Shaljam is an instance of a predictive tale as it constructs itself on a repetitive anticipated pattern. It is a Russian folk tale, often translated as ‘The Giant Turnip’, collected by Alexander Afanasyev. Such folk tales are also called cumulative tales or chain tales since they form a string of recurring verses that build up to a climax at the end. The surprising conclusion as well as the simple and musical flow of Shaljam is bound to be thoroughly enjoyed by children. Besides enjoyment, a cumulative tale such as this teaches children new words, helps them memorize, and anticipate the sequence of events. The plot here is rather sparse and marked by progression. As the story evolves the characters who participate in pulling the turnip become odder, leading to laughter. The performance of this folk tale is of utmost importance as only a skilled storyteller can recite the folktale to make it exciting and stimulating for children. The fluency and rhythm of the delivery of the folk tale carry a lot of significance.
November 2020, volume 44, No 11