Mechanics -2 96/108 Great! Schlosser, S. E. Traditional Literature: American Tall Tale Birth of the Jersey Devil



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Schlosser, S.E. Traditional Literature: American Tall Tale

Birth of the Jersey Devil.

Guilford, CT :Globe Pequot Press, Inc., 2006.


Summary:

The monster of Leeds, or the Jersey Devil is a folklore tale of its birth, his mother accused of witchcraft and where it haunts New Jersey.


Concepts/Values:

  1. Making a monster more real by human birth.

  2. Blamed for wreaking havoc in New Jersey.

  3. Accusations of witchcraft.

Reaction:

It is amazing that this story made gruesome by a human birth of a devil, who later wreaks havoc upon New Jersey. Probably a more realistic view was a child born to a woman who had been accused of witchcraft. The child was probably born with multiple birth defects and the women that attended the mother for the birth probably killed the child and made up the story to punish the mother.
Discussion:


  1. There are many tall tales in American folklore. Can you name one?

  2. In what year were women accused of witchcraft practices?

  3. Do you think a devil can control nature and its forces? Why or why not?

Aesop. Traditional Literature: Aesop Fable

The Sick Stag.

Select Fables of Aesop, and other Fabulists.

Translated by Robert Dodsley.

Birmingham: 1864.


Summary:

A lesson is made of when a deer falls ill in the forest and what its’ herd does to him.


Concept/Values:

  1. Choose your friends wisely.

  2. By keeping good friends close by, you will be kept safe and well.

Reaction:

Aesop’s fables are wonderful old Chinese Greek tales that give a lesson on life. The stag, having fallen ill, trusted his companions to assist him, but instead, they turned their backs on him by taking his food away. This tale would help children make good choices when making friends.
Discussion:


  1. Why did the others take away the stag’s food?

  2. Would you help your friend if it meant putting yourself in harms’ way? Why or why not?

  3. -1

Author Unknown Traditional Literature: Chinese Fable

His Spear Against His Sword.

China: www.chinavista.com/experience/fable/fable.html., Xindeco Business Information Co., 1998.


Summary: A man of Chu boasts of the strength of a shield and sword he has for sale, both being impenetrable.
Concept/Value

  1. Be careful of boasting too much.

  2. Watch carefully your words so as not to produce a falsehood.

Reaction:

A good lesson story, similar to Aesop’s fables, where it teaches a lesson. Children brag, “My father is stronger than yours!” in the schoolyard frequently, only for the others to find out that the child’s father is nothing of the sort. By proclaiming things are better than they actually are can make someone doubt your credibility.
Discussion:


  1. Have you ever boasted over something or someone, even though it wasn’t true and what was it?

  2. Do you believe lies that are found out deserve consequences? Why or why not?

  3. -1

Boas, Frank. Traditional Literature: Native American Fable

The Bear Woman.

Lancaster and New York: American Folk-Lore Society, 1917.


Summary:

A tale of a warrior, his wife and family that camp in the woods and come across a magical bear that wants the warrior’s wife for his own.


Concept/Values:

  1. Don’t take things that don’t belong to you.

  2. Family has a strong bond.

Reaction:

This tale from the Okanagon tribe is to teach others about taking things/people that do not belong to you. The bear represents the other person taking away the warriors’ wife for his own, only to suffer and die by the warriors’ arrows. Children learn the lesson of taking things that don’t belong to them. The family ties that are brought into this is when the warrior asks his father for advice and his sisters taking care of his wife afterwards. Again, children learn about bonding with their families for support.
Discussion:


  1. What have you taken from others that did not belong to you?

  2. What were the consequences of your theft?

  3. What has happened to you when you are sick and who took care of you?

haijing, Shan. Traditional Literature: Chinese Myth

Jingwei Determines To Fill Up The Sea.

Book of Mountain and Seas.

China: www.chinavista.com/experience/story/story.html. Xindeco Business Information Co., 1998.

Summary:


An ancient Chinese myth about an Emperors’ daughter that drowned in the sea and came back as a bird to fill up the sea.
Concepts/Values:

  1. Determination will prevail in the face of disaster.

  2. Keeping memories of those that have passed on.

Reaction:

A sorrowful myth of a young daughter of an emperor who drowned in the East Sea. The people saw a bird with a colorful head and the way it behaved by dropping twigs and stones into the sea and named it for the lost daughter. Children don’t deal with death very often, but maybe this story can inspire them to keep the ones that have passed on living in their hearts. The tale speaks of determination of the bird and the hopefulness of life after death. Children need to be taught the value of determination so that they can improve themselves in their lives.
Discussion:


  1. If there is life after death, and you could choose anything to come back as, either animal or bird, what would it be and why?

  2. Studying hard for a test shows you have determination for a better grade. What else have you worked hard on and what happened later?

  3. -1


Encyclopedia Mythica from Encyclopedia Mythica Online.
Bumba.

http://www.pantheon.org/articles/b/bumba.html. Traditional Literature: African Myth

Summary:


A myth from the Bantu tribe tells about the formation of earth, its heavens and its creations.
Concept/Value:

  1. Different cultures worship different gods.

  2. Many religions base some of their beliefs in animals.

Reaction:

By studying many different cultures and religions, the example of earths’ formation, its heavens and creatures is not far from Christian faith, only represented by their own gods and beliefs. Culture and religions play significant roles in today’s society. Children like finding out about their own cultures and religions. They like hearing old stories about their families.
Discussion:


  1. Different cultures represent their gods in different ways. Do you think this culture is close to Christianity or not? Why?

  2. Do we base animals in our culture to have great wisdom and strength? If we do, what are they and how are they represented?

  3. -1

McLaughlin, Marie L.. Traditional Literature: Native American Myth



The Faithful Lovers.

Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library, 1999.


Summary:
A Native American myth of an Indian hunter and a woman he wants to marry. The girl wants him to prove himself worthy and sends him out to be a warrior. The lover and his friends have evil things happen to them and the lover dies. The woman punishes herself for making the lover prove himself.
Concepts/Values:

  1. Just because others do it, doesn’t mean you have to as well.

  2. Love needs no proof.

  3. Keep your promises.

Reaction:

A long myth, but it shows people lessons of life, where the friends jump on the back of a turtle and are taken away and a friend breaking a promise to the lover. This teaches children the importance of being leaders themselves and not to follow the rest of the group as well as how to keep promises that they make.
Discussion:


  1. Do you break your promises? Why or why not?

  2. Do you “follow the crowd” or strive to be a leader? How?

  3. Does anyone have to prove themselves worthy of love? Why?

Encyclopedia Mythica Online. Traditional Literature: Greek Myth

Heracles.

http://www.pantheon.org/articles/h/heracles.html. Encyclopedia Mythica. 2007.

Summary:


Heracles, son of Zeus and a mortal woman was a very strong man. He was granted his strength from his father to protect himself from the other gods. Hera, wife of Zeus, is very jealous and sends in a dream to him that he has killed his family. Heracles enslaves himself to free him from the burden of his family’s death.
Concept/Values:

  1. Protect your family from outside dangers.

  2. Greek mythology was very strong in the lives of others.

Reaction:

This story, otherwise known as Hercules, tells of the trials/tribulations of Hercules and the loss of his family due to his father’ (Zeus) wife’s’ jealousy (Hera). Greek mythology played an important role in Greek times. Hercules is famous with children (cartoons and comics), and envision role playing with this type of character. Studying their own culture will give them a sense of belonging within their family.
Discussion:


  1. What other myths are you familiar with from Greek legends?

  2. What roles do you think were made up in current times?

  3. -1

Schlosser, S.E.. Traditional Literature: American Legend

Ethan Allen.

www.americanfolklore.net, 1997.
Summary: Ethan Allen was the leader of the Green Mountain Boys who were famous for defeating the British at Fort Ticonderoga. While visiting with a dentist friend, a woman comes in needing dental work and is very afraid. Ethan Allen shows that there is no fear by having one of his own teeth pulled.
Concepts/Values:

  1. Bravery, gentleness, willingness to help.

  2. By facing your fears head on, there is nothing to fear.

Reaction:

Many American legends have been written as strong, brave men come to the rescue of the female. This story is no different in showing the woman how brave Ethan Allen was. But, aside from the outward appearance, he did show kindness and gentleness to help her overcome her fears.
Discussion:


  1. Who is your favorite hero?

  2. Do you become afraid of unknown things and what are they?

  3. Would you help someone overcome their fears and how would you do it?

Fuller, Lori. Traditional Literature: Native American Legend

Chief Mountain.

www.ocbtracker.com/ladypixel/chiefmtn.html, 2004.
Summary:

A war-chief falls in love with a maiden and they have a child. Soon after, war is declared on enemies of the tribe and the war-chief is killed. The wife is so distraught that she throws herself and their child off a mountain. The tribe buries the three of them together and name the mountain, “Chief Mountain”.


Concepts/Values:

  1. Love, lore, sympathy for the wife and tribe.

  2. Location of the mountain is in Glacier National Park.

Reaction:

Many Native Americans have named locations after their heroes and gods. Many stories are very believable as it has been passed down from generation to generation. I have deep sympathy for the wife of losing her spouse as we face this even today with our current war. This could be used in a geography lesson for children ages 8-12.
Discussion:


  1. Where is Glacier National Park?

  2. What tribes of Native Americans live here in Arizona?

  3. -1

Barker, William H.. Traditional Literature: West African Legend

Sinclair, Cecelia.

Anansi and Nothing.

West African Folktales, Lagos, Africa. Bookstore, 1917.


Summary:

A tale of two men who go to look for wives. One is rich and the other poor. Anansi (poor) asks his friend, Nothing, to change clothes with him to give an appearance of wealth. Nothing agrees. Anansi finds several wives where Nothing is given one. Upon returning to the prospective homes, the wives are surprised. Anansis’ wives were upset of his deception to them and move into Nothing’s home. Anansi gets back at them by killing Nothing. Nothing’s wife went out and fed the children on the streets yams so that they would cry with her.


Concepts/Values:

  1. Appearances can be deceiving.

  2. Crying over nothing is a favorite saying.

Reaction:

Good concept story where it teaches about deception, greed, jealousy and a saying. Children would listen to this story and probably tell it to their friends and family. Maybe children can bring more to the story about what punishment Anansi deserves.
Discussion:


  1. Why didn’t Nothing make Anansi return his clothes right away?

  2. What punishment should Anansi receive for killing Nothing?

  3. -1

Dove, Mourning. Traditional Literature: Native American Trickster



The Great Spirit Names The Animal People: How Coyote Came By His Powers (Okanogan).

Coyote Tales, 1933.


Summary:

A long ago legend when the land and things were new, the Great Spirit began to name the animal people. Coyote wanted a different name to indicate that he was fierce and strong and boasted about what he should be called. The day came and Coyote found himself with his own name. Great Spirit took pity on him and named him “Father of the Animal People” and bestowed powers on him to protect the animal people.


Concept/Values:

  1. Wanting to be someone/something else than what you are.

  2. Great Spirit tricks Coyote about his name.

Reaction:

A good story for elementary children learning about Native American cultures and history. Coyote wants to be something else and is cruel to those around him. Because of this, Great Spirit bestows on him that he must be protective of the people he once hated.
Discussion:


  1. Do you think Coyote was tricked by the Great Spirit and how was this done?

  2. Now that Coyote has to protect those whom he despised, do you think it was a just punishment or not? -1

  3. -1

Ashliman, D.L.. Traditional Literature: Turkish Trickster



Walnuts and Pumpkins.

Tales of the Turkish Trickster, Univ. of Pittsburgh. 2001-2002.


Summary:
Nasredden Hodja is an imam who questions the wisdom of God when it comes to walnuts and pumpkins and how they are grown. He falls asleep when a walnut falls on his head and proclaims that God is very wise for making walnuts grow in trees and not pumpkins.
Concepts/Values:

  1. Reason behind everything.

  2. Comparison of two different plants and how they grow.

Reaction:



This tale is very interesting as God intends for this person to learn a lesson regarding God’s wisdom. All things are produced for a purpose and reason. A good lesson for children in the early grades, ages 6-8 to learn about horticulture and farming.
Discussion:

  1. What do you think about this trickster tale?

  2. What kinds of plants look like they should grow on trees and what kinds look like they should grow on the ground?

  3. -1


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