Childhood
Musical
Narrative
Tales /märchen

Kolobok: The Little Round Bun

Main piece: Once upon a time there was an old man and an old housewife. The man demanded his wife to make him a bun from the flour box. And so, she swept out the bin and made some dough in the shape of a little round bun. She put in the oven for it to bake and then next to the window for it to cool. The bun jumped out the window and rolled along the road until he met with a Rabbit coming towards him. The Rabbit told him “I’m going to eat you little bun”, and in response the the bun sang him a song:

“I was scraped from the flour-box
And swept from the bin
And baked in the oven
And cooled on the sill.
I ran away from Grandpa,
I ran away from Grandma,
And I’ll run away from you, this minute I will!”

So the bun rolled away, until he saw a wolf coming at him. The wolf told him “I’m going to eat you little bun”, and so he sang again:

“I was scraped from the flour-box
And swept from the bin
And baked in the oven
And cooled on the sill.
I ran away from Grandpa,
I ran away from Grandma,
And I’ll run away from you, this minute I will!”

So the bun rolled away, until he met with a fox in front of him. The fox told him “I’m going to eat you little bun”, and so he sang to the fox:

“I was scraped from the flour-box
And swept from the bin
And baked in the oven
And cooled on the sill.
I ran away from Grandpa,
I ran away from Grandma,
And I’ll run away from you, this minute I will!”

The fox told him “Sing some more, please don’t stop! Hop onto my mouth so I can hear you better”. And so the bun jumped into the fox’s mouth and sang:

“I was scraped from the flour-box
And swept from the bin-

But before he could go on the fox closed his mouth and he gobbled up the little bun.

Background information about the piece by the informant: William Murawski is an American from Polish and Russian decent. His grandparents from Russia used to tell him tales and nursery rhymes from their hometown as a child. William is an aficionado of Russian folk tales and likes to tell preform them the same way as his grandparents performed them for him when he was a child.

Context on the performance: The tale is usually told to children. The song sang by the bun is told with a melody, which is why it is easy to remember verbatim.

Thoughts on piece: The seems more nonsensical than classic western European tales, as they usually have anthropomorphic animals, but rarely a simple object like a bun acting with human characteristics. The resolution of the story is also anti-climatic and dower, but it does provide children with a lesson, which is that one must not be overconfident on a victory like the bun did in the end, as well as the power of wit, as the fox showed. This shows that Russian folk tales are concerned with providing life lessons rather than having feel-good endings.

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