It is well known that wisdom and spirit of the people, of the nation are shown in the traditions, especially in folklore, and the knowledge of folk tales promotes not only to know a language at best, but also facilitates best understanding of views and characters of the people.
Falk tales are the most amazing things in the folklore of the peoples all over the world. Not every imaginary story becomes a fairy tale. The most interesting and important folk tales passed from generation to generation. Storytellers used to express the wisdom of their people, their aspirations and dreams.
I’m fond of folk tales. My native language is Bashkir, I know Bashkir folk tales from my early childhood. My parents and my grandparents used to tell Bashkir folk tales, they tried to show me the national wisdom and beauty of my mother tongue. I have been studying English for several years. I admire English, it is my favorite subject. We read a lot of English fairy tales. So, the theme that we have chosen for the research is «English folk tales».
Folk tales show rich historical experience of the people, they reflect life and culture of people.
The aim of our research is to consider the peculiarities of the English folk tales.
According to the aim, we have identified the following tasks: (1) consider the images of heroes (what character traits are inherent to them, their appearance, etc.); (2) get acquainted with national folk tales; (3) set development plot; (4) what teach English fairy tales.
Object of our research is English folk tales. Subject is researches on folklore, namely, fairy tales. We have conducted research analysis of English folk tales.
Research methods: (1) studying the literature and works of outstanding researchers on the given subject; (2) the analysis of the studied literature; (3) analysis of English folk tales.
What is a folk tale? Folk tales are the most ancient creations of humanity. A folk tale is one of the popular and favorite genres in folklore and in literature.
A fairy tale is a wonder tale involving marvelous elements and occurrences, though not necessarily about fairies. Folktales have received literary treatment from early times.
The majority of folk tales have local character.
Humboldt, Hannah Aitken, John Francis Casmpbell, Arthur Robinson Wright, Steve Roud, Joseph Jacobs and others played an important role in the fields of studying English folk tales.
All nations lived and developed under general laws of history. At the same time, it should be noted that folk tales show the national originality of folklore.
An English recording of the tales told by the storytellers of the past provides only a pale shadow of the original narration. The voices, with their many modulations, fall silent on the printed page; the audience is absent. Only the pattern of narrative and the procession of motifs remain. This is especially true of translation.
Folklore ceased to be an everyday force in rural life. Once it governed the smallest act in every home, farm and village, giving rules and rituals for the performance of daily work, the safeguarding of family, farm and possessions. Families lived in the same country parishes for generations, spent their lives watching the plough transform the soil, the growing wheat that followed and, at the end, the richness of their harvest.
Rural population could neither read nor write, their memories were very keen, and when heard a story they often remembered it almost word for word for the rest of their lives. In this way legends were passed on for hundreds of years with the main points of the tale remaining unaltered, but often gaining a wealth of colorful detail.
English folk tale «Jack and the Beanstalk», «Jack Hannaford», «Earl Mar’s daughter». English folk tales is a rich mixture simmered in the folklore cauldron. History and pre-history went into it; the doings of druids, giants, fairies, saints, soldiers, shepherds, mines, fishermen and kings; the shape of the land, the prevailing weather, the rhythms of speech, the country humor.
Added to this local brew are bits and pieces from far afield, brought by Flemish and German traders, Norwegian and Danish adventures, Dutch delvers who came to drain the Fens, and the intermixture of Irish and Welsh, Cornish and Scots, Yorkshiremen, Geordies, Hogs and the rest.
As times went on, the tales multiplied, weaving themselves into daily life and thought, adapted to local conditions and the listeners. A study of the tales can shed valuable light on the development of language and the history of human ideas; few sources can bring the past so spontaneously to the present.
The tales of the British and Irish people contain no splendid palaces or pretty, elegant fairies; no handsome princes and aspiring peasant brides; no wicked stepmothers and ugly sisters, no noble knights and decorative beldames waiting to be saved; no rich merchants and no bears, camels, dragons or griffins. Everything is popular and from the familiar lore of these islands. Heroes and heroines are as wild, unkempt, simple, hardworking and superstitious as they probably were in fact.
«Tom Tit Tot» is taken from Lois A. Fison, Merry Suffolk. It is the English version of Grimm’s tale «Rumpelstiltskin», was originally published by Anna Walter Thomas in «Suffolk Notes and Queries», Ipswich Journal, 15 January 1878.
It was said to have been told to the author as a child by an old servant. I’ve read it in West Suffolk dialect. I should point out, that it was rather difficult to understand the folk tale in Suffolk dialect.
«Lutey and the Merrymaid», «The Tulip Pixies», «Cap o’rushes», «Jan Coo» and other English folk tales were analyzed.
While reading English folk tales I paid attention to their beginnings: (1) «One fine summer’s day Earl Mar’s daughter went into the castle garden»; (2) «There was once upon a time a poor widow who had an only son named Jack, and a cow named Milky-white»; (3) «There was an old soldier who had been long in the wars – so long, that he was quite out-at-elbows, and he did not know where to go to find a living».
As we see, the beginning English folk tales is concrete; it may contain the names of national heroes or kings. Mentioning about last life hero or ruler under which he lived, often meets in the early English fairy tales. We can see mostly concrete kingdoms, towns, places in English folk tales such as «Cornwall, Farmhouse of Rowbrook, somewhere near Lizard Point».
Each tale has a description of the hero’s road. In the tales of England the way is described simply by listing the actions of the traveler:
– «So Jack climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed till at last he reached the sky…So he walked along and he walked along and he walked along till he came to a great big tall house, and on the doorstep there was a great big tall woman»;
– «So he walked up moors, down glens, till at last he came to a farm, from which the good man had gone away to market»;
– «They flew and they flew till they swooped down on Earl Mar’s castle just as the wedding party were setting out for the church».
It means that in English folk tales the way is not so long and difficult.
English folk fairy tales mainly have a realistic plot. World is described rather realistically, heroes try to reach something real and usual. The plots are realistic both in material and spiritual terms.
Heroes just want to get out of poverty, make money, find family happiness or find the other half. Dreams are feasible, do not require special supernatural forces: «Well, Jack was not content, and it wasn’t very long before he determined to have another try at his luck up there at the top of the beanstalk».
From here we can see that Jack was enough to once again climb the Beanstalk to somehow get the money.
«So they were married in secret and lived happily in the castle and no one knew that every night Coo-my-dove became Prince Florentine»,– the Princess with the Prince were happy already with the fact that could be alone together, to live together. All this proves that the heroes of English fairy tales need little for happiness.
English folk tales describe heroes in details, trying to give us complete image, for example:
– «Great big tall woman»;
– «He was a big one, to be sure. At his belt he had three calves strung up by the heels»;
– «The golden harp sang most beautifully. And it went on singing till the ogre fell asleep, and commenced to snore like thunder»;
– «The wife of the farmer was a very foolish woman, who had been a widow when he married her; the farmer was foolish enough, too, and it is hard to say which of the two was the more foolish»;
– «After a while comes out as white as white can be and muttering over some burning herbs she brought out of the cave».
While describing heroes in folk tales stylistic devices are used, such as metaphors, epithets and similes.
Usually, English folk tales end with happy ending:
– «Then Jack showed his mother his golden harp, and what with showing that and selling the golden eggs, Jack and his mother became very rich, and he married a great princess, and they lived happy ever after»;
– «Jack leaped on the horse, and rode away with it»;
– «…that very day Prince Florentine brought Earl Mar’s daughter to the castle of the queen his mother, who took the spell off him and they lived happy ever afterwards».
Happy endings, everyone got what they wanted.
I think it’s important in fairy tales. Children read and the experiences of the heroes see that it is possible to fulfill the dream, achieve the desired. The child sees that the characters who act correctly become happy and he tries to imitate them, to do well. Also, in fairy tales, evil is punished. This is to ensure that the child was afraid to do bad things.
Comparative characteristics of fairy tales: «Jack and the Beanstalk», «Jack Hannaford», «Earl Mar’s daughter». Tales of one nation are similar to each other. To identify common features in English fairy tales, let me analyze them.
I have chosen famous English folk tale «Jack and the Beanstalk» Good.
Most often, English fairy tales have a specific beginning, with a certain place, time. In this case, the tale has not got a very specific beginning.
From the very beginning, the fairy tale introduces us to the place of events. From the first lines we learn about the way of life and problems of the main characters: «There was once upon a time a poor widow who had an only son named Jack, and a cow named Milky-white. And all they had to live on was the milk the cow gave every morning which they carried to the market and sold».
Problems always make a person to action. In this case, hunger and lack of money make the characters sell the only breadwinner of the family.
The plot is quite simple, it gives a clear plan of action.
The main character Jack is a young and clever boy. Courage, bravery also describes him. He wants to be happy and live better. Jack is very clever and smart. The proof of the given characteristic is Jack’s conversation with the old man to whom he sold the cow:
«... the man said»;
«I wonder if you know how many beans make five»;
«Two in each hand and one in the mouth, says Jack, sharp as a needle».
Fairy tale implies supernatural phenomenon, objects with exaggerating properties or functions. There are many unusual objects and phenomena in fairy tales.
Beanstalk can’t grow high to touch the sky of another civilization. According to research, we can’t believe that there is a whole nation that has such growth.
Heroes achieve their goal. The way was not easy, but Jack was able to make all his wishes come true. Trick helped him survive. From the presented image, we can say that the English fairy tales want to teach the reader rational thinking, the ability to get out of every situation thanks to its tricks.
Physical description, character, place is not shown concretely, we can find very little if any. The tale focuses on the idea to think vividly.
Let’s continue the analysis of Jack Hannaford. The beginning is more detailed, than the previous fairy tale. We immediately get acquainted with the main character, his life: «There was an old soldier who had been long in the wars – so long, that he was quite out-at-elbows, and he did not know where to go to find a living».
People think, that soldier is a person with a strong character, strong, smart and brave. Before we read this fairy tale, we can say, that it is true. Jack Hannaford tells lies to silly family. Husband and wife fell for Jack’s pathetic deception. In the beginning, the wife believed that her first husband from the other world asked to give him some money. After that the husband gave a horse.
It’s crazy, isn’t it? Can we see the similar situation in our day? I don’t think so. But nobody knows the future.
Main heroes are different. Husband and wife are very silly, stupid. Jack Hannaford’s is contrary wise; he is smart, insidious and crafty. He gets money and the horse.
The end is epic. A fairy tale has an interesting idea. Fairy tales differ from each other, because they don’t have an intricate plot. The main task is to describe the stupidity of the person, for this reason, using special situations.
Not surprising, that this tale haven’t description of heroes. We can only guess.
The last investigated tale – Earl Mar’s daughter. In my opinion, similar tales like little girls. Every little girl is dreaming about nice future, marry the kind prince and live long and happy life, isn’t she?
Start from the beginning: «One fine summer’s day Earl Mar’s daughter went into the castle garden, dancing and tripping along. And as she played and sported she would stop from time to time to listen to the music of the birds.
After a while as she sat under the shade of a green oak tree she looked up and spied a sprightly dove sitting high up on one of its branches. She looked up and said: «Coo-my-dove, my dear, come down to me and I will give you a golden cage. I’ll take you home and pet you well, as well as any bird of them all».
This beginning is different from all previous fairy tales. Bright, good description of the summer day suggests that ahead of something good awaits us, that we find ourselves in the atmosphere of warmth and comfort. The girl is in good mood; we admire her singing, dancing, gentle attitude towards nature. It gives me an idea that fairy tales are aimed at creating kindness of love and care for the environment.
The plot is interesting and unpredictable. Sometimes it becomes unclear what is happening and where everything is going. The girl meets a bird; she liked it so much that she calls bird to her. The bird agrees. The girl brings the bird to her Palace. At night, the bird turns into a Prince Florentine and tells about his difficult fate. Secretly from all they get married, and within seven years live together. They have one son every year. But Mara’s Father decided to marry her. Prince, turning into a bird takes her to him. They live happily together.
In this fairy tales the most unusual phenomena is the ability to understand birds and humans, the ability to turn from human to bird and back, the ability to conjure.
The main heroes are: Earl Mar’s daughter, Prince Florentine, Mara’s dad and Florentine’s mum. All people have a different character. Earl Mar’s daughter is lovely, carefully, kind and nice. Prince Florentine is strong, brave kind and helpful.
Mara’s dad is bad, because he forced to marry his daughter: «For the Earl Mar wished to marry his daughter to a noble of high degree who came wooing her. Her father pressed her sore but she said: «Father dear, I do not wish to marry; I can be quite happy with Coo-my-dove here.»
Then her father got into a mighty rage and swore a great big oath, and said: «To-morrow, so sure as I live and eat, I’ll twist that birdie’s neck,» and out he stamped from her room».
Florentine’s mum is very kind, helpful, careful mother. In a fairy tales we find: «Here, dancers come and dance your jigs, «she called», «and pipers, pipe you well, for here’s my own Florentine, come back to me to stay for he’s brought no bonny boy with him this time».
She is bored waiting for her son. I think, she loves her son very much. «What can I do, my son?» said the queen, «tell me, and it shall be done if my magic has power to do it». – she says to her son.
As in most good stories it ends: «They saw their pretty bride carried away and away till she and the herons and the swans and the goshawk disappeared, and that very day Prince Florentine brought Earl Mar’s daughter to the castle of the queen his mother, who took the spell off him and they lived happy ever afterwards».
The fairy tale teaches us kindness, help, and love; find a solution in difficult situations, do not despair and to reach our goals.
We compared three fairy tales. Each fairy tale is aimed at solving different problems. But despite the differences they have much in common.
Firstly, the main characters of fairy tales have a character trait – cunning. Secondly, all supernatural phenomena expressed in increased way, the Beanstalk is of unimaginable size.
Thirdly, we can pay attention to the climatic conditions and the location of England.
It is impossible to overlook such features as frequent use of names like Jack, the lack of availability of names of minor characters. Often the numbers three and seven can be seen in tales.
From all this we can say that English fairy tales have great cultural and historical value. When we read English fairy tales we become closer to the culture of England.
The development of the plot in English tale is complicated. English folk tale is rich in repetitions. Tales have happy end, fathers understand everything and they all live happily.
The language of these folk tales constitutes the genuine oral poetry of the common people, dating from a time, when poet and peasant were one. The beauty and wealth of the language is important in folklore.
Conclusion. Folk tales are a real heritage; we can improve our knowledge in history of languages. They have aesthetic value.
I came to a conclusion that folk tales are akin to people’s life, their history, beliefs, mentality. Various stages of nation’s development are reflected in them in a peculiar way. The folk tales show little interest in a structured religion. On the contrary, there is an abiding faith in the people and their capabilities in confronting the wonders of everyday life.
In conclusion I’d like to say that I got a great pleasure reading English and Bashkir folk tales.
Fairy tales are a treasure, everyone should cherish. The fairy tale is like an echo from childhood, and who does not want to plunge into childhood?
There is a lot of invention, a lot of incredible things, but while reading fairy tales we see what we should be, and what cannot be.
Тhe main purpose of fairy tales is to tell the child about the world, about the laws in society. In other words, fairy tales prepare a child for the future adult life. In addition, fairy tales form moral guidelines, instilling in the child the idea of good and bad, of good and evil.
Библиографическая ссылкаИмматуллина С.Ф ENGLISH FOLK TALES // Международный школьный научный вестник. – 2019. – № 3-2. – С. 184-187;
URL: http://school-herald.ru/ru/article/view?id=1062 (дата обращения: 28.09.2020).