The Theme of Fear in Folklore Narratives by Descendants of Stolypin Migrants to Eastern Siberia

Скачать pdf
Key words
Russian folklore, supernatural characters, forest spirit, goblin, Siberian settlers
Yelena V. Minyonok
About the Author
E-mail: Tel.: + 7 (495) 697-13-89
25a, Povarskaya str., Moscow, 121069, Russian Federation
PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher of the Folklore Department, A. M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Date of publication

The article is devoted to the topic of fear (rational or irrational) in family narratives recorded from the descendants of Stolypin migrants to Eastern Siberia. These descendants live in the village of Zhiznevka in the Zalarinsky district of the Irkutsk province. The most common topic of fear is found in local bylichki about Master of Forest (leshiie), and even today, a vivid emotional reaction is caused not only by any potential communication with a supernatural character (e.g., it is very dangerous to step on the trail of a forest spirit because a person who did this will be kidnapped by the forest spirit), but also by the story itself.

Ordinary people in such stories are contrasted with a “knowledgeable person” who knows how to bring people back from the forest-spirit with the help of magic spells. The recorded folklore fabulates and memorates are cyclized around the local healer-sorcerer (a migrant from the former Bykhovsky district of Mogilev province), who, according to the narrators, had brought with him a book of black magic and was able to communicate with the forest-spirit. He passed on his "knowledge" to his daughter, about whom numerous mythological stories are still existing. People from neighboring areas have visited her in the most hopeless cases (during searches for those who committed suicide in the forest or for those who got lost, etc.).

Oral narratives recorded from the descendants of the healer included interesting, rarely encountered details of magical practices used to protect a person from the forest-spirit or overcome fear towards him.


Basangova T. G. (2016) Predstavlenie strakha v detskom folklore kalmykov [The Representation of Fear in Kalmyk Children’s Folklore]. In: Deti i obshchestvo: traditsii i sovremennost’ [Children and Society: Traditions and Modernity]: Proc. of the All-Russian Corresp. Schol. Conf. Electronic edition. Pp. 26–31. URL: deti-i-obshchestvo-traditsii-i-sovremennost’-materialy-vserossiiskoi-zaochnoi-nauchnoi-konferentsii (retrieved: 14.04.2021). In Russian.

Chufistova Ya. S. (2019) Tema detskogo strakha v russkom fol’klore [The Theme of Children’s Fear in Russian Folklore]. In: Aktual’nye voprosy filologicheskoi nauki XXI veka [Actual Questions of Philological Science of the 21st Century]: Col. papers of the VIII Intern. Schol. Conf. of Young Scholars. Part 2. Yekaterinburg: UMTs-UPI. Pp. 177–180. In Russian.

Minyonok Ye. V. (1993) Ob odnoi tendentsii razvitiya zhanra bylichki i o novykh zhanrovykh obrazovaniyakh: (K voprosu ob “antibylichke”) [About One Trend in the Development of the Genre of Bylichka and About New Genre Formations (The Question of “Anti-Bylichka”)]. In: Nachalo [Beginning]. Moscow: Nasledie. Pp. 30–43. In Russian.

Minyonok Ye. V. (2004) Les i lesovye — ​ narodnaya mechta o zemnom rae [Forest and Forest Spirits as the People’s Dream of an Earthly Paradise]. In: Etnopoetika i traditsiya. K 70-letiyu chlena-korrespondenta RAN Viktora Mikhailovicha Gatsaka [Ethnopoetics and Tradition: On the 70th Anniversary of Viktor Mikhailovich Gatsak, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences]. Ed. by V. A. Bakhtina. Moscow. Pp. 271–276. In Russian.

Mirvoda T. A., Stroganov M. V. (2021) Strakhi i strashnye rasskazy detei v epokhu interneta [Children’s Fears and Scary Stories in the Internet Age]. Kul′tura i tekst [Culture and Text]. 2021. No. 1. Pp. 129–147. In Russian. Osorina M. V. (2011) Sekretnyi mir detei v
prostranstve mira vzroslykh [The Secret World of Children in the Space of the Adult World]. St. Petersburg: Piter. In Russian.

Ploshchuk G. I. (2017) Mifologicheskie rasskazy pskovsko-belorusskogo pogranich’ya o leshem (po materialam fol’klornogo arkhiva Pskovskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta) [Mythological Stories of the Pskov-Belarusian Borderland About the Forest Spirit (Based on Materials from the Folklore Archive of Pskov State University)]. In: Pskovskie govory i ikh issledovateli: (K 100-letiyu so dnya rozhdeniya S. M. Gluskinoi i 50-letiyu vykhoda 1-go vypuska “Pskovskogo oblastnogo slovarya s istoricheskimi dannymi”) [Pskov Dialects and Their Researchers (To the 100th Anniversary of S. M. Gluskina’s Birth and the 50th Anniversary of the First Volume of the “Pskov Regional Dictionary with Historical Data”)]. Part 1. Ed. by N. V. Bolshakova, L. Ya. Kostyuchuk. Kiev: Logos. Pp. 258–272. In Russian.

Smorgunova E. M. (2012) Chto zhe takoe “ustnyi narrative” i chto my ot nego zhdem? [What Is an “Oral Narrative” and What Do We Expect from It?]. In: O svoei zemle, svoei vere, nastoyashchem i perezhitom v Rossii XX–XXI vv. [About Our Land, Our Faith, the Present and the Past in Russia of the 20th — ​21st Centuries]. Ed. by E. B. Smilyanskaya. Moscow: Indrik. Pp. 33–46. In Russian.

For citation

Minyonok Ye. V. The Theme of Fear in Folklore Narratives by Descendants of Stolypin Migrants to Eastern Siberia. Traditional Culture. 2021. Vol. 22. No. 2. Pp. 81–90. In Russian