Friday, April 15, 2016

M is for Magyar folktales

Magyar népmesék (Hungarian folktales) is probably the best known cartoon series in Hungary. It sports a whopping 9 seasons and 100 episodes, each between 6 and 10 minutes long, each adapting a well-known Hungarian folktale into gorgeous animation.
The series began in 1977, and concluded with the last batch of 11 episodes in 2011. It has become a classic, both in story and in visual style, for thousands of Hungarian children and multiple generations. Recently, an artist has even re-imagined Star Wars in the artistic style of Hungarian Folktales.


The style itself is very recognizable. It is colorful, full of traditional Hungarian imagery (such as folk costumes and embroidery patterns), and highly symbolic, playing on the hidden meanings of the oldest folk- and fairy tales we have. The narration is also famous, done by excellent actor-storytellers, and the opening music of the episodes, along with the embroidery-based framing motif, is truly iconic.

Good news: Some episodes of the series are available with English subtitles on YouTube! Here is an entire playlist of them!

Here are a couple of examples of my favorites:

Palkó Lily-of-the-Valley
A prince who is born a dwarf guards the grave of his dead mother every day. On the grave the king planted a flower, a lily-of-the-valley, that soon turns out to be an enchanted Princess of the Dwarves, hiding from the wrath of Tündér Ilona, the fairy queen. The prince and the princess fall in love, and try to escape from the queen's revenge...



The star-eyed shepherd
A shepherd refuses to say "bless you" to a king when he sneezes, and the king decides to get rid of him in the most creative ways. The shepherd, however, manages to survive all the trials, and even marries the king's daughter in the end. 



The fairy of the pond
This is, essentially, our version for the Grimms' Nixie in the millpond fairy tale. The animation is especially pretty in this one.



This entire series is an endless source of wonder and entertainment. If you only watch one thing recommended in this A to Z theme, definitely look into this one :)

8 comments:

  1. OMG! these are Hungarian? Huh!! I've watched so many of this show, I don't remember all, but I sure have seen The star-eyed shepherd :) was just thinking about it days ago and laughing. And it was all translated to Arabic.

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    1. Wow! I never knew so many Hungarian cartoons were translated into Arabic... :D

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    2. Arabic? Are they dubbed? It would be interesting to hear how they sound in arabic.

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  2. *Bookmarks the youtube link* That is a long history for a cartoon series - sounds epic.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  3. The best part of TV evenings! 😊

    Andrea from Music & Words blog
    Volunteer in Damyanti's D Company #atozchallenge

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  4. The best part of TV evenings! 😊

    Andrea from Music & Words blog
    Volunteer in Damyanti's D Company #atozchallenge

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  5. I definitely want to look these up!

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  6. The Hungarian version of the Grimm's tale of the Nxie in the Millpond would go well with my theme of Living in a Mermaid World. Thanks for sharing.

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