The Complete Russian Folktale: v. 5: Russian Legends
Richly represented in the Russian folktale tradition, the legends are religious tales (types 750-849 in the Aame-Thompson index) in a peasant village setting. Among the standard themes is the return of Christ, who wanders through rural Russia with his disciples. Satan appears here too, as do a cast of spirits and lesser devils. Pre-Christian gods may be recognized in tales of saints Ilya and Nikolai (Elijah and Saint Nicholas). The hapless peasant in these tales - cheated, betrayed, impoverished, foolish, orphaned, crippled - take the reader deep into the traditional village culture of Russia and into the imperfect human quest for moral choice and justice on this earth.