Cap O'Rushes

A Folkloric and Literature Resource

for Teachers and Librarians

Philosophy and some Warnings

Folk stories have been used by cultures to entertain, but also to pass on values. Folk stories are the distilled wisdom of a people, presented in the form of metaphor, and it is the accumulation of stories within a culture that illuminates the underlying principles that the culture is preserving.

While the collected folklore of a culture helps to define that culture, it is in the comparison of the stories of many cultures that one perceives the basic thought patterns of all peoples. That the same story form appears all over the world demonstrates the unity of the human race; the variations of that story exemplify human diversity.

The study of folklore can be approached developmentally on three levels of increasing complexity:

These levels of thinking about folklore are sequential. One must approach the material on the first level before one can see the patterns and archetypes of the second level. And it is only after much study and immersion in the material that the underlying wisdom appears.

Given the opportunity, even young children are able to see and predict the patterns in literature. Children gain power and confidence from understanding literature on an abstract level.

A couple of caveats:

Particular titles are recommended to use with various lessons. Some of these are going to be unavailable and out of print. Your school librarian will know of newer versions of these classic tales. Many of the titles used are prize winning books and should be available, even if they are old.


If you have questions or comments about any of the material offered here, please email Carole at carole at slattery dot com.