The recipe of most classic folktales include these five ingredients:
1. A sense of mystery or wonder.
2. Built around a Theme.
3. Explains something about the world.
4. Attributes human characteristics to animals or objects.
5. A lesson for life (the "moral of the story"). See if you can find these elements in the Legend of the Bridge of the Gods (as I recall the story told to me):
|Mural painted by Larry G. Kangas (www.muralz.com)|
Do you see within this Native American legend the five elements of a traditional folktale?
(1) The sense of wonder comes from the idea of a natural land bridge stretching across one of the widest rivers in North America.
(2) The theme of desire and romance is clear throughout.
(3) The story explains why there is no longer a natural land bridge, and it also explains the existence of the three of the largest mountains in the Cascade Mountain Range. It may further explain the occurrence of a powerful earthquake that may have really happened long before Lewis and Clark set eyes on the region.
(4) The three mountains are personified as three ancient people.
(5) Finally, the “moral of the story” is clear, warning of the dangers of jealousy and the consequences of violence and rage.
For a different version of the legend, and some educational exercises, CLICK HERE.
Take some time to read some folktales this fall, or create some of your own just for the fun of it!
Originally published on the blog Writing Prompts..., September 22, 2014.