Writing Challenge, Day 18: Fables & Folklore

30 Day Know Thyself Writing Challenge

Day 18: Which genre of writing have you not explored but want to? Why?

I have always been enchanted by old stories: by fables, folklore, and legend. If it comes in a hardcover volume, smells of dust and yellowed pages, is found painted on ancient walls or has been passed from parent to child for hundreds of years at the candle-lit bedside, chances are I will love it.

It’s unfortunate that these stories are often tagged as strictly for children. Talking animals, gnarled witches, houses made of candy or standing on chicken feet—stories with these elements, that appeal to the imagination as well as to human nature, are not just timeless but ageless. The fable of a cunning fox that flatters a crow into dropping its grape is didactic and its lesson applies to adults as well as children. The same can be said of stories The Ant and the Grasshopper, The Little Red Hen, and The Goose That Laid Golden Eggs. And what folklore lacks in moral instruction it makes up for in magic: what mind is not captivated by Baba Yaga’s haggard nails and teeth? The magic comb and mirror? The glowing eyes of skin walkers, night marchers, or the chupacabra? The Irish tale of a young trickster named Jack who, banished from both heaven and hell, was doomed to wander the darkness with a burning ember inside a carved turnip?

While I’ve no ambition to be the next Aesop or Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen, I greatly admire their stories. They are pure magic and thrill me to this day—and, as a writer, I should think we couldn’t ask for more. After writing this post I am craving folklore like a chocolate doughnut with sprinkles! Perhaps after I steep myself in the stories of my childhood (and many more that I’ve missed) I will attempt something along the same lines.

Help a girl out: what are your favorite folk stories, fables, and myths? My reading list is in need!