A preliminary and incomplete definition of folktales based upon G. S. Kirk’s Myth. Its Meaning and Functions in Ancient and Other Cultures. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970 (pg. 37):
Traditional tales, of no firmly established form, in which supernatural elements are subsidiary; they are not primarily concerned with ‘serious’ subjects or the reflection of deep problems and preoccupations; and their first appeal lies in their narrative interest.
lack of ordinary logic
unpredictable sequence of events
due especially to supernatural elements
element of seriousness
deals with timeless past
logical progression of events
use of ingenuity
kind of wish-fulfilment fantasy
reflect simple social situations
element of entertainment
This material has been published on the web by Prof. Tom Sienkewicz for his students at Monmouth College. If you have any questions, you can contact him at email@example.com.
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