

Evgenii Rachev, The Cat and the Fox

In this rich genre of stories, animal features are strictly typecast, and the sex of each character
 is based on its masculine or feminine nounAmong the males, we find the greedy and stupid wolf,
the clumsy and slow-witted bear,the cowardly and quick hare, the lazy opportunistic cat, and the boastful rooster.
The main female characters are the sneaky and crafty fox, and the cunning, obstinate goat
 Trickstery is one of the fondamental narrrative elements of these stories, and in many of them
 the fox plays the role of the sly, calculating animal who vanquishes the stronger ones and fools all the others. 

Natalia Trepenok, The Fox and the Goat, from Russian Folk Tales

This gallery includes illustrations for some of the most popular Russian and Ukrainian tales, 
and lastly a Siberian one. A few, like The Fox and the Crane and The Fox and the Goat
are also found in Aesop. I've also added links to the stories' text when possible.
 Other fox tales include The Fox MidwifeThe Fox and the BearSister Fox
The Fox and the Thrush, The Fox Confessor, and more.

Natalia Trepenok, Sister Fox and Brother Wolf, from Russian Folk Tales 

Marianna Belyaeva, Sister Fox and Brother Wolf (The Fox and the Wolf), 
from a collection of Russian folktales by Alexei Tolstoy, 1988, thanks to ban galbasi

Evgenii Rachev, Cockerel The Golden Comb, 1954

Watch the wonderful animated version made by Yarbusova with her husband Yuri Norstein here.

Natalia Trepenok, The Fox and the Hare, from Russian Folk Tales 

Igor and Ksenia Ershov, The Cat, the Rooster, and the Fox

Alexander AlexeieffRussian Fairy Tales, 1945, thanks to 50 Watts

Vladimir Menshikov, The Fox and the Crab (also known as The Race)thanks to normanack

Veniemin Losin, The Fox and the Crane, 1977

Georgiy and Alexander Traugot, The Fox and the Crane 

Tatyana Kolyusheva, Kolobok

Petr Kirillov Gulin and Nadezha Kirillova, Rabbit and Fox. Ukrainian folk song, 1972

Adele Gilewicz, Ban Kotsy (Ukrainian version of The Cat and the Fox), 1971

Gennady Pavlishin, The Raven, Karas, the Bear and the Fox, 1968

A great thanks for the iconography to HannaRivka and her flickr set
to Book Graphicspolny_shkaf and other Russian LiveJournals and websites. 
And thank you Mark Kats for all the much appreciated clarifications!


  1. absolutely bloomin' amazing!
    i fancy rachev!

  2. Wonderful selection!
    When my wife was a child she loved this fox by Losin and redrawn it many times. :)
    By the way, if you're interested, some clarifications:
    - N. Trepenok's name is Natalia
    - M. Belyaeva's name is Marianna
    - K. and I. Ershov are Igor Ershov and his daughter Ksenia Ershova
    - the unknown illustrator is Vladimir Menshikov
    - Peter Kirillov Gulin are Petr Gulin and Nadezhda Kirillova
    - G. Pavlishina is not Pavlishina but Gennady Pavlishin.

  3. Hi, Laura!
    My favorite fox is here

    Mark, what is a name of K.Ovchinnikov?

  4. I didn't know there were so many folk tales with foxes. I love that they are from eastern Europe with rich illustrations. Thanks for researching and gathering this collection, Laura.

  5. Wonderful!
    Do you know the wonderful Yuri Norstein animation of that Fox and Hare (Лиса и заяц) story? :

  6. Dear Rima, many thanks for your suggestion.
    in fact I had already featured that animation a while ago:
    but the link to the video didn't work anymore...
    so thanks to you it's up again now!



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