I love the inherent flexibility of an oral story – it means it can be improvised, allowing for each telling to be shaped to its audience and the environment where it is being told. With oral delivery, tellers can bring their own personalities to the story, and listeners get to experience what it means to be part of the creative process. There are many different kinds of oral story; I thought it might be interesting to take a closer look at some of them. (These are in no particular order).
anecdote – this is usually a short account of a real incident or event, often interesting or amusing though sometimes biographical. Example: You’re in a cooking class and are about to learn how to make a souffle and the chef prefaces the lesson by telling you about the first time he made a souffle and it was a disaster. Anecdotes are used to lighten the mood, to reminisce, to caution or to inspire. … Read More »
Folktales are stories rooted in oral traditions among common people, most of whom were illiterate. They reflect universal experience, and similar tales are ubiquitous the world over. One imagines many stories circulating throughout history yet it is only a select few, those that contained polished nuggets of wisdom, that managed to be passed down through generations until they were eventually collected and published by individuals like Charles Perrault and the brothers Grimm.
Who Were the Brothers Grimm?
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, who died in 1863 and 1859 respectively, were German scholars with an interest in culture who studied linguistics and collected folklore. Their first volume of tales published in 1812 was widely translated and had a profound
influence on other European scholars who set out to do similar work collecting folktales from their home countries. This soon gave rise to folklore societies whose interests expanded into collecting songs, poems, proverbs, games, traditional lore and folk medicine.