Jonas Basanavičius Folklore Library, Vol. 4
Various Lithuanian Tales, book 4. Collected by Jonas Basanavičius.
Vilnius: Vaga Publishers, 1998
All the 233 folktales and other folk narratives published in this book have been collected in Ožkabaliai and Bartninkai parish by J. Basanavičius’ brother Vincas. In his foreword discussing activities and personality of this prominent folklore collector, Leonardas Sauka presents lots of information about him, clearly demonstrating that his work amounts to that of other already celebrated worthy figures of Lithuanian culture, who also were uneducated, like Matas Slančiauskas and Vilius Kalvaitis. This information was picked out from various sources, particularly from the biggest and the most interesting one, i.e. his unpublished letters to his brother Jonas.
In his preface to the book, J. Basanavičius mentioned that folktales published here came from that part of the Suvalkai Governorate which, according to him, in the Middle Ages bore the name of Sūdavija. He attempted to etymologize this name and to determine the alleged borderlines of that region. He tried to find out information regarding the fate of the local people and sought out data as to when the first inhabitants, whom he called getai, might have settled there and what their culture might have been like.
Many plots of the folktales published here were already known from earlier volumes of the “Various Lithuanian Tales”. On the other hand, some of the tale genres included here had not been represented in previous volumes.
The fourth volume of Jonas Basanavičius Folklore Library was edited, the textual principles of editing worked out, commentaries to the texts written and the vocabulary compiled by Kostas Aleksynas. The author of the above mentioned foreword to the fourth volume of the “Various Lithuanian Tales” and folkloristic commentaries indicating types of the published texts in Lithuanian and international indices, discussing popularity of the published materials in Lithuania and abroad and also submitting other folkloristic data, is Leonardas Sauka.