Jonas Basanavičius Folklore Library, Vol. 1
Various Lithuanian Tales, book 1. Collected by Jonas Basanavičius.
Vilnius: Vaga Publishers, 1993
This book launches publication of folklore collected by Jonas Basanavičius, as well as his articles and studies in mythology. The first volume of “Various Lithuanian Tales”, first published in 1903, included second editions of three most significant publications of folktales from the second half of the 19th century. The volume starts with texts, previously published in 1857 by August Schleicher in the second book of his “Textbook of Lithuanian Language”, entitled Litauisches Lesebuch und Glossar. The tales had been collected in Lithuania Minor, i.e. a region suffering heavily from Germanization. The texts are rather diverse not only in terms of genre, but also with regards of their plots. Some story lines are genuinely Lithuanian. Second portion of texts comes from the book by Kristupas Jurkšaitis Litauische Märchen und Erzählungen published in 1898. These materials, also recorded in Lithuania Minor, the recorder’s native Galbrasčiai parish, have been tinted by the recorder with fitting features of the local dialect. Among folktales, a number of folk legends and about a dozen of other folk narratives were published. The third sheaf consists of folktales recorded in 1880 in Garliava parish by Karl Brugmann. Four of these tales were told by a gifted storyteller Ieva (Ėva) Baugutė from Raželiai village. Other informants (probably fearing impending repressions from the Tsarist regime) are only indicated by initials. The recorder has successfully conveyed style of the tales and the natural features of speech.
Entitlement of books as “various tales” allow the readers to assume that editor of this publication J Basanavičius wished to demonstrate the great variety and richness of the Lithuanian folk prose, rather than limiting his publication with classical samples of folktales.
The first volume of Jonas Basanavičius Folklore Library was edited, the textual principles of editing worked out, commentaries to the texts written and the vocabulary compiled by Kostas Aleksynas. The author of the foreword to the first volume of the “Various Lithuanian Tales” and folkloristic commentaries indicating types of the published texts in Lithuanian and international indices, discussing popularity of the published materials in Lithuania and abroad and also submitting other folkloristic data, is Leonardas Sauka.