TALES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
African Folk Tales
There is a rich, fertile legacy of folklore from Africa. On this vast continent, folk tales and myths serve as a means of handing down traditions and customs from one generation to the next. The storytelling tradition has thrived for generations because of the absence of printed material. Folk tales prepare young people for life, as there are many lessons to be learned from the tales. Because of the history of this large continent, which includes the forceful transplanting of the people into slavery on other continents, many of the same folk tales exist in North America, South America, and the West Indies. These are told with little variation, for the tales were spread by word of mouth and were kept among the African population.
Latin American literature has a long and rich tradition that reaches back to the Colonial period and is filled with remarkable writers too little known in the English-speaking world. The short story has been a central part of this tradition, from Fray Bartolome de las Casas' narrative protests against the Spanish Conquistadors' abuses of Indians, to the world renowned Ficciones of Jorge Luis Borges, to the contemporary works of such masters as Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Rosario Ferre, and others.
Folktales evolved over the centuries from storytelling. The oral tradition offered entertainment, recounted history, and explained the unexplainable. Additionally, morals and the social values of a culture could be taught in a subtle manner allowing the listener to draw his or her own conclusions. The mysterious, miraculous, and the unknown engage even the youngest listeners. Magical forces enable the heroes and heroines to combat injustice and evil. Characters and their accompanying problems, whether animals or human, frequently are depicted as everyday beings found in all societies. Participants, therefore, can freely relate to the adventures and enjoy the world of fantasy while stimulating their imagination.
Asia is the world's largest continent. A place with unique cultural heritage, Asia is home to more than 3.8 billion people, making it the most populous continent on Earth.
The collection of folktales from Asia consists of thirteen books with 292 folktales: 55 Arabic folktales, 104 Chinese folktales, 69 Indian folktales and 69 Japanese folktales.
This category has the following 10 subcategories, out of 10 total:
► Chinese fairy tales ► Indian fairy tales ► Indonesian fairy tales
► Japanese fairy tales ► Korean fairy tales ► Malaysian fairy tales
► Pakistani fairy tales ► Persian fairy tales ► Turkish fairy tales
► Vietnamese fairy tales
Fairy tales are everywhere in Australian fiction. Some of the most beloved characters in Australian literature are compared by their authors to fairy-tale heroes and heroines. Murray Bail has written a novel, Eucalyptus (1998), which borrows its very structure from a classic fairy-tale plotline—a father’s elaborate test of his daughter’s suitors. Janette Turner Hospital’s Charades (1989), as the name of its title character suggests, is narrated by a modern-day Shahrazad (the heroine of The Arabian Nights). Peter Carey has imagined a society in The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith (1994) where fairy tales have replaced the Christian narrative as a source of spiritual guidance. Fairy tales have illuminated Australian mysteries, suspense and science fiction. While it is clear, however, that fairy tales have for some time fired the imaginations of Australian fiction writers, there has been little exploration of this interest in published criticism.
Folklore studies in Australia have focused instead on the ballads, legends and tall tales that have comprised a significant part of the country’s literary and social history. The frequent appearance of fairy-tale motifs in contemporary Australian novels presents an intriguing postmodern challenge to realism which, as Delys Bird observes, has been “a dominant influence in Australian literature since its beginnings” . References to fairy tales in Australian fiction also permit one to speculate on the impact of an increasingly cosmopolitan spectrum of writers and artists on Australia’s culture, and to consider the role of religion in a determinedly secular society
Beauty and the Beast