Folklore on Stolby

Vladimir Tronin

Perhaps, there are still people in Krasnoyarsk remaining unaware, for over a century, who are "stolbists". There's nothing simpler though. "Stolbists", or Stolby goers, are habitual visitors in the renowned land of taiga and rocks such as Stolby, who climb rocks as far as they can. However, stoblists themselves have a larger meaning of what they are. They mean not only just going to Stolby but being from the family in huts built here and there around the reserve by groups of keen climbers who wanted to have a home there to stay for several days or even weeks, go climbing all day round and then come and rest among friends. They mean to belong, being friends with many other stolbists, being open to everybody with all one's merits and demerits, altogether to make up a great family where every bird is told by the way it flies.

It's impossible to do away with stolbism otherwise than doing away with Krasnoyarsk.

Stolbism develops, new people are joining, new huts are being built, and new families of stolbists are arising. However, stolbists keep their numerous old ways and customs, which take ages to tell about. Say, there's a custom to gather in a hut or in the open air at night, or near a fireplace in winter, after a day of climbing, to make dinner, play guitar, sing songs, share impressions of the day and whatever, and especially to tell special Stolby stories... One may spend many days off in the reserve, walk around the rocks or climb, or even come and see friends in a hut, but all this makes nothing if he has never heard the songs and never sang along, and still less if he has never listened to any Stolby stories or tried to tell something himself. There's no way to understand stolbism without these stories.

The genre of these live stories is a fantastic mixture of folklore known among youth, hunters, jokers, or soldiers and sailors. Some scholars think that the stories bear a spirit of criminals. It can't be denied, as for three centuries Siberia has been a land of prisons, security camps and an exile for criminals, as well as dissidents and whoever, and the Krasnoyarsk part of the GULAG was not the least. Be it or not the influence of criminals, it is not the essential.

The point is rather that a live-told story allows a person to feel himself important, to share facts, and especially the attitudes, to put his heart into what he's telling. Most often the story teller seeks to make people laugh, to make them forget their troubles at home downtown or there on Stolby, and of course, to share experience. The new comers are particularly keen listeners, as the stories take them into the wonderful and unknown world of stolbism.

The excited listeners is the best prize for a story teller, meaning that he has reached the true cords of their soul. These stories never get old, they are memorized and recorded on cassettes for many people to listen to them at home and elsewhere with friends.

The Russian version of the web site offers a large collection of these stories, the true works of art which await to be translated.



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