Sacred Texts  Legends & Sagas 

Songs of the Russian People

by W. R. S. Ralston


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This book, despite its title, is a treasure-trove of Slavic mythology, tradition, folklore and ethnography. There are plenty of songs, not only from Russia but every part of the Slavic region from Serbia to Siberia. The songs are used as a starting point for a wide-ranging discussion of pre-industrial Slavic peasant life, including weddings, funerals, witchcraft, demonology, games, riddles, and seasonal traditions. Also covered are the details of Russian pagan religion and mythology, with comparisons to related topics such as Vedic and Germanic mythology.

Lacking are samples or analysis of the songs in the original language (except for a very brief treatment in appendix B), and there are no musical transcriptions or descriptions of dance. However, the massive, well documented, and very entertaining collection of Slavic traditions in this book more than makes up for this deficiency.

Title Page
Preface to the Second Edition
Chapter I. Introductory
Chapter II: Section I.--The Old Gods
Section II.--Demigods and Fairies
Section III.--Storyland Beings
Chapter III: Mythic And Ritual Songs
Chapter IV: Marriage Songs
Chapter V: Funeral Songs
Chapter VI: Sorcery and Witchcraft
Appendix A: Bibliography
Appendix B