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F is for folklore.
“Where in the world’s the Forgotten? They’re lost inside our memories… What we remember becomes folklore.” – The Forgotten, Green Day
When you google “folklore”, this is what the first page of images show:
In the past, folklore was generally focused on traditional stories and songs. Academics such as Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Francis James Child, and George Lyman Kittredge collected and categorized many traditional stories and songs, both to preserve the texts and to learn about the past. A more contemporary view holds folklore to encompass a variety of creative expression.
Genres of folklore include Material culture such as folk art, Music such as folk songs, Narratives such as legends, Sayings such as proverbs, Beliefs as in folk religion, and Food as in traditional cooking.
Among the most common types of narrative folklore are folktales (folk tales). A folktale is a story that forms part of an oral tradition, and does not have a single, identifiable author. The stories are passed down from one generation to the next, and over time become expanded and reshaped with each retelling. Folktales often reflect the values and customs of the culture from which they come. They have been used to teach character traits. The Buddhist story of “The Banyan Deer” illustrates concern for others. The Ghanaian folktale “The Hungry Little Boy” teaches respect for the elderly.
Folktales are often not connected to a specific time, place, or historical persons. The characters are usually ordinary people. Similar folktales are found in different cultures around the world. Vladimir Propp found a uniform structure in Russian fairy tales. A folk narrative can have both a moral and psychological aspect, as well as entertainment value, depending upon the nature of the teller, the style of the telling, the ages of the audience members, and the overall context of the performance. A skilled storyteller will adapt the narrative to his particular audience.
A fable is a subgenre of folktales that uses anthropomorphic animals to illustrate a moral.
Fairy tales involving magical, fantastic or wonderful episodes, characters, events, or symbols. They are often populated by fairies, elves, trolls, dwarfs, giants, and other imaginary creatures. Fairy tales take place in timeless settings, as indicated by the beginning “Once upon a time”. The main character is a person who triumphs over difficulties partly through the use of magic. Originally spoken stories, fairy tales became a distinct literary genre in late-seventeenth-century France. Cinderella is a well-known fairy tale.
A Tall tale is a story about a real or fictitious person whose exploits are wildly exaggerated. These are often folklore related to specific occupations, such as the cowboy Pecos Bill, lumberjack Paul Bunyan and the famous “steel-driving man” John Henry (folklore).
Myths feature deities and often concern creation stories.
Legends are set in the past and tell of heroes and kings and deeds of valor. They are may be based on real people or actual events. They may also contain lists of succession in ruling houses. In this they function as a sort of verbal historical record. They may also incorporate local tales of ghosts, and buried treasure. Stories about Robin Hood are legends.
Wikipedia has a whole list of creatures found in folklore: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_legendary_creatures_by_type
Creatures from Ancient Folklore
Many more creatures can be found at:
African Folktales (According to Anike Foundation – Developing Education in Africa)
Folk tales and myths serve as a means of handing down traditions and customs from one generation to the next in Africa. For several generations, stories from Africa have traditionally been passed down by word of mouth. Often, after a hard day’s work, the adults would gather the children together by moonlight, around a village fire and tell stories. This is traditionally called Tales by Moonlight. Usually the stories are meant to prepare young people for life, and so taught a lesson or moral.
In the African folk tales, the stories reflect the culture where diverse types of animals abound. The animals and birds are often accorded human attributes, so it is not uncommon to find animals talking, singing or demonstrating other human characteristics such as greed, jealousy, honesty etc.
The setting in many of the stories exposes the reader to landform and climate in Africa. References are often made to different seasons such as dry or rainy season and their effect on vegetation
(From http://anikefoundation.org/?page_id=235&gclid=CJGDu-Cu5coCFQ2eGwodbwUDgw# . Go to this site to read African Folktales and to donate to the cause.)
Folklore of the moon:
The moon is, in terms of distance, the closest heavenly body to earth. We can see it in the sky for three weeks out of four, and people have, for thousands of years, used its light to guide them in the dark. In addition to the personification of the moon as deity, there are all kinds of fascinating legends and myths associated with the moon and its cycles.
- The word lunatic comes from the Latin luna, because it was believed that people were more likely to exhibit aberrant behavior during a full moon. Although studies have been done showing that emergency room visits and accidents are increased during the full moon period, there has yet to be conclusive evidence for causation.
- The moon seems to have an effect on animals as well as people. A Florida expert on animal behavior reports that hamsters spin in their wheels far more aggressively during the moon’s full phase. Deer and other herbivores in the wild tend to ovulate at the full moon, and in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the full moon is mating time for coral.
7 Unusual Myths and Theories About the Moon
Full moons make you crazy.
Since ancient times, full moons have been associated with odd or insane behavior, including sleepwalking, suicide, illegal activity, fits of violence and, of course, transforming into werewolves. Indeed, the words “lunacy” and “lunatic” come from the Roman goddess of the moon, Luna, who was said to ride her silver chariot across the dark sky each night. For thousands of years, doctors and mental health professionals believed in a strong connection between mania and the moon. Hippocrates, considered the father of modern medicine, wrote in the fifth century B.C. that “one who is seized with terror, fright and madness during the night is being visited by the goddess of the moon.” In 18th-century England, people on trial for murder could campaign for a lighter sentence on grounds of lunacy if the crime occurred under a full moon; meanwhile, psychiatric patients at London’s Bethlehem Hospital were shackled and flogged as a preventive measure during certain lunar phases. Even today, despite studies discrediting the hypothesis, some people think full moons make everyone a little loony.
Aliens inhabit the moon.
In the 1820s, the Bavarian astronomer Franz von Paula Gruithuisen claimed to have glimpsed entire cities on the moon with his telescope. He wrote that the “lunarians” who lived there had built sophisticated buildings, roads and forts. Most of his colleagues scoffed at his assertion, but he eventually got a small lunar crater named after him. Sir William Herschel, a prominent British astronomer and composer, also thought aliens lived on the moon and made regular observations about the progress of their construction projects. In 1835, when the New York Sun published a series of fraudulent articles about the supposed existence of life on the moon (pulling off the so-called “Great Moon Hoax”), it falsely credited Herschel’s son John, a famous astronomer in his own right, with the shocking discovery.
A rabbit dwells on the moon.
Intriguingly, legends from various traditions around the world, including Buddhism and Native American folklore, recount the tale of a rabbit that lives on the moon. This shared myth may reflect common interpretations of markings on the lunar surface—an alternate take on the fabled “man in the moon.” Shortly before Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969, mission control in Houston jokingly referred to the Chinese version of the story, telling the spaceship’s crew, “Among the large headlines concerning Apollo this morning, there’s one asking that you watch for a lovely girl with a big rabbit.” Command module pilot Michael Collins replied, “Okay. We’ll keep a close eye out for the bunny girl.”
Visit this site for more strange stories:
The Moon is the queen of mesmerism and mystification. Enticing us with her delicate aura, intriguing us with her inconstant appearance, the Moon is a wanton creature; sometimes appearing low on the horizon, illuminating the night in her full orb, sometimes appearing briefly, dressed in her flimsiest crescent. Traditional astrology considers the Moon a significator of change, fickleness and easy impressionability; and yet few astrologers would dare to disregard its powerful influence upon earthly events.
Many omens concerning a strange lunar appearance warn of excess of moisture through floods or stormy weather. A halo around the Moon, for instance, is an ancient sign of rain, (which has a factual basis since the halo is caused by moisture in the atmosphere). The smaller the halo, the higher the likelihood of rain. If there are stars in the halo some omens say that it will rain for as many days as there are stars, others that the rain will come after so many days. The Moon on its back (when its horns point upwards) is said to hold water and presages a dry spell. In a general sense it is an unfortunate omen which is sometimes taken as an augury of death. Another omen claims that if the first crescent of the new Moon appears with its lower horn obscured, stormy weather is indicated in the first phase of the Moon. If the obscuration is in the middle of the Moon, the storm will occur around the time of the new Moon. If the upper horn is affected, the storm will come during the wane of the Moon. If you are not sure how to recognise a waxing or waning Moon from its appearance, remember that the waxing Moon grows larger from right to left. It is called the ‘right-hand Moon’ because the curve of the crescent corresponds to the curve between the right-hand index finger and the thumb. Similarly, a waning Moon diminishes from right to left and is known as a ‘left-hand Moon’ because of its correspondence with the curve on the left hand.
Ten common moon myths
Myth #3: Werewolves come out with a full moon. The folklore story of the werewolf perhaps dates as far back as the ancient Greeks and still exists worldwide today. It supposes that a cursed human shape-shifts into a wolf at the dawning of a full moon.
Myth #10: The Moon brings love. In Chinese folklore, Yue-Laou is an old man in the moon who unites predestined couples together. British women as well, who hoped to receive a dream about their true love would recite the following verse under a New moon: “New moon, new moon, I hail thee! By all the virtue in thy body, grant this night that I may see he who my true love is to be.” The Moon has also traditionally been appealed to in order to bring fertility.
For more moon myths visit:
“Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.” – Anthony Robbins
Of course, the moon has always held a certain appeal to me. Especially when people claimed that it was made of cheese or that a man lived on the moon.
I wrote a short story that has various folklore elements and takes place on the moon. Read Malignant Moon on writing.com.
“I looked down at the monsters gathered in the courtyard. It was easier to stand up here on the balcony. It made them remember that they always have to look up to see me.
‘Fellow creatures of the night, we have a duty to uphold. The planet is dying. Humans are responsible,’ I said to the collection of monsters before me. The only light came from the moon. But it was more than enough. Especially since we were on the moon.
‘What do you expect us to do about it?’ a Werewolf asked with folded arms.
‘Population control,’ I answered grimly.
‘You mean… Kill them?’ he asked, not so arrogant anymore.”
– Malignant Moon, Ronel Janse van Vuuren
I hope you enjoy reading this tale about the moon. Comments can be left here or on writing.com – I always appreciate feedback. Any moon-tales you’d like to share?