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Traditional literature has been popular for thousands of years

Traditional literature has been popular for thousands of years. It is a chain of communication through the centuries- a long folk memory stretching from ancient times to present. Before writing there was story. Before story there was language. Folk literature is as old as humanity. It represents the accumulated wisdom and art of humandkind springing from the many cultures in the world. Primitive humans shared , celebrated , and remembered experiences through story, art. Storis in these early days were transmitted by word of mouth- in fact, the word tale means “oral” in the original anglo-saxon language. Storytellers entertained and instructed with timeless tales of greed, jealousy, love and need for security as they relaxed around nightly campfires. Storytellers, bards, poets and rhymers of old were venerated; they were welcome into places and huts alike and accorded places of honor. The identities of the acual originators of these folktales are lost in the passage of time; therefore the written versions that we have today of these tales are credited to retellers rather than authors.
The tales we enjoy today have survived for hundred of years, polished and edited by storytellers throughout history who shared their own idioms, perspectives, and particular ways of knowing, clothing their folk memories with imagination. Every time a storyteller tells a story; the story changes, giving the rise to thousands of variations of a single tale, which grows or shrinks over time as portions are added or deleted by different teller. The signficance of a story, its symbolism, may change over time because its original inspiration- often a particular event or social or political issue, disappears. A folktale is a living thing that frequently lives longer than the issue leading to its birth. Since all humankind shares in these folk memories, people throughout the world appreciate the stories. The form and content of folktales, even from vastly different cultures, appear to be remarkably similar: people of all times and places share common concerns, fears, desires, and wishes. The universal themes mirror the hopes, dream, fears, and values of humans in all cultures. For example, there are hundred of versions of the Cinderella story from such diverse cultures as the German , French and Chinese. The details and modifications that appear in variant folktales reflect the society or culture that produced them; therefore these variations provide anthropologists with a window to each culture. Folklore says a good deal about times in which its creators lived and about their needs. Folktales have to do with accomplishing impossible fears, escaping from powerful enemies , outwritting the wicked people in the world, earning a living, securing food, and protecting the weak. They illustrate the traits and ethics valued by a culture. The Fisherman and His Wife teaches that wishing is foolish and that we should be satisfied with what we have. They helps perpetuate the cultural values. Little Plum, a modern Picture-book version of the Tom Thumb story by Ed Young, teaches children that size has very little to do with success and ability. Taboos and concepts of right and wrong are passed from one generation to the next through stories. Cinderella stories teach unselfishness, and the golden groose teaches the evils of greed.

Traditional literature has many contemporary values. It continues to entertain modern children, just as it once entertained both children and adults around the campfires of long ago. Folktales celebrate imaginary feats that would be imposibble in real life. They expolore good and evil, taboos, and the supernatural. Stories give us heroes, wise men, wizards, and magicians, as well as monsters, giants, and dragons. They may comfort children or frighten them depending upon the teller’s purpose. In traditional stories, characters can do things not permitted in real life. They can Express anger and frustration without fear of reprisal. “Nothing in the entire range of children’s literature – with rare exceptions- can be as enriching and satisfying to child and adult alike as the folktale fairy tale.. A child can learn more about the iner problems of man and about solutions of his ownpredicaments in any society, than he can from any other type of story within his comprehension. Traditional literaute is a rich source of content for multicultural studies and global education that can be used to develop children’s cultural awareness and understanding. A Native American tale The Boy Who Dreamed of an Acorn teaches that all children are searching for their place in the world and that all children have dreams. Oh, Kojo! How Could you!, an african folktale , can play an important role in developing understanding of some of the many cultures in our country and our world.

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