Folktales. A folktale is a story that was told by generations of storytellers before it was ever written down.
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A folktale is a story that was told by generationsof storytellers before it was ever written down.
We don’t know the names of all of the storytellers: some were professionals giving entertainment, some were teachers trying to give moral lessons, and some were mothers and fathers just telling stories to their children.
Trickster tale: a story in which a character, often an animal, outsmarts an enemy.
Origin story: a story about the origins, or beginnings, of something in nature.
Fairy tale: a story with magical beings who change the lives of ordinary people.
Tall Tale: a fantasy story about an amazing, larger-than-life person.
Legend: a story about an amazing event or a hero’s amazing accomplishment. Some legends are about people who actually lived, but over the years their reputations grew “larger than life.”
Myth: a story about gods and goddesses and how they were involved in making things the way they are.
They were passed down over many generations.
They still help members of a culture stay connected to one another.
They can be funny, but they can also make you stop and think.
They may bring back good memories. You may have heard some of these stories when you were little.
They can help you understand why people share stories in the first place.
Example of a trickster tale
The stories of Brer Rabbit were first told in Africa and were brought to America by enslaved Africans.
Brer Rabbit is known for outsmarting larger and more powerful animals. In all trickster stories, the trickster uses his smarts to survive in difficult situations.
Phyllis Savory, who retold this story, spent more than 80 years collecting African folktales that had been handed down orally.
She listened to stories told by workers on her father’s farm in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), and then later she traveled around Africa to collect stories.
This is an origin story, meaning it explains something in nature. It has animals with human traits.
This folktale is from Kenya.
The plot is a chain reaction, meaning people, events, and conditions cause other things to happen.
Author Laurence Yep grew up as a Chinese American kid in a mostly African American neighborhood in San Francisco.
Chinese people who left their homeland to live in America brought with them many traditional stories. They retold these tales to remind themselves of life at home and to show how to survive in a strange and often hostile land. The tales were meant to teach children how a Chinese person should behave.
This story is a fairytale for its magical elements.
In this story, you will read about:
A rich man whose money cannot buy a cure for the disease he has
A poor man who gives away as much as he can
The connection between all living things
The importance of not giving up
Pay attention to the events and people in this story. How will they all affect each other?
Judith Ortiz Cofer was deeply influenced by the women storytellers in her family and how they could command a room with their stories.
She was born in Puerto Rico in 1952 but now lives in Georgia.
This Puerto Rican tale reflects the split between her two childhood homes.
Dialect: The author uses words from both languages, Spanish and English. See if you can figure out what some of these words mean as we read!
Magical elements: This folktale has magical characters and presents some events that could never actually happen.
Origin/explanation of misery and death
Death and Misery are characters whose names reveal who they are/Flat characters
Trickster characters who overcome stronger or more powerful characters by using their cleverness
Example of a tall tale, meaning it is highly imaginative and about the fantastic adventures of folk heroes in realistic local settings
Stories about Paul Bunyan were originally published in Minnesota in 1910 but they were told years earlier in lumber camps around the country. As the stories passed on, Paul’s deeds grew more and more incredible…
This tall tale explains how some of the natural wonders of North America came to be.