From the beginning of time every tribe, culture and nation in human history created its own collection of stories to explain the concepts of human and animal origin, life and death, right and wrong, good and bad. Mythologies usually defined a culture’s deities and man’s relation to them. Fables developed to transmit lessons about life, nature and survival in the world. And folktales emerged to record and embellish history, to memorialize ancestors and to promote heroes for each generation to honor and emulate. Not unlike any other form of fiction, myths, fables and folktales succeeded throughout history by blending some identifiable measure of the realities of people’s lives with various degrees of fantasy and magic, creating a new type of awareness of the world and of those who inhabited it. Sometimes this led to superstitions, sometimes to advances in practical learning, sometimes to cultural change, sometimes even to conflict. It was from mythology, fables and folktales – for countless generations passed down as oral traditions and entertainments, and only committed to writing many centuries later – that all subsequent literature had its beginning.
Mythology, Fables and Folktales
The following geographically assigned categories in our database represent the Mythology, Fables and Folktales collection of World Literature:
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