The stories are not neatly rounded off into consequential and purposive stories. The incidents follow almost haphazard; and at the end, the persons mentioned at the beginning may be forgotten; the stories are often almost as casual as real life. ...
The stories relate experiences in succession, attempt no judgment, do not even affirm their own credibility. Things simply happen; our exertions may sometimes be good; we can only be quietly resigned. But, unlike the Arabian Nights, there is no positive fatalism; for that would imply a judgment; a warping of facts to suit a theory.
These stories have been translated direct from the Russian of Afanasev; the selection is intended to represent, as completely as possible, the varieties of Russian folk-tale. As far as an analytic language, like modern English, can render so highly inflected a tongue as Russian, the translator has tried to keep strictly to the style and diction of the originals, which are the undoctored traditional stories.