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[LH] Ivan the Fool 2016-10-05

Ivan the Fool (Ivan Durak in Russian), is a stock character from several Russian folk tales, somewhat analogous to the character of "Jack" that appears in Western European stories.

As his name suggests, Ivan is a foolish young man who despite his simple mind has a good heart. He is born into peasantry and through a series of good fortunes, marries a princess and becomes Tsar of Russia. The fortunes that come his way vary from story to story, from old wizards who reward him for his kindness, to magical fish he catches and then spares. In 1886, Tolstoy published a short story about Ivan where his two brothers are tempted by the Devil with money and power. But thanks to his simple views, Ivan resists temptation and the Devil is defeated. Some interpretations of the Tolstoy' tale see a discreet Communist interpretation -- celebrating the virtues of a simple worker's life and its triumph over greed.
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