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Folk tales


  • Short narratives of uncertain origin that are based on oral tradition.
  • URI(s)

  • Instance Of

  • Scheme Membership(s)

  • Collection Membership(s)

  • Form

    • Folk tales
  • Variants

    • us: Folktales
    • us: Märchen
  • Broader Terms

  • Narrower Terms

  • Sources

    • found: Harmon, W. A handbook to literature, c2009: Folktale (A short narrative handed down through oral tradition, with various tellers and groups modifying it, so that it acquires cumulative authorship. Most folktales eventually move from oral tradition to written form) Tale (A relatively simple narrative. Formerly, no very real distinction was made between the tale and the short story. Tale, however, has always been a more general term, because short story has been reserved for fictional narratives having a conscious structure and tale has been used loosely for any short narrative, either true or fictitious)
    • found: Wheeler, K. Literary terms and definitions, via WWW, Jan. 22, 2013: Folktale (Folktales are stories passed along from one generation to the next by word-of-mouth rather than by a written text) Folklore (Many works of literature originated in folktales before the narratives were written down. Examples in American culture include the story of George Washington chopping down the cherry tree; George Washington throwing a silver dollar across the Potomac river; Paul Bunyon cutting lumber with his blue ox, Babe; Pecos Bill roping a twister; and Johnny Appleseed planting apples across the west over a 120-year period)
    • found: Kennedy, X.J. The Longman dictionary of literary terms, c2006 (Tale. A word originating from the Old English talu, or "speech," a tale is a short, anonymous narrative without a complex plot or three-dimensional characters. An ancient form of narrative found in folklore and oral tradition, tales present basic stories with simple motivations, their literary power stemming from supernatural elements, twists of fate, and comic or tragic outcomes. A tale differs from a short story by its tendency to linear plotting and flat and stock characters, a distinction that British writer A.E. Coppard attributes to the fact that a story is something that is written and a tale is something that is told. The ambition of a tale is usually similar to that of a yarn: a concentrated revelation of the marvelous, comical, and ironic, rather than the careful representation of the everyday world.)
    • found: Dictionary.com, Apr. 11, 2013: folk tale (noun, 1. a tale or legend originating and traditions among a people or folk, especially one forming part of the oral tradition of the common people. 2. any belief or story passed on traditionally, especially one considered to be false or based on superstition. Also, folk-tale. Also called folk story)
    • found: Cuddon, J.A. A dictionary of literary terms and literary theory, 1998 (Märchen. A German term for a folk tale or fairy story. The classic collection is that made by the Grimm brothers early in the 19th c.)
  • General Notes

    • Short narratives of uncertain origin that are based on oral tradition.
  • Change Notes

    • 2014-12-01: new
    • 2015-12-15: revised
  • Alternate Formats

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