Saturday, 23 January 2016

Once Upon A Really Long Time Ago...

Bronwyn Bancroft

It's been a really interesting week in the realm of fairy tales.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, academics discovered that the fairy stories passed down from generation to generation may have originated much earlier than previously believed... 
The researchers say they agree with famous fairy-tale author Wilhelm Grimm, who, with his brothers, wrote down famous oral tales in the 19th century. Grimm believed that many of the popular stories dated back to the birth of Indo-European languages... 
The academics also examined the famous tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, which was originally part of a series of stories called The Boy Who Stole Ogre’s Treasure, and found that its roots could be traced back to 5,000 years ago.

Indigenous stories of dramatic sea level rises across Australia date back more than 7,000 years in a continuous oral tradition without parallel anywhere in the world, according to new research... 
Reid said a key feature of Indigenous storytelling culture – a distinctive “cross-generational cross-checking” process – might explain the remarkable consistency in accounts passed down by preliterate people which researchers previously believed could not persist for more than 800 years. 
“The idea that 300 generations could faithfully tell a story that didn’t degenerate into Chinese whispers, that was passing on factual information that we know happened from independent chronology, that just seems too good to be true, right?”

In 2013, 500 new fairy tales were discovered locked in an archive in Germany. I hope there are plans to translate them.

It's fascinating to think on the enduring appeal of fairy tales, and the importance of oral storytelling traditions.

No comments:

Post a Comment