Traditional Literature

Topics: Fairy Tales
Define Traditional Literature
1. Includes ancient stories and poems preserved through time by oral tradition of storytelling before eventually being written down.
2. Has no known authors
3. Is attributed to entire groups of people or cultures
4. May have originally held elements of truth

Define Monogenesis Theory
One beginning. Historically speaking some theories hold that Traditional Literature such as Cinderella were originally by one person in one culture. As people migrated they took the story with them and other cultures then produced their own version of Cinderella.

Define Polygenesis Theory
Many beginnings. Historically speaking some theories hold that Traditional Literature such as Cinderella were originally by many people in many cultures. This is because all people have similar experiences, motives, and ask similar questions about the world around them.

How many versions of Cinderella are their and which one is the oldest?
There are over 300 versions of Cinderella and the oldest version is from China

Historically speaking, how did Traditional tales start?
No one knows for sure.

There is the Mongenesis Theory vs. the Polygenesis Theory. Some early stories include Cinderella and Stone Soup.

Bullet point Historical overview of Traditional Literature
-Monogenesis vs. polygenesis
-Aesop’s Fables, 1484 (First one to use stories for teaching. Fables are stories that teach a moral truth)
-Puritans (1500-1700) Chapbooks (Puritans thought stories sinful and banned them. Some were written and hid)
-Tales of Mother Goose, 1697 (Written by Charles Perrault who coined the term)
-Grimm’s Nursery and Household Tales, 1812
-Norwegian Folktales, 1851
-English Fairy Tales, 1894

Name the countries that Traditional Tales first appeared.

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France, Germany, Norweign & English

Give examples of Frances first Traditional Tales.
Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood

Give examples of Germany’s first Traditional Tales.
Rumplestilskin, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel

Give examples of Norweign’s first Traditional Tales.
Three Billy Goats Gruff, Henny Penny, Pancake

Give examples of 1st English Fairy Tales.
Three Bears, Three Pigs,Little Red Hen

What are the two main categories of Traditional Tales?
Folktales and Traditional Fantasy

What are the 5 story features of Traditional Tale?
1. Characterization (characters are not well developed) 2. Plot (Simple and direst)
3. Theme (Rewarding kindness, Good vs. Evil, With perseverance the punishment of evil.)
4. Setting (Very Vague, time passes quickly and it’s unimportant)
5. Repeated Elements (Three’s in phrases: Fee Fi Fo Fum, Run run run as fast as you can) and (Three’s in titles- 3 Little Pigs, Three Bears, Three Musketeers)

What are the sub-categories of Traditional Tales in Folk-Tales
Cumulative Tales, Pourquoi Tales, Beast Tales, Trickster Tales, Noodlehead Tales, Realistic Tales, Fairy or Wonder Tales

What are the sub-categories of Traditional Tales in Traditional Fantasy
Myths, Epics, Legends and Tall Tales, Fables, Religious Stories

-Stories that recount and explain the origins of the world and the phenomena of nature.
-Creation stories
-Gods and goddesses
-High above the earth
-Greek, Roman, Norse

-Long stories of human adventure recounted in many episodes.
-Human and divine characters
-Hero always human or superhuman
-Setting is earthly

Legends and Tall Tales
Legends stories based on real or supposedly real individuals and their deeds.
Tall tales are highly exaggerated accounts of the exploits of persons

A simple story that incorporates characters-typically animals-whose actions teach a moral lesson or universal truth. Aesop’s are best known.

Religious Stories
Stories are based on religious writings or taken intact from religious manuscripts. Parables

Cumulative Tales
Phrases are repeated. Ex. This is the House that Jack built or There was an Old Lady who swallowed a fly.

Pourquoi Tales
Asking the “why” question of the different elements in Nature. Ex. Why does a Giraffe have a long neck?

Beast Tales
Animals are the main players. Ex. The Three Bears

Trickster Tales
Protagonist a wiry fellow who tricks everyone.

Noodlehead Tale
A dumb protagonist wins in the end. Ex. Fool of the World & the flying ship

Realistic Tales
Legendary and not real. Ex. The boy of the three year nap.

Fairy or Wonder Tales
Character with magic abilities.

Bonus Question: Who is Swamp Angel?
Written by Anne Isaacs and a Caldecott Honor Winner. A Tall Tale about Angelia Longrider born 8-1-1815 in Tennessee. She’s like Paul Bunyan, a giant. She ends up wrestling a bear named Tarnation and throwing high up in the sky that he becomes a constellation of stars you can still see.

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Traditional Literature. (2018, Jan 26). Retrieved from

Traditional Literature
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