Folktales

folktales

folktales The stories that folks tell are often unbelievable. They are fun to listen to even if you wonder if the story teller is actually believes what they are saying. But if they did it would make for a better story anyway. They give you that passion and energy that makes story telling a wonderful experience. What is lacking in the modern world is the knowledge of folktales. I do not know any of the folktales that belong to my family and it is a struggle to find out the various ones. Folktales speak to the collective conscious of a particular group. The knowledge that is hidden within the story will often help the listener navigate their everyday life. You can see the pattern of thinking within the stories and the consequences of the particular actions. This is why they are important that the older generation are venerated and given positions where they can serve the next generation. They are the keepers of the story and can help to shape the young generations character into something strong and responsible. Functioning as such keeps them healthy, purposeful and alive. But that is not the world we live in anymore as you can see from the number of senior citizens who are generally cast out of their families or stricken with illness. But you can create that in one’s own family. When everyone is engage in the business of family, then you can start to see where each individual genius lies and the unit functions as a whole. Generally the grandparents will pass on their knowledge of history, lessons they learned from life, and tall tales they tell to their wide eyed listening audience. I didn't grow up with such grandparents and I know some are way to surly to be that charming but it is where they function best and when I’m old and grey and I've got my little grand progeny around me, I hope I to scare them with my cackle.

The Griot

griot

I’m fascinated by the griot. In a digital world one doesn't often get the chance to be graced by a story teller. You may find a one man play in the park sometime and perhaps there will be a story teller and historian in the occasional drumming circle but it isn't apart of modern digital society.

In a world where the oral tradition reigned supreme, some of the best stories are locked inside of the head of a griot. They are able to recite an accurate history of events that surround their people and have the ability to entertain as well as educate.

A griot also known as jeli is a West Afrakan historian, storyteller, praise singer, poet and/or musician. They are more than a story teller and often act as adviser to the royal council.  Most villages within Afraka have their own griot who kept the record of the events and histories of their people.

They form a unique and powerful caste though an endogamous system.  Endogamy is the practice of only marrying within a specific ethnic group, class, or social group.

For some people not being able to verify the stores of the griot make it difficult to trust but that usually the problem of folks who belong to a different culture.

Maybe it’s the vibration of their words that make them so unique or maybe they are just a spiritual class of people that need to be able to survive.   This is why they generally marry within their caste system.  This gift is passed down from generation to generation and so are the stories and so are the healing remedies that they are privy to.

Within different families, it is the grandparents that preserve the history of the family by relating it to the children. They tend to be open to story and legacy.

Children’s Books

Children's book

When I was in the second grade, I remember my favorite teacher, a tall man reading stories to us. I’m not even sure if it was a part of the curriculum but what did I know then about curriculums.

We sat all together in a circle as he animatedly read James and the Giant Peach.  It was better than TV and I remember it so vividly that I wonder if I ever did see the movie.  Oddly enough I cannot remember if I did or not.

I was fortunate enough to have this experience repeated a few more times and each time, those stories became my favorite.

I fell in love as a child when I my third grade teacher read to us poems written by Shel Silverstein.  They were fun and the topics were always intriguing, like polar bears in Frigidaires or the twistable turnable man.  It wasn’t until later that I understood his poems completely and marveled at the lessons that were hidden in the rhymes.

Even in the fifth grade when our teacher read to us the of Johnny Tremaine set during the early days of America, the young boy overcame some serious obstacles and was able to be take part in significant events of history.

It is almost crazy to me how much I remember of these particular stories but never went back to read them as an adult. But that’s just how powerful children’s books are.

What seems to be an innocent telling of an important topic actually gets into the minds of the child and sticks like gum on hot concrete.  But then it is also a caveat to parents about screening the things that their children reads and watches because that stuff gets into their minds and stays there.

But for all the wonderful stories that exist children’s books are a great way to expand the mind of a child.

Reading

reading

Reading is essential  for the imagination in my opinion. I know when I read a good book one filled with imagery and thematic content and that is easy to read but has a challenging bite to it, I’m in heaven or whatever realm that the story is steeped in.

I often get lost in the pages and can sense and feel the characters and their circumstance.  It’s a way to escape and learn something different about the human condition. 

Only if the author is interested in educating their reader will this be able to happen.  I’m always fascinated while reading when you can fully weave third person omniscient into a personal narrative.

On one hand it doesn’t really make sense.  Real life doesn’t include third person omniscience.  You won’t be able to know or understand completely another’s intention or their heart’s longing.  (unless you are a psychic but still how much can they really know)

On the other hand, it fill out the story for the reader.  You get to see the different sides to things and as a reader you can interject your own judgments on the character because really you are judging yourself in that moment.

If you were able to make life as interesting as a novel, could you really stand it?  This is a rhetorical question but I imagine the answer is yes, you could and every step of the way regardless of how much pain it might cause you the possibility of greatness would keep you going.

Is there an ideal beyond love and religion worth dying for?  I say beyond religion or love because it would be the most obvious reasons but maybe there is something less cliché that would drive a person.

But sometimes it is worth the few hours to read another’s story even if it is fictional.

 

Legends

legend

A legend is a story that has been handed down to the generations and cannot be proven to be false or true since the actors of the story have long since expired . Legends start somewhere in the seed of truth but  after so many re-tellings one can never pinpoint was was actually done.

Take the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round table. Who would have thought that Camelot was not a place n Britain but a a place where lots of black faces resides.  Or the fact the word knight begins with letter K which lets you know that they are not who we are taught to believe that they are.

But this is one small example of a well known legend.  So great is its fame that some one not only believes it o be true but will get you to protect their interests from seeping thorough.

What separates a legend from a myth is that we do not know if this true this is what gives it its romantic appeal.  The possibilities are endless and  with the legend. Myths are a bit more historical in the fact that they are known stories that were told.

Urban legends are the modern equivalent.  They are often mini horror stories without much a moral foundation.  One urban legend that comes to mind is the story of a young person that decided they wanted to go to the movies.  After some debate with their friends, they all decided to go.  Someone comes through the door very stealthily and decides to stab said person in the neck or back through the chair.  The culprit leans forward and tells his victim that they now have AIDS.

This is the only urban legend I really know of but the attempt is to be scary.  I usually find them to be ridiculous.