Sanje Publishing

The Ballad of the Slice of Bread
by Frane Milčinski - Ježek

  • original title: Balada o koščku kruha
  • 25 poems (73 minutes)
  • first published in 1972, third (present) edition published in 2004
  • 64 pages (Slovenian and English)
  • translated into English by Oliver Sims
  • represented by Sanje
  • rights available: world
The Ballad of the Slice of Bread

Frane Milčinski - Ježek (1914 - 1988) remains without a doubt the most important Slovene humorist and satirist. From an early age he was involved in the theatre and started to perform in public as young; he worked for Radio Ljubljana from 1936 on and was part of the team that prepared the first test programmes for Slovenian national television in 1958. He continued working on radio and television for as long as his health allowed, creating the first Slovenian radio play and the first Slovenian radio play for children (The Little Sleepy Star, 1952), which later continued as a puppet play, was translated into several foreign languages and performed on stage in numerous countries, and is now available as a picture book. He wrote a myriad of sketches, short stories, poems, songs, couplets and adverts, directed, acted in and hosted numerous entertainment programmes, and performed in films and musical-literary events throughout Slovenia. He was co-screenwriter (with Jože Gale) of the screenplay for the film Kekec, which received the Golden Lion in the Children’s Film category at the Venice Film Festival in 1952. He received numerous other awards, including Prešeren Award (the most prestigious Slovenian award in the arts) for lifetime achievements in 1975.

Throughout his life, Milčinski - Ježek remained a man of and for the people, convinced that comedians are not the kind of people who have anpartment on Mount Olympus, a weekend cottage on Parnassus, or the other way round: our place is at the foot of the slope, where ordinary people are grinding their way through the pressures of everyday life. We are not ashamed to be down here, nor to be comedians; on the contrary, as Shakespeare had it, we are proud to be soldiers.

In spite of Milčinski - Ježek's great popularity, his work has become widely available only in the last ten years with the release of CDs, audiobooks and books of his short stories, poems and songs. The songs presented in The Ballad of the Slice of Bread were written at various stages of his life but recorded for the first time in 1974 for Radio Ljubljana. Without a doubt many of the old recordings have unfortunately been lost. The music for the songs was written by Milčinski - Ježek himself and several other composers, some of which have not yet been identified, despite our best efforts.