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Thread: Folk Tales from Around the World

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    Red face Folk Tales from Around the World

    Folklore from different countries and societies occasionally serve as a representation of unrecorded events that affected a group, a statement of a given group's cultural priorities or milieu at the time of first (or later) attestation, as well as reflecting common motifs within humanity at large.

    Feel free to share and discuss folk tales that you've come across recently. I'll begin with the Japanese tale of Momotarō, which I first became acquainted with through an online meme (of all things). The story of Momotarō is interesting for a multitude of reasons to me, but I'll save those thoughts for a later time (as someone trained in the sciences, I don't exactly have an Arts-specific framework to properly appraise such material right now).

    Wiki article on Momotarō, and the summary of his story:

    Momotarō was born from a giant peach, which was found floating down a river by an old, childless woman who was washing clothes there. The woman and her husband discovered the child when they tried to open the peach to eat it. The child explained that he had been bestowed by the Gods to be their son. The couple named him Momotarō, from momo (peach) and tarō (eldest son in the family).

    When he matured into adolescence, Momotarō left his parents to fight a band of Oni (demons or ogres) who mauranded over their land, by seeking them out in the distant island where they dwelled (a place called Onigashima or "Demon Island"). En route, Momotarō met and befriended a talking dog, monkey and pheasant, who agreed to help him in his quest in exchange for a portions of his rations (kibi dango or "millet dumplings". At the island, Momotarō and his animal friends penetrated the demons' fort and beat the band of demons into surrendering. Momotarō and his new friends returned home with the demons' plundered treasure and the demon chief as a captive.
    450px-Japanese_Fairy_Book_-_Ozaki_-_247.png

    (attribution link)

  2. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to DMXX For This Useful Post:

     Agamemnon (05-12-2019),  BackToTheForests (05-12-2019),  J Man (05-13-2019),  JonikW (05-12-2019),  Kulin (05-12-2019),  RCO (05-12-2019)

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    Comparative phylogenetic analyses uncover the ancient roots of Indo-European folktales
    Sara Graša da Silva and Jamshid J. Tehrani
    Published:01 January 2016

    Abstract - Ancient population expansions and dispersals often leave enduring signatures in the cultural traditions of their descendants, as well as in their genes and languages. The international folktale record has long been regarded as a rich context in which to explore these legacies. To date, investigations in this area have been complicated by a lack of historical data and the impact of more recent waves of diffusion. In this study, we introduce new methods for tackling these problems by applying comparative phylogenetic methods and autologistic modelling to analyse the relationships between folktales, population histories and geographical distances in Indo-European-speaking societies. We find strong correlations between the distributions of a number of folktales and phylogenetic, but not spatial, associations among populations that are consistent with vertical processes of cultural inheritance. Moreover, we show that these oral traditions probably originated long before the emergence of the literary record, and find evidence that one tale (‘The Smith and the Devil’) can be traced back to the Bronze Age. On a broader level, the kinds of stories told in ancestral societies can provide important insights into their culture, furnishing new perspectives on linguistic, genetic and archaeological reconstructions of human prehistory.
    https://royalsocietypublishing.org/d...98/rsos.150645
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    One thing that I've enjoyed about folk tales over the years is the parallels seen between European countries and traditions. Some of these common features may be Medieval while some are potentially far older, as RCO points out. For example, I was struck recently when reading Italo Calvino's rendering of an Italian tale, which he calls "And Seven". Its story of a greedy girl who is tested by having to spin skeins of thread very closely resembles "Tom Tit Tot" from English tradition, as well as stories from Germany of course. There's potentially a lifetime of study just in these regional similarities.
    Last edited by JonikW; 05-12-2019 at 10:19 PM.
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     BackToTheForests (05-13-2019),  DMXX (05-12-2019)

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