Periodically I have reason to spend time enjoying folk and fairy tales and I am reminded anew how wonderful they are. I am working on the storytelling workbook in Toastmasters and I also just participated in a local Hispanic Heritage day, where I was the storyteller. We adults who don’t have regular contact with small children can forget the delights, and lessons, of these tales.
Part of what is amazing about these tales, beyond their endurance through so many eons as well as social change, is the way that they travel. We like to think that we modern folk are better than any of our ancestors at getting around because we have a variety of fast modes to get from here to there. But the reality is that even back in the days of horse carts and walking as the main means to get around, people were quite mobile.
People who study folk tales can provide endless examples of the different versions of the same basic tale that show up all over the globe. The tale that I told at the Hispanic Heritage day had a very similar flavor to the Brer Rabbit tales in the American southeast. Which themselves have provenances from other far off shores.
A good story is far more that entertaining. It makes us more receptive to new ideas, learning and growth. Folk tales are packed with understanding of human nature, right and wrong, and ways to explain the world. They should since the oldest are quite well travelled.
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