Journaling Idea #30: Folklore, Mythology, Household Tales

John Vernon Lord, artist

There’s nothing quite as inspiring as a folktale or a myth. Just ask Walt Disney.

Folktales and myths are stories that have been passed down for generations within a community or a country, providing explanations for how or why things came to be; others providing moral lessons. Household tales are similar stories told within a singular family.

A wonderful free source about folktales and mythology was created by D. L. Ashliman, a long retired professor from the University of Pittsburgh.

Folktales and myths can serve as springboards to remembering your own personal stories or to creating new fictional stories.

I followed the link from Ashliman’s site to Bartleby’s collection of Aesop’s Fables and created five prompts in a short time:

  • The moral of Aesop’s “The Man and the Serpent” (“Injuries may be forgiven, but not forgotten.” led me to write the prompt: Every scar has a story.  Tell the story of one of your scars.
  • The “Town Mouse and the Country Mouse” reminded me of the adage “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” Describe a time in your experience when this was false.
  • After reading “The Fox and the Crow” with its moral “Do not trust flatterers,” people might ask themselves, am I more of a fox or a crow?
  • The moral of Aesop’s “The Lion and the Mouse” is “Little friends may prove great friends.”  When has a kind deed been repaid to you?
  • “The Sick Lion” leads me to wonder what the insults I have received say about the people who said them.

Be warned: Ashliman’s website is a bit of rabbit hole. Enjoy, but don’t get lost.