April 12, 2008
Part of studying folktales is finding patterns. Here’s a quick note on some of the trends I’ve noticed in the tales and their versions:
As you read (or watch) the tales, starting with the Timid Hare and the Flight of the Beasts and working your way down, you’ll notice that the focus begins to change from the hazards of overreaction and irrational fear to a focus on the rationalization of fear as a means of preparedness, especially in the recent Disney version. In the modern picturebook versions by Kellogg, and Scieska & Smith– the sky actually does fall, or the narrator says that Chicken Little was “half right”. Or in the case of the hen that flies to Dovrefjell, the reader is led to believe that the world has been saved because Henny Penny arrived safely, implying that her prophetic dream and stir of mass hysteria was legitimate (nevermind that two innocent birds perished).
Some Quick Points of Interest…