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Old Peter's Russian Tales

Arthur Ransome

Book Overview: 

Arthur Ransome is best known for his ‘Swallows and Amazons’ series of children’s books. These stories are all from Russian folklore, some comparatively well-known, others less so. Ransome spent some years in Russia as a newspaper correspondent fir the ‘Daily News’ and the ‘Manchester Guardian’ and was peripherally involved in the revolution. In the late twenties he married Evgenia Shvelpina, Trotsky’s secretary, retired from newspapers and started writing his children’s books.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .She ran to meet him, and shouted out,—

"Where are the little ones?"

"In the sledge."

She snatched off the blankets and pulled aside the rushes, and found the bodies of her two cross daughters.

Instantly she flew at the old man in a storm of rage. "What have you done to my children, my little red cherries, my little pigeons? I will kill you with the oven fork! I will break your head with the poker!"

The old man listened till she was out of breath and could not say another word. That, my dears, is the only wise thing to do when a woman is in a scolding rage. And as soon as she had no breath left with which to answer him, he said,—

"My little daughter got riches for soft words, but yours were always [68] rough of the tongue. And it's not my fault, anyhow, for you yourself sent them into the forest."

Well, at last the old woman got her breath again, and scolded away till she was tired out. But in t. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I like folk tales and this is a splendid collection of unfamiliar ones - unless you're Russian! Written in 1916 by Arthur Ransome, they still seem fresh and lively and haven't dated, although maybe a modern retelling would dispense with Old Peter's pipe! Many of the characters are universal - wicked

I enjoyed these stories. Somehow I can't recall in detail any of them right now. They are kind of jumbled together. I'd probably take them in better if I was sitting down and reading them rather than listening to the YouTube audio book while at the gym. Some of them I was familiar with and others we

I remember these stories fondly from my childhood. My father read them to me when I was very young, and then I read them myself when I was a little older. I remember in particular being rather scared by the witch with iron teeth, Baba Yaga! Now, nostalgically reading these stories again as an adult

Brilliant collection of Russian fairytales! Loved it! ( Note for parents/teachers - just be aware that a stepmother calls her stepdaughter a hussy and a whore in one story...your child may need an explanation!)

I love Russian folktales and these are nicely retold by Arthur Ransome. I enjoyed the way he connected all of the stories by having a grandfather relate them to his grandchildren. I need to read about Arthur Ransome's Russian period, apparently he was suspected of being a spy and married Trotsky's s

A collection of fairy tales from Russian, rewritten for English children. . . .

You can tell the rewritting not only because it's done up in a frame story of Old Peter telling his two grandchildren, but because of literary effects in some of them. Still some interesting tales, variants on familiar Ru

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