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Fearless Ivan and His Faithful Horse Double-Hump

A Russian Folk Tale

2018
Authors:

Pyotr Yershov and Jack Zipes

Fearless Ivan and His Faithful Horse Double-Hump

A classic Russian tale retold for our time by an eminent folklorist

In Fearless Ivan and His Faithful Horse Double-Hump, Jack Zipes, doyen of folklorists, adapts this classic tale, capturing the charm and exoticism of the original. Rendered in the style of traditional Russian folk tales, the story speaks with the voice of the underdog, slyly satirizing the hypocrisy of the Russian bureaucracy and ruling classes—a taunt to tyranny that transcends time.

“Many years ago in the great empire of Russia where wicked winds and cruel storms tormented the lives of poor peasants . . .” So begins the magical story of a simple peasant boy who defeats a cruel tsar with the help of his loyal pony. Written by the Russian poet Pyotr Yershov and first published in 1834, the tale became such a favorite and was so often repeated that it soon joined the oral tradition of Russian folklore that had been Yershov’s inspiration.

In Fearless Ivan and His Faithful Horse Double-Hump, Jack Zipes, doyen of folklorists, adapts this classic tale, capturing the full charm and exoticism of the original. Rendered in the style and idiom of traditional Russian folk tales, the story speaks with the voice of the underdog, slyly satirizing the hypocrisy of the Russian bureaucracy and ruling classes—a taunt to tyranny that transcends time.

With pertinent historical and biographical commentary from Zipes, along with thirty striking illustrations by Russian artists that were originally featured on postcards, this timeless tale—written for adults and celebrated as a children’s classic—is now a visual and literary delight for all generations of readers.

Fearless Ivan and His Faithful Horse Double-Hump

Pyotr Yershov (1815–1869) was a Russian poet and author. His most famous work is the poem The Little Humpbacked Horse, originally published in 1834.

Jack Zipes is professor emeritus in the Department of German, Scandinavian, and Dutch at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of more than forty books, including Tales of Wonder: Retelling Fairy Tales through Picture Postcards (Minnesota, 2017); The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World; Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tales; and Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales, Children, and the Culture Industry.

Fearless Ivan and His Faithful Horse Double-Hump

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Afterword