Folk Tales Quotes

Quotes tagged as "folk-tales" (showing 1-17 of 17)
Angela Carter
“For most of human history, 'literature,' both fiction and poetry, has been narrated, not written — heard, not read. So fairy tales, folk tales, stories from the oral tradition, are all of them the most vital connection we have with the imaginations of the ordinary men and women whose labor created our world.”
Angela Carter

Rebecca Solnit
“Fairy tales are about trouble, about getting into and out of it, and trouble seems to be a necessary stage on the route to becoming. All the magic and glass mountains and pearls the size of houses and princesses beautiful as the day and talking birds and part-time serpents are distractions from the core of most of the stories, the struggle to survive against adversaries, to find your place in the world, and to come into your own.

Fairy tales are almost always the stories of the powerless, of youngest sons, abandoned children, orphans, of humans transformed into birds and beasts or otherwise enchanted away from their own lives and selves. Even princesses are chattels to be disowned by fathers, punished by step-mothers, or claimed by princes, though they often assert themselves in between and are rarely as passive as the cartoon versions. Fairy tales are children's stories not in wh they were made for but in their focus on the early stages of life, when others have power over you and you have power over no one.

In them, power is rarely the right tool for survival anyway. Rather the powerless thrive on alliances, often in the form of reciprocated acts of kindness -- from beehives that were not raided, birds that were not killed but set free or fed, old women who were saluted with respect. Kindness sewn among the meek is harvested in crisis...

In Hans Christian Andersen's retelling of the old Nordic tale that begins with a stepmother, "The Wild Swans," the banished sister can only disenchant her eleven brothers -- who are swans all day look but turn human at night -- by gathering stinging nettles barehanded from churchyard graves, making them into flax, spinning them and knitting eleven long-sleeved shirts while remaining silent the whole time. If she speaks, they'll remain birds forever. In her silence, she cannot protest the crimes she accused of and nearly burned as a witch.

Hauled off to a pyre as she knits the last of the shirts, she is rescued by the swans, who fly in at the last moment. As they swoop down, she throws the nettle shirts over them so that they turn into men again, all but the youngest brother, whose shirt is missing a sleeve so that he's left with one arm and one wing, eternally a swan-man. Why shirts made of graveyard nettles by bleeding fingers and silence should disenchant men turned into birds by their step-mother is a question the story doesn't need to answer. It just needs to give us compelling images of exile, loneliness, affection, and metamorphosis -- and of a heroine who nearly dies of being unable to tell her own story.”
Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby

“An old man spoke to his grandson. "My child," he said. "Inside everyone there is a battle between two wolves. One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, inferiority, lies, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth." The boy thought for a moment. Then he asked, "Which wolf wins?" A moment of silence passed before the old man replied. And then he said, "The one you feed." - Native American Folk Tale”
Christine Woodward, Rogue Touch

“Silence is another element we find in classic fairy tales — girls muted by magic or sworn to silence in order to break enchantment. In "The Wild Swans," a princess is imprisoned by her stepmother, rolled in filth, then banished from home (as her older brothers had been before her). She goes in search of her missing brothers, discovers that they've been turned into swans, whereupon the young girl vows to find a way to break the spell. A mysterious woman comes to her in a dream and tells her what to do: 'Pick the nettles that grow in graveyards, crush and spin them into thread, then weave them into coats and throw them over your brothers' backs.' The nettles burn and blister, yet she never falters: picking, spinning, weaving, working with wounded, crippled hands, determined to save her brothers. All this time she's silent. 'You must not speak,' the dream woman has warned, 'for a single world will be like a knife plunged into your brothers' hearts.'

You must not speak. That's what my stepfather said: don't speak, don't cry, don't tell. That's what my mother said as well, as we sat in hospital waiting rooms -- and I obeyed, as did my brothers. We sat as still and silent as stone while my mother spun false tales to explain each break and bruise and burn. Our family moved just often enough that her stories were fresh and plausible; each new doctor believed her, and chided us children to be more careful. I never contradicted those tales. I wouldn't have dared, or wanted to. They'd send me into foster care. They'd send my young brothers away. And so we sat, and the unspoken truth was as sharp as the point of a knife.”
Terri Windling, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales

Charles de Lint
“I realize that for all my penchant in believing that there's more to the world than what we can see, that folk tales and fairy tales are based on real, if forgotten events, I never accepted that part of it as being real.”
Charles de Lint, The Onion Girl

Gyula Illyés
“The life of the hero of the tale is, at the outset, overshadowed by bitter and hopeless struggles; one doubts that the little swineherd will ever be able to vanquish the awful Dragon with the twelve heads. And yet, ...truth and courage prevail and the youngest and most neglected son of the family, of the nation, of mankind, chops off all twelve heads of the Dragon, to the delight of our anxious hearts. This exultant victory, towards which the hero of the tale always strives, is the hope and trust of the peasantry and of all oppressed peoples. This hope helps them bear the burden of their destiny.”
Gyula Illyés, Once Upon a Time: Forty Hungarian Folk-Tales

Gyula Illyés
“There is a folk-tale about a shoemaker and his wife who were so poor that they had to send their many children out into the world to make a living. The lads went through many a perilous adventure but came home in the end, unscathed, to help their mother. They had always remembered their mother's advice and wise words; they often quoted them when they were in trouble, and in fact they recognized one another by them in foreign lands.
The countless peoples of the world may be looked upon as so many children sent out into the world. They have gone through many adventures and hardships. They have drifted apart and fallen out with one another, on many occasions. They have failed to realize soon enough that they are brothers.
But now it seems that they are beginning to realize this -- at least to the extent that they are able to get acquainted with each other's fundamental natures -- through their stories and songs.”
Gyula Illyés, Once Upon a Time: Forty Hungarian Folk-Tales

Gyula Illyés
“These tales, without exception, express the truth that justice triumphs in the end. They all contain the idea that it is worth while to fight for the truth, in any situation.
In this fight man is assisted by more powerful beings than ordinary mortals. And the triumph of justice is the only sense and consolation in this world. Indeed, the world itself started out with this hope. The human race received it long, long ago as a cradle-song.”
Gyula Illyés, Once Upon a Time: Forty Hungarian Folk-Tales

Pádraic Pearse
“The words of the bards come down the centuries to us, warm with living breath.”
Pádraic Pearse

Raji Singh
“My great-great grandfather and I were the best of friends, although we never met”
Raji Singh, Tales of the Fiction House

Lori J. Fitzgerald
“It's a pook, a messenger...spy is more like it," Kern explained sourly. "This one will tattle, and I'll never hear the end of it when I go back." An eyebrow lifted. "Consorting with a human.”
Lori J. Fitzgerald, Love Lies Bleeding

Lori J. Fitzgerald
“...The man who stood before her was taller and stranger than anyone she had ever encountered. His unkempt hair was a long dark brown, partially braided and twisted around twigs, the tips of his pointed ears poking between strands. His bare chest made her flush, but it was completely covered in green inked tattoos. Leather breeches creaked when he shifted. He held his hand out to her, uncurling fingers with long nails. "Aislin," he repeated, his voice gruff and purring, "do not be frightened. I have been waiting so long for you.”
Lori J. Fitzgerald, Love Lies Bleeding

Emmanuelle de Maupassant
“And we, from within the sigh of the trees, and the soft moss underfoot, and the calling of night birds, watched him as he watched, gazing where he should not.”
Emmanuelle de Maupassant, Cautionary Tales: Voices from the Edges

Emmanuelle de Maupassant
“We who are beyond the mortal world see many things from the edges; we hear the subtle shifts of rhythm in the beat of a blackening heart.”
Emmanuelle de Maupassant, Cautionary Tales: Voices from the Edges

Jonathan Auxier
“There's what's smart and what's right." - Molly in the Night Gardener”
Jonathan Auxier, The Night Gardener

“In the colored fairy books of Andrew Lang (The Red Fairy Book, The Blue Fairy Book, etc.), there is a figure who has always intrigued me: the Hen Wife, related to the witch, the seer, and the herbalist, but different from them too: a distinct and potent archetype of her own, an enchanted figure beneath a humble white apron. We find her dispensing wisdom and magic in the folk tales of the British Isles and far beyond (all the way to Russia and China): a woman who is part of the community, not separate from it like the classic "witch in the woods"; a woman who is married, domesticated like her animal familiars, and yet conversant with women's mysteries, sexuality, and magic.”
Terri Windling

Robert Dinsdale
“When somebody says I need, it means that the thing they will tell you is a terror, and must not really be heard at all.”
Robert Dinsdale, Gingerbread