Our Notes & References
Lovely edition of this famous fairy tale by the Russian diaspora in China. Scarce.
Established in 1923, the publishing house of Mikhail Zaitsev (1901 – after 1946) in Kharbin was among the most prolific ones in the diaspora: it published around 150 titles of Russian-language books of various contents by local authors and by Russian authors abroad, primarily from France. Zaitsev also owned the bookstore “Rus” and collaborated with Parisian publishing houses, mostly printing children’s books for them.
The present edition has five full-page black-and-white illustrations, possibly designed for colouring. We could trace another issue, printed with coloured illustrations and with some variants, such as the use of some pre-revolutionary letters, a slightly different layout and with ‘skazka’ and ‘Kharbin’ on the title. This latter issue was perhaps produced for the French readership, while our issue may have been intended for children in Manchuria.
Despite the Japanese occupation of Manchuria, Zaitsev’s publishing house continued its work until around 1942. In his last years he worked as the head of the publishing house of the newspaper Russkoie Slovo [Russian Word] and the magazine Russkaia Rech [Russian Speech]. In 1946, after the end of the Soviet-Japanese War and the establishment of the pro-Soviet government in Northern Manchuria, he was arrested and sentenced to 10 years in the Gulag; his later fate is unknown.
Our issue seems rarer, in libraries like on the market. OCLC locates only one holding (University of British Columbia), with three copies of the other issue (The College of Wooster, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of British Columbia).