Story Time at the Urbana Free Library

Image from the cartoon “Sebastian the Dragonslayer”, produced by Pannonia Film Studio, Hungary.

On October 20, our Center recommenced its bi-monthly Slavic Story time at the Urbana Free Library. Children listened to the Hungarian fairy tale, “Sebastian, the Dragon-slayer”, and watched the corresponding cartoon from the immensely popular series, Hungarian Folktales (Magyar népmesék), for which production began in 1977. This cartoon is an example of the fetishization of folklore under late socialism, which occurred as communist parties across Eastern Europe merged the socialist notion of the people with romantic conceptions of the folk in a bid for political legitimacy.

The fairy-tale itself is a chain of two stories. The tale of how the young Sebastian turns from a shepherd into a slayer of dragons, and eventually into a king, is preceded by a story of his father and two uncles, who are elevated from utter poverty by a magician, and tested in their humanity. Only the father passes the character test, and as a reward, his son, Sebastian, benefits not only from the magician’s mentorship, but transcends his social origins completely. The story was followed by a sing-a-long of a Hungarian children’s song and craft time, which involved making a dragon.

In the upcoming academic year, REEEC will continue its partnership with the Urbana Free Library. On December 15 at 2:00-3:00 p.m., REEEC will be featuring the Russian fairy tale, Uncle Vova’s tree; children will also learn a Russian song and make a Christmas tree. Please join us for the event!

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