Ethnic Enterprises


  1. F1 The Raspberry Hut
  2. F2 Zhabka
  3. F3 How April Went to Visit March
  4. F6 Oil in the Borsch

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F1.   The Raspberry Hut
F2.   Zhabka

Review: Canadian Book Review Annual, 1995, pp 267, 268 Reviewer: Edith Fowke
3317 The Raspberry Hut and Other Ukrainian Folk Tales Retold in English
3318 Zhabka and Other Ukrainian Folk Tales Retold in English

These two important collections present 30 Ukrainian folktales known in Canada. Both include a pronunciation guide and glossary, amusing line drawings, and notes on each tale.

This was a family project: Danny Evanishen¹s father stimulated his interest by translating some stories he found in an old Ukrainian book handed down by his father; his mother provided one story and encouraged him; and his niece and sister did the artwork. When Evanishen started to investigate, he discovered thousands of Ukrainian folktales, of which these volumes represent a small fraction.

Many stories in Zhabka have international plots. "The Bear from That Other World" is like other tales from Eastern Europe, particularly the Russian Firebird tales. "The Frog Princess" has parallels in many lands. "The Flying Ship" and "The Gossip" are well-known tales from Ukraine, although Russians often claim them. Two are rare ("The Enchanted Castle" and "The Raven"). "The Cossack and the Spider" illustrates how stories cross borders; it¹s a well-known Scottish tale the author¹s mother told him in Ukrainian. "The Deceitful Nanny Goat" is an example of a cante-fable‹a story told partly in prose with interspersed verses.

Several items in The Raspberry Hut come from the collections of J.B. Rudnyckyj and Robert B. Klymasz (Ukrainian Folklore in English and Folk Narrative Among Ukrainian-Canadians ). The stories follow much the same pattern as those in Zhabka , with some international and many common in Ukrainian collections. The majority are animal tales, some of which are found in every culture. Two are moralistic ("Danylo Burmylo, the Bear" and "Zhabka"), one is an Aesop¹s fable, and "The Big Round Bun" parallels the English "The Gingerbread Man."

Libraries and schools in Ukrainian-Canadian settlements will appreciate these books for their good selection of the main types of folktales. Folklorists will regret that tale types and motifs are not given, although sources are indicated and Evanishen plans to give comparative references when he completes the series.

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F3.   How April Went to Visit March

Review: Canadian Book Review Annual 1996 Reviewer: Myroslav Shkandrij
3303 Evanishen, Danny. How April Went to Visit March, and Other Ukrainian folk Tales Retold in English

This collection of 17 Ukrainian stories includes both classic fairy tales and Canadian variants of famous tales, recorded by pioneers and passed on to later generations. Although many of the subtle plays on words, the rhythmic repetitions, and the colorful details of the originals have been lost in the translation into English, this volume - the third in Danny Evanishen¹s Ukrainian folklore series - provides an authentic selection that will interest the general reader. Short notes provide cultural background as well as information on the sources of the stories.

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F6.   Oil in the Borsch

Review: August 29, 1999 Ukrainian Language Radio Program "Radio Rozmova," in Winnipeg, Manitoba on CKJS Reviewer: J Zurowsky
3303 Evanishen, Danny. Oil in the Borsch and Other Ukrainian Folk Tales Retold in English

This year a sixth volume in the series of Ukrainian folk tales has appeared under the title of "Oil in the Borsch." This series is published by Danny Evanishen in British Columbia. The books¹ popularity is evident from the fact that a seventh volume is being prepared for print and that this series is being done without the financial support of such Ukrainian institutions such as the Shevchenko Foundation or the Ukrainian Canadian Congress...

This series is important because it collects those tales which the first pioneers, emigrants, brought with them to Canada. Within it is to be found the folklore which the pioneers passed onto their children. They are translated into English so that they may be understood by those who cannot read Ukrainian texts.

Scholars are able [to look at these tales] ... and observe how various international themes passed from one culture into another, and how changes in these themes occurred. While for children's or school libraries, these books should be mandatory.

It is a difficult task to gather these tales and then to translate them into English... the Ukrainian community is fortunate to have a person such as Danny Evanishen who does not fear such a task.