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WHAT LESSONS DO THE FOLKTALES OF THE WORLD TEACH?


An Irish face always looks like
it’s been told two very important pieces of information, at the same time.
At one shoulder, somebody has just run up and said,
‘You’ve just won a hundred million thousand pounds and loads of stuff.’
And at the other shoulder, somebody just whispered in their ear,
‘But you only have three minutes to live.’

D.Maran


We all agree that when reading tales there is the idea that it is possible to observe many nationalities in them and their characters. Since they are folk tales the stories are also passed on from generation to generation.

Have you ever thought that folk tales can shape the world outlook of a child? Let’s examine what lessons fairy tales can teach your children.

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English tales will teach your child to be independent and to appreciate material valuables. The heroes who “made themselves who they are now by themselves” are relatable for English-speaking cultures. The typical plot is that the adventures of the main character are rewarded by material valuables and this makes them happy.

The heroes of Italian tales are more often actors, singers, and the people who are the center of attention. The plot is usually realistic (sometimes too much), and very often tales end with the death of the main character. It is considered that such tales will teach a child not to be afraid of death and to observe the world around without rose-colored glasses.

German tales will teach children to value home and family as a lot of attention is paid to the “atmosphere at home”. It is also easy to see that the original version of “The Bremen Town Musicians” by The Grimm Brothers differs a lot from the version of the modern movie where travelling musicians capture the small robbers’ house in the forest and stay to live there.

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A bright and mysterious world of things and countless treasures of Asian tales will teach a child to be happy “here and now”. The main character does not use a lot of effort to achieve something. The treasure, as a rule, comes from out of the blue to the character at the beginning of the tale. At the same time the hero does not take everything except the amount that he needs to be happy. The plots make a kid think that it is better to be content with less and to be happy about the things you have.

The French folk tales and characters search for love in plots that end with wedding days.

The Russian tales will tell that good always conquers evil. These folk characters search for things that benefit not just themselves, but others as well. The motives of mutual benefits are visible.

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It is clear that folktales help to understand the culture of your own country as well as other cultures in a better way. At the same time grown-ups should keep in mind behavioral stereotypes. For example, there is an opinion that Western people consider Russia to be an impudent nation, and that Russians think Western people behave themselves as if they are strangers even to their relatives.

The Frenchmen see the Englishmen as being small-minded, ill mannered, absurd, and that they don’t know the way to dress, while German people have a lower cultural level from their point of view.

The Englishmen think that the Frenchmen are too excitable, the Germans are too serious and always tease everyone; the Italians are too emotional, the Spanish are cruel to animals, the Russians are too gloomy and all the Asian nations are cunning and dangerous.


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You should understand that a child absorbs information like a sponge. I will allow myself to remind you that if you want a kid to take the right or necessary lesson from a tale from your point of view, you should discuss with then both the positive and negative sides of the characters, ask them the way they would have acted in every situation, and that it is better to not generalize people into one category.

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Because one who is happy is one who is free from stereotypes!

Psychologist Valentina Shapovalova