Sixty Folk-Tales from Exclusively Slavonic Sources | Annotated Tale

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Bulgarian Stories

THE Bulgarians do not derive their name from a Slavonic origin, but from a small and warlike nation of horsemen, which in A.D. 679 crossed the Danube under a chief named Isperich, conquered the disunited Slavonic tribes that had settled in Mœsia, and consolidated them into a powerful realm. The conquerors melted into the conquered, and lost their language, but gave their name to the state and country. The Slavonic language of the people does not appear to have been affected by that of their Ugrian conquerors, but rather by the old Thracian language, which, conjointly with Latin, has produced the present Roumanian. The peculiarities of the present Bulgarian language are: (1) the loss of case-inflexions in nouns and adjectives, while the verbal system is most complete and complex; (2) the expression of the genitive and dative cases by prefixing the preposition na; (3) the post-positive article, which is also borrowed from the old Thracian language, which was akin to the Illyrian now spoken by the present Albanians and Epirots; (4) the loss of the infinitive mood, which is replaced by da with the finite verb. Baron Wenceslas Wratislaw, in describing his journey through Bulgaria in 1591, says of the people: 'They use a Slavonic language, so that we Bohemians can converse with them.'

                The Bulgarian tales themselves are curious, and some of them very beautiful, as are also the songs, to which considerable space is devoted by Mr. Morfill in his 'Slavonic Literature' (pp. 125-144). There are old traditions as to the world and its inhabitants, apparently of heathen origin (No. 35); a singular fusion of the history of Abraham and Isaac with some other, probably heathen, tradition (No. 36); a version of 'Cinderella' (No. 37), which, involving as it does the transmigration of souls, clearly exhibits an Indian origin; a beautiful story (No. 38), the latter part of which is a variant of the latter part of the Russian tale of 'Marya Morevna' (Ralston, p. 85), and No. 39, in the latter part of which many people will recognise a variant of an old acquaintance.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Bulgarian Stories
Tale Author/Editor: Wratislaw, Albert Henry
Book Title: Sixty Folk-Tales from Exclusively Slavonic Sources
Book Author/Editor: Wratislaw, Albert Henry
Publisher: Elliot Stock
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1889
Country of Origin: Bulgaria
Classification: Introduction

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