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Skull and Bones gangs of New Orleans, a Mardi Gras tradition from 1819

Doors cracked, and people peered out at the apparitions on the street. Most of the grown-ups smiled and said “Good morning”, or “Happy Mardi Gras!” Kids peeked around their parents, looking thunderstruck. “Get up outta that bed! It's Mardi Gras morning!” the bone men yelled, “You gotta get your life straight!” One of the less well-known traditions of Mardi Gras in New Orleans are the Skull and Bone gangs who come out in the early morning. Their mission, besides the celebration of Mardi Gras, is to seek out small children and warn to live their lives rightly least the skull and bone spirits should have to come to them too soon. The tradition lives on, continuing what began around 1819, now mingling with the "younger" traditions of the Mardi Gras Indians and the Baby Dolls. For more history, check out Gumbo Ya-Ya, a collection of Louisana Folk Tales, on Archive.org
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 24, 2013 - 15 comments

I have never been a very sound sleeper...

The Moon is Rolling in Her Grave is a video adaptation of the first chapter of the ongoing (since 2003) comic series "No Rest For The Wicked" by Andrea L. Peterson, a fantasy / adventure / horror tale that takes traditional fairytales and turns them on their heads: "Ms. Peterson uses, in conjunction with several more popular fables, folktales that you may have never even heard of. The entire plot actually centers around a little known Grimm fairytale called 'The Buried Moon', while also making reference to 'Red Riding Hood', 'Hansel & Gretel', 'The Girl Without Hands', 'The Boy Who Went Forth and Learned What Fear Was', and many MANY others." [more inside]
posted by taz on Jul 7, 2013 - 3 comments

Sinuous, Grotesque, and Fantastic.

U.K. illustrator Kate Baylay creates gorgeous book illustrations, like these for The Olive Fairy Book. [more inside]
posted by benito.strauss on Apr 8, 2013 - 29 comments

If this is the meat, where's the cat?

The Uncommon Sense of the Immortal Mullah Nasruddin [more inside]
posted by Daily Alice on Jan 14, 2013 - 30 comments

Sergei Parajanov: exploring the poetic potential of the cinema in the Soviet Union

Georgian-born Armenian, Sergei Parajanov (1924-1990) was a controversial director in the Soviet era. At first he followed the state mandated style of Socialist Realism, but in 1964 he broke out into his own style with Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (YT), a dream-like film that combines expressionistic camera techniques, ethnography, and the logic of folktales. The film won almost every, award in sight on the 1964 film festival circuit, but it was also of the restrictive Soviet approach to the arts. The film was banned by authorities, but Parajanov did not return to realism, and instead paid tribute to the Armenian troubadour Sayat-Nova ("King of Songs" in Persian). The Color of Pomegranates (1968) is a film that sought to portray Sayat-Nova through images inspired by his life and poetry. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 5, 2012 - 9 comments

Illustrated Aesop's Fables through history

Historical versions of Aesop's fables - text and pictures - collected by Laura Gibbs. She gives thousands of historic texts in English, Latin, and Greek, but even better, has Flickr sets of the historic illustrations (that page is sorted by artist) from editions by Rackham, Caldecott, and other artists going back to the 1400s. [more inside]
posted by LobsterMitten on Aug 30, 2012 - 11 comments

Theodor Kittelsen

Theodor Kittelsen (1857-1914) was a Norwegian artist, famous for his (frequently astonishing) pictures of trolls, as well as his illustrations of dragons, fairies, folk stories and the occasional absolute horror. [more inside]
posted by dng on Jun 6, 2012 - 24 comments

Peasant culture and Russian folklore in Soviet animation.

Peasant culture and Russian folklore in Soviet animation (~400 minutes whereof): Soviet animation abounds in fantasies about the natural, wholesome lives of honorable, strong-willed Russian peasants and folk heroes and their struggles against villainy and adversity. Decorated with splendid folk art motifs that verge on horror vacui, these cel-animated cartoons are excellent aids for learning about (popular conceptions of) Russian folk material culture: decoration, architecture, dress, weaponry, textiles, domestic culture, manners, and so on. [more inside]
posted by Nomyte on May 4, 2012 - 13 comments

Cinderella, Cinderella, Night and Day it's Cinderella

You probably know the Perrault version. And chances are, you haven’t been able to escape the Disney version. Maybe you know the slightly-darker Grimm version, or even the original story of Yeh-Shen. Maybe you’re a fan of musicals, and love Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella or Sondheim’s Into the Woods. But chances are, there’s a bit about this classic story you don’t know yet… [more inside]
posted by kittenmarlowe on Oct 27, 2011 - 46 comments

The Aarne-Thompson Classification System

Originally published by Finnish forkloristAntti Aarne and expanded by American Stith Thompson and German Hans-Jörg Uther, the Aarne-Thompson Classification System is a system for classifying folktales based on motifs. [more inside]
posted by Bulgaroktonos on Oct 10, 2011 - 13 comments

Japanese art

Nichibunken Databases isn't a link that sounds promising, but oh, what a treasure trove of old Japanese art it is. Among the many lovely collections is the Japanese folktales in foreign languages, another has maps, which is probably easiest to browse by decade, then there's the picture scrolls (some nsfw), and also illustrations from an 1870s world tour. That's just a small taste of what's there. If, like me, you don't read Japanese, often you'll be going in with scant information of what will be on offer, but even random stumblings will reveal beauty and wonder. Just to get you started, here are nearly 800 pictures of demons and over 2500 floating world woodprints. [Note: Blue dots mean the material is accessible to the public, red dots mean you have to have a login to see it]
posted by Kattullus on Jun 25, 2010 - 10 comments

Turkish folktales

The Uysal - Walker Archive of Turkish Oral Narrative is an immense repository of folktales from modern Anatolia. The full list of stories but luckily there's a search function. But that's not all, oh no, there's also a music section, with downloadable mp3s and a whole nother section with more stories and Turkish literature and mp3s. Here's a somewhat random selection of stories to get you started (all links pdf): Nasreddin Hoca's Brilliant Donkey, A Saint Urinates in Public, The Girl Disguised as a Monk and the Padishah's Youngest Son, Behlül Dane Discourses with the Dung Heap and finally, Elia Kazan in Kayseri (yes, that Elia Kazan).
posted by Kattullus on Jul 29, 2008 - 10 comments

Classic Tales and Fables

Over 2000 classic tales and fables including Aesop's Fables, Bulfinch's Mythology, Indian "Why" Stories, tales by Oscar Wilde, Beatrix Potter, Rudyard Kipling, Louisa May Alcott, L. Frank Baum and Harriet Beecher Stowe and stories about Abraham Lincoln, Robin Hood and Baron Munchausen. And more! The folk and fairytale collection is particularly rich, with hundreds of stories from all over the world.
posted by Kattullus on Apr 1, 2008 - 15 comments

Tales of marrying the devil

Did you ever hear the story / of Belinda O'McHugh / She was courted by the Devil / And she didn't know what to do / He came a courtin' ev'ry evenin' / So Belinda got to thinkin' / She would be the Devil's wife / It was better far than bein' / An old maid all her life
posted by Astro Zombie on Dec 26, 2007 - 4 comments

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