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Inhabitants of the folklore sleepy kingdom among the Slavs
Inhabitants of the folklore sleepy kingdom among the Slavs

Video: Inhabitants of the folklore sleepy kingdom among the Slavs

Video: Inhabitants of the folklore sleepy kingdom among the Slavs
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"Sleep - brother to death", "Sleepy that dead" - Russian proverbs said. In the minds of ancient people, sleep opened the door to the other world, allowed the living to see the past and the future, communicate with the deceased and receive advice or warning.


The nap from Russian lullabies is a night spirit that puts people to sleep. He is especially gentle with children:

Ethnographers brought out the image of "a kind old woman with soft and gentle hands" or "a little man with a quiet, soothing voice." This character could be both male and female.

Sandman met in children's games:

In Russian literature of the 18th-19th centuries, the word "drema" was used as a synonym for nap, half-asleep. And in the XX century, the nap again began to be associated with specific images. In the poem of the same name by Konstantin Balmont in 1914, the image of the Sandman is far from a good spirit:

In the fairy-tale poem "Tsar Maiden" of 1920, Marina Tsvetaeva painted the Sandman in the form of a bird:

In 1923, Mikhail Bulgakov used a similar metaphor in his novel "The White Guard": "A sleepy doze passed over the city, a muddy white bird swept past Vladimir's cross, fell beyond the Dnieper into the thick of the night and swam along the iron arc."

Kind Sandman returned to the children in 1964, when the poet Zoya Petrova and the composer Arkady Ostrovsky wrote the lullaby "Tired toys are sleeping" for the TV show "Good night, kids!"



Like nap, insomnia was both a condition and a character. When a person could not sleep, this was explained by the actions of evil spirits, which were called differently: bat, cryx, crybaby, night owl, shouting. They drove them out with conspiracies:

The spirits that “pinched and tugged at the child” were represented in different ways: in some regions - in the form of bats, worms, birds, sometimes - in the form of ghosts or wandering lights, and sometimes as women in black clothes. Gradually, the people forgot the cry - evil spirits, and so they began to call crying children.

Poems of different eras dedicated poems to insomnia; Fyodor Tyutchev was one of the first to address this motive. In 1829 he wrote the poem "Insomnia". And a year later, Tyutchev's image ("Monotonous battle for hours, / Tale of agonizing nights!") Was revised by Alexander Pushkin:

The poets of the Silver Age responded to Pushkin's "Poems, composed at night during insomnia". In 1904, Innokenty Annensky published in the cycle Insomnia the sonnet "Parks - babbling," and in 1918 a poem with the same name was written by Valery Bryusov. Both poets took as a basis a line from Pushkin, dedicated to the ancient Roman goddesses of fate and parks, weaving the canvas of life. The park was often represented in the form of ancient old women.

In 1912, Anna Akhmatova wrote a poem entitled "Insomnia", and nine years later - Andrei Bely. Marina Tsvetaeva also devoted a poetic cycle to insomnia. In all of these works, literary critics find similarities with the poems of Pushkin and Tyutchev.

The Silver Age prose writer Alexei Remizov turned to Russian folklore. In the 1903 miniature fairy tale "Kupala Lights" he described spirits from ancient superstitions. Rampant on the night of Ivan Kupala, Remiz's "Varaks-creeks galloped from behind the steep mountains, climbed to the priest's garden, chopped off the priest's dog's tail, climbed into the raspberry patch, burned the dog's tail, played with the tail."

cat Baiyun


In the old days, so that the baby slept well, a cat was allowed into the cradle. The fantastic cat from folk lullabies also put children to sleep:

The cat Bayun in fairy tales was completely different - not a comforter for young children, but a sorcerer who kills with his speeches. The words "bayu-bye", "lull" were not originally associated with sleep - they spoke of a mesmerizing speech. "Bait" meant "to speak, to tell."In the Church Slavonic language this word also meant “to speak, heal,” in Bulgarian and Serbo-Croatian, “to conjure”.

One of the most famous magical cats in literature is the learned cat from Alexander Pushkin's poem Ruslan and Lyudmila, first published in 1820. The poet made a note about this beast according to the words of his nanny Arina Rodionovna: "There is an oak tree by the sea, and on that oak there are golden chains, and a cat walks along those chains: it goes up - tells fairy tales, down goes - sings songs." He transferred this motive into the prologue:

By 1863, the collector of folklore Alexander Afanasyev published a collection of "Russian folk tales". In one of the versions of the plot “Go there - I don’t know where, bring that - I don’t know what” the tsar sent the main character, nicknamed the Lost One, to catch the “bayun cat that sits on a high pillar of twelve fathoms and beats many people to death”. In the Saratov fairy tale “Knee-deep in gold, elbow-deep in silver,” “there is a golden pillar near the mill, a golden cage hangs on it, and a learned cat walks along that pillar; goes down - sings songs, up rises - tells fairy tales."

Bayun the cat invariably sat on a dais - an oak or a pillar, personifying the world tree, the axis of the Universe. The cat walked along the chain, which symbolized the connection of times. But by the beginning of the 20th century, the image of a cat, set on a chain, appeared. This is how he was portrayed by Ivan Kramskoy in the painting "A Green Oak Near the Lukomorye" and Ivan Bilibin in the painting "The Scientist Cat". In the 1910s, Vladimir Taburin, who illustrated Ruslana and Lyudmila, created a more reliable image. His Bayun did not sit on a chain, but walked freely along it. The fabulous cats of the artist Tatyana Mavrina, who combined impressionism and avant-garde with folk motives, became a new word in graphics.

Sleeping princess


Many peoples believed that sorcerers could send sleep or insomnia as punishment. This superstition formed the basis of a widespread folklore story about a sleeping princess. Charles Perrault recorded the French version of the tale of the princess who pricked her finger with a spindle and fell asleep for 100 years. The German version was retold by the Brothers Grimm. The Russian fairy tale has been preserved in a summary by Alexander Pushkin. The poet wrote down the "fable" which was told by Arina Rodionovna. These stories are filled with eerie details. For example, in the French "Sleeping Beauty" the children of the prince and the already awakened princess are trying to be eaten by their own cannibal grandmother. And in the Russian fairy tale the princess really dies and "the prince falls in love with her corpse." Alexander Pushin briefly described the plot:

In 1833, Pushkin created The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Heroes. And in 1867 the composer Alexander Borodin wrote the song The Sleeping Princess:

In 1850, the French choreographer Jules Perrot staged in St. Petersburg the ballet "Pet of the Fairies" to the music of Adolphe Adam. The plot was based on Sleeping Beauty. But real success awaited another performance based on the same fairy tale. In 1888, the director of the Imperial Theaters, Ivan Vsevolozhsky, conceived a ballet extravaganza in the spirit of French court performances of the 16th-17th centuries.

The music was commissioned to Pyotr Tchaikovsky, the libretto was written by Vsevolozhsky himself and the choreographer Marius Petipa. Vsevolozhsky, a passionate admirer and connoisseur of the era of Louis XIV, also designed historical costumes, and Petipa provided the composer with a time-lapse ballet plan. For example, this is how the choreographer described the scene where Princess Aurora pricked her finger with a spindle: “2/4 (time signature. - Ed.), Fast. In horror, she no longer dances - this is not a dance, but a dizzying, insane movement as if from a tarantula bite! Finally, she falls breathless. This frenzy should last no more than 24 to 32 bars. The Sleeping Beauty by Tchaikovsky, Vsevolozhsky and Petipa has become one of the most performed ballets in the world.

Dream herb


Sleep-grass is often mentioned in folk legends, stories, conspiracies and herbalists. According to one of the beliefs, bears bite off the root of the sleep-grass in order to fall asleep for the winter. If a person does the same, then he will sleep all winter.

In the middle of the 19th century, Vladimir Dal collected information about real plants, called sleep-grass, dope, sleep-doze, sleepy stupor in different regions. They were common belladonna (Atropa belladonna), open lumbago (Pulsatilla patens) and sticky tar (Viscaria vulgaris). It was believed that the dream-grass blooms on June 18, on Dorofeev's day: whoever rips a dream-grass on Dorofey, he will have a calm life, and if you put it in a dried form under a pillow, you will have a prophetic dream. The speech here was probably about sticky tar, which really blooms in late May - June and has long been used in folk medicine as a sedative. Belladonna, known as a strong poison, blooms all summer, but only grows in southern Russia. Most often, under the dream-grass, lumbago was hidden - a plant common throughout the country. This primrose makes its way through the snow in early spring and blooms in April. Freshly plucked lumbago is poisonous, but when dried, healers used it to treat nervous disorders.

The people came up with a legend about how the lumbago got its name: once the dream-grass had wide leaves, under which Satan, expelled from paradise, hid. Then the archangel Michael shot through the flower, driving out the evil spirits. Since then, the leaves have been cut into pieces, and the plant itself has forever acquired the ability to scare away evil spirits. According to another legend, all flowers in the underworld have a mother, and a dream-grass has a stepmother. It was she who expelled the poor stepdaughter before anyone else into the world. This belief formed the basis of Alexei Remizov's fairy tale "Dream-Grass":