In the view of many folklorists the images, motifs and characters that occur in fairy tales the world over, have their origins in the earliest beliefs, customs and ways of life of the people who tell the tales. When sacred tales, laws and rites no longer have a living etiological purpose or relevance, they gradually evolve into what is known as the folk or fairy tale, told mainly to elicit wonder or delight.
This book looks at the cultural background, history and mythology of the East Slavs with the aim of discovering the possible origins of certain elements in the Russian Fairy Tale, known as the Skazka. It examines the various types of hero or heroine that people it, their adventures and journeys to the Other World, and the fearsome beings such as the Baba-Yaga, the Zmei and Koshchei whom they meet either on the way to, or in the Other World. The study hopes to shed light on why Russian fairy tale personages act in certain ways, what they might be thought to represent and how they reflect some of the most ancient beliefs known to mankind, in particular, worship of the Mother Goddess, the Earth Goddess.