Friday, August 22, 2008

Frogs in fairy tales, folk tales or folk songs (V)

In my article about The Frog Prince I mentioned another related story : The Frog Princess. This tale, which is also called sometimes Tsarevna Frog, is a Russian folk tale which also involves a human being transformed into a frog. As a lot of those tales, it exists in many versions from several countries.

The story can be summarized as following (click
here is you want to read the full tale). A king has three sons. One day he decides that they are old enough to get married. He asks each of them to draw an arrow and to marry the person who brings back the arrow. The first two sons seem to be lucky : their arrows are brought back by the daughter of a prince or of a general. The youngest one, Ivan, is a bit more unfortunate : his arrow is brought back by a frog ! Of course the poor Ivan is desperate, how could he marry a frog ? But he has no choice, this is the order of his father. Everybody makes fun of him and his strange bride.
Later, the king decides to test his future daughters-in-law. He asked them to sew him a nice shirt and to cook a loaf of bread. Each time the winner is the frog ! In fact during the night, while everybody is sleeping, a beautiful maiden gets out of the frog skin and uses magic to win the test !
The third and last test is a ball. Once again Ivan’s fiancée is the winner : she gets out of the frog skin and dances, enchanting everybody ! Ivan then decides to burn the skin of the frog,. Seeing this his fiancée gets very sad because she has to leave Ivan. It was too early for her to definitely get out of the frog skin !
Ivan then decides to search for his fiancée. Several years later he finally finds her. She is on the verge of marrying another guy. Ivan succeeds in convincing her to follow him and they flee on a magic carpet !

This story is pictured on a souvenir sheet of twelve stamps from Marshall Islands issued on the 26th of April 2002. Each stamp pictures a scene of the full tale, and of course one stamp pictures Ivan getting his arrow back from the frog. Here is the stamp.

Marshal Islands 2002 - Scott #801d

And here is the full souvenir sheet.

Marshal Islands 2002 - Scott #801

In 1984, a souvenir sheet issued by USSR pictures folk tales illustrations. Among the tales that are illustrated, there is the Frog Princess and again we find a stamp picturing the encounter between Ivan and the frog. Here is the stamp (the scan is not very good so the frog is hard to see).
USSR 1984 - Scott 5279b

And the full souvenir sheet.

USSR 1984 - Scott 5279

1 comment:

Velu said...

Great blog posts eric about the frog tales. :)