EXPLORING FORMS OF FOLK LITERATURE
Fairy tales are usually set in a vague time, "a long time ago." They have make-believe people who have strange tasks or challenges to meet, and who are helped by magical, mysterious beings. (Example: "Cinderella" being helped by her fairy godmother)
Legends are usually set in a recognizable place and time. The main character is a human hero who performs super-human deeds. They are usually based on a real, historical figure who possesses powers that are exaggerated each time it is retold.
Fables are very short tales and usually contain a moral. Some have human characters and some have animal characters that act like humans. (Example: "The Tortoise and the Hare" - slow and easy wins the race.)
Pourquoi stories tell why or how something in nature came to be that way. The characters are usually animals. (Example: "Why Rabbit has a Short Tail")
Trickster tales are usually about animals who trick other animals. The trickster usually wins due to his cleverness and some kind of character flaw of his victim. (Example: "Bre'r Rabbit, Bre'r Fox, and the Briar Bush).
Read folk tales from books or from the on-line list provided below and sort them according to their forms. Find at least two stories for each form. Use the suggested list below or find your own. E-mail your lists to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Folktales of the U.S.A
Raven: a Native American Tale of the Pacific Northwest Coast
Origin of the Prarie Rose: a tale from the Lakota Sioux
The Pet Donkey, A Sioux Myth
The Story of Johnny Appleseed: A European American Story
Hans Christian Andersen
Myths and Folklore of Hawaii
[Kama Pua'a - The Pig Child] [Poisionous Limu] [Birth of Iao Needle] [Story of Maui]
On-GoingTales from the Past by Antelope Publishers
Why the Bear's Tail is Short 1/1/'00
The Golden Touch
The Four Friends (The Musicians of Bremen)
The Fisherman's Wife
The Brave Little Tailor
Little Snow White
Hansel and Gretel
The Elves and the Shoemaker
The Three Bears
Little Red Riding Hood
The Three Brothers
How To Tell A True Princess
Jack & the Bean Stalk
Beauty & the Beast
Hans In Luck
"Anansi the Spider"
"Dick Whittington and His Cat"
"The Dog and the Bone"
FIRE AND WATER and other Hawaiian Legends retold by Barbara Lyons
"The Fox and the Grapes"
"The Frog Prince"
"The Gingerbread Boy"
"How Coyote Fooled Snake"
In a Circle Long Ago - a treasury of Native lore from North America by Nancy Van Laan
"John Henry: the Steel-Driving Man"
"Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox"
Punia and the King of Sharks: a Hawaiian folktale by Lee Wardlaw.
"Slue-Foot Sue and Pecos Bill"