Turkmen folk fairy tales are a treasury of many generations’ wisdom. They reflect the peculiarities of the people’s life, traditions, character and humor. In the old days, these cautionary tales were told during the stops of trade caravans, at bazaars and in teahouses where people gathered, in the houses and yurts of villagers, especially among women, old people and children.
Nomad wanderers carried fairy tales from city to city, exchanging the most interesting short stories. So the Turkmen fairy tale was influenced by the neighboring peoples, enriched by the diversity of oriental culture and preserved to our days.
The collection and publication of Turkmen fairy tales began in the 30s of the last century. The first documentary recording of Turkmen folklore included a total of 13 fairy tales narrated in the Mary dialect of the Turkmen language. The largest collection containing 50 Turkmen fairy tales was published in 1940. A little later, the cycles “Mirali and Soltansoyun”, jokes about Kemine, and “Popular legends about Magtymguly” were published.
The world of bewitching Turkmen fairy tales closely relates to the mythology of the peoples of the East. Its characters are divs, peri, dragons. Peri is a beautiful girl who is usually captured by a div, who in turn is the personification of evil forces. The image of the fairy-tale div is described as a huge, gluttonous monster overgrown with hair, with small horns. The div is stupid, clumsy, but endowed with power: “When the div turns back, the sky is covered with clouds and the wind blows, when he has a day to go here, the peaks of the trees rustle, when the div comes here, the earth trembles, the trees crack and break” (“Garaja Batyr”).
The popular Turkmen fairy tale “Ak-Pamyk” also reflects folk mythology. The fairy tale heroine, a girl named Ak-Pamyk, revives her brothers, who were killed by the divs, with the milk of the Ak-Maya camel. “White Camel’s Milk” is one of the Turkmen names for the Milky Way “Ak-Mayanyn Suydi”.
Another interesting aspect of the fairy tale is that the Ak-Maya camel turns her colt into a black stone, as a punishment for helping the girl. “It is said that, having become a black stone, he, poor, still stands on the road to Mecca”.
The story of Yartygulak, a tiny brave boy, is one of the most favorite heroes of not only children, but also among adults. The smart Yartygulak, literally his name is translated into as “half an ear”, courageously confronts a giant world full of dangers. The image of a brave boy is often found in puppet, animated productions and films. For example, the fairy tale film “Small but Clever” (1974) is about the ingenuity of little Yartygulak, who helped poor Alty-aga.
The benefits of reading fairy tales are invaluable. They allow any adult to turn to his inner child, who had not something enough in his childhood: love, attention, care. Specialists use a fairy-tale treatment as one of the methods of psychological assistance and social adaptation of children.