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The fountain of youth is hidden in poems, legends, fables, myths and sayings

Updated on November 8, 2013

Folklore, myths, legends, stories, sayings, maxims and proverbs; enduring prophesies

The rise of versions of a similar story and the fluidity with which these are found in various cultures attests to the fact that all have given thought to oppression, greed, reward and celebration of life. The generation that learnt its lessons the harder way left warnings, clues, advice and stories for the next. It was upon the next generation to use the lessons. There is no need to re-invent the wheel.

A compendium of lore from any culture and gender will show there are lessons for all and everything that concerns humans: deities, women, children, environment, technology and men. Lore is like a mirror in which all can look whether they are educated and skilled in exegetical analysis or not. The books that have been passed down to our generation and are known as 'divinely' blessed are a good point to start with for any one looking for folklore, myths, legends, stories, sayings and maxim. In reading them, though one has to avoid a skewed interpretation. One has to remain with an open perspective. A broadness to things. Otherwise one may risk alienating a given gender, population group or section of humanity. To be ' the chosen' should apply to all people! All are chosen. This is the premise of all writings though it is interpretation that distorts things. This alienating interpretation has led to a rise of movements, activism and denunciation of a 'privileged' class activities that tend to despise those not of their class. There are now different versions, especially, of the Bible. The Jesus movement, it is believed 'did not belong to the establishment of their Jewish society or religion... did not accept the values and institutions of their Jewish society and milieu but often stood in opposition to them. Jesus and His disciples, for example, did not live an ascetic life-style like John the baptist and his followers. The Jesus group rejected the religious purity laws and attracted the outcasts of their society as well as those who were for various reasons ostracized from their religious community" ( Carol P. Christ and Judith Plaskow, 1979: Woman Spirit Rising; A feminist reader in religion, Page 87).

A battle where non is required!

You will find some books that have for their first sentences extolling how this or other culture has the best wit, satire, legends or fables. This composition sets to take a different line. Like in all my writings,I wish to provide the lessons learnt, appropriation and applicability angle to things. With the ICT divide getting thinner and thinner cultures that had not written down so much about themselves will reveal treasures we thought were non existent. All we need to have in our minds is belief in humanity and diversity. Let us have an open mind. That does the trick.

Humans over a long time have been intrigued by longevity, invincibility, birth, origin and destiny. These became the staple for one generation to pass on to another. What happened in the past seems to intrigue the present generation and this will intrigue a next generation. This is uniform for all humans. Please read this narrative in that light. Thank you so much.

Story Telling and bonding in Families

Humans discovered and realized that story telling bonds them together even better. Humanity was preserved through the ideas, thoughts shared at such moments and what was passed on to subsequent generations. Families were brought into a more intimate space. It was used as the time to iron out so many other things. It is clear that this tool was geared at lessening the burden of pain and remorse or bitter after tastes brought about by poorly resolved experiences.

Today, like times of old, humans still trek long distances to attend talks given by famous people. This could be in form of dialogues, conventions, conferences and talk shows in the modern times. In Socrates and Pluto's time or the Romans or Phoenicians or Egyptian and Prehistoric time story telling around a fire or a square were utilized as a means to bring people together. Knowledge sharing, consensus building were some of the aims much as being an entertainment moment.

In our homes children's books "are first and foremost written to be enjoyed. Reading stories to children enhances the time adults and children spend together with books," (Miriam J. Johnson, 1986: Inside Twenty-Five Classic Children's Stories; Discovering the values at home or in school).

The fountain of youth, therefore celebrating birth and womanhood

Contradictions, a rebirth, a renewal, lessons learnt and re-discovery are pillars of a re-energized person or community. In Proverbs, folklore, sayings, maxims and myths one cannot miss these themes.

They are revolving around birth, youthfulness, re-birth and renewal. One will find contradictions and set patterns of doing things in order to lead a better life. They could be warnings, advice or encouragements. They are memorable lessons in life. One can be so careful!

From the Biblical stories or the proverbs of King Solomon through the treasure trove of all the sayings to individual cultural stories or folklore one sees the thread of advice, caution, encouragement, renewal, re-birth and life.

' I am because you are,' is a Confucian philosophical one from the far East. 'When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee and understanding keepeth thee' is from King Solomon. 'Don't marry for money, but don't marry without money.' A very pragmatic one at that .'Great ambitions make great men,' 'Ambition destroys its possessor.' 'It isn't a life without a wife,' 'A ring on your finger is one in your nose.'

For more on proverbs see: Judith Reitman, 2000: American Proverbs



The many ways our foreparents talk to us

Which are those ways through which our fore parents or society passes a word of advice or encouragements?

See results

The big deal

Folklore, myths, legends and stories tell us about humanity from time immemorial. They are so evocative, bring us the truths hidden in so many layers. Take a journey back into time. Prehistoric events on the migration of all humanity from Africa, womanhood, birth, the proto-organized religion followers, Alexander the Great, the Greek mythology, knights, King Arthur and Merlin, crusades, inquisitions, black death, hunger, famine, pestilence, geographic, natural phenomena ( e.g., eclipses or earthquakes) to present stories about the WW I & II are all captured in these stories. There are lessons and there are opportunities to understand humans.

The Holy Grail defined a world where miracles occurred. A world where materialism was shunned. A world where an ordinary person could rise up from a base level to that of a bishop. The office of the bishop was so coveted in those times. This in the Roman times was also similar to an office where one is able to serve. See 1 Timothy 3:1.

Folklore in form of myths, legends and sayings create nobler visions above poverty, pain, sorrow, misery. They stress: sacrifice, courtesy, duty, care for the poor, idealization of chivalry (women), change, rigidity and caution.

They were able to capture the events of the day ( on top of archaeology). They captured politics, time, persecution, fierce nationalism, crusades, purges, colonization and other aspects.

For further reading on the Holy Grail see: Norma Lorre Goodrich, 1992: The Holy Grail

You can also access the Films: Tomb Raiders featuring Angelina Jolie & Indiana Jones Collections.

From Folklore to written composition so the art of writing, demonstration, entertainment and preservation developed

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The means of preservation are the fruits of story telling and gathering of our fore parentsKnowing the pastClassic Children'S Stories of USAFeminist approach to understanding humanityAmerican Proverbs. These are the gems far richer and expensive that all the gold and diamondsIn order to pass on stories, music plays a central and effective mediumTo be clear and to describe enhanced humans means to fathom the workings of the human body.Making knowledge accessible to all; enhance informed decisions
The means of preservation are the fruits of story telling and gathering of our fore parents
The means of preservation are the fruits of story telling and gathering of our fore parents | Source
Knowing the past
Knowing the past | Source
Classic Children'S Stories of USA
Classic Children'S Stories of USA | Source
Feminist approach to understanding humanity
Feminist approach to understanding humanity | Source
American Proverbs. These are the gems far richer and expensive that all the gold and diamonds
American Proverbs. These are the gems far richer and expensive that all the gold and diamonds | Source
In order to pass on stories, music plays a central and effective medium
In order to pass on stories, music plays a central and effective medium | Source
To be clear and to describe enhanced humans means to fathom the workings of the human body.
To be clear and to describe enhanced humans means to fathom the workings of the human body. | Source
Making knowledge accessible to all; enhance informed decisions
Making knowledge accessible to all; enhance informed decisions | Source

The finer characteristics of folklore, maxims, proverbs, sayings and stories

A collection of literature, traditions, recollections, legends, tales, songs, religious beliefs, comedy, satire, customs, sayings, plays and drama. One meets tales of scoundrels, heroes, rollicking adventures, friendships, myths, myth-legends, epics, epic-like narratives and descriptions of life around which many traditions and belief flow; celebrations, funerals, initiation, music, dance and drama.


Claudius Ptolemy and the Nile; or, an Inquiry into that geographer's real merits and speculative errors, his knowledge of eastern Africa, and the authenticity o

African contribution to the lore in the world

The term 'primitives' finally met its death!

However when it was vogue may writers were eager and comfortable with say, referring to Sub-Saharan or Saharan Africa people primitive, or Aborigines or Natives of various lands from Tasmania, Samoa to the Americas. However, there are those who realized the mistakes made, assumptions and what this did to the rights, dignity and regard of humans of all races, origins and classes. Those in the scholarly field appreciated the richness of the wisdom and knowledge of all humans. Thus many began writing about the "primitives" with a social perspective that was geared at upholding dignity and respect. With this open mindedness they found that after all, humans were the same. But one can only get to understand this when one has an open mind unbiased with pride and prejudice. Greenway, 1964 on page 23 warns us: "stories have various meanings....embedded meaning that be extracted only by a reader with a good knowledge of the cultures that produce them."

See: John Greenway , 1964: Literature among the Primitives.


On Africa being ubiquitous yet hidden in Prehistoric, ancient and old world writings:

Africa plays a pivotal role in the compositions and gravity of the folklore of the world. One need to not look so far away from Rudyard Kipling's Just so Story. The richness it offers and its simplicity make it so memorable

First and foremost all human came from Africa so one has to understand that the splinter population groups with their unique lore must have their roots from Africa. That is referring to prehistoric times.

Around 5000 BCE Africa had an abundance of humans on the continent living side by side with Phoenicians, Saharan and Sub-Saharan cultures, Mediterranean to Assyrians. Many were participants in the goings on in the Bible times. Prophet Jeremiah is said to have been rescued by Africans. Many Africans from Sub Saharan Africa are the eunuchs we read of in the Bible and in the Greek and Roman wars. This sorry state of emasculation covered the bio-marker and skin description and this is what was passed on to next generations. But one need only to ask why there were so many eunuchs from Nebuchadnezzar's time, Pharaoh's Egypt, Ptolemy's time (2 AD) and Caesar's court of a distinctly coiled hair and darker skin hue. The eunuchs seemed to enjoy a coveted position in the palaces and courts. It is believed they were travelers who left to roam the world of then, would bring back and forth stories. This is how Ptolemy of old got wind of the Mountains of the moon ( Mountain Ruwenzori in Uganda, Rwanda and Congo); this is how we get to know of the mines of gold from which King Solomon accessorized the resources that gelded the Holy Temple; this is how we come to know of the King's jester and adviser who saved Prophet Jeremiah; this is how we get to know of the three Magi who presented gifts to baby Jesus; this is how we get to know of a black man who helped carry Jesus' cross to Calvary.


You can read: Harold Courlander, 1976: A Treasury of Afro-American Folklore

Far East Lore; Lessons from Mongolia, Japan and China

This captured the seasons, rituals, heritage and economic experiences of this region. We get to know about dynasties that lasted for ages; the great wall; the Mongolian warfare under Attila; seasonal rituals with rice culture; ebisu-gami in fishing villages in Japan; harvest periods to new year, taboos of fishermen; the Samurai, Pagoda constructions; drifted Deities in the Noto Peninsula; metal workers; the double grave system with tombs for burial and one for memorial services in Japan; village Tutelary, Deity and the use Holy rods; menstrual taboos; and initiation rites.

For further reading: Studies in Japanese Folklore, 1963

Jean De la Fontaine

So, you want to read a book with a large collection of fables. You want to read about:

1. The City rat and the Country rat ( Page 12)

2. The Wolf and the lamb ( Page 13)

3. The lion, the Ape and the two asses ( page 300)

Jean De la Fontaine has this to say: "Fables are not what they appear to be. The merest animals can pleasingly instruct by deed, not dull advice: we swallow gladly their tales, whence must the precepts follow," (page 131).

See: The Complete Fables of Jean De la Fontaine, 2000.

Yes, folklore can be both a fusion and a fluid expression in society; lessons from USA

"Folklore will no longer be isolated..the automobile has given wings to the old tale tellers and ballad singers who refuse to sit peacefully in wait for the collector," ( Dorson, 1959, page 277)

American folklore has benefited from Germans in Pennyslvania, the Ozarks, Spanish in New Mexico, Mormon Utah, Maine Coast folks, African American and Natives to present new immigrants.

See: Richard M. Dorson, 1959: American Folklore

What are some of the themes covered in American Folklore?

Family folklore, native folklore, cultural myths, Mormon lore, American crafts, folk healers, folk performers, celebrations, funerals, weddings, initiation rites, religious rites, lore that is both about the past and present times, the myth of the American Adam, myth of the Chosen people, myth of virgin lands, myth of gold ( hacer algo con prisas), Devil's forks ( Bielda de Diablo) and myth of manifest destiny.

See: Richard M. Dorson, 1983: Handbook of American Folklore

Folklore and its forms

Themes
Morals
Expression/Media
Family
Relationships
Music,Drama, Art, Architecture, poems, stories, maxims
Native
Unity
Music,Drama, Art, Architecture, poems, stories, maxims
Cultural
Roles
Music,Drama, Art, Architecture, poems, stories, maxims
Economic
Bounty
Music,Drama, Art, Architecture, poems, stories, maxims
Warfare
Security
Music,Drama, Art, Architecture, poems, stories, maxims
Nationalism
Integrity
Music,Drama, Art, Architecture, poems, stories, maxims
Sprituality and Religion
Transcendentalism
Music,Drama, Art, Architecture, poems, stories, maxims

Proverbs from a culture in Africa

All That Glitters is Not Gold and other Proverbs in English

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    • Tom Mukasa profile image
      Author

      Tom Mukasa 3 years ago from Lives in USA

      Craftytothecore, soon our children will read about those very stories that were read to us or, for my case, told to us by the fire side with tubers of cassava or maize roasting. We need to build the content in such a way that it does capture, in posterity, that which took place in the past to improve on the present and future. That way, we shall all live forever as humankind.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image

      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      That is interesting Tom, that before the internet and times of today, people would gather around as a family and read books. It's true that a lot of values were taught from stories in those books.

      I read a lot to my own children, but now they have internet and cartoons. I didn't have the internet growing up. I barely had cable television. They read way less than I did, but they still read a lot.