The Tatar fairy tales

Is not present in the life house if the children's sincere laughter if sonorous voices of kids are not audible in it does not sound in it. Is not present in the happiness house if children are not glad to this house. And consequently section with the national fairy tales learning our children to good and justice, simply vital. Well and as our house Tatar, fairy tales collected in it too will be Tatar.

The Rain and the Sun

"For always shall I shine", the Sun has said,
"For I shall glow and never shall I set".

The Rain has said "I shall be pouring every day,
The black land shall be moist for I shall cry my way"

The Sun then has replied to him: "You're very wet,
You pour and dirty all things get.

And marshes then appear here and there,
All you know to make the dirt appear everywhere.

Because of all this moisture rot the crops,
And all men wish that you would stop".

The Rain then has replied: "You become hot,
You burn the crop down and destroy the lot".

Offended with the words the Sun's become,
All strength of heat and anger's lost the Sun.

He said: "A chance to ripen I give to the fruit,
Due to my shine all nature sees it's good".

"You help them ripen, — said the Rain,
But I'm the one who gives them water.

If I pour not, the gardens then will start to fade,
The meadows and the green land shall be withered".

The Sun and the Rain after arguing for hours,
After dishonoring and tarnishing each other,

Made peace at last and came up with a deal,
That never again shall one speak of another ill.

Thus, their arguing came to an end,
And then they have decided they would alternate.

The Sun has said: "I now shall shine only in my turn,
And you shall rain down gratefully in yours".

The Sun and the Rain from that day onward,
With no disturbance work on their own accord.

tatar fairy tales




The Shuraleh

A mythical horned demon, which inhabits the forests of Tatarstan


Past Kazan into the country
There's a village called Kurlai.
In that village even hens cluck.
God alone could tell you why.

Even though I was not born there,
For a while it was my home.
There in spring I tilled and harrowed,
In the autumn reaped the loam.

I recall in all directions
Lay the backwood's broad delight.
tatar fairy tales Grasslands there of glossy velvet
Dazzled everybody's sight.

And is the village large? О no!
It's just a hamlet in a ring.
All its daily drinking water
Comes from one, lone tiny spring.

Neither cold nor hot, its water
Mild and soft will ever please;
At times it rains, at times it snows,
And sometimes comes a gentle breeze

Strawberries red and raspberries redder
Thrive in plenty in the woods.
In a trice you'll fill your bucket
Brim-full with these earthy goods.

Marvellously lined in rows
Stand pines and fir-trees, warriors proud;
Amidst their roots I used to lie
While gazing at a passing cloud.

Under birches, under limes grow
Sorrel, mushrooms in a glade;
Lovely flowers bloom and flourish
In the dappled light and shade.

Red and scarlet, blue and yellow
Blossoming in sunlit bowers;
All the world is fragrant from
The heady perfume of those flowers.

Butterflies which love the blooms
Return to find out now and then
How they fare; then flit and flutter,
Off once more and back again.

All at once the birds of Allah
Fill the woods with their sweet song.
Ah, those tunes! They tear my heart-strings;
Up into the sky they throng.

Bird-song outstrips dancing parties,
Orchestras and sidewalk clubs;
Circuses, theatres, concerts -
All replaced by trees and shrubs.

Like the ocean, vast and boundless
Stretch the woodlands in their breadth;
Like the hordes of Chingiz Khan
No limit to their awesome depth.

In an instant old men's stories
Are forgotten; names, domains -
All those glories of the past!
At present nothing much remains

Then the curtain slowly rises
And our present lot we see.
Alas! Alas! What happened to us?
Slaves of God we too must be.


I've talked a little of the summer,
Autumn, winter - that's my style.
What of girls red-cheeked and black-eyed?
Dusky brows can wait a while!

I'll forgot my recollections
Of the Plough-Day, Harvest-Day.
If I mused too long on those things,
I should surely lose my way.

But wait! I dwell on pleasant things
And I may easily go astray.
How could I forget the title
Of this poem is Shuraleh?

You will have the tale, my reader.
Have some patience. Be so kind.
When I think about my village,
I quite often lose my fairy tales


You might guess that in those thickets
Many birds and beasts reside:
Bears and wolves, and then the fox
For villainy known far and wide.

Hare and squirrel, moose and mink
And other sorts are often met
By the huntsman who dares roam
The wide, broad woodland with his net.

In those woods, so thick and gloomy
There live demons - so they say:
Ghostly forms like albasti
And ub'r and even shuraleh !

This is the most likely reason
Why those woods are broad and wide.
In this world devised by God
Can any wonder be denied?


About such wonders I shall utter
A word or two, If that I may;
Sing a little, lilt a little -
That's my custom, that's my way.

Once a fellow from the village
Harnessed up and took his horse.
In the moonlight, all alone,
Through the woods he steered his course.

Soon he drove into a thicket,
Heaved his axe and set to work,
Feeling trees and chopping branches,
Chipping trunks of bark and cork.

The air was silent and quite chilly,
Usual for a summer's night;
Birds were sleeping in the forest,
Hushed beneath the pale moonlight.

With such calm and clement weather
There in good and cheerful mood,
See our fellow working bravely
In the darkness of the wood.

Axe in hand, he stopped awhile
To wipe his brow, then jerked his head.
A piercing cry within the forest
Filled him with a sudden dread.

Chilled and startled, our poor fellow
Looks and sees a dread sight.
Something strange and eerie greets him,
Comes towards him from the night.

What can this be? Ghost or demon?
Fugitive? He could not tell.
Such a foul and ugly creature
As might live this side of hell!

See its nose, hooked like a moose's.
See how from its face it shoots.
Arms and legs all curved and crooked,
Looking more like twins and roots.

Eyes deep set in burning sockets,
Sparkling in the moon;
In broadest daylight, even here,
A beast like that would make you swoon

Its feet are bare with bony toes;
Its form like man of woman born.
From its forehead of the size
Of a middle finger sticks a horn.

Then the fingers, thin and narrow
From its hands stretch straight and long;
Ugly fingers like the devil's,
Each of them six inches long.


Both began to eye each other;
Then our man courageously
Asked the ugly creature, saying:
"What is it you want of me?"

The beast replied to him: "Please trust me.
I'm no robber in this wood.
I don't bar the road to people,
Though to some I bring no good."

"I am fond of tickling humans.
That's the practice I employ.
When I saw you in my thicket,
I could only jump for joy."

"Come to me; come closer, fellow!
Let me brighten your sad eyes.
Let us play a game of tickling.
Let us laugh till someone dies."

"I'll not argue", said the fellow.
"Gladly I shall play, but see
Let me make my own condition.
"I've no doubt that you'll agree."

"Your condition?" said the beast.
"Well, make it now, without delay.
"I shall do whatever's needed.
tatar fairy tales But for God's sake, let us play!"

"Listen", said the man, "I'll tell you
What is needed right away.
Over there I want to move
That heavy trunk that blocks my way.'

"I shall help you", said the beast.
The work is hard, but I'll agree.
First we'll load it on the carriage,
Then we'll trust in destiny."

The woodsman said: "The work's begun.
I've split the end of the trunk already.
Now can you put your hand inside,
My forest ram, to hold it steady?"

The Shuraleh made no objection,
And obedient as a dog,
Clumsily and awkwardly
He hobbled over to the log.

Into the cleft he slipped his fingers.
Now, dear reader, can you find
The answer to this simple question:
What did the woodsman have in mind?

With the butt-end of his axe
He rammed a wedge beside the hand.
Step by step and knock by knock
His ruse was working as he planned.

The Shuraleh sat by the log
His fingers stuffed into the end.
What the forester was up to
He could just not comprehend.

Finally the wedge dropped out
And then the heavy log at once,
As the forester had plotted,
Squeezed the fingers of the dunce!

The Shuraleh began to howl,
Tried to escape and break away
But how to get of his trap?
He simply could not find the way.

Then finally he understood
The nature of this clever hoax
Forced to give up all his efforts,
He began to plead and coax.

"Have pity on me. Let me go,
Dear human. Please be kind and fair.
In the future I'll not worry
Your dear kinsmen. This I swear!

"Nor shall I allow the others
To molest your family.
All the other shuralehs will hear me:
"He's my brother! Let him be!

"Ah what awful pain I suffer!
Set me free I beg and pray.
Do you really find such joy
In torturing a Shuraleh?

The Shuraleh was squirming, swearing
That one he'd his part.
In the meantime our brave woodsman
Made all ready to depart.

He checked the bridle and the harness
Placed his axe upon his mare.
What happened to the Shuraleh
He did not have slightest care.

"You are so ruthless. Set me free.
Where do you go? This is no game!
But if you are so hard of heart,
At least tell me your own good name."

"Well then, listen and remember.
I am called "A Year Ago".
Learn it carefully for the future.
As for me I ought to go!"

The Shureleh, all writhing, groaning
Tried to tear himself away,
As he pondered in the future
How he'd make this man his prey.

He yelled: "A Year Ago! He squeezed
My fingers with a log. What pain!
Now who will rescue me from here?
And who will save me from this bane?

Next morning all the forest cursed him,
Beasts of every shape and kind.
"You're insane", they said. "You're crazy.
Have you gone out of our mind?

Why disturb the sleep of others,
Howling, yelling, shouting so?
What's the point of telling us
That you were squeezed a year ago?"

tatar fairy tales



See also: colouring Shurala


The Water Maid

(Told by a country boy)


The summer day was hot and sunny, and I was swimming in the lake;
A splash of water, games so funny and dives I liked to take.

This merry way I did enjoy my playing for an hour
And certain was I not to sweat, moreover short I was of power;
tatar fairy tales
So quickly I ran out of the lake to put my clothes on.
But what was wrong? A sence of fear! And all my friends were gone!

To leave the place I was about, but suddenly I saw a bridge.
And on the bridge I saw an awful woman. Was she a mermaid or a witch?

In the daylight, broad and clear, golden combs of hers I saw.
She was doing her long hair, I had doubts no more.

Breathless, frightened even shocked stood I there not so long;
In the shade of old thick trees I felt tremor in my knees.

Having combed her thick long hair, splashing water in the air
In the waves she dissapeared. Oh. my Lord. I so feared.

As for me I ran towards the bridge, thoughtless was of course that siege.
But how great was my surprise: golden combs of hers beheld my eyes.

What I did - I looked around. Not a single soul was seen.
Like a thief I took one from the ground. Oh, of me it was so mean.

Seeing nothing on the way, I was rushing far away.
I was burning in the fire, would I get through all that mire?

Time was endless, so I thought, looked around, her I sought.
What I saw was awful, scary. I was followed by the fairy.

«Will you stop? Don't run away! How unlucky is the day!»
Shouting she was chasing in a line. «Don't you know the comb is mine?»

I was trying to escape, she was roaring like an ape.
In the field I was alone, being followed by her moan.

Running this way so fast, came the village into view at last.
Soon the dogs began to bark, it was such a nice good mark.

«Bow-wow-wow», - the dogs were barking, after her they all were darting.
«Now it's your turn, be afraid, good-for-nothing ugly maid».

So the business being settled, though the creature was too nettled:
I achieved my evil goal. Heavens! I was on a roll!

On my coming to my place, rushing home at such a pace,
Told my mum I with a burst that enormous was my thirst.

I showed her a comb of gold, tried to look so brave and bold.
Words of mine that it was found seemed to her to have no ground.


Farewell! The sun went down and at once I went to bed.
I was lucky not to drown. Thanks to God I wasn't dead.

While I was upon my pillow, sleep did not befall on me.
I heard knocking at the window. Oh, my God, I wished to flee.

Notwithstanding all that noise. I behaved like real boys.
But my mum was soon awake, would she know I was a fake?

«Who is there making dogs to bark? Who is walking in the dark?
Decent people stay at home, night is not the time to roam!»

«People call me Water Maid and of gold my combs are made.
One was stolen by your boy, give it back, it's not a toy!»

In the sky the moon was bright I was left by all my might.
Trembling I lay in my bed. If I could, I would have fled.

She was knocking all the time. Her concern was very prime.
Water dropped from her long hair, was she only my nightmare?

Mother quickly took the comb, threw away it from my home.
Prompt she was to lock the door, she wished troubles no more.

When we got rid of the maid, to the Lord she humbly prayed.
Then she scolded me in time, stealing things was such a crime.

Since that time I understood, let it be a thing or food.
Not to touch and not to take what was left not for my sake.

tatar fairy tales

Tukay G.M.
Translated from Tatar into English by Aydar Shamsutdinov

See also: colouring Water Maid



The sun and the moon

Once upon a time the Sun and the Moon wanted to stay together in the sky side all the time. They invited all birds and animals to a meeting and asked for their opinion. No one objected, everyone spoke in favour. It was only the Bat who didn't agree.

- Why don't you agree? - they asked the Bat.
- Because if they both stay at one place, then the Wind will always blow in the same direction and trees will also grow crooked. Besides, the corn will grow in the sun and there will be no corn in the shade.
- It seems to be true, - said all birds and animals.

To prevent this, they made a new decision: the Sun and the Moon are to stay apart and to keep moving round the Earth. The Sun got very angry with the Bat and said:

- I won't let you appear in my presence!

As for the Moon, it was more even-tempered and didn't say anything. That's why the Bat doesn't appear at daytime, it is allowed to fly only at night. In the end all birds, and people too, were glad to see the Sun and the Moon going round the Earth. And the corn started growing very well!

tatar fairy tales

Tatar folk tale.
Translated from Tatar into English by Farida Sitdyjkova



There is a golden cradle in the Himalayan heights,
The one who sleeps in it is guarded through the night.
When the Sun is rising, the Wind is already there
Praising the Sun's entrance, the world must be aware.

The Wind serves as a herald whose duty is to say:
«The Sun's already up, greet another day!»

And when the Sun is out, performing his daily race,
Crescent, his young brother, takes the cradle's space.

Never left alone, he's surrounded by the stars,
Like the tiniest of torches, they shine from afar.

Crescent in the cradle sleeps for the entire night,
Till the Sun awakens Him with early morning light.

Day comes after night, brother comes after brother,
While one of them rests, he can count on the other.

tatar fairy tales



See also: colouring Moon and Sun


White Grandpa

It snows — the whole world is snow-white;
The yard, the street, the roof are white and bright,
All covered in white, our Granddad now returns
To bring us a variety of toys.

And we are glad, we say: «Thank you, Granddad!
May God grant you many more years ahead!»
Granddad, poor thing, be rain or shine, in white
At all times brings us joy, thrill and delight.

tatar fairy tales