1. A dish of rice or wheat flour, with honey and raisins, which is brought to the church on the celebration of memorial masses.

  2. “To pour out fear” refers to a practice resorted to in case of fear. When it is desired to know what caused this, melted lead or wax is poured into water, and the object whose form it assumes is the one which frightened the sick person; after this, the fear departs. Sonyashnitza is brewed for giddiness and pain in the bowels. To this end, a bit of stump is burned, thrown into a jug, and turned upside down into a bowl filled with water, which is placed on the patient’s stomach: after an incantation, he is given a spoonful of this water to drink.

  3. Village priest.

  4. Chief town of a district in the government of Poltava.

  5. Every foreigner, whatever may be his station, is called a German by Russian peasants. A dress coat is often sufficient to procure this name for its wearer.

  6. A village in the government of Poltava, in which the author places the scene of most of his stories.

  7. The free burghers of Little Russia, even to this day, pride themselves on being called Cossacks.

  8. Almost every family name in Little Russia has some meaning; the name of Choop means the tuft of hair growing on the crown of the head, which is alone left to grow by the Little Russians; they uniformly shave the occiput and temples; in Great or Middle Russia, peasants, on the contrary, let the hair grow on these parts, and shave or cut it away from the crown.

  9. Kootia is a dish of boiled rice and plums, eaten by Russians on Christmas Eve.

  10. Varenookha is corn brandy boiled with fruit and spice.

  11. A rank in irregular troops, corresponding to that of captain in the army.

  12. Borsch is a soup made of meat, sausages, and thin slices of beet-root and cabbage steeped in vinegar.

  13. The ovens of the peasants’ cottages are built in the shape of furnaces, with a place on the top which is reserved for sleeping.

  14. Chief town of a district in the government of Poltava.

  15. Long coats made of sheepskins, with the fur worn inside. They are used in Russia by common people.

  16. About eightpence a yard.

  17. Little Russians shave beard and whiskers, leaving only their mustachios.

  18. Chief town of a district in the government of Chernigoff.

  19. A carriage something between a dog-cart and a tilbury.

  20. This, according to the laws of the Greek Church, would prevent their children from intermarrying.

  21. Village clerks in Russia had their hair plaited; a practice which still continues in some remote provinces. Many priests, not allowed by the custom of the land to cut their hair short, wear it, for convenience’ sake, plaited when at home and only loosen it during the performance of the duties of their office.

  22. Russians are much more strict in their fasts than Papists, eating no milk or eggs. Some even go so far as to eat no fish and no hot dishes, restricting their food to cold boiled vegetables and bread. The author has here very happily seized a trait of the inconsistency of a Little Russian peasant’s character⁠—swallowing a camel in asking for communication with the devil, and straining at a gnat in the shape of a curd dumpling in fast-time.

  23. This touch very characteristically exemplifies the cunning naïveté of the Little Russians, who, when deeply interested in anything, will never come to the point at once.

  24. Potemkin was created by Catherine II Prince of Tauride, with the title of Highness, an honour rarely bestowed in Russia, and which he had fully deserved by his exertions in rendering Russian the provinces which, only a few years before, were under the dominion of the Crimean Tartars. All South, or New Russia, offers at every step records of the administrative genius of Potemkin, who, if at the outset of his career he was indebted for the favours of his sovereign to his personal appearance (which was remarkably handsome, notwithstanding a cataract in one eye), succeeded in justifying those favours by his talents, which give him an undoubted right to rank amongst the greatest statesmen of Catherine’s reign⁠—a reign which abounded in great statesmen.

  25. The author alluded to is Von Wiessen, who, in his writings (particularly in two comedies, the Brigadier, and the Young Nobleman Without Employment,) ridiculed the then prevailing fashion amongst the Russian nobility of despising national and blindly following foreign (particularly French) customs.

  26. Ukraine, i.e., the Borders, an appellation which was of yore given to the country now called Little Russia, which formed, in fact, the border between the territories of the Czar of Muscovy and those of Poland, the Sclavonic provinces under the dominion of Austria, of the Sultan of Turkey, of the Khans of the Tartars of the Crimea and of the Golden Horde (residing along the Volga). The name of Ukraine is, down to this time given to Little Russia by its natives, they considering it derogatory to acknowledge their country to be smaller than Great (Middle) Russia.

  27. The Ukraine.

  28. Sourish jelly.

  29. A whet to the appetite preliminary to dinner, consisting of caviar, herring, smoked salmon, sardines, smoked goose, sausages, cheese-bread, butter, vodka, etc.

  30. Rice cooked with honey and raisins.

  31. Curds and flour.

  32. The Cossack country beyond (za) the falls (porozhe) of the Dnieper.

  33. The village or, rather, permanent camp of the Zaporozhian Cossacks.

  34. Cossack villages. In the Setch, a large wooden barrack.

  35. Sometimes written Zaporovian.

  36. Enormous wooden sheds, each inhabited by a troop or kurén.

  37. That is of the Greek Church. The Poles were Catholics.

  38. Lyakhs, an opprobrious name for the Poles.

  39. The Cossack wagons have their axles smeared with tar instead of grease.

  40. The “Viy” is a monstrous creation of popular fancy. It is the name which the inhabitants of Little Russia give to the king of the gnomes, whose eyelashes reach to the ground. The following story is a specimen of such folklore. I have made no alterations, but reproduce it in the same simple form in which I heard it. —⁠Author’s note

  41. Small scourge.

  42. The king of the gnomes.