The article deals with the issues of the folklore tradition functioning in the poetics of A.S. Pushkin. The object of the research is "The Tale of the Golden Cockerel", which for a long time has attracted researchers with its controversial subject. The main attention is paid to the history of the question regarding the folklore tradition in the poet's work. The fairy tale is analyzed from the standpoint of historical poetics. Parallels are drawn with the Russian fairy tale, with Egyptian totemic beliefs. Pushkin appealed to the Egyptian theme in his work and this is taken into account. The complex interaction of the fairy-tale tradition and the epic, the presence of ritual forms in texts, which interested folklorists (E.M. Meletinsky, V.Y. Propp), was reflected in Pushkin's fairy tale. Analysis of the work shows that the poet did not just follow the folklore tradition, but entered into a poetic "dialogue-dispute" with it. The poet turned to archetypal models, to the cult of ancestors, expressed in the animal totem, which probably was familiar to him from childhood (from Russian fairy tales, then from written sources, "Ancient Russian poems" by Kirsi Danilov). Folklore of Pushkin is latent, not stylizing character. © 2017 International Information Institute.