Task One

Task One: Story Telling: Fables

In this research I plan to find out what a fable is and how they are different to fairy tales and folk tales.

A fable by definition is, “a short tale to teach a moral lesson, often with animals or inanimate objects as characters”

What are Fables?
Fables are short stories which illustrate a particular moral and teach a lesson to children and kids. The theme and characters appeal to children and the stories are often humorous and entertaining for kids of all ages. Fables can also be described as tales or yarns which have a message in their narrative such as a parable might have. Fables can often pass into our culture as myths and legends and used to teach about morals to children and kids.


Famous fables:

  • The fox and the Grapes, “It is easy to despise what you cannot get”
  • The tortoise and the hare,  “Slow and steady wins the race”
  • The Lion and the mouse, “little friends may prove great friends”
  • The any and the Dove, “one good deed deserves another”
  • The Boy who cried wolf, “a liar will not be believed, even when telling the truth”

These are just a few out of many, we come across these when we are little and it helps us teach us how to be a decent human being through the morals at the end of each one. Out of all of the fables listed above, the tortoise and the hare is probably the most famous. However I after re-reading the fable “The boy and the nettles” I have found that the moral in that is just as important then any of the listed as it teaches you “whatever you do, do it with all your might”.

“A fable is explained as a short narrative making an edifying or cautionary point and often employing as characters animals that speak and act like human beings, or a story about legendary persons and exploits. Examples of fables are those of Aesop’s Fables with more than 600 narratives, including “The Goose with the Golden Eggs” and “The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing.” The word fable is derived from fabula, which is Latin for ‘discourse’, and is used in literary criticism to refer to the actual events that take place in a narrative. “The Lion King” is another notable fable. A fairy tale is described as a fanciful tale of legendary deeds and creatures, usually intended for children, or a fictitious, highly fanciful story or explanation. It usually involves mythical characters such as elves, fairies, giants, goblins, or trolls. A famous collection of fairy tales is that of Hans Christian Andersen, including “The Emperor’s New Suit,” “The Princess and the Pea,” and “The Ugly Duckling.” Another collection offairy tales is that of the Brothers Grimm. The term fairy tale is a rendering of a French term conte de fées.”


I have discovered through my research that the majority of fable characters are animals and that those animals are symbols for different characteristics of peoples personality. For example…

  • A lion is noble

  • A rooster is boastful

  • A peacock is proud

  • A fox is cunning

  • A wolf is fierce

  • A horse is brave

  • A donkey is hard-working


I have also noticed that we refer to fables in everyday life for example whne we are met with a liar some people will say “don’t cry wolf” which is a direct reference to “The boy who cried wolf” who was a massive liar an he eventually got in massive trouble for lying.

In my research I have met my targets and have discovered what a fable is and what defines it against a fairy tale, i have also found out why most fables use talking animals, what they symbolise and how we still use fables in everyday life carrying them with us though our childhood to teenage years and adult hood.

Task One

Task One: Story Telling: Fairytales

In my research I plan to find out what exactly a fairytale is and why people can become tethered to fairy tales.

By definition a fairy tale is, “a story, usually for children, about elves, hobgoblins, dragons, fairies,or other magical creatures.”

Fairy tales have been with us for centuries and we have grown to love them as many of us grow up with having them red to us before we go to sleep, There are many components that make up a fairytale, such as a ‘good vs evil’ plot theme, a beginning that begins with “Once Upon a Time”, “Once there was”, “Long ago in a land far away”. There is always the ‘good’character and the ‘evil’ character and magical elements with a witch, wizard or talking objects/animals. This are the key elements however their are also common motifs that help fill the plot.

Common motifs ~

  • Talking animals / objects

  • Cleverness / trickster / word games

  • Traveler’s tales

  • Origins ~ where do we come from?

  • Triumph of the poor

  • Human weakness explored (i.e., curiosity, gluttony, pride, laziness, etc.)

  • Human strengths glorified (i.e., kindness, generosity, patience, etc.)

  • Trickster (sometimes a hero, sometimes on the side of evil but humans benefit)

  • Tall story (slight exaggeration – hyperbole)

  • Magic words or phrases; repetition of phrases/words (abracadabra!)

  • Guardians (fairy godmothers, mentors, magical helpers, guides, etc.)

  • Monsters (dragons, ogres, evil creatures, etc.)

  • Struggle between good and evil, light and dark

  • Youngest vs. Oldest (sons, daughters, sibling rivalry)

  • Sleep (extended sleep, death-like trances)

  • Impossible tasks (ridiculously mind-numbing, fantastic effort needed to complete, etc.)

  • Quests

  • Gluttony / Starvation (there’s a fine line between eating for survival and succumbing to temptation)

  • Keys, passes (opening new doors)

  • Donors, Benefactors, Helpers http://www.surfturk.com/mythology/fairytaleelements.html

Most of these can be found in the same story as they are what make the story complete. Sleeping beauty is the classic fairy tale of good vs evil and includes the common motifs such as monsters, human weakness, sleep, quests, magic words/phrases, guardians.

sleeping beauty disney

Through my research I have that found that fairy tales have developed over the years to become more suited to their specific audience I know this because of the story ‘Cinderella’ and ‘snow white’. There are many elements of the original tales  that separates it from the “disneyfied” version of the story.

“None of this wimpy “my foot doesn’t fit” stuff for the Grimms. To fit her into the tiny golden slipper, one of her sisters cuts off her big toe, the other a bit of her heel. Their plans are foiled by the blood everywhere (which surely somebody must have thought about), but hey, points for trying.”


disney cinderella

“The biggest difference between the Disney movie and the original Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale is the Evil Queen’s punishment. When the Evil Queen arrives at Snow White and Prince Charming’s wedding, Snow White punishes her step-mother by forcing her to wear hot iron shoes and dance until she dies.”

Their is also suggestions of cannibalism with the evil queen wanted to consume her heart lungs and liver which is why this would be taken out of the newer versions of the stories as it is rather horrific for children to be hearing.


The link above is a video I have come across looking at fairy tails in a different point of view, in the video Carrie Fletcher is looking into the issues within the story and how obscure and often ridiculous the stories can be. This is rather opinionated from her own views however this does inform you of how the stories are different to how we remember them as children. It makes you realise how strange the story is and how foolish the characters are, this is apparent through out the video however it is most dominant at 2:55 minuets into the video .

However unrealistic fairy tales are the more we love them for it. Fairy tales send us into another world where nothing makes sense but everything is beautiful, a world where true love really does conquer all and happily ever after does exist.

Why are we so attached to fairy tales?

I have found many things on this that give different explanations but i have picked the following because they are the ones I think apply to the majority.

“Fairy Tales Show Kids How to Handle Problems

We learn from the characters in stories, even as adults. They help us because we connect to our own lives, dreams, anxieties, and consider what we would do in their shoes. Fairy tales help children learn how to navigate life.

Fairy Tales Build Emotional Resiliency 

Fairy tales show real life issues in a fantastical scenario where most often the hero triumphs. (Except inGrimm originals.) Children need to discover in a safe environment that bad things happen to everyone. Because guess what? No one in life is immune from challenges — so we need to build capacity in our children. Do we build emotional muscles so our children can hang on during tough times or do we shelter our kids, protecting them, leaving them so weak they can’t handle anything requiring strength?”


These two reasons can be applied to an awful lot of people who are attached to fairy tales along with the idea of escapism form the real world and real life in general is allows people an escape rout for a small amount of time, almost like a break form being you every second of the day. You can be someone else in the story, you can be the hero and rescue the damsel or be the damsel being rescued or sometimes your both and you save yourself. From an early age fairy tales are a big part of our lives and can potentially effect our personality as we grow up as they do teach us how to over come problems and issues

“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”

In conclusion I have found my answers to my questions at the beginning of this research task on fairy tales and discovered what a fairy tale is, why people have this attachment to fairy tales, however i have also found how dark the originals can be and why they have developed over the years as well as discovering how ridicules the story is if you strip it right down to its simplest form.

Task One

Task one: Story Telling: Legends

In this research I plan to find out the differences between a legend and a myth and what the characteristics/elements of a legend is.

By Definition a legend is “a nonhistorical or unverifiable story handed down by tradition fromearlier times and popularly accepted as historical.”

Legends tend to have a few characters in them but these characters are usually memorable for their abilities of their role in the legend. For example the legend of King Arthur and the knights of the round table the main characters are merlin, Arthur and Guinevere. These characters are memorable because they are named but also because Merlin is a wizard, Arthur is a king and Guinevere is the love interest of Arthur. There is also the Saxon Army and King Uther Pendragon is mentioned at the beginning as it is Arthur that succeeds him when he becomes king. Legends also are usually set in the past of the particular culture form where the legend is typically told and are told in third person so the narrative is the overseas all that goes on in the story. The characters usually face obstetrical that are difficult to over come but the hero will always come out on top and becomes the centre of the “legend”.

“A legend is presumed to have some basis in historical fact and tends to mention real people or events. Historical fact morphs into a legend when the truth has been exaggerated to the point that real people or events have taken on a romanticized, “larger than life” quality. In contrast, a myth is a type of symbolic storytelling that was never based on fact.”


“Key Difference: Legend are narrative of actions performed by humans sometime in history; it an historical account of events and people from ancient times. Myths are stories or tales that have been rooted in religion or folk beliefs of that time.”


These definitions of the differences between a myth and a legend are similar however they contradict my definition of what a legend is a “nonhistorcal event” for example Robin hood is a legend that was never real which also applies to Merlin and King Arthur. Therefore I have come to the conclusion that Myths and legends are almost to similar to fully differentiate but the key difference is that myths and mythology is tied to a religion where are legends are not.

Legends from different countries:

  1. United Kingdom, Scotland: The lockness Monster
    “Legends of the monster lived on as they were passed from generation to generation, but the creature’s popularity reached an unprecedented height in 1933. That year, a new road was constructed beside the loch. Travellers reported more sightings than ever before. Later that year the infamous Surgeon’s Photo was published, depicting what appeared to be a head and long neck stretching out of the loch water. In 1994, one of the individuals who shot the Surgeon’s Photo confessed on his deathbed that the photo was a hoax.”http://europeisnotdead.com/disco/books-of-europe/european-legends/united-kingdom-the-loch-ness-monster/
  2. Germany: The Lorelei”The Lorelei is a rock on the eastern bank of the Rhine in Germany, which soars some 120 metres above the waterline. It is also the place where the enchanting Lore Lay, betrayed by her sweetheart, is said to live.  The legend tells that, after having been accused of bewitching men and causing their death, Lorelei was consigned to a nunnery.”http://europeisnotdead.com/disco/books-of-europe/european-legends/
  3. Japan/ China:
    “There is a legend in Japan and China about a girl called Kuchisake-Onna, also known as the slit-mouthed woman. Some say that she was a samurai’s wife. One day, she cheated on her husband with a younger and better-looking man. When the husband returned, he discovered her betrayal; enraged and furious, he took his sword and slit her mouth ear-to-ear.Some say that the woman was cursed to never die, and still wanders the world so that people can see the horrible scar on her face and pity her. Some people claim that others have actually seen a very beautiful young lady, who asked them: “Am I pretty?”  And once they replied positively, she ripped off the surgical mask, and showed them her horrible wound. She then asked the same question—and anyone who no longer found her pretty was met by tragic death from her hands.”http://listverse.com/2013/06/12/10-creepy-urban-legends-from-around-the-world/

The last legend i found intrigued me the most because it is different to the others I have found as it is an urban legend. By definition this is “a modern story of obscure origin and with little or no supporting evidence that spreads spontaneously in varying forms and often has elements of humor, moralizing, or horror”. This is different to a folk tale because they a usually set in a more modern setting and contain either more graphic violence or supernatural spirits (usually evil). This intrigued me because it is the first ‘real’ legend that I have found that couldn’t be mistaken for a myth. Because it doesn’t contain any high being or a fantastic creature, it is about a human who was unfaithful and who suffered severe consequences. There is an element of ‘truth’ to the tale by using adultery but the curse of her being unable to die gives it the element of being untruthful. This tale is one with a moral which means that it could be confused with a folk tale as it has a lesson to be learned however as it is an urban legend it suggests that it possibly hasn’t been around long enough to be known as a folk tale.   

Though my research I have found out what a legend is and the differences between a legend and a myth, but i have also found that they are not all that different and they have a lot of the same elements however legends are a lot closer to folk tales then myths are. I have also found out what an urban legend and how they could be easily confused with folk tales but also what makes them different to folk tales.

Task One

Task One: Story Telling: Parables

In my research I plan to find out what a parable is, why they wee used and if they are still relevant today.

By definition a parable is “a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth,religious principle, or moral lesson.”

Parables were told to tell a story of heavenly meaning to the disciples. Jesus would tell these stories because, he was fully aware that the truth is not always kind as we wish it to be and for this reason he would use story telling to soften the harsh truth to stop it having such a harsh impact on his followers delicate ears for they would hang off his every word.

The Parable of the Weeds

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.  But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’.  “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”


This parable was told to teach the disciples about the good and the evil and the consequences of taking an evil pathway in life. The man in the story who sowed the good seeds is the ‘Son of man’ and the field is to represent the world. The character who sowed the weeds is to symbolise the devil and his influence on the world and that he can also place people on earth but for the wrong reasons. When the weeds are harvisted it is the angels that have come to take the good up to heaven but they will also harvest the weeds and “They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”. This lesson is to teach us about the punishment you get if you are an evil person with nothing but bad intentions but if you strive for goodness and you obey the commandments then you shall go to heaven.

Though my research I have come across many different answers to my question of whether parables are still relevant to today and these are a few of my favourite’s that I have come across:

“True spiritual enlightenment lies not in going to Church every Sunday or believing in a specific set of dogmas, but rather in understanding how religious parables can be used to shed light on mankind’s greatest challenges, as well as providing a simple way to understand seemingly complex problems.

But that requires an open heart — and more than anything else — ears to listen.”

Clearly this a very emotive piece of writing but it does have a very interesting take on the parables and that is not to always discard them because your not religious but to keep an open mind to them because they can help you though very difficult situations and  can help you find a solution.

“Most, if not all, of the parables are relevant in todays world. However, modern-day problems of e.g. technology (tv) and so forth are not specifically addressed because there was no tv 2,000 years ago. None of the women were wearing miniskirts like todays women sometimes to, so there’s nothing in the Bible that mentions that immorality. Yet, people were told to be respectful, told to be kind to each other, to be patient, those things and more, are very relevant. The parable of the Good Samaritan, for example is still relevant in its meaning, not specifically the words “Samaritan” and so forth, still if someone sees a very poor man begging, the example of the Parable of the Good Samaritan would be: be kind, give him money, give him a place to sleep and clothes to wear, even later help him find a job. In that way, its’ also a parable that teaches NON-racism, don’t hate other races: as the story goes, the Samaritan was a race hated by the Jews, but Jesus gave the teaching that a Jew can help the Samaritans. OK? So, it’s still relevant, today. If you don’t know that parable, it might be a good idea to telephone a Christian Church, and ask them for more information.”


This post on the parables is very engaging because, I find it quite a personal statement when this person talks about the miniskirts and how they are suggesting that the way some woman dress “Sometimes” is not “respectful”. But then how they go off to actually talk about the good Samaritan and how apparent that parable still is and how we still teach it in schools and how sometimes we see real Samaritans doing good deeds to help those in need of it. Whether it be small or large like giving a lift to a hitch-hiker or volunteering at an animal shelter.

In my research I have found out what a parable is and why they were used but I believe I have answered my question about if parables today because though my research I have found that yes parables are still relevant today because we are still teaching them and we are still choosing to listen to them. I have discovered that they are not always for religious people and that non-believers of a religion can still follow then and learn something from them.

Task One

Task One: Story Telling: Folk Tales

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,[2] 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.

Task One

Task One: Story Telling: Myths

In my research I plan to find different myths form different cultures, find out if different cultures can be connected with mythology and belief’s and if mythology can have a direct impact on people.

Myth: “A traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining a natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or event”

myths form different countries:

  • Greek: Hercules
  • The American Indian: Breathmaker, (Seminole) or Creator, made humans out of clay.
  • Egyptian: Horus God of day; son of Osiris and Isis; hawk-headed.
  • Chinese: Chu Jung, God of fire. Chu Jung punishes those who break the laws of heaven.
  • Japanese: Joro-Gumo. A spider woman who seduces men wraps them in her webs then posion/eats them.
  • Indian: Garuda, a creature that takes form of being half man half eagle and is said that he feasts on the snakes and is the ruler of the birds.

By investigating into the different mythology form different countries I have found that there are many similarities in each of the myths listed. I have found that all of these myths are based around Gods/Goddesses or supernatural creatures which have been used to help make sense of occurrences beyond our knowledge, however there are other myths like ‘Joro-Gumo’ which is much darker and more frightening. Joro-Gumo is not a Goddess but a creature that has a massive amount of power over love, allure and seduction. She is like a much more frightening version of Aphrodite the Greek Goddess of love. This supports my theory that there is a cultural connection through the similarities of mythology.
In ancient Greece the Gods were far more than stories and entertainment, they were a religion I know this because though my research I have found extracts that help to explain were the Gods came from and the belief’s that followed them.

“Polytheistic Greek religion encompassed a myriad of gods, each representing a certain facet of the human condition, and even abstract ideas such as justice and wisdom could have their own personification. The most important gods, though, were the Olympian gods led by Zeus. These were Athena, Apollo, Poseidon, Hermes,Hera, Aphrodite, Demeter, Ares, Artemis, Hades, Hephaistos, and Dionysos. These gods were believed to reside on Mt. Olympos and would have been recognised across Greece”

“Gods became patrons of cities, for example, Aphrodite for Corinth and Helios for Rhodes, and were called upon for help in particular situations, for example, Ares during war and Hera for weddings. Some gods were imported from abroad, for example, Adonis, and incorporated into the Greek pantheon whilst rivers and springs could take on a very localised personified form such as the nymphs.”


We should however remember that like every religion the Grecians would practice religion everywhere at any time by personal individuals, however around 2000 years ago the religion of Hellenism/Olympianism had been banned, according to an artical in the Guardian back in 2006 it stated that the religion was unbanned and it was to be presumed.

“An Athens court has ordered that the adulation of Zeus, Hera, Hermes, Athena and co is to be unbanned, paving the way for a comeback of pagans on Mount Olympus.”

“”What we want, now, is for the government to fully recognise our religion,” Vasillis Tsantilas told the Guardian. “We will petition the Greek parliament, and the EU if that fails, for access to worship in places like the Acropolis, for permission to have our own cemeteries and, where necessary, to re-bury the [ancient] bones of the dead.””


This tells us that in Greek the mythology of the Gods is taken very seriously and is just like any other religion, as lovely as it is for the rest of us for entertainment with their stories we should treat it with just as much respect as we would want for our religions. This has supported my idea that mythology can also have a direct impact on people and their personal lives as well as connect people all over the globe through the stories of the many God’s and mythological creatures.