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Key words
Bear asking God for a fifth finger, legend
About the Author
E-mail: Tel.: +7 (383) 330-53-45
8, Nikolayeva str., Novosibirsk, 630090, Russian Federation
PhD (Philology), leading researcher, Institute of Philology, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences

Oral folk stories related to biblical events and characters form a significant part of Russian folk legends. The adaptation of biblical narratives by oral literature tradition amounts to a Folk Bible and the features and ways of its acceptance in the system of folk tradition are of scholarly interest. This oral literature tradition has drawn on Christian literature and includes elements of pre-Christian beliefs and attitudes traceable to different ethno-cultural traditions.

One of popular characters of folklore prose is the bear. Etiological stories about a bear’s origin have got linked by folklore tradition with certain characters of the Holy Bible and thus they’ve got included into a circle of plots of the folklore Bible. One of such stories is about a bear originated from the person transformed into a beast in punishment for a certain fault, for example, that he has frightened the God / Christ. This plot is well-known in folklore, including the Slavic oral tradition. Studying of folk versions of biblical legends in Russian Siberian records specifies their organic communication with Slavic folk tradition; which Russian settlers in Siberia have brought with them among other traditions from European Russia. The stories about the Bear, which asked Christ to give him the fifth finger (and is offered it with the condition that the Dog receives bow and arrows) has been recorded in Siberia only and doesn’t exist in European Russia. The specified narrations are a subject of consideration in the given publication. 


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