In this research I plan to find out about the history of folk tales and if all folk tales are actual folk tales or are they tales that could be fairy tales or legends.
Folk Tales: A story originating in popular culture, typically passed on by word of mouth.
Folk tales have certain elements that make up this type of story, they are usually simple this is because they have been passed down orally which means that they have been through many generations so they have to be simple to be easily communicated so they can be told again and again. Folk tales originated form villagers with very little education and were told as general life lessons and helpful information with a simplistic format so children wouldn’t be confused. another characteristic is that they are usually passed-down orally as there wasn’t such things as the internet and most people didn’t have a written record of they stories which suggests that they would have had to tell them through word of mouth. Today we are lucky to be able to have a choice to read them or look them up on our smart phones or to read a book, but many people were not able to have that luxury of an education which means that these stories told by the general public, who most don’t have a descent education were not able to read or write so this deprived them of being able to publish the stories. As fortunate as we are to have all of these books and the internet sometimes its is not as effective to read these stories as it is to listen to them, when we listen to someone telling us the stories they become more real and possibly more frightening depending on the story. Folk tales also contain a moral at the end of the story, I know this because of the story of the story of little red riding hood, at the end of this story the moral is not to go off with strangers and not to talk to strangers. This story is told to children to try to keep them as safe as possible but it is told as a story to make them interested in the life lesson without making feel as if they are being told off or are in trouble with their parents. Folk tales tend to have a repetitive formula so they are easily remembered for example, ‘Goldie locks and the three bears’ Godie locks tried all the porridge and sleeps in all the beds till she finds the one she likes the best. The one she likes the best always is at the end of the list however at the end she is chased out of the house teaching children that you shouldn’t break into other peoples houses other wise there are consequences.
Folk tales from other countries:
- India: The little match girl
“Anderson’s short tale is not only a sad holiday story reminding us to give during the season, but a reality check. We all wish for things during the holidays, but for those that have nothing it is more of an actuality. Times may get hard but in remembrance of this small tale, you must be grateful for what you have. ” http://www.teenink.com/nonfiction/academic/article/615334/Lessons-from-the-Little-Match-Girl
- Kenya: The Girls of the knee
“highlights the burdens of wives and mothers, could also serve as a warning to men who abuse their wives.”
- England, Bury st Edmunds:
“Almost nothing is known about Edmund. He is thought to have been of East Anglian origin and was first mentioned in an annal of theAnglo-Saxon Chronicle, written some years after his death. The kingdom of East Anglia was devastated by the Vikings, who destroyed any contemporary evidence of his reign. Later writers produced fictitious accounts of his life, asserting that he was born in 841, the son of Æthelweard, an obscure East Anglian king, whom it was said Edmund succeeded when he was fourteen (or alternatively that he was the youngest son of a Germanic king named ‘Alcmund’). Later versions of Edmund’s life relate that he was crowned on 25 December 855 at Burna (probably Bures St. Mary in Suffolk), which at that time functioned as the royal capital, and that he became a model king.”
In my research of Edmund the martyr I have found that this is folk tale that is well known in East Anglia as we have a city named after it. There are many versions of this story but the most famous is that he was tied to a post shot at and was quartered. However this could be argued as a legend as this story is so old but as it has had a city named after it people believe it to be true, on the other hand it is a story that was spread though word of mouth which is why it could be argued as a folk tale. This supports my idea that not all folk tales are actually folk tales and could be confused as legends or other forms of story telling.