УДК 821.512.162

S. H. Orujeva



In the article on is traced history of study of azerbaijanian children’s folklore, its translation into Russian and publication in “The collection of materials for description of districts and tribes of the Caucasus”.

Key words: children’s folklore, "The collection of materials for description of districts and tribes of the Caucasus”, oral literature.

It is known, that folklore is of vast educational and cognitive importance for children. Folklore promotes formation of children’s aesthetic thinking and moral-mental upbringing, behavior, respect for adults and it also helps children to study nature, environment, enriches their vocabulary and develops their creative ability.

Thus children’s' folklore is an interesting branch of oral people creation that is addressed to children’s interests, behavior and moral foundation.

Children’s folklore develops in two directions: 1. Tales, riddles, lullabies, etc. created by adults for children. Children’s and adult’s creation have always developed in parallel, changed and enriched their forms and contents passing from generations to generation. Even now it's sometimes difficult to determine the concrete date and history of published materials. Undoubtedly children’s creation is unique and original. Folklore samples published in “The collection of materials for description of districts and tribes of the Caucasus” (CMDRTC) testify that children’s folklore is an original sphere of people’s creation and is an interesting poetic system of forms and genres that connects adult's and children's worlds.

There are no parts under the title “children' folklore” in CMDRTC among the folklore samples translated in Russian.

It can't be because the notion (term) “children’s folklore” began to be used in study of folklore only at the beginning of the 20th century. Though this notion, term appeared later, samples created for children by adults and by children have been known since the ancient times.

Antiquity of “children’s folklore” can be proved by the following facts: ritual songs sung by children and addressed to the Sun, the Moon, the rain and the different satirical, humorous passages can be traced in myths.

This notion as a term of study of folklore was brought up by the professor of Irkutsk University G. S. Vinogradov in 1926 and in 1928 it was scientifically substantiated by the outstanding Russian scientists O. A. Kapitsa.

Since that time “children’s folklore” as an independent branch of oral people’s creation has become an

object of study of many researchers in the study of folklore in the former USSR.

It was the first scientific-theoretical research sphere and practice in the world study of folklore under the title “poetic oral creation”.

Later the materials of children’s folklore were seriously studied by many scientists: V. P. Onikin, M. N. Melnikov (Russian); M. Y. Movitskaya, G. V. Dovjenok (Ukrainia); G. V. Baratashevich (Byel-russian); V. Greble (Latvia); P. Yokimaytene (Lithuania); Yu. G. Rochev (Komi); P. Z. Zandukeli (Georgia); R. A. Kashba (Abkhazia); E. N. Tarakina (Mordvinian); R. F. Yagafarov (Tatar); Shirmuhammedov (Tadjik); G. A. Jahangirov, A. Safarov (Uzbeks); F. Z. Abakarov (Dagestan).

In Azerbaijan the problems of children’s folklore were touched very superficially and they weren’t a special object of research till the end of the 80-ies.

In 1988 R. O. Gafarli wrote the thesis dealt with the children’s folklore and after it the scientists’ attention and interests to this problem increased.

Children’s folklore of the different peoples is an original and unique pedagogical material for bringing up children and teenagers. At present children’s folklore is very significant in the process of national selfconsciousness. It encourages patriotism in children. So is very important to study and research the stages of the development of children’s folklore, and the materials of children’s folklore published in CMDRTC are very valuable. From 1881 when CMDRTC was first edited and to its last numbers the different legends, poems, ashug’s songs, tales were collected and published and some of them were samples of children’s folklore. There are also riddles, lullabies, children’s tales and games. “My grandmother’s tales” among them.

All of them were collected from the different towns, villages, provinces, populated areas were the Azerbaijanian lived and they reflected the peculiarities of their way of life, mentality, language, dialect, expressions etc. So there are very rich materials dealt both with study of folklore and historical linguistics in them.

Thus children’s folklore takes an important place in the Azerbaijanian people’s oral creation and in the system of poetical genres. There are a lot of kinds of

rhymes, cock-and-bull stories, teasers, tongue-twisters, riddles etc. in it.

The main motive of the children’s folklore is bring-ing-up that is always addressed from adults to children. The principal purpose is simplicity of text, plot, language, content in order to be understood by children. All of them are to embrace children’s world and encourage patriotism, love, respect to parents, adults in children.

Religion, religious factors had to be taken into consideration, too. But later this line gradually eased under the influence of historical-social, political development acquired new content, form and finally was lost. But this peculiarity was preserved in the text in CMDRTC.

One of the distinctive features of children’s folklore is the language problem. Children’s folklore must have a special language, poetical vocabulary, clear and simple style. At first sight such simplicity may be accepted as primitivism but all imitation, rhymes, alliteration, onomatopoeia, tale's plot in the children’s poems must be simple and clear. These texts must provoke cheerful mood and optimism.

The history of collection, translation, study, research and publication of Azerbaijanian children’s folklore can be divided into three stages:1) from the 80-ies of the 19th century to the formation of the Soviet Power; 2) from the 20-ies to the destruction of the Soviet Power; 3) the period of independence. This research includes the first stage that embraces a lot of different samples of children’s folklore published in CMDRTC from 1881 in Tiflis during 40 years.

Collection, translation into Russian and publication of Azerbaijanian children’s folklore on the first stage were characterized by the following factors: on initiative of progressive Russian intellectuals interest to Azerbaijanian folklore, ethnography, geography increased. The Azerbaijanian intellectuals, who left the Gory teacher’s seminary, took an active part in collection, translation and publication of ethnographic and folklore materials, for example: M. Mahmudbeyov, R. Efendiyev, M. H. Vezirov, G. Sultanov, S. Ajalov, M. Muradov and others. Such progressive Russian intellectuals as K. Nikitin, P. Vostrikov, G. Potanin, A Zakharov and others made evaluable contribution in collection and translation of the samples of Azerbaijanian folklore into Russian. The different samples of oral people’s literature (tales, proverbs and sayings, legends, songs, charms, prayers) were published in every number of CMDRTC.

About 100 Azerbaijanian tales were published in this collection and most of them were children’s tales.

It is noted that from 1881 to 1899 about 2 500 tales, proverbs, sayings and other samples of Azerbaijanian oral literature were published in CMDRTC.

The first Russian collector and translator of Azerbaijanian children’s tales was the Russian intellectual B. Vilyaminov. In 1883 he published his article “The village Salahli and tatar tales, written in it” in CMDRTC. And at the end of the article were given the texts of the children’s tales translated into Russian: “Melik Mamed and Melik Jumshid”; “Prince Gem-ber”, “Shah Rustam”, “Shah Ismayil Sharif’.

The first national collector and translator of Azerbaijanian children’s folklore into Russian was Hasan bey Bagirov who worked as a teacher in Elizavetpol province. He collected from the villages Goranboy and Ahmedli and published in Russian the tales “Foolish ploughman”, “Successful answer”, “One is cleverer than the other one”, “Wise after the event” and others.

Then R. Efendiyev (number 7), M. Vezirov (number 7), Yu. Galachev (number 7) and the others translated the different folklore samples into Russian: The tales “Shah Ismayil”, “Melikmammed”, “Merchant Ahmed”, “Shah Abbas”, “Khir-khir Kosa”, “Rustam and Fatma”, “Athlete Hasan”, “Prince Aslan and div”, “The Golden fish”, “Hunter Perim” published in this collection were included in the gold fund of Azerbaijanian tales.

All these tales, legends and songs encouraged patriotism, fighting spirit in children and influenced their aesthetic taste.

One of the most widespread and interesting genres of Azerbaijanian people’s creation are riddles. Riddles are usually classified as “children’s folklore”. Didactic potential of this genre is very wide and it is interesting even for adults.

Unlike other genres of folklore riddles according to the different ages are didactic school that forms and develops children’s way of thinking, world outlook. So as the other samples of people’s creations created for children riddles are remarkable for their character, content and language. They embrace didactic and edifying themes and resemble poetic samples by their forms and lyricism.

The riddles are widespread among the Turkish people under the titles “bulmaja”, “tapishmag”, “motal”, “jummaq” and others.

On the whole in Azerbaijanian study of folklore nobody collected, studied and published riddles except professor P. Efendiyev, who wrote: “Unfortunately no riddles were collected and written except scanty number till the 19th century. Azerbaijanian riddles were collected and published during the Soviet Power” [1, c. 103-104].

The famous folklorist V. Veliyev explained the riddles under the title “Children’s folklore” in his scientific work “Azerbaijanian folklore” but he didn’t mention their collection and publication [2, c. 393-402]. Prof. A. Nabiyev also wrote that riddle is one of the least studied genres [3, c. 86].

In volume IX of the “Azerbaijanian Soviet Encyclopedia” is given the definition of the notion “riddle”, but there is no information about their collection and publication [4, c. 148].

In Azerbaijanian study of folklore for the first time riddles were collected, explained and published in 1928 by the famous folklorist V. Khuluflu.

But for the first time Azerbaijanian riddles were translated into Russian and published with the original by H. Zeynalli and later by H. Alizade (1928). 760 riddles were collected and published in the book “Azerbaijanian riddles” by H. Zeynalli (1928).

When researching the Azerbaijanian riddles prof. P. Efendiyev wrote: “Riddle as the other folklore genres is an artistic work. It has a specific function. Why did people create riddles? First of all riddles like proverbs and sayings express peoples thoughts, ideas, different things, events, their experience and observation. By this way people try to pass their knowledge, science and experience to the next generation. Riddles can check people’s quick wits, knowledge and ingenuity. That is why they are widely popular both among the young and the old” [1, c. 108].

Riddles influenced the development of people’s, especially children’s thinking, quick wits and intellectual curiosity. Riddles contain information about nature, environment, animals, celestial bodies, labor means. They reflect the main peculiarities of people’s thinking, wisdom, so it is very significant to study them as a historical genre. Otherwise outstanding folklorists wouldn’t attach great importance to their collection, study, translation and publication.

In azerbaijanian literature ashugs were engaged in this work most of all. They skillfully used this genre during their verbal competition and in their creation.

The first collector, publisher and translator of Azerbaijanian people’s creation into Russian was the Russian intellectual ethnographer S. P. Zelinski. He published two very vast and interesting articles about the life in Azerbaijan in the 19th century in CMDRTC (number 1, 1881: number 2, 1882).

It is quite strange that he didn’t take part in the further publication of CMDRTC.

His third article “Tatar proverbs, saying, riddles and women’s names” was published in the 2-nd part of CMDRTC (pages 43-62). This article consists of three parts; the second part consists of riddles collected from the Azerbaijanians who were the natives of Ire-van. The author collected 33 riddles that were numbered and given both in Azerbaijanian (by Arabic graphics) and in Russian. There was an answer in Russian under each riddle. The first riddle is:

There is a flower on the sea,

But it hasn’t got a name.

It is so sweet, that it is Impossible to eat it. (Baby)

The last riddle is:

I have a bird that has two wings. It flies and flies but doesn’t move from its place. (Door)

The original and translation of the riddles were given opposite.

The author collected various structural-semantic types of riddles that demonstrated the Azerbaijanian’s thinking, mentality, culture, world view in the XIX century and tried to translate them colorfully and artistically.

These riddles can be classified by the following way: flora and fauna; celestial bodies, person and used implements, tools, parts of body; natural phenomena and other events. For example, the riddle about water: “It runs during the month, years, and it is on the way all day and night long”.

Several riddles dedicated to the Moon, stars, lightning are given as metaphorical images and they attract attention to astronomy, to explanation of astronomical phenomena. (Aristotel named riddles masterly metaphors).

For example:

“On the thirtieth day it becomes stupid, on the fourteenth day it becomes clever” (the Moon);

“There are thousands of minarets, one hundred thousands of flowers on the one leaf” (The Moon and the stars);

“It rushed to the throwing man, it hit a plough, it hit a deer in the field” (lightning).

These riddles reflect the people’s cosmogonic attitude to the world, artistic thinking and confirm antiquity of this genre. Some images of these riddles are archaic now. The riddle about lightning was changed and edited later:

It hit the stepping man,

It hit the plough in the field,

It hit the fish in the sea,

It hit the deer on the plain. (The rain)

This sample is very interesting in folklore and people’s creation from the point of view of genre evolution.

At first sight the sentence “It hit the stepping man” seems abstract, but it was created for the rhythm. This riddle also reflects circulation of water.

Some riddles collected by S. P. Zelinsky were created according to the old way of life, but now they are archaic, for example:

Riddle № 4:

It walks and walks, but it has no trace,

It has no valley or plain.

It breeds in winter, in summer,

It has skin, but it has no hair. (Lice and fleas)

The object of the riddle with complicated structure is parasite that was an everyday problem at those times.

Riddle № 32 in CMDRTC:

It has a cup on its head,

It has a spear in its hands,

But it isn’t a Turk.

It rumbles, but it isn’t a frog. (Hookah)

In general 33 riddles collected, translated into Russian and published by S.P.Zelinski are very interesting

by their structural peculiarities, artistic images, content. This fact of collection, translation and publication of children’s folklore has great historical and scientific significance.

Thus comprehensive study of azerbaijanian children’s folklore is of the utmost interest.


1. Efendiyev, P. 1981: Azerbaijanian oral people's literature. Baku.

2. Veliyev, V. 1985: Azerbaijanian folklore. Baku.

3. Nabiyev, A. 1986: Genres of azerbaijanian folklore. Baku.

4. Azerbaijanian Soviet Encyclopedia. Vol. XIX. 1986.

Оруджева С. Х., кандидат филологических наук, доцент кафедры, докторант кафедры.

Бакинский государственный университет.

Ул. Академика З. Халилова, 23, Баку, Азербайджанская Республика, AZ 1148.

E-mail: bgu-ul@bk.ru

Материал поступил в редакцию 24.12.2012.

С. Х. Оруджева


Прослеживается история изучения азербайджанского детского фольклора, его перевода на русский язык и публикации в «Сборнике материалов для описания местностей и племен Кавказа».

Ключевые слова: детский фольклор, «Сборник материалов для описания местностей и племен Кавказа», устная литература.

Baku State University.

Ul. Z. Khalilova, 23, Baku, Azerbaijan, AZ 1148.

E-mail: bgu-ul@bk.ru