September 30th is the day of Hungarian Folk-tales and also the birthday of Elek Benedek, who have gathered many-many folk tales himself both Hungarian and Transylvanian. In today’s article, I would like to introduce you to this great Hungarian literary person and show you what a generation of Hungarian children grew up watching on the television screen.

Elek Benedek was born in 1859 in Kisbacon, which is today’s Băţani Mic, Romania. He studied in Székelyudvarhely and Budapest and as a student, he went on an ethnographical trip. At one point he was a journalist, and later he became an MP at Nagyajta. He was interested in youth literature Hungarian folk traditions in general. He was also concerned about public education.

Kisgömböc
‘Kisgömböc’ Source: facebook.com/magyarnepmesek

His love for youth literature is evident from his later works, as in 1889, he took part in the first Hungarian youth magazine, titled Az Én Újságom, which literally means me “My Magazine”. He also edited a series of books intended for youth. Although Elek Benedek wrote several of his own works; poems, dramas and historical fiction books, he is most well known for his collection of Transylvanian fairy tales; Székely Tündérországand (Szekler Fairy-land) and Székely Mesemondó (Szekler Storyteller).

He also made a five-volume collection of Hungarian folk tales during his career, which was one of the most challenging projects for the writer. The collection is titled Magyar mese-és mondavilág (World of Hungarian Tales and Legends). Elek Benedek also translated many tales from the Brothers Grimm and Arabian Nights to the Hungarian language. He is one of the founders of children’s literature in Hungary and that is why the Hungarian Reading Association titled his birthday the day of Hungarian folk tales.

A rátóti csikótojás
The horse egg Source: facebook.com/magyarnepmesek

Now let us move on to the tales themselves. Although many folktales are collected in books, which is a good thing, Pannónia Filmstúdió decided to create an animated series using the many Hungarian tales there are. They used Hungarian motifs to adorn the frame of the intros and the intro song was composed by one of the best-known Hungarian folk bands, Kaláka. Many of my generation grew up watching these tales in the television, but the good thing for our English speaking audience that around 2017, all of the episodes were dubbed and they are available to the very public over on YouTube.

But tales are not only for children, the lessons that are in them can even be useful to guide us in our adult life as well. Do you remember any of these tales, if so, can you tell us what was your favourite? Any of you are from different cultures, did you have a series about tales in your country, or maybe you could tell your favourite tales from your childhood. Sit back and relax, and watch some of these episodes if you want, you are sure guaranteed to have some fun. They also have a webshop if you would like to pick up some merch.

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Source: Daily News Hungary

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