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World Folktale and Fable Week - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
World Folktale and Fable Week
Okay, you learn interesting things when putting together displays. It's World Folktale and Fable Week! I love folk tales and fables in general, especially when fairy tales are included with folk tales. And tall tales! We need some tall tales to come back. I started to write one once, but got distracted.

Anyway, who's got a favorite folk tale or fable? Why?
25 comments or Leave a comment
aimeejmc From: aimeejmc Date: March 4th, 2009 09:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tatterhood from Norway: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/norway122.html

Or, as I like to call her, "Goat Girl".

I like it because Tatterhood knows herself. She's confident and smart and protective. There's a great book of folktales put out by The Feminist Press, and Tatterhood headlines it. She rocks with her goat!
lollapulizer From: lollapulizer Date: March 4th, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I always like Aesop's fables. I don't have a favorite, but I had an illustrated book of them when I was a child and I loved it.

The ones that stand out in my memory is the one with the tree and the seaweed (I think) and the bird and fox eating grapes or something.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 4th, 2009 09:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

Tall Tales

Read the story about the Soupstone. Original in mediaeval French, but I'm sure Googling will throw up a copy in English.
sgt_majorette From: sgt_majorette Date: March 4th, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

The Three Ugly Spinners

I like this version of the Rumpelstiltskin story because it's not about lying to the devil, it's turned into a story about the reward for having the strength of character to keep your word even if it might bring you ridicule.

eta: I was always fascinated by the things people did in fairy tales such that I have them in the back of my head in case I run into them. I discovered featherbeds while I was stationed in Germany (also saw toadstools that looked like Smurf houses); and I finally learned to spin! I spin on the bus and explain to young children that nowadays we file down the points on the spindles so that nobody will prick their finger and die.

Edited at 2009-03-05 03:05 am (UTC)
threnody From: threnody Date: March 4th, 2009 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I always liked Frau Holle. :)
leelastarsky From: leelastarsky Date: March 4th, 2009 10:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

I adored these stories as a child and still do. They were one of the only Australian fairy stories around at the time. They were full of plants and animals I could relate to! I don't think there's an Aussie who doesn't look at a banksia pod and think of the 'big bad banksia men'! ;~)
keestone From: keestone Date: March 4th, 2009 10:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
My favorites were always ones with smart, strong women who take care of themselves throughout the tale.

The Peasant's Clever Daughter: http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/authors/grimms/94peasantcleverdaughter.html

I've always loved Mercer Mayer's version of East of the Sun and West of the Moon, which mixes in elements of the Frog Prince and turns into something altogether different from the Norwegian version collected by Asbjørnsen and Moe.

keestone From: keestone Date: March 5th, 2009 01:22 am (UTC) (Link)
I just remembered. . . this Japanese tale always fascinated me as a kid. It creeped me out way more than ghost stories. The Boy who Drew Cats
From: nell_aria Date: March 4th, 2009 10:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fairy Ointment!
This is true English faerie, and it's the inspiration for Susanna Clarke's short story 'Mr Simonelli, or The Fairy Widower' found in her collection 'Th Ladies of Grace Adieu' (if you have not read Clarke's Jonathan Strange, Fern, please please do, I am convinced it would be your cup of tea, or your tea bag, or whatever)
Anyway, Fairy Ointment, as transcribed by Joseph Jacobs (a Victorian collector of English folktales) can be read here:
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 4th, 2009 11:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

East Slavic Folktales

I study East Slavic (Russian and Ukrainian) folklore. Among my favorites are the Baba Yaga tales and The Fire Bird and Princess Vassilissa

Baba Yaga: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/ftr/chap06.htm

The Fire Bird: http://russian-crafts.com/tales/firebird.htm
gehayi From: gehayi Date: March 4th, 2009 11:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

The Prince and His Three Fates (from Egypt)

I've loved this one since I was a child because it's a story about a prince who is doomed to die because of a snake, a crocodile or a dog--and his wife saves him. Not by means of any magical intervention or supernatural help, either--she destroys the snake through trickery and strength; makes a bargain with the crocodile and then spends hours searching for the herb to fulfill it; and sees and acts quickly in the case of the dog. There aren't a lot of stories about women saving men through their own strength and intelligence.
malinbe From: malinbe Date: March 5th, 2009 12:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, I don't remember reading many national folktales- mostly Andersen's, Grimms' and Aesop's stories. I did had a big book of stories that belonged to my mom, and by the time I was three, I could recite (still can) my particular favourite and pretend I was reading it. I don't understand at all how I could like it. It was about a girl who went to the market to sell her cow's milk, and started thinking about what she'd do with the money (buy eggs, sell the chickens, buy a dress, go to a ball, get a boyfriend), but as she imagined it, she was careless and spilled all the milk. The end.

There is a story I remember enjoying as a child, and apparently it has a national origin: The Flamingo's socks (there are no flamingos here!)

I developed a taste for folk tales as a teenager- I have quite a collection of Irish stories. I also love Japanese folk, it's generally beautiful.
BTW, I'm re-reading all your stuff. I already read Stray, Shifts and half of Shades. I'm not sure I'll have time to re-read the Teddy stories before I start uni, though. But I am enjoying it like crazy.
chrischewscud From: chrischewscud Date: March 5th, 2009 12:50 am (UTC) (Link)
I always liked "The Wild Swans." It's a Hans Christian Anderson story, but my favorite book was by Amy Ehrlich, because I loved Susan Jeffers' beautiful illustrations. I think I made up a story from the pictures, because when I first checked it out from the library I couldn't actually read! Fortunately, I liked the story once I how tolearned to read =D.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 5th, 2009 02:11 am (UTC) (Link)


fairy tale-rumpelstilsken, definitely, because it is creeeepy! and just ambiguous enough.
as folk tales go, robin hood's pretty neat-it's got some interesting side characters as well.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 5th, 2009 02:14 am (UTC) (Link)

from the other side of the world

"Sasha and the Storks" was my favorite when i was little- I think it's indian.
basically, a good king and his friend are turned into storks by an evil councillor, have adventures and meet a girl (who's been turned into an owl) while trying to get the kingdom back.
satakieli From: satakieli Date: March 5th, 2009 03:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I do, the story of Philomela and Procne. But oh dear, explaining why is going to make me sound sick and twisted, isn't it? I think it has to do with the "Cut out my tongue, will you? You can't silence me that easily!" aspect, crowned of course with the Deus ex Machina ending, the transformation into the bird most known for its voice. I used to think the story stayed with me despite the gruesome tragedy of the unwitting cannibalism, but perhaps it's more powerful that way; it certainly can't be banished from one's mind.
looking4shadows From: looking4shadows Date: March 5th, 2009 05:17 am (UTC) (Link)
The Star Fisher's Tale (which I can't seem to find online but it is there somewhere, as I copied and pasted it into my files). It's an old Chinese folk tale about a man who traps a mystical woman, one of three sisters who live among the stars, and keeps her earth-bound for many years until she is able to escape again.

The story always struck a note with me because of the outsider status - one I think everyone's endured.
sciathan_file From: sciathan_file Date: March 5th, 2009 05:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm a great fan of Irish folktales, mostly because they are kind og random and interesting. "The Destruction of Daderga's Hostel" and "The Wooing of Etain" stick out in my mind...and Leda and the Swans.

I also like an African one called "Anansi's Hatshaking Dance" that I learned when I was in a storytelling guild...more than a decade ago. Looking back its a good life lesson sort of story. :)
amamama From: amamama Date: March 5th, 2009 09:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I LOVE folk tales and fables. It's hard to pick one favourite among them all, but I am partial to Asbjørnsen and Moe's collection. And of those... there are so many I love, but to choose one: Askeladden and the seven (or good) helpers. And why? Well, here's a mild-mannered guy who listens to the people he meets and get wonderful results because of it. A flying ship is built while he sleeps, and he and his friends get through all the challenges the king gives them, so in the end he gets to marry the princess and get half the kingdom. Plus, Ivo Caprino made a darling animated movie of it. Those dolls he used are as much part of the fairy tale as the old illustrations in the fairy tale book.
erised1810 From: erised1810 Date: March 5th, 2009 02:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
oh m ygod. the little matchstick girl. i need to make sure agai nthat andersen made up his stories adn not used danish legends. i seem to have read that somewhere .anyways ever since i first heard this-onei cried till i fell asleep. sometimes, when it's very cold, i pretend i hear the voice of that girl. and also oen day i thought of a stupid retelling where she's not sellign matchsticks but well...never mind.
although at the moment it's aboutto be completely overruled by the tales of beelde the bard (and what a coincidink that i've just read those last night.) apart from the fact that i thin kthree of them gave me big hopping plot bunnies for novel-sized stories, i commented on the warlocks hairy heart being to the wizards what bluebeard is to us. notto mentio nif yo uturned that thing into a story or mixed the two in a novel you'd have more than just a brontesque atmosphere at your hands. wheeew.
keestone From: keestone Date: March 5th, 2009 04:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Andersen did a bit of both. I'm not entirely certain, but it's a pretty good guess that the Little Match Girl is one of the ones he made up more than borrowed.
the_jackalope From: the_jackalope Date: March 5th, 2009 03:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Beauty and the Beast. Because she falls in love with the beast for him.
mint_green From: mint_green Date: March 8th, 2009 08:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
I remember when I was little we had a glorious set of big red-covered books that had corresponding books-on-tape with all kinds of children's stories. My favourites were probably the full, semi-original version of Pinnochio and a tale called 'De Bremer Stadsmuzikanten'. All I can remember about that one is that four animals (a cat, a rooster a donkey and... something else) travelled together and rested in a house, and then they chase away some burglers.
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 9th, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
A dog, I think. *thinks* Yeah, the dog standing on the donkey's back, and the cat on the dog's, and the rooster on the cat's. Must be a dog, nothing else is quite the right size.

Dear god, it's scary how much I've forgotten. I think I must read more tales. (Well, as a matter of fact, I bought a book just two days ago, so I must just find the time to read it.)

~Hermione Stranger~
arkadelos From: arkadelos Date: March 9th, 2009 07:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
What is the difference between a folk tale and a fairy tale?
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