Comparing Classic Folktales
Before reading and writing were common practice; history was told in the form of legend; fiction was told in the form of myth; and lessons about life were taught to children through folktales and fables. Folktales not only served a role in teaching children, but often helped define the common themes of life in general for that particular culture. Most folktales have a specific message which they try to portray through symbolism, writing style, and plot. Many folktales from different cultures are very similar and present the same main ideas and messages. Today folktales are popular mostly as a way of teaching morals and life lessons. They are often compilations, or illustrated books made for children. Two popular folktales that are very similar are, Frans Timmerman’s, “The Frog and the Fox” and a story we all know, originally from the book, Aesop’s Fables, “The Tortoise and the Hare”.
In the folktale, “The Tortoise and the Hare” Aesop masterfully demonstrates what we all consider to be a classic folktale. The story begins with a hare who makes boastful claims about how swift he is, and how no animals could run faster than he could. The hare teases a tortoise for his slowness; the tortoise, annoyed by the hare’s claims, agrees to a race that they plan the next day. The next morning the hare comes to the race half asleep and unprepared. Hare sees how slow tortoise is and decides to take a nap. When he awakes, he notices tortoise is only one third of the way through the course, and decides to have a quick breakfast. The meal made hare sleepy and seeing tortoise was not yet half done with the course, hare decided to take another quick nap. The hare oversleeps and tortoise wins the race against the boastful, overconfident hare. Aesop’s story can be related to by people all over the world and many cultures have adopted the story. Today it is published in over thirty languages, and sells in bookstores worldwide.
A lesser known...
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