Folklores are traditional beliefs that are often centered around stories with supernatural elements. These stories are usually handed down from generation to generation. As with most stories, folklores can often be modified to suit the current trends of the storyteller. Most folklores aren’t scary, but there are some exceptions. These stories are usually meant to teach a lesson or tell how something came to be.
All over the world, each country has its tales and stories about their origins. Children often hear folklore from their elders, such as their grandfather or grandmother. A good time to tell folklores is during bedtime. Children are often more attentive before sleeping and tend to absorb the valuable lessons and stories of certain folklores.
Although folklores can be excellent stories for kids, they can also be told to adults as well. Folklore that caters to adults also exists and has more mature elements involved. Whether you’re a kid or not, it’s nice to hear stories from our elders. If you want to become a storyteller, then you can definitely add folklores to your storytelling sessions.
To get you started, here are some folktales from all over the world that’s enjoyed by both adults and children.
Another giant in this list, Old Stormalong, is known in Cape Cod as a talented sailor. As a baby, he already stood 18 feet tall. Old Stormalong sailed a lot during his times. He even went as far as Scandinavia, where he encountered the Kraken. The Kraken was beast from Scandinavian mythology that was a giant octopus, even larger than Old Stormalong himself.
In their first meeting, the battle was almost even. The Kraken eventually escaped making Old Stormalong pursue him. Due to his haste, the giant sailor smashed his boat into the coast of Panama. As his ship collided with the land, it began to form a canal. Today, this place is called the Panama Canal.
Another story tells of the same boat owned by Old Stormalong that got stuck in the English channel. He ordered his crew to use soap to make the boat slippery. This event probably explains how the White Cliffs of Dover came to be.
Japan is one of the countries around the world which have tons of folktales. Most notable of these legends is that of Momotarō. His name is made up of two Japanese words; momo for boy and taro for peach, hence his nickname “Peach Boy.”
His legend starts as his mother, who was washing clothes down a river, found a giant peach. Thinking of it as food and a blessing from the gods, she took the peach home to her husband. To their surprise, the giant peach actually contained a boy, which they aptly named Momotarō.
Onis or Demons plagued the village that Momotarō grew up. Aiming to stop the Onis, he befriended a talking monkey, a dog, and a pheasant that helped him storm the demon’s palace. Legend says that Momotarō and his companions beat the demons and got their treasure, along with the demon chief as their prisoner.
As mentioned earlier, folklores are often creation or origin stories of the world. In American folktales, Paul Bunyan is a giant lumberjack responsible for creating the major landmarks all over the Northern American continent. According to legend, Paul arrived on earth when five giant storks carried him. When he grew up, his footprints made several lakes in Minnesota, hence the name, “Land of 10,000 Lakes.”
Aside from his footprints, his large shovel also carved out the Great Canyon. To keep him company, Paul Bunyan also has a pet ox. This wasn’t just any ordinary ox. He named the ox Babe, who was blue all over and was just as big as him. Many folktales such as this one are often mentioned in sites such as mysteriousheartland.com. You can visit them to know more stories about creation and origins.
Another Asian country full of folklore is the Philippines. As the people in this country live near nature, most of their stories center around the creation of the world. In one particular legend, Bathala was the divine being responsible for creating the first man and woman.
Many legends point to Bathala about the origin of all life. Even natural occurrences such as eclipses area attributed to his creations. There’s also a story about seven moons instead of one. The reason why the six moons disappeared is because of a giant serpent named Bakunawa.
Bakunawa was huge enough to swallow the six moons and was the cause of earthquakes, typhoons, and other natural calamities. As a desperate measure to guard the last moon, Bathala planted bamboo groves around it. Bakunawa was still able to swallow the last moon despite Bathala’s efforts. This story is the reason why, for most ethnic Filipinos, eclipses happen.
As a last effort, Bathala gathered all his subjects and ordered them to shout and scare the serpent. Everyone yelled, gathered their pans, and began making loud noises. The snake eventually relented and spat out the last moon. Today, some people in the Mountainous regions of the country get their pans and shout “Ibalik mo ang buwan bakunawa!” which literally means “Return the moon to us Bakunawa!
All around the world, countries have their fair share of folktales. The stories mentioned above are just a fraction of the stories that many people in their countries know off. Most of the time, these stories often cater to the creation of the world and how people came into existence.