Shabby Sunday: Old Peter’s Russian Tales by Arthur Ransome 1916 (1967) #VintageBooks #ShabbySunday #OldPetersRussianTales #ChildrensBooks

Shabby Sunday


I have a bunch of old vintage books and continue to acquire more. One of my plans when starting this blog was to do a post every now and then sharing one of my cherished, vintage books. I thought there might be other book bloggers out there with some vintage books, heirlooms, or maybe some old books from childhood that they might want to share.

This meme titled ‘Shabby Sunday’ is for those who would like to participate and share some of their old vintage books. Do you have some shabby books you’d like to share? If so, please feel free to participate as anyone can join. Feel free to use my meme image if you’d like. If you decide to do this meme, please consider linking back to me in this post so that I can see the book you’re sharing.

Last time I shared:

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

Today’s Shabby Share:

Old Peter’s Russian Tales by Arthur Ransome


The stories in this book are those that Russian peasants tell their children and each other. In Russia hardly anybody is too old for fairy stories, and I have even heard soldiers on their way to the war talking of very wise and very beautiful princesses as they drank their tea by the side of the road. I think there must be more fairy stories told in Russia than anywhere else in the world. In this book are a few of those I like best. I have taken my own way with them more or less, writing them mostly from memory. They, or versions like them, are to be found in the coloured chap-books, in Afanasiev’s great collection, or in solemn, serious volumes of folklorists writing for the learned. My book is not for the learned, or indeed for grown-up people at all. No people who really like fairy stories ever grow up altogether. This is a book written far away in Russia, for English children who play in deep lanes with wild roses above them in the high hedges, or by the small singing becks that dance down the gray fells at home. Russian fairyland is quite different. Under my windows the wavelets of the Volkhov (which has its part in one of the stories) are beating quietly in the dusk. A gold light burns on a timber raft floating down the river. Beyond the river in the blue midsummer twilight are the broad Russian plain and the distant forest. Somewhere in that forest of great trees—a forest so big that the forests of England are little woods beside it—is the hut where old Peter sits at night and tells these stories to his grandchildren.


This collection of fairy tales is a favorite from childhood, and I was so excited to find a vintage, hardcover copy in excellent condition. We found our edition of Old Peter’s Russian Tales at It’s a reprint from 1967–the very year that Arthur Ransome passed away.


This lovely collection includes favorite tales retold like “Baba Yaga,” “The Hut in the Forest,” “Frost,” and “Sadko.” Arthur Ransome originally visited Russia before the Revolution and heard these tales from the people he met along the way. He then took these original tales and retold them with the characters of Old Peter (grandfather), Vanya and Maroosia (grandchildren). Connecting each tale, there’s conversation amongst them. Some stories are familiar, and some have only subtle differences. Regardless, this collection has great variety. His true life story is an interesting one as well.

Here are all the titles included:

  • The Hut in the Forest 
  • The Tale of the Silver Saucer and the Transparent Apple
  • Sadko
  • Frost
  • The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship
  • Baba Yaga
  • The Cat who became Head-Forester
  • Spring in the Forest
  • The Little Daughter of the Snow
  • Prince Ivan, the Witch Baby, and the Little Sister of the Sun
  • The Stolen Turnips, the Magic Tablecloth, the Sneezing Goat, and the Wooden Whistle
  • Little Master Misery
  • A Chapter of Fish
  • The Golden Fish
  • Who Lived in the Skull?
  • Alenoushka and her Brother
  • The Fire-Bird, the Horse of Power, and the Princess Vasilissa
  • The Hunter and his Wife
  • The Three Men of Power—Evening, Midnight, and Sunrise
  • Salt
  • The Christening in the Village

It’s no wonder this book is loved by so many children and adults alike. The writing is lovely, yet easy enough for children to read on their own. The stories never get old. With that said, my only issue was the treatment and name-calling toward the female characters. Parents might want to be aware of this if they’re reading it with younger kids. The tales reflect the general attitudes toward women during this time, which is to be expected. 


The illustrations by Dmitri Mitrokhin are perfect but few and far between, and they are often misplaced in the text. For example, there’s an illustration in the beginning of the book for page 300. Not every tale has an illustration either.

If you’d like to read this book without hunting down a physical copy, you can read the original at Project Gutenberg. That version does contain the illustrations as well. There are also websites offering free public domain Librivox audio links. 


Other blogs who have participated in Shabby Sunday:

Nicky@ An Introverted Bookworm

Claire@ Brizzle Lass Books

Author Didi Oviatt

Sassy Brit@ Alternative-Read

Brittany @ PerfectlyTolerable

Shari @

Jennifer @

Lisa @ Way Too Fantasy

*Please stop by these blogs to check out all of their beautiful shabby shares!*

Thanks for checking out Shabby Sunday! Have you read this book? Do you have any shabby books to share? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

♥️ Mischenko

10 thoughts on “Shabby Sunday: Old Peter’s Russian Tales by Arthur Ransome 1916 (1967) #VintageBooks #ShabbySunday #OldPetersRussianTales #ChildrensBooks

  1. It looks like a beautiful book. I’m glad that it holds so many cherished memories, too. When you find something like that, it’s a treasure for sure.

    I have several vintage books that I’ve held onto for decades. I’m not usually online on weekends, but if it ever turns out I am, I’ll have to join Shabby Sunday!

    Liked by 1 person

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