English 207: World Folktales and Literature
Schedule: Spring 2006   

Dr. Tina L. Hanlon

Associate Professor of English
Ferrum College

Folktales and Literature Course Home Page


Topics, Readings (due by date indicated on the left)

T 1/17 Course Introduction to Course and Folk Literature
Th 1/19

Introduction to Types of Folk Literature and Animal Tales

Yolen (Favorite Folktales from Around the World), Introduction and Telling Tales section

Comparing types from oral traditions:
Start thinking about differences/uses of terms folktales, fable, myths, creation story, pourquoi tale, legend, tall tale

Which tales in Yolen's Telling Tales sections are folktales, which are pourquoi or creation stories, and which are tall tales or myths or fables any other categories?
Fables: Lechner 16-17, "The Wind and the Sun" (20), "Fire and Water," Truth and Falsehood"
Legends: "The Departure of the Giants" (Yolen 352-53)
Tall Tales:  Several tales in Yolens's first section contain tall tale elements.
Legends/Ghost stories: Lechner, White House Ghosts, 281

Guidelines for Teaching with Folk Tales, Fairy Tales, Fables, Ballads, and Other Short Works of Folklore

Diagrams of Types of Folk Literature

Also read several variants of any folktale and do the journal/discussion assignment below.  Here is one example based on one of the readings in Yolen's first section, but you can find plenty of examples at Sur La Lune Fairy Tales or in D. L. Ashliman's groups of Folklore and Mythology Online Texts.

Example:  "The Longest Tale." For variants of the same tale, compare Japanese "An Endless Story" in Yolen's  Telling Tales section, two Appalachian versions at The Tale without an End in AppLit, and The Endless Tale by James Baldwin (and/or any other versions you find).

Journal/Discussion Assignment

T 1/24

Animal Tales



Edward Lear

Follow-up from last week: We need to talk more about the stories you read for last Thursday and the folktale variants you read on your own, and any remaining questions about types of tales and general features of folktales, including motifs. Continue studying the introductions to both anthologies, especially the first 4 pages of Lechner.

Fables and Folktales -

Lechner, Anthology of Traditional Literature
In chap. 2 on Fables, read at least one fable in each of the five sections.

Yolen, Favorite Folktales Around the World
The Monkey and the Crocodile," p. 151
"The Race Between Toad and Donkey," p. 152 (also in Lechner 151-53)

Read at least one version of "The Three Little Pigs" or Three Little Pigs or "The Big Old Sow and the Three Little Pigs"
(The last link above is a Virginia version.: For other variants (optional), see list and links at The Three Little Pigs.)

Read at least one version of  "The Bremen Town Musicians" or "Jack and the Robbers/Animals/Comrades"
        You can read Orville Hicks' version of "Jack and the Robbers" at http://www.geocities.com/orvillehickssite/jackrobbers.html.or a version called "Jack Goes to Seek His Fortune" from the BRI archives at http://www2.ferrum.edu/applit/texts/JackFortune.htm.
        Or any one of these: Our library has this tale in Richard Chase's Jack Tales; Perdue, Outwitting the Devil: Jack Tales from Wise County (several versions); Ray Hicks and Lynn Salsi, Jack Tales (an oversize picture book that has a CD with an oral telling in it); Rex Stephenson's script in The Jack Tales; or the tale "The Cat That Went A-Traveling," in Marie Campbell, Tales from the Cloud Walking Country.

Optional:  more info. on "Jack and the Animals" or "Jack and the Robbers" at this link.

Required Literature - "The Owl and the Pussy-Cat" by Edward Lear is online at http://www.the-office.com/bedtime-story/owlpussycat.htm, with some background and illustrations.

Also available at http://edwardlear.tripod.com/ns/pussy.html with Lear's illustrations.

Optional: Look at cover with Jan Brett's illustration at http://www.janbrett.com/owl_book.htm.

Optional: Lobel, Fables is on reserve (award-winning picture book with fables for modern kids)

Th 1/26

Animal Tales

T. S. Eliot

Chaucer - animal fable

Literature -

1. T. S. Eliot, “Macavity” (from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats) is online at http://www.cs.rice.edu/~ssiyer/minstrels/poems/258.html. Optional: read any of the other cat poems by Eliot, or listen to the soundtrack from the musical Cats, or look at the lyrics to the musical on reserve in library.

2. "The Nun's Priest's Tale" from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is available at Harvard U. with interlinear translation (modern English between the Middle English lines). http://www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/canttales/nunspri. Use this page for background, illustrations, and useful notes on Chaucer's tale and its origins; then click on interlinear translation link to read the Prologue, Tale, and Epilogue.

Modern translation: http://www.umm.maine.edu/faculty/necastro/chaucer/translation/ct/21npt.html

Fable/tale to compare with Chaucer:  Marie de France, "The Cock and the Fox" (a source for Chaucer)
"The Fox and the Crow," Lechner, 19; "Reynard and the Wolf," Lechner, 133-34

Chaucer also online at Bartleby.com: http://www.bartleby.com/40/0201.html and following page. You'll need the footnotes to understand some of the medieval language.


To hear excerpts read out loud in Middle English by a medievalist, go to http://academics.vmi.edu/english/audio/NPT_David.html and http://academics.vmi.edu/english/audio/NPT_Closing_Baragona.html and use RealPlayer (I had to click on the blue title to start the audio.)

Optional: For illustrations and the fable Chaucer's tale is based on, see http://www.luminarium.org/medlit/nptimage.htm.

T 1/31

Trickster Tales


(especially Anansi and Brer Rabbit and other rabbit tricksters)


Trickster introductions in Lechner 95, 118-22, Yolen 127-8. (Also think about tricksters in stories we've already read.)

Anansi Tales:  Yolen 130-31; Lechner 26-27 120, 122-23.

Read as many other tales in Yolen's Trickster chapter as you can, including "Coyote Fights a Lump of Pitch, 134-36" and  "The King's Son Goes Bear Hunting," 155-56
Read as many tales in Lechner's Trickster Tales section as you can, especially "Brer Tiger and the Big Wind," "The Moon in the Pond," "The Signifying Monkey," "Rabbit Escapes from the Wolves," 138-45; "The King of Leaves," 153-54"; "The Peas Thief," 124-25

Optional:  Other Uncle Remus tales or Brer Rabbit tales: 

A modernized version of the Brer Rabbit/Tar Baby story is this contemporary retelling : http://www.otmfan.com/html/brertar.htm, or read the version in Virginia Hamilton's collection The People Could Fly (on reserve).

"Brer Rabbit and the Well" is told online by popular storyteller Jackie Torrence at Zinger Tales. (other videos also available at this site, including some Anansi tales)

See an illustration of Brer Rabbit with comments from an anti-racist organization that uses Brer Rabbit as its symbol, at http://www.pipeline.com/~rgibson/rouge_forum/brer.htm and an illustration of Brer Rabbit by A. B. Frost at http://www.clarkart.edu/museum_programs/exhibitions_past_detail.cfm?ID=12&nav=2. Compare the Disney image of Br'er Rabbit at http://stp.ling.uu.se/~starback/dcml/chars/brers.html.

See Tar Baby Notes and a storytelling version of the tale at http://www.folktale.net/tarbynts.html.

Brer Rabbit statue in Eatonton, GA (birthplace of Joel Chandler Harris) shown at http://www.cviog.uga.edu/Projects/gainfo/statues/brerrabbit.htm.

Rabbit and Tar Wolf is a retelling by Cherokee children of a Cherokee tale.

Th 2/2


R. Browning


Literature -

1. "The Pied Piper," poem by Robert Browning with famous illustrations by Kate Greenaway

Optional: See The Piped Piper of Hameln and Related Legends of Other Towns, versions of the legend compiled by D. L. Ashliman, or background at Pied Piper Homepage.

2. Boccaccio, "Tale of Peronella," Day 7, Tale (or novella) 2 from The Decameron.
Available in the library (with some interesting modern illustrations for The Decameron) or at http://dante.ilt.columbia.edu/books/decamer/eng/Day_07/novella_07_02.html

For a paragraph about the cultural context of The Decameron, see point 2 on the bottom half of this page: http://www.wwnorton.com/nawol/s10_overview.htm.
Catholic Encyclopedia introduction to Boccaccio (especially 5th and 6th paragraphs on The Decameron): http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02607a.htm.

For a brief trickster tale with sexual humor, see Yolen, "Quevedo and the King," 131-32.

Optional: Read other tales from Day 7 on wives tricking their husbands, or Day 4, Tale 2 from The Decameron

For explanation of the fabliaux and their often obscene content, with links to online examples and other resources, see The Fabliaux, at Harvard's The Geoffrey Chaucer Page.

See the beautiful 1916 painting by Waterhouse of the young ladies and men of The Decameron telling their stories, with introduction to the book.

Optional: Look at 15th century illuminated manuscript of The Decameron, at Bodelian Library, Oxford University.

T 2/7


Saki short stories

Literature -

Read Saki, "The Open Window" and "The Story-Teller" (modern short stories, available online or in library books)
Why is Saki known as the master of modern literary gothic stories and stories with a twist?
Is this a ghost story or a horror story?
How do any of his characters compare to tricksters in folktales?
How does the form of the modern short story compare with other stories we have read so far?

Read the two stories online at any of these sites:
"The Open Window" and "The Story-Teller" at World Wide School  Library
"The Open Window" at Montgomery College Library
Both are available in Project Gutenberg in the book Beasts and Super-Beasts by Saki
Both are available in NetLibrary in this book: Beasts and Super-Beasts by Saki

Th 2/9

Quest Tales and Tricksters



1. “The Ship That Sailed on Land,” Lechner 80-84

There is also a version of the Russian "The Flying Ship" online at http://www.rickwalton.com/folktale/yellow29.htm.

See also description of similar Appalachian tales at "Hardy Hardhead," with photos of Jack Tale Players performance of this tale.  Richard Chase's "Hardy Hard Head" is on reserve in his book The Jack Tales. An oral variant of this tale, "Jack and Granny Ugly," told by NC storyteller Donald Davis, will be on reserve on CD in the Library.

2. "Jack and the Varmints," Lechner 135-37

See also description of other similar Appalachian tales at "Jack and the Varmints - or - The Lion and the Unicorn."

3. "The Peddler of Swaffham," Yolen 414-15

T 2/14 TEST I - See Study Guide for Test 1
Th 2/16

Quest Tales - Baum

Literature -

Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

For a required Journal/Discussion Assignment, you will be assigned a chapter to report on. See details at this link.

If you want to read more by Baum, his American Fairy Tales are online (and most likely his other books are on other sites).

Tues., 2/21

Quest Tales



Review “The Ship That Sailed on Land,” Lechner 80-84, or the Russian "The Flying Ship" online at http://www.rickwalton.com/folktale/yellow29.htm or the Appalachian  "Hardy Hardhead" in Richard Chase's Jack Tales (on reserve)

Literature -

"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
With "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," look at illustrations by Gustave Doré: complete illustrated edition is on reserve in library and a different edition is available on Internet: Illustrated text at UVA Electronic Text Center.

Th 2/23

Quest Tales


(also a transformation tale about the loathly lady)



Chaucer, “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale.” Interlinear translation at http://icg.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/canttales/wbt Use this page for background, illustration, and useful notes on Chaucer's tale and its origins.

Modern Translation: http://www.litrix.com/canterby/cante029.htm and http://www.litrix.com/canterby/cante030.htm

Optional: To hear an excerpt read out loud in Middle English by a medievalist, go to http://academics.vmi.edu/english/audio/WOBT_Baragona.html and use RealPlayer (I had to click on the blue title to start the audio.)

For an old illustration of the loathly lady turning beautiful, see http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/IMAGES/EBBBEAUT.HTM.

Optional: See another version of "The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle" at http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/TEAMS/RAGINTRO.HTM or at http://www.bartleby.com/182/106.html.or http://www.bulfinch.org/tales/chiv05.html.

T 2/28

Folktales and Dramatic Adaptations

Appalachian Jack Tales


Folktales - The 3 tales the Jack Tale Players will perform on Mar. 1 are labeled 1, 2 and 3 below.  Be sure you have read one version of each. If you wish, you can read Rex Stephenson's script of any of the 3 tales instead of other versions listed below.  The library has a number of copies of The Jack Tales and Jack's Adventures with the King's Girl by R. Rex Stephenson.

Read "The Script as Story Theatre" by Dr. Rex Stephenson.

1. Read "Jack Goes to Seek his Fortune" or Orville Hicks's  "Jack and the Robbers" or Ray Hicks's "Jack and the Robbers" in Ray Hicks/L. Salsi picture book The Jack Tales on reserve (you can listen to the famous storyteller Ray Hicks tell this tale on the CD in the book), or Stephenson's script in The Jack Tales.  (This tale is similar to "The Bremen Town Musicians.")

2. Review “The Ship That Sailed on Land,” Lechner 80-84

See also description of similar Appalachian tales at "Hardy Hardhead," with photos of Jack Tale Players performance of this tale. Richard Chase's "Hardy Hard Head" is on reserve in his book The Jack Tales, or read Stephenson's script in Jack's Adventures with the King's Girl.

3. "Wicked John and the Devil," Yolen 35-66, or read Stephenson's script in The Jack Tales.

See also description of other similar tales at "Wicked Jack" or Wicked John and the Devil" in AppLit.  For an African American version of this tale, see "How Jack O'Lanterns Came to Be" in Mules and Men by Zora Neale Hurston.

Also review "Jack and the Varmints," Lechner 135-37

See also description of other similar tales at "Jack and the Varmints - or - The Lion and the Unicorn."

Wednesday, Mar. 1 Jack Tale Players Performance, Sale Theatre, 7:30 p.m.  Write a response in your journal about this performance.  What have you learned about dramatic methods of adapting folktales?  See details on assignments page.
Thur., Mar. 2, 5 p.m.

Story theatre adaptations

Transformations -


Paper 1 due (or by Tuesday evening if you want it included in your midterm grade). See Guidelines for Paper 1.

Discussion of Jack Tale performance and tales from Tuesday

Transformation folktales:  Yolen section on Shape Shifters. Read "The Swan-Maiden," 303-304; "The Seal's Skin," 310-11; "The Wounded Seal," 311-12, and any others you have time for. (Think back on the loathly lady in "The Wife of Bath's Tale" as another transformation tale, and transformations in other works we have studied.)

Don't forget that I must see your journal at midterm to verify that it has been submitted three times by midterm.

3/6-10 Midterm Break
T 3/14

Transformations -

Folktales with animal bridegrooms

Review Yolen Shape Shifters section (especially tales assigned for Mar. 2).

Read "The Red Bull of Norroway" in Lechner, 77-79

Optional: read a version of “Beauty and the Beast” from SurLaLuneFairyTales or D. L. Ashliman's Beauty and the Beast reprints.

Read a version of “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” from SurLaLuneFairyTales or the Appalachian "The Three Gold Nuts" (online at this link)
(Optional: “Whitebear Whittington” in Richard Chase’s Grandfather Tales is on reserve in library—"The Three Gold Nuts" is a variant of this tale.)

For some similar motifs, see also "The Rusty Little Cook Stove in the Woods" in Lechner, 89-90

Recommended: Live-action film The Polar Bear King (on reserve)

Recommended: poems based on "Beauty and the Beast": "The Beast" by Bill Lewis at http://www.endicott-studio.com/cofhs/cofbeast.html, and "B & B: An Anniversary" by Jane Yolen at http://www.endicott-studio.com/cofhs/cofbbann.html, "Beauty and the Beast" by Jaimes Alsop at http://www.endicott-studio.com/cofhs/cofbeuty.html.

Th 3/16



The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (1915)

See Study Questions on The Metamorphosis

In class we will also discuss picture books with transformations or metamorphoses in modern realistic settings (such as Beetle Boy; Flat Stanley; Imogene's Antlers; Hey, Al; It Happened in Pinsk; Louis the Fish; The Shrinking of Treehorn).

Mon., Mar. 20

music, poetry storytelling by Mountain Women Rising on campus, 7:30 p.m.

Tues., Mar. 21 No class in LA 201 but you must attend the panel discussion of the Women's Leadership Conference in Sigmon Recital Hall.  Try to stay for the alumna address by Bernice Cobbs if you possibly can.  Register for the conference at this link (especially if you want to have lunch free at the conference).
Th 3/23

Cinderella and Other Heroines



Finish discussion of transformation tales with picture books listed for 3/16.

Folktales -

1. Be sure you are familiar with one traditional version of "Cinderella" (or "Ashputtle" or "Ashpet").

2. "Tattercoats," Lechner 79-81

3. "Vasilisa the Fair," Lechner 84-88

Optional: Films Ashpet and Ever After are on reserve. Both are wonderful recent live-action adaptations of the Cinderella story. You can also read the Appalachian "Ashpet" in Chase's Grandfather Tales (on reserve). Information about it is at Ashpet.

Tues., 3/28



Guy de Maupassant, short story “The Necklace” - online at http://www.bartleby.com/195/20.html. Read the short notes on the author and story at this site, also. Think (and write in your journals) about comparing this French realistic story with "Cinderella."

Anne Sexton poem, “Cinderella” (handout), from her book Transformations
Suggestions for journal writing:  What does the speaker in this poem think of the Cinderella story?  How can you tell?  Where does the poem break the magic spell of the fairy tale and introduce a modern perspective or tone?

Thurs., 3/30

Cinderella and Other Heroines -



Deadline for approval of project topics

Boccaccio, “Isabella and the Pot of Basil." Available in The Decameron, 4th Day, 5th Tale, on reserve in library, or online at http://dante.ilt.columbia.edu/books/decamer/eng/Day_04/novella_04_05.html.

See the famous Pre-Raphaelite paintings by William Holman Hunt at http://www.abcgallery.com/H/huntwh/huntwh9.html. and John William Waterhouse at http://www.johnwilliamwaterhouse.com/pictures/isabella-pot-of-basil-1907

Millais painting of characters together: http://www.victorianweb.org/painting/millais/paintings/isabella.html

Strudwick (pot gone): http://www.squidoo.com/john-melhuish-strudwick

Optional: modern print at http://www.illusionsgallery.com/basil.html

Marie-Chantal (French Canadian artist). who imitates with photos: http://cadieux.mediumaevum.com/preraph.html - also has Miranda and "La Belle Dame..."

(Waterhouse Miranda http://www.johnwilliamwaterhouse.com/pictures/miranda-1875)

Optional: If you like the Romantic poetry of John Keats, you can read his long poem on Boccaccio's story at http://www.bartleby.com/126/38.html.

Tennyson, poem "The Lady of Shalott." Online at http://www.bartleby.com/101/700.html 

See 2 famous paintings by John William Waterhouse at http://www.practicalpainting.com/Articels/PreRaphael/PreRaphae0505.htm.

See Moxon's Illustrated Tennyson on Norton Anthology web site in Victorian section, including paintings of "The Lady of Shallot"

Arthur Hughes painting of "The Lady of Shallot"

Sidney Meteyard painting of "The Lady of Shallot"

Tues., 4/4 Test 2 scheduled, postponed because of power outage
Tues., 4/4 Extra Credit Opportunity: International Week events all week.  Don't miss the Russian "Three Pigs" tale (and other talent from your fellow students) on Tuesday, 7 p.m. “A TASTE OF DIVERSITY” program, Grousbeck (international foods afterwards)
Thurs., 4/6 Extra Credit Opportunity: You are invited to attend the Holocaust class for discussion of Yolen's Briar Rose. It meets in Britt 107 at 2:00 Thursday.

There are background and reviews online at JaneYolen.com, including Yolen's essay on book burning.  Why has this novel been banned in some places, and burned on the steps of the Kansas City Board of Education?

Thurs., 4/6 Test 2 covering everything we've studied since Test 1. See Study Guide for Tests

Bring your journal so that Dr. Hanlon can read it during the test.

Tues., 4/11

Folktale and Literature


Folktale and Novel -

 Read "Little Briar Rose" from the Grimm Brothers (German)
(An annotated version of Perrault's Sleeping Beauty as retold by Andrew Lang is also available at this site.)

Jane Yolen, Briar Rose

See notes above for reference to Jane Yolen web site (background and reviews online at JaneYolen.com) and invitation to Holocaust class. How is this story like a mystery novel? Think about how the three different layers of story in this novel fit together: the fairy tale, the story of Becca's life and quest, and Josef Potocki's telling of his story. What does the novel reveal about the power of fairy tales and storytelling?  How is Becca like (and unlike) a fairy tale heroine? Why does Gemma tell her unusual version of "Biar Rose" obsessively but not tell about her past directly?

Be sure you have your project topic approved by now.  We need to schedule project reports ASAP. 

Thurs., 4/13

Cinderella and Other Heroines

Magical, Malicious, and Monstrous Encounters


Read  "Molly Whuppie" in Yolen 228-31; "Li Chi Slays the Serpent" in Yolen 210-11: "La EstrellitaLittle Star" in Lechner 90-92

Also read and compare Mutsmag (online illustrated version).

Optional: Munsmeg (same tale as "Mutsmag" in Richard Chase's Grandfather Tales, which is on reserve in book and photocopy); Mutzmag film on reserve by Davenport. See also web page on variants of "Mutsmag," and related teaching materials in AppLit.

Tues, 4/18

Cinderella and Other Heroines


Discuss movie Like Water for Chocolate (based on novel by Laura Esquivel), 1990s

Film is on closed reserve in library.

Optional: Read background and reviews: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19930402/REVIEWS/304020304/1023, http://movie-reviews.colossus.net/movies/l/like_water.html.

Thurs., 4/20

Magical, Malicious, and Monstrous Encounters

Paper 2 due tomorrow  - see Guidelines for Papers

Project reports

Poem:  "Jabberwocky" by Lewis Carroll. For illustrations and background and variations, see The Ultimate Jabberwocky Page (it looks like a good site but the editors of it aren't identified)

Play: Shakespeare, The Tempest

Optional:  See pictures from The Tempest and John William Waterhouse painting of Miranda and the Shipwreck (1916), another list of Tempest paintings

F 4/21 Paper 2 due by today (leave it in Britt Hall 205 or 201)
T 4/25

Tall Tales, Humorous and Satiric Tales

Project reports

Tall tales:  "John Henry," Lechner tall tales section including "Paul Bunyan"; Four Hound-Dog Stories in Yolen, 294-95
You can read and listen to a version of "John Henry" in AppLit at http://www2.ferrum.edu/applit/studyg/West/htm/henry.htm
The NPR report on "John Henry" is excellent and also contains versions you can read and listen to, and a picture of the WV statue.

Optional:  Read/hear about Tony Beaver, Paul Bunyan's West Virginia cousin.

Th 4/27

Tall Tales, Humorous and Satiric Tales

Project reports

Scieska and Smith, The Stinky Cheese Man (fairy tale parodies, on reserve)

Scieska and Smith, The True Story of A. Wolf (on reserve)

Other readings may be announced or distributed.

  Final exam study guide will be posted during exam week.  Please submit your suggestions for this study guide.
Thurs. 5/4

Final Exam

10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

 See Study Guide for Final Exam.

By the time of the final exam, turn in complete journal (it must have been submitted seven times by now and contain the equivalent of at least 14 typed pages of writing to earn a C or better).

Fri., 5/5 By today, turn in the writing that you want to count for your 3rd writing assignment.

Final Requirement:  HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!

05/01/06 10:46 PM
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