Cumulative Tales: The Bremen Town Musicians (folktale), The Rooster
and the Hen (fable)
Cumulative tales have a plot of successive incidents forming around patterns of repetition. The Bremen Town Musicians is a cumulative tale in which the each characters entrance into the story marks the repetition. They are all on a journey and suffer similar problems which prompt them to take on the journey. Unlike The Rooster and the Hen, The Bremen Town Musicians has a very active plot, making the repetition less obvious. The Rooster and the Hen follows a very classic repetitious cumulative pattern of plot development, although comes to an abrupt end when everything is supposed to be solved. The hen’s rooster friend dies for waiting for her. Perhaps this difference can be attributed to the fable aspect.
Talking Beast Tales: Old Fire Dragaman (folktale-Jack Tale), Beauty
and the Beast (folktale-fairytale)
These stories both present a talking beast, although in one the beast changes form and in the other the beast is killed. Beauty and the Beast presents a human- like beast- very cultured and polite- who with Beauty’s love is eventually turned back into a charming prince. In Old Fire Dragaman, the beast is killed, even though the three boys have learned how to deal with him. In Jack Tales, this is an important element- learning how to survive and adapt- and perhaps this is why the beast was killed.
Fairy Tales: King O’Toole and his Goose, Cinderella
Both of these stories contain the main element of the fairy tale- they are “enchanted.” King O’Toole, however, demonstrates the humorous side of the fairytale, with his love of his goose and test/magic given by a saint. Cinderella demonstrates the more serious (usually containing a heavier conflict) classic fairytale with fairy god- mothers and magic.
Fables: The Golden Goose, The Poor Man and the Flask of Oil
The fable genre is simpler in form. The fable’s characters are animals who, through their action, present a moral or lesson in the end. These two stories differ as The Golden Goose presents a lesson, or explanation for why the goose has strange feathers and why they are white. The Poor Man and the Flask of Oil implies a moral, not an explanation.
Tall Tales: Pecos Bill Becomes a Coyote (folktale), Paul Bunyan (folktale)
The tall tale is an American tradition and is characterized by a whole lot of nonsense. Over time tall tales have changed to comment on society or gained structure to fit popular culture. Paul Bunyan portrays a certain culture in society, but generally implies no moral or lesson. Pecos Bill tells the story of a boy, lost from his family, who is raised by coyotes, and also implies no lesson. Both are generally nonsense, telling American stories that never have, and never will, happen to any person.
Trickster Tales: Wiley and the Hairy Man (folktale), Why the Fox has
a Huge Mouth (fable)
Wiley and the Hairy Man demonstrates man outwitting the devil. Why the Fox has a Huge Mouth shows a fox outwitted by skunks (maybe not on purpose). The fox is known as the trickster in fables and here he is outwitted.
1. From Tiger to Anansi:
- West Indies
- Philip M. Sherlock
- smaller creature outwits larger, more powerful creature
- gives reason for “Anansi Stories”
2. Snow White
- Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm
- fairy tale
- extensive Hindu collection of fables/folktales
- Numskull and Rabbit
-animal story from the Panchatantra
-translator: Arthur Ryder
4. Molly Whuppie
- Joseph Jacobs
- Unusual: youngest child who outwits giant is a girl
5. Dick Whittington and his Cat
- Marcia Brown
- Realistic- talks of work in the city
6. The Children of Lir
- Ella Young
- Combines Irish myth and folktale genre for enchanted feel
7. The Devil
- The Devil’s Trick
- Jewish, Issac Bashevis Singer
- The Silver Nose
- Italy, Italo Calvino
- Wiley and the Hairy Man
- United States, Virginia Haviland
- ALL CONTAIN THEME OF MAN/WOMAN OUTWITTING THE DEVIL
8. Why Wisdom is Found Everywhere
- Harold Courlander
- Fable, moral: “one’s head can’t exchange ideas with itself”
- Anansi the African trickster
9. The Dairymaid and Her Milkpot
- fables de La Fontaine
- fable, moral: “Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched
- realistic observation of human behavior
- not originally intended for children
10. Old Fire Dragaman
- Richard Chase
- United States
- Jack tale
- Man outwits dragon and gets girl
11. William Caxton
- first English printer
- did woodcuts for adult stories first, then Aesop’s fables
- promoted the idea of pictorial representation for children’s stories
- although he did Aesop woodcuts, many children could not afford these
12. In the Land of Small Dragon: A Vietnamese Folktale
- Dang Manh Kha
- Cinderella story with Vietnamese cultural influence
13. The Master and the Servant
- Virginia A. Tashjian
- Youngest sibling outwits the oppressor
14. Charles Perrault
- one of the first early scholars that promoted children’s tales
- promoted “entertainment” literature for kids
15. The Wind and the Sun
Fable, moral: “Gentleness accomplished what force could not.”
The ideals of love are readily demonstrated in the folktale genre.
Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, and In the Land of Small Dragon all demonstrate
certain ideals of love. Although they are similar and different in
some ways, perhaps those differences can be attributed to the differing
values among their different cultures.
In Beauty and the Beast, originally from France, the idea that a person’s appearance should have nothing to do with love of that person is demonstrated. The beast wants and needs Beauty to love him based on his kindness and self- sacrificing ways- one, because that is the only reason she will love him, as she is not attracted to him; two, because if she loves him because of his good heart, he will be transformed back to his princely state. He requires love based on internal beauty, not external beauty. This is interesting, though, because Beauty represents the often demonstrated theme of beauty=good in this story. She is beautiful and pleasing to the eye, but also demonstrates extreme kindness and self- sacrifice. It is a good question to ask why the story’s roles were not reversed? Generally, though, the idea of love in this story revolves around the idea that two people love each other based on internal qualities, not external qualities.
Snow White takes a similar road- although in a different direction- in establishing the ideals of love. Snow White is beautiful, the fairest in the land. She is cursed by her stepmother because of this, and eventually meets her fate because of her stepmother’s jealousy. Her dwarf friends decide to encapsulate her in a glass coffin, because she is still so beautiful and life-like looking. A prince meanders along the way and sees Snow White in the coffin and decides he must have her. He doesn’t even care what her personality or demeanor is, but he tells the dwarfs he just “cannot live without looking upon Snow White.” The ideal of love in this story is based strictly upon appearances. It does note that since “Snow White was kind,” she went with the prince, but this was after he had already decided he wanted her. We assume that Snow White based her agreement to “go along” with him on nothing- just the fact that she was kind. The ideal of love seems to be superficial in the story of Snow White. Perhaps though, if we assume the idea of beauty=good, we can see why the prince would want the most beautiful woman in the land. But why would she want him?
In the Land of Small Dragon: A Vietnamese Story, shows an element of love that Snow White and Beauty and the Beast left out completely. The idea of fated love is presented in this story between Tam and her prince. It is a Cinderella story, although when the prince finds the slipper, he has never met Tam before. He simply notices that since a bird dropped a shoe at his foot, whoever wears that shoe must be good, and must be his wife. He throws a party just to find this woman who he is fated to marry. This is interesting compared to the other stories because his love is not based on appearances or what Tam has to offer from the inside- he is a firm believer in fate. The story demonstrates this perfectly in the end when it states prophetically, “What is written in the stars/ Cannot be changed or altered.
Through these three stories, we can see how love is portrayed- as based either on physical appearance, internal qualities, or simply- fate. Perhaps we could attribute these differences to cultural differences, but most likely the stories are a product of their time. Beauty and the Beast could be viewed as more beneficial to man because Beauty accepts him; Snow White is beneficial to man as beauty is seen as what a man deems beautiful. Cultural difference could most likely be an influential factor in the Vietnamese folktale, as their culture was most likely based on a different religion than the others, and fate may be a big part of that.