I love tales!
I wasn't always able to say this. I had to go through some weird tales and some questioning of certain fairy tale endings, but I am beginning to see their importance. In fact, I've been on a Tales kick for the last few months. We've been reading folk tales from all over the world: various countries, religions, etc. There is so much good in them. some are fantastical, some wise, some educational, etc. Never-ending enjoyment.
MYTH - Myths are legendary stories that ancient people created to explain the mysteries of life, death, the beginning of the world, and natural powers. They were not able to understand these mysteries, so they wove stories on the basis of their imagination. Since myths are imaginary stories, they have imaginary characters in them like dragons, monsters, fairies, giants, and gods. All these characters had magical powers and were much more powerful than human beings. Different types of myths were woven about the same thing in different parts of the world. These very myths gave rise to different religions in various parts of the world.
SAGA - The word "saga" was originally used for any story of heroic deeds of a medieval Norwegian hero. Gradually, it came to mean a long eventful narrative about a family, social group, or dynasty with several chapters, cantos or even volumes. A saga has several legends of heroes added to it. These heroes may be real or half-real and half-imaginary, but on the whole, the frame work of the main story is based on truth. An epic is a saga in poetry form, while a saga is in prose.
FABLE - A fable is a short tale which involves animals as essential characters in it and carries a moral for the readers. The animals are described to be talking to people or to one another wisely, foolishly, cunningly, and in ways human beings do. Aesop's Fables are a very good example. The lessons imparted by fables are very useful and practicable. They can impart guidance in most difficult situations and lead one out of them. Fables are a good source of wisdom, tact, and other noble means. Thus they go a long way to put one onto the road to success and well-being if their morals are translated into daily life. Fables should not be read for amusement only, but for learning to be a successful person as well.
FOLK-TALE - Folk-tales are light imaginary stories handed down orally from generation to generation. They are popular because they describe the hopes and fears of common people in a natural fanciful way. Since, human hopes and fears are the same everywhere, we can find similar folk-tales in distantly apart countries. There may be slight differences in the versions of these similar folk-tales, but their theme is almost the same. Almost every social group has its own folk-lore traditions and beliefs. A social group's folk-tales are based on these traditions and beliefs, therefore, folk-tales are very near to day-to-day life. The element of fancy and imagination gives them color and interest thus, making them very fascinating.
FAIRY-TALE - Fairy-tales are magical stories about fairies. A fairy is a tiny imaginary being with supernatural powers. Fairies are believed to be very beautiful and delicate. They help people when in a good mood, but they may harm evil people using their supernatural powers when they are angry. Fairies are believed to have wings for flying and live in their own land called, "Fairyland." This land is ruled by the fairy queen who has a large magnificent palace. Fairyland is considered to be a land of lakes, lush green meadows, bright flowers, and fruit trees. Children enjoy fairy-tales very much because of the enchantment and magical power such stories hold.
Though tales differ, I will share what I like about the tales I choose to read...
First, kids need imagination. In a world where things are increasingly confined to logic and result, it's nice to create a warm, cozy imaginative escape for our children. I cherish the ages of 0-7 for my kids to experience all the "right-brain" imaginative learning/play/experience they can get...because it all goes downhill from there. They will get logic and "real world" understanding after that, but I choose to innundate my child with nature, animals and creation.
Second, the simplicity. Kids get so bombarded in our busy world of stuff (fluff). So a simple story is great. But they are simply powerful too when they can convey a deep principle or understanding at the same time--so not just empty fluff).
Third, they generally filled with nature and animals. We have so much stuff. My kids had books about trucks and robots and all sorts of "things," but I want my children to really get a deep connection with and understanding of the basic elements of life. I feel once children can feel the beauty of a pure God-given world, then they will be ready to dive into other "stuff." It's empowering to my children to be able to know what things are made of because he's use to wood, rocks and metal; instead of thinking everything comes from a store and is made of something they can't identify. And I feel God set-up this earth with what we need to teach us, so I want to start there with my children.
Fourth, parables are the best teacher. Another great thing about animals, like in fables, is that kids can relate to the animal, without knowing they are relating, because the animal is personified with human characteristics. This is fantasy, but true emaotional and intellectual patterns we go through. The child is then bridging a false and yet real experience without the danger or threat of a direct parallel. These are metaphors and parables...the best way in which to learn.
Fifth, they are written with a pattern of discovery and problem-solving, coming full-circle in the end. Repetition is great for children (and adults). We tend to need to hear or experience something three times before it "sinks" in. Kids find security in that pattern. They also find strength and confidence in both going through ups and downs through a story and then ending out on top, so to speak. This confidence and seeing of patterns helps them develop their problem solving or keeps them on their toes in guessing what will happen next.
Sixth, most are based in a value or moral. This goes back to the simplicity. A teacher gets knowledge and facts out. A good teacher can deliver these facts well. A great teacher can teach in such a simple, yet deep way that those facts translate to true understanding in the hearer. Finding a good tale is finding a great teacher. Choosing to share that tale in a valuable way is being a great teacher.
By the way...in our society, many children grow out of fairy tales somewhat (some faster than others), once they hit the logic stage/8 years old (which is probably why I never really "got them"...and that's the same way with Dr. Seuss for me. Never cared from him, until this recent new journey of exploration into the beautiful world of "right brain"/imaginitive learning. This world is where 0-7 year olds live and flourish. Children get to be carefree and responsibility free because they need it. They will change the world if they grow up feeling imaginative and that "the sky is the limit." Let's fuel their entrepreneurial spirit with tales--not limit them.)
Here are some Resources for to start with: (you want the traditional tales--rich with language and real meaning, not modern recreations that dumb things down.)
- Wisdom Tales (collected from all over the world, categorized by continent or religion)
- Earth Tales (world myths about creation and nature)
- Tales with Tails (world tales and myths involving nature and animals, with info on various animals and lots of fun activities. Great for Earth Day stuff.)
- Can You Guess My Name? (gives three versions (different countries) of each of a few popular tales, like "three Little Pigs" and such)
- Tangram Tales
- Aesops Fables
- Fairy Tales: Hans Christian Anderson & Brother's Grimm
FAIRY TALES (by age)
Three and Four Year Olds
Any fairy tale with repetitive elements and a very simple story line
· Sweet Porridge (Grimm 103)
· Goldilocks and the Three Bears
· Little Louse and Little Flea (Spindrift, Let Us Form A Ring)
· The Giant Turnip (Russian)
· The Mitten (Russian)
· The Gingerbread Man
· The Bun (cannot remember where The Bun originated for sure, I believe Russia)
· The Johnny Cake (English)
· The Hungry Cat (Plays for Puppets)
· The Old Woman and Her Pig (English)
· The Cat and the Mouse (English)
· Little Red Hen
· The City Mouse and The Country Mouse
Four and Five Year Olds
· The Three Billy Goats Gruff
· The Three Little Pigs
· The Pancake Mill (Let Us Form A Ring)
· Mashenka and the Bear (Russian, Spindrift)
· The Elves (Grimm 39)
Five and Six Year Olds
· Star Money (Grimm 153)
· The Frog Prince (Grimm 1)
· Mother Holle (Grimm 24)
· Little Red Cap (Grimm 25)
· The Bremen Town Musicians (Grimm 27)
· The Spindle, Shuttle and the Needle (Grimm 188)
· The Hut in the Forest (Grimm 169)
· The Queen Bee (Grimm 62)
· The Seven Ravens (Grimm 25) – I didn’t tell this one until first grade
· Snow White and Rose Red (Grimm 161)
· The Princess in the Flaming Castle (Let Us Form A Ring)
· Twiggy (Let Us Form A Ring)
· The Donkey (Grimm 144)
· Lazy Jack (English)
· Tom-Tit-Tot (English)
· Puss in Boots, sometimes also called The Master Cat