Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Guardian: 'Wisdom and Folly'

Today's fairy tale booklet (Day 5) at The Guardian is themed 'Wisdom and Folly'. You can read more about the seven part series at my previous post.

Wisdom and Folly in Fairytales: Alison Lurie looks at wisdom and folly. Here's an excerpt:

Once upon a time most people in Europe could not read or write. They got their stories, and their rules for living, from two main sources: Sunday sermons given by men, and tales told round the kitchen fire by women. The storytellers that the Brothers Grimm and other folklorists collected their material from were almost always women. For hundreds of years, while men were writing books and preaching sermons, women were creating a parallel oral tradition.

One lesson that these old stories taught was what it means to be intelligent, and what it means to be stupid. Both men and women in folktales may be wise, or they may be foolish. They may also start out clueless and gradually gain wisdom.

Today's theme also gives us another four fairy tales to read:

The fairytale of the Mixed-Up Feet and the Silly Bridgegroom, by Isaac Bashevis Singer, retold by Elizabeth Shub

The fairytale of clever Gretchen retold by Alison Lurie

The fairytale of the Black Geese retold by Alison Lurie

The fairytale of Jack and the Beanstalk by Joseph Jacobs

The illustrations for this set are by Pietari Posti.

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