Abstract and keywords
Abstract (English):
Many lines from Krylov's fables have turned into folk proverbs and sayings that introduce us to the world of universal values. Krylov's language is very close to the folk speech, as the writer inserted proverbs and sayings into his fables that completely merged with the general tone of the fable. V. I. Dal in his collection "Proverbs of the Russian People" highlighted the relationship of the proverb and the fable. The proverb is like a condensed formula of folk wisdom. Krylov's memorable own poems have themselves become proverbs that have entered the national speech

fable, proverbs and sayings, Krylov, folk wisdom, humor of the Russian people, satire
Publication text (PDF): Read Download

Many poets and writers turned to the oldest genre of art – the fable, with its deep historical roots. The German playwright Lessing wrote that in no form of a poem did he focus his attention more than on a fable. According to him, "a fable is not a toy, but a deep philosophical reflection, the work of the mind and consciousness" is an invaluable treasury that has preserved the folk wisdom of proverbs and sayings, the richness and beauty of Russian speech. "Fable - poetry of the mind", "special poetry" [11, p. 57].

A valuable source that formed the identity of the Russian fable is considered a favorable soil of oral folk art. Without folklore, we cannot have an idea about the genesis of the fable and its artistic originality. A. A. Potebnya distinguished the genetic relationship of fables with proverbs and sayings [9, p.155].

The famous collector of proverbs AND. Snigirev noted that "many parables and fables have been reduced to proverbs... so the latter are equally developed in fables and parables" [10]. Also, V. I. Dal in his collection "Proverbs of the Russian People" highlighted the relationship of the proverb and the fable. The proverb is like a condensed formula of folk wisdom [2, p. 64]. A. Potebnya generally considered the proverb to be an "abbreviated fable" [11, p.31].

The fable reached its highest heyday in the work of Ivan Andreevich Krylov, who has come a long way to find his vocation as a writer-fabulist. It was in this small epic genre that his talent unfolded, about which Belinsky wrote that "fable, like satire, was and will always be an excellent kind of poetry, as long as people with talent and intelligence appear in this field" [3, p.16]. Krylov's fable comes to life precisely in reading. This is an amazing art of oral speech. It should be listened to [11, p. 64]. Krylov explained his choice of the fable genre by the fact that this "genus is understandable to everyone, it is read by both servants and children" [11, p.18].

Krylov's fables, which perfectly express the people's view of life, turned out to be close to folk tales, sayings, since many lines of fables turned into folk proverbs that have firmly entered our memory.

Pushkin was the first to call Krylov "a truly folk poet who surpassed all fabulists. Representatives of the spirit of both peoples called it La Fontaine and Krylov, who forever will remain the darlings of their denosumab" [11, 20].

V. G. Belinsky wrote that in our time, "the nation became the first dignity of literature and of the highest merit of a poet" [3, p. 1]. "Wings pave and other Russian poets of the road to the nation," [11, p. 104]. The nationality of his fables was reflected in the fact that fable images, apt phrases became folk proverbs and sayings.

Gogol wrote about Krylov that he chose the form of a fable, which was neglected as an old thing. It was in it that he managed to become a folk poet, "this national heritage is the book of wisdom of the people themselves" [8, p. 1095]. He managed to give the fable a high meaning and satirical sharpness, relevance and ambiguity. And Krylov, as a man of genius, instinctively guessed the aesthetic laws of the fable [3, p. 16].

For him, the fable is the most popular, intelligible and ancient genre, understandable to everyone, very close to folk poetry, which had a strong tradition in Russian literature. The simplicity and clarity of the images, the connection with folk proverbs and sayings, folk wisdom [2, p.67], its morals – all this made the fable especially beloved by the people. V. A. Arkhipov called the fable "the fruit of great observations and deep reflections on life" [1, p. 78].

The sharp and accurate humor of Krylov's fables originates from folk sources. He drew many of his thoughts and plots from the folk language, from the wisdom of Russian proverbs and sayings [2, p. 64], which occupy a special place in the rich and expressive language of his fables, thanks to which he ridicules human vices. Folk speech is used in Krylov's fables not only by people, but also by fabled animals.

Krylov took both positive and negative moral results from reality. His words: "For the strong, the powerless is always to blame," is a bitter moral conclusion, but sanctified by the historical experience of the people [7, p. 19]. Equally, the result is a positive conclusion: "It's a misfortune if a shoemaker starts baking pies, and a pirozhnik makes boots" [7, p. 49].

The fabulist returns to the people their own morality, as if purifying them from all impurities in the form of proverbs and sayings. When they returned to the people's environment, they were accepted by the people as their own. This is the proof of Krylov's greatest merits as a master fabulist.

Krylov's fables embodied the modern world, as well as the personality of the poet himself was most fully reflected. He managed, using the achievements of his predecessors, giving it a Russian national character [2, p. 64], to make the fable a diverse literary genre. Gogol emphasized that in Krylov's fables "Russia is everywhere and smells of Russia" [11, p. 24].

In our everyday speech, not always realizing the authorship, we use expressions from Krylov's fables, which have long become winged expressions, proverbs and sayings. According to Belinsky, they can "end the dispute and prove your idea better than any theoretical arguments" [3]. It is not for nothing that the critic wrote about Krylov that he is "more than a writer and a poet" [3, p. 33]. Almost all of his fables, "as in a mirror, reflect some human shortcomings, unfair relations between people" [5, p. 403]. Through his fables, conflict situations, the morality contained in them, we see that he condemned, warned against, encouraged, supported, as well as how he treated his time, Russian customs, everyday life, literature, the whole way of modern reality. He was not afraid of the truth of life, did not embellish anything, did not smooth it out.

According to A. S. Pushkin, Krylov, "having enriched the Russian language with winged, witty figurative expressions, comparisons, managed to surpass all the famous fabulists" [3]. In them, he showed that the main thing in life – hard work, modesty, diligence, honesty, intelligence and courage will be higher than ignorance and cowardice.

The language of Ivan Andreevich is very close to the folk speech [2, p. 64], since the writer inserted proverbs and sayings into his fables that completely merged with the general tone of the fable. It is also remarkable that Krylov's own poems, which are easily remembered, have themselves become proverbs that have entered the popular speech.

All his life Krylov used the" Aesopian " language, he was not afraid that the people would not understand him. He spoke the language of the people, who themselves express the truth with a proverb, a saying, a hint. Eg: "Grabbing a sash and a hat in an armful" ("Demyanova's ear") [7, p.118], "What thieves get away with, thieves are beaten for it" (" Raven") [7, p.58], "You are to blame for the fact that I want to eat" ("Wolf and Lamb") [7, p.20], "And you, friends, no matter how you sit down, all are not fit for musicians!" ("Quartet") [7, p.93], as well as well-known proverbs were included in his works "What you sow, then reap" ("Wolf and Cat"), "There is no animal stronger than a cat" ("Mouse and Rat") [7, p.119], "Let's look for a ford better than we go to the bridge" ("Liar") [7, p. 47], "A pity that you are not familiar with our rooster" ("Donkey and Nightingale") [7, p. 60], "Let the donkey's hooves know" ("The Fox and the Donkey"), "God save us from such judges!" ("The Donkey and the Nightingale") [7, p. 60], "It's better to drink, but understand the matter" ("Musicians") [7, p. 6].

Krylov disguised himself not only in his literary work, but also in life. He himself spread jokes about his laziness and carelessness. "Surprising with his laziness, he was able to surprise with his activity." Zhukovsky wrote about Krylov that he could be counted among the "skilled translators", which earned him the name of an original poet. The syllable of his fables is very light, clean and always pleasant [6, p. 411].

Krylov tells very freely and with simplicity, his flexible syllable touches us, describing a tender feeling, and also amuses us with some funny expression or turn. "His speech, submissive and obedient to thought, according to Gogol, flies like a fly ... and betrays its inexpressible spirituality" [8, p. 1097].

For so many years, the Krylov language has not become obsolete. It is still understandable to us and continues to surprise us with the accuracy [2, p. 64] of images, its metaphorical nature and brightness. The poet N. Aseev pointed out that "any fable of Krylov can reveal an outwardly imperceptible, extraordinary sound grace of speech, which combines the charm of sound with its expediency" [11, p. 95].

Each actor in the fable has a corresponding image and character. It seems that the reader is mentally present at this action described by the author [6, p. 411].

The language of Krylov's fables as "semantic staples" (V. V. Vinogradov's expression) includes numerous proverbs, sayings, formulas of folk phraseology that give the fable speech a sense of its true nationality: "The family is not without a freak" ("An elephant in the voivodeship") [7, p. 59], "Though he sees an eye, but he does not have a tooth" ("A Fox and Grapes") "Out of the fire and into the fire" ("A Mistress and two Maids").... [11, p. 99-100].

The proverb became the source for many of Krylov's fables, the structural beginning, in which the fable plot is contained in the potency, not to mention the richness of humor, verbal colors that have passed into the fable from the proverbs [11, p.32]. For example: "Don't spit in the well – it will be useful to drink water" [11] echoes the plot and the moral of the fable "The Lion and the Mouse". The fable "The Moth and the Swallow" originated from the proverb "One swallow does not make spring" [11], the fable "The Shepherd" - from the proverb "Glory to the wolf, but Savva steals sheep" [11]. We will also point out the close connection of such fables as" The Poor Rich Man"," The Miser", with folk proverbs about avarice, which prompted Krylov to choose a fable plot.

In Krylov's works, the naked truth of life triumphs, his poetry carries so much in itself. She is highly intelligent, insightful, and all-seeing [1, p. 14].

Krylov opened access to the literature of the Russian folk speech, there was a merger of the literary language with the folk language. As a result, the literary language was liberated and further developed. Many phrases from his fables have entered the Russian language on the rights of sayings: ("And the casket just opened... "("Casket") [7, p. 8], "But only the cart is still there ..." ("Swan, pike and crab") [7, p. 97], " Ah, Moska! She is strong enough to know that she barks at an Elephant" ("An elephant and a Pug") [7, p.66], "And Vaska listens and eats" ("A Cat and a Cook") [7, p.71], "I didn't notice an elephant" ("Curious") [7, p.110], "An obliging fool is more dangerous than an enemy" ("A Hermit and a Bear") [7, p.105], "It's not better to work for yourself, kuma, turn around" ("The Mirror and the Monkey") [11].

As a classicist, Krylov believed that the vices of humanity should be eradicated with laughter, so greed, ignorance, stupidity are ridiculed in his works. "It is not easy to find a Russian person in whom there would not be a property to laugh at something" [2 p. 65]. Krylov expressed very broadly and fully only one side of the Russian spirit [2, p. 68], its common, practical sense, its experienced worldly wisdom, its simple-minded and evil irony [11, p.23]. Irony is the main satirical weapon of the fabulist. A. Nikitenko wrote :" This calm, sly and at the same time good-natured irony [2, p.65] resulted in the form of the national spirit [11, p. 82-83]. The works of I. A. Krylov are not just fables – "this is a story, a comedy, a humorous essay, an evil satire" [3].

The proverbs show very fully and vividly the humor of the Russian people, their idea of life, moral sense, the maximum expressiveness and semantic generalization is achieved, which makes them very close to the fable. Gogol, considering "our proverbs are more significant than the proverbs of all other peoples" [2, p.64], wrote that Krylov "traces his origin from Russian proverbs" [11, p. 31].

Belinsky V. G. argued that it is not even worth "talking about the great importance of Krylov's fables for the upbringing of children" [3]. It seems that the images and winged lines of his fables, " without growing old and without losing their satirical sharpness, accompany us, somehow imprinted in our consciousness. His intelligent animals with their completely human thoughts, actions, judgments, which have entered into our life by themselves, have retained all their meaning of colorful folk formulas, they help to express a thought briefly and clearly" [11, p.111].

Krylov's fables are a world of living ideas and images, the richness of their content is inexhaustible. In them, "Russian common sense triumphs – it is nothing but the high intelligence of the people" [1, p. 11]. In Krylov, the "Russian mind" was personified and expressed in his creations [2, p.64]. No wonder Gogol wrote about Krylov that this is "the same mind that is akin to the mind of our proverbs" [8, p.1095]. Grot Ya. K. added that the fable is meaningful not as a fable, but as a creation in which the mind and experienced wisdom of an entire people were artistically embodied" [10, p. 87].

Krylov managed to reflect the correct tact of the Russian mind [2, p. 64], to express the true essence of every matter without offending anyone, a tact that we lost among our secular education [8, p. 1104]. Behind the fabled images of Krylov was the collective wisdom, the centuries-old accumulated experience that express the views of the people. This was reflected both in the very nature of the fable's morality, in the folk wisdom [2, p. 65] that underlies the fable, and in their artistic originality, in the "picturesque way" of expression [11].

Belinsky V. G. believed that "a genuine work of art cannot be retold, since it cannot be retold, like Krylov's fables, because these are works of art in the highest sense of the word" [1, p.33].

Krylov remained at the "height of his satirical vocation" [1, p. 43]. His fables, which have not lost their relevance even today, help us to overcome the shortcomings of people: envy, ignorance, ingratitude, betrayal, laziness, hypocrisy, teach us to be honest, modest, hardworking. It does not seem strange to us his early passion for literature, which never burned in him, but always burned with a quiet and even flame [3, p.19]. And it is not for nothing that Gogol noted that " the poet and the sage merged together in him. None of the poets has managed to make his thought so tangible and express himself so accessible to everyone as Krylov" [11, p. 1096].

Many people in Krylov want to see a fabulist, unlike them, we see something more in him [3, p. 9]. And if Krylov had appeared in our time, he would have been "the creator of Russian comedy" [11]. Probably, Krylov would not have been a great folk writer if he had stopped there. Ivan Krylov went his own way, paving the way for others. His fables, imaginative and at the same time simple in form and language, have an impact on the emotional sphere of children, they are very easily perceived by them. By the power of the artistic word, they are brought up with high moral qualities, have a great educational value on them, and therefore they have acquired such a huge success and world significance. In fact, he was a great worker" [3, p. 19].

We are surprised by the brevity and imagery of a very easy, memorable language that is impossible to forget. The language of his fables became an example for A. S. Pushkin, A. S. Griboyedov, N. V. Gogol, N. A. Nekrasov, as well as the great satirist Saltykov - Shchedrin, who in his satire preserved the traditions of Krylov, resurrecting his fabled heroes in his "fairy tales" [11, p.110].

Krylov's fables are still alive today, they did not die with him. The verses of his fables, which have become proverbs, still help us today in all life situations. V. G. Belinsky's words that Krylov would be read by "the whole Russian people" turned out to be prophetic, therefore, we are not surprised at the number of his readers, which is constantly increasing [11, p. 5].

Today, he is known far and beyond the borders of the country. His fables, translated into many European languages during the writer's lifetime, are heard in more than fifty languages of the world. Krylov died, having fully justified his vocation, having enjoyed the deserved glory. Death for him was not a misfortune, but a calm, perhaps long-desired ... [3, p. 30].


1. Arkhipov Vladimir. I. A. Krylov. Poetry of folk wisdom. - M., 1974.

2. Akhmadova T. H. Proverbs and sayings in N. V. Gogol's poem "Dead Souls" //Materials of the 6th Annual Final Conference of the teaching staff of ChSU. - Grozny, 2017. pp. 63-68.

3. Belinsky V. G. Ivan Andreevich Krylov. "Otechestvennye zapiski", 1845.

4. Dal V. I. Proverbs of the Russian people in 2 volumes. - M., 1984.

5. Zhukovsky V. A. "About the fable and fables of Krylov".

6. Zhukovsky V. A. Collected works in 4 volumes. -M.; L., 1960. T. 4.

7. Krylov I. A. Fables. - M., 1969.

8. Nikolai Gogol. The complete collection of works in one volume. - M., 2009.

9. Potebnya A. A. From lectures on the theory of literature. Kharkiv, 1894.

10. Snegirev I. M. The Book of Folk Wisdom. "Eksmo", 2014. bookz.ru›authors/ivan-snegirev/kniga-na_066…kniga…

11. Stepanov N. Krylov's Fables. - M., 1969.

Login or Create
* Forgot password?