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March 18-24 World Folktales and Fables Week

March 20, 2013
Estherville Daily News

March 18-24 is World Folktales and Fables Week, a time to explore those folktales and fables from our ancestry and how they can help the current and future generations.

So what is a folktale or fable exactly? Well, it's a story just beyond the limits of living memory, a story handed down from one generation to the next that stands the mists and tests of time.

Perhaps it was a grandfather, a great-grandfather, a great-great-grandmother. Whoever the person was, a folktale or fable is a story that has taken on a gem-like quality because of its significance to the teller - and hopefully listener as well.

Maybe you're a grandfather or great-grandmother right now. So would your grandkids or great-grandkids be interested in that silly story of how one of your ancestors was Shakespeare's bartender, how your great-great-aunt fed Jesse and Frank James or how your great-great aunt came across the Atlantic from Norway steerage class and paid off her fare by working for seven years as a household servant?

Absolutely. Those stories are priceless. They're the stuff of legend, and whether you can prove them or not, even the hint of valid provenance gilded by wishful fiction gives them even greater value.

So, if you have any of these stories, please write them down. Try to record who told them to you and when and the context in which they were told.

And don't forget to ask your relative in assisted living or a retirement home about any family stories he or she may remember.

All too often, it's the wealthy or powerful whose stories are preserved. Those other stories, though - the stories of everyday people - are the ones to which we can all relate.

So ask about those stories. Write them down. Maybe even publish them in a book or even an e-book.

Then share them. As much as you possibly can.



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