Azerbaijani fairy tales

Azerbaijani fairy tales are works of folklore by the Azerbaijani people. They vary in context and subject and include tales from the heroic past of the Azerbaijani people and struggles with local and foreign oppressors. Spiritual, moral, social and philosophical views are reflected throughout these tales.

Malikmammad — main hero of an Azerbaijani fairy tale of the same name

The tales hand down ancient national traditions and customs whilst depicting the natural beauty of Azerbaijan; its green valleys and pastures, magnificent mountains, purling rivers and blossoming gardens.[1]


Goychak Fatma – one of the main heroines of Azerbaijani fairy tales
Jirtdan – one of the main heroes of Azerbaijani fairy tales

The first recorded fairy tales are found in the heroic Oghuz Kitabi Dede Korkut ("The book of grandfather Korkut") of the 10th-11th centuries. For instance, there is a narrated tale about a monster-man who eats "two people and five thousand sheep" per day in Tepegoz's (a translation from Turkish – Cyclop) story.


Jirtdan is the most popular fairy tale character among the children's tales in Azerbaijan, meaning "small" when translated from Azerbaijani. Many fairy tales are based on this character, who is distinguished for his keenness of wit, courage and bravery. He can simultaneously be an idler, but also very brave. Div (giant) is another popular character. Little Jirtdan acquires courage and bravery when he meets Div.[2]


Azerbaijani fairy tales are divided into three types in essence and content: fairy tales about animals, fairy tales about common people and magic fairy tales.[citation needed]

Azerbaijani fairy tales abroadEdit

The second edition of National fairy-tales from Azerbaijan was published by Verlag Dr.Koster Publishing House (Berlin) on the initiative of the Azerbaijani embassy in Germany. Liliane Grimm is an Austrian researcher of Azerbaijani studies and author and translator of the book, whose first acquaintance with Azerbaijan was held at an exhibition of Azerbaijani artists in Vienna.[3] Seventeen national fairy tales of Azerbaijan and The fox’s pilgrimage (parable by Abdulla Shaig) were included in the book.

The Tales of Malik-Mammed, a play written for children by Chris Bartlett (writer) inspired by Azerbaijani fairy tales, ran at Chelsea Theatre in London in March 2015 as part of the Buta Festival.


  • Jirtdan
  • Tig-tig khanim
  • Tepegoz
  • Malikmammad
  • Ovchu Pirim
  • Goychak Fatma[4]


  1. ^ "Азербайджанские сказки".
  2. ^ "Children's Folklore". Azerbaijan International.
  3. ^ "Liliane Grimm, Volksmärchen aus Aserbaidschan (National fairy-tales from Azerbaijan), 2007". European Stability Initiative.
  4. ^ "Scary Tales Our Grandmothers Told Us". Azerbaijan International.