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I am a Russian ay,
ah, in the English way!
For many is to say,
the booty's ours, hooray!

I am an English ay,
ah, in the Russian way!
For many not to say,
and all is quite okay!

What mythological name do we form?

Hint:

enter image description here
enter image description here

Hint #2:

Cyrillic letters have one characteristic that almost everyone knows, even if they don't speak a word of Russian.

Hint #3:

If something looks backwards, I describe it backwards.

Final hint:

The answer is two letters long.

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    $\begingroup$ My native language is Russian and I am totally confused by this =D $\endgroup$ – Eugene Anisiutkin Dec 17 '18 at 12:43
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    $\begingroup$ @EugeneAnisiutkin I could use the help of a native Russian speaker on my answer. Does it make sense to you? Can you help fill in any more gaps, like the connection to mythology, or something related to "for many not to say"? $\endgroup$ – Dan Bron Dec 17 '18 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ rot13("Gjb fgnamnf, sbhe yvarf rnpu. Xabjvat vg'f zhygvcyr jbeqf sbezvat n zlgubybtvpny anzr. Naq gurer'f n Ehffvna ryrzrag. Fb znlor jr'er ybbxvat sbe n anzr sebz Ehffvna zlgubybtl jvgu gjb cnegf bs sbhe yrggref rnpu. Gung cbvagf hanzovthbhfyl gb bar bs, vs abg gur, ovttrfg Ehffvna zlgubybtvpny perngher: Onon Lntn. Ohg V pna'g frr ubj gb trg sebz gur pyhrf gb gung anzr.") $\endgroup$ – Dan Bron Dec 19 '18 at 3:15
  • $\begingroup$ @DanBron Note that the "word" tag means that the answer is one word. $\endgroup$ – jafe Dec 19 '18 at 4:32
3
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Following the conclusion made by @DanBron about the first part:

could it be RA
where R that's the Russian letter Я the way sometimes that show it in movie titles etc. And the second part is A! as an exclamation in Russian.
Thanks to user477343:
Well, we do have pirates. Also, regarding Hint 3, ra backwards is ar which is the commonsay of pirates

OP explanation:

I am a Russian ay – "Ay" is "ya" backwards, the Russian letter ya is Я, and Я backwards is R.
ah, in the English way – The letter R is pronounced "ah" in standard British English (which is what the pronunciation table in hint #1 describes).
For many is to say – "Is" is singular; the plural is "are", which sounds like the letter R.
the booty's ours, hooray – Booty is pirate slang, and pirates say "arr" which again sounds like R.

I am an English ay – The pronunciation of the letter A rhymes with "bay" and "say".
ah, in the Russian way – In Russian, the equivalent letter (A) is pronounced "ah".
For many not to say – The indefinite article "a" is only used in the singular.
and all is quite okayA-okay

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, we do have pirates. Also, regarding Hint 3, ra backwards is ar which is the commonsay of pirates ;) $\endgroup$ – user477343 Jan 17 at 10:08
  • $\begingroup$ This is the intended answer! $\endgroup$ – jafe Jan 17 at 10:39
  • $\begingroup$ The puzzle turned out a bit too difficult because of my obfuscation of the clues, so I can edit in "canonical" explanations later if you don't mind. $\endgroup$ – jafe Jan 17 at 10:51
  • $\begingroup$ @jafe Of course, please do it. $\endgroup$ – rhsquared Jan 17 at 11:25
13
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My answer is:

The Golden Axe fable, also known as The Honest Woodcutter?

I am a Russian ay,
ah, in the English way!
For many is to say,
the booty's ours, hooray!

In English, "Ay" can be a synonym for "Ah", as an expression of grief (or wonder).

If we interpret "ay" as written in the Russian alphabet, would be written as "au" in English, which is of course the chemical symbol for gold, which is something you can find in a booty.

I am an English ay,
ah, in the Russian way!
For many not to say,
and all is quite okay!

In Russian, the meaning of "ah" can be expressed using the word "ax" (pronounced "akh" in English).

If we interpret "ax" as written in the English alphabet, it means the woodcutting tool, of course.

So since "The Golden Axe" is an old Greek fable, that would fit the mythological answer (Hermes is in the story, apparently). Not sure if it's correct though, because of the "word" tag.

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    $\begingroup$ This is really well justified, but not what I had in mind. The intended answer is indeed one word. $\endgroup$ – jafe Dec 17 '18 at 13:32
11
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I'm going to toss this out there:

Я

You commented under NudgeNudge's answer:

The intended answer is indeed one word.

This is indeed a word in Russian:

A one-letter word meaning "myself", analogous to "I" in English

which resonates with the opening of each stanza being "I am". It also has some characteristics touched on here:

I am a Russian ay,
ah, in the English way!

In particular,

A "Russian A" sounds to me like "the letter corresponding to /e/ in Russian"
and "ah in the English way" means "the same letter sounds like /a/ in English"
Now, Я is pronounced /ja/ ("ya"), but that does rhyme with /a/ in English.

Then we have a nice correspondence with:

the booty's ours, hooray!

Because surely the same pirate would say:

Я, matey!
That is, Cyrillic Я, looks like Latin R (backwards), sounds like Arrrr... in English

Now we come to the second stanza:

For many not to say,
and all is quite okay!

Where we can apply the semantics of the word, rather than just its phonetics:

Я, "ya" means me, myself. It can't refer to "many" people, only ever one person.
But of course all are welcome to use it.

But here endeth the likeness, because I can't make an argument for opening of the second stanza (the reverse of the phonemic argument above doesn't work), nor for the mythological status of this word¹.


¹ Except, of course, every story has a protagonist....

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  • $\begingroup$ Regarding the mythological part, could it have something to do with rot13(En,gur rtlcgvna tbq?). It's far fetched and probably incorrect, but just throwing the idea out there in case it's related. No clue about the second stanza either. $\endgroup$ – S. M. Dec 17 '18 at 15:43
  • $\begingroup$ @S.M. Hmm, I like that line of thinking. But I think invoking yet another culture/pantheon is probably a bridge too far. I was thinking of something from Russian mythology, like Baba Yaga, etc. $\endgroup$ – Dan Bron Dec 17 '18 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ I looked into Russian/Slavic mythologic at first as well, but couldn't find any leads that made sense, at first glance at least. $\endgroup$ – S. M. Dec 17 '18 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ Nice reasoning, you're on the right track. Note that I reworded the question somewhat to make it clear that the two stanzas refer to two different things. $\endgroup$ – jafe Dec 18 '18 at 7:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Dan Bron, A good and justified answer, unfortunatelly it does't fit well =). The problem is that Russian Я doesn't sound like ay, more like ya actually. However, rot13(V guvax erqubgobefpug'f nafjre vf sne pybfre gb gorvat evtug) $\endgroup$ – Eugene Anisiutkin Dec 18 '18 at 7:27
6
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Odin. According to Norse mythology Odin had one eye, hence the pirate reference in "booty is ours, hooray". "Odin" in Russian means "one" which can't refer to "many", hence "for many not to say".

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3
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The only proper mythical answer I could come up with.

The answer to the first part of the riddle is

R
The Russian "A", though being the first letter of the alphabet and originating from the same letter, is read as "Ah!", which is closest to the way an English person would read an "R".
Also, in each paragraph is is said both "ay" and "ah", so you wouldn't get confused.
Also-also, the pirate reference makes it sure you don't pick something else.

However, this doesn't work out for the second part:

Following the same logic, I wrote the reading of "A" in cyrillics, which would result in "Эй" (in Russian this word is used to draw attention, btw). Those are two letters, not one, so the answer couldn't be two letters long. Even if we take only first one, it wouldn't convert to English letter properly.

Then there might be some loophole in it:

Hints 2 and 3 hint that something is taken backwards (even though I can't see what is backwards in the puzzle). Now, there are two ways I can apply it to get desired result: 1) if we take "Э" and flip it, we do get "E" and 2) "Эй" (ei) read backwards results in "Йэ" (ie) sounds exactly like an "E".

If that's the correct assumption than:

'For many not to say' might hint at the often non-pronounced 'e's (but all is quite okay, isn't it?)

Moreover, it gives a vaguely mythical answer, if read in English:

RE (better known as RA) is a god, frequently partaking in myths.

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2
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Ay) Ау)
https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Дядюшка_Ау

Возможно с мифологией связан главный герой мультика Лесовичок

Translation:
Uncle Ay (Au). A Russian doll movie trilogy. Possibly connected to mythology through the main character of the move Lesovichok (Forrest man)

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Puzzling Stack Exchange! I'm afraid we require all posts to be in English - yes, even to a puzzle which involves foreign languages, as it's written in English. Could you translate this to tell us what your solution is? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Dec 17 '18 at 20:00

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