German Tales from Russia. Twelve Tales of Fantasy and the Supernatural
By Samuel D. Sinner
Illustrated by Melissa Sinner, Germans from Russia Heritage Collection,
North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo, North Dakota, 2003,
35 pages, 12 illustrations, softcover.
Only one thousand copies of this limited edition will
ever be printed. Hand- numbered from one to one thousand.
** Sinner, Samuel D. Illustrated by Melissa Sinner. Twelve German
Tales from Russia: Twelve Tales of Fantasy and the Supernatural.
Fargo, ND: Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North Dakota
State University Libraries, 2003. [Book available from GRHC.] [English]
Bearing a dedication to author Ronald J. Vossler, Twelve German
Tales from Russia is a delightful collection of original reworkings
of twelve traditional German-Russian folktales. Gathered from a
variety of older written and oral sources, the reader will find
memories of ancient, vanished beliefs and practices come to life
again. These tales of fantasy and the supernatural will be continually
enjoyed by older and younger readers alike. Each tale is accompanied
by an enchanting and haunting full-page illustration that brings
the words to life for the reader. Additionally, the front and back
covers are attractively decorated with Art Nouveau illustrations.
From ghosts, goblins, prophecy by onion splitting on New Years
Eve, buried treasure in glowing grave mounds, to shooting stars,
red moons, and pipe-smoking pastors, these tales vividly portray
beliefs and folk practices from a forgotten age. At times humorous,
the collection narrates these tales with conviction, revealing the
wisdom and truth in the traditional beliefs and folk practices of
the Germans from Russia.
Like William Butler Yeats recording ancient Irish fairytales and
supernatural legends, Sinner presents these German-Russian tales
as not only entertaining, but also as important relics of an ethnic
people’s authentic wisdom. At the dawn of the twenty-first
century, countless books and movies of fantasy and the supernatural
are flooding the market, from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter
to J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, filling a vacuum
created by the tedium, emptiness, and hectic pace of modern life
in the computer age. These twelve ethnic tales from Russia fill
the same need for a simpler yet more magical world felt by many
modern German Russians.
About the Author and Illustrator
With ancestors from the Black Sea villages of Worms and Rohrbach,
and the Volga-German villages of Frank and Norka, Melissa Sinner
received her B.A. in 1999 in English Literature at the University
of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), with a dual minor in Anthropology and
Women's Studies. An artist and web site designer, Melissa spends
her free time reading English literature and entertaining her cat.
Samuel Sinner received his Ph.D. in Modern Languages and Literatures
from UNL in 2002. He has published on the Holocaust,
Soviet history and literature, and related topics.
In 2002, the Germans from Russia Heritage Society
published his Autumn Thoughts--Under Ruins and
Snow. An Experiment in Ethnic Anthology. Two Centuries
of German-Russian Poetry, Short Stories, and Essays.
The volume contains Sinner's translations of Russian
and German-language poetry, as well as several of
his own original poems and short stories.
by Edna Boardman