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A Fish Story

a fish storyAlthough this story was described as an “Australian” folktale when published in 1910, Australia is too young a nation to have folktales of its own. This is an Australian . Like those of many other ancient cultures, it tries to explain the meaning of every-day things in the world: in this case how fish got into rivers, and why rivers always feel warmer if you swim in them on a cold day.

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aborigine(adj: aboriginal) Of or relating to the people and things that have been in a region from the earliest time. Used especially when referring to the native peoples of Australia.
(n: aborigine pl aborigines) 1. A member of the original people to live in an area. 2. A member of any of the native peoples of Australia. 9000

myth(n: myth pl myths) 1. A story based on tradition or legend which continues to have a deep symbolic meaning within a cultural group, especially one dealing with gods, heroes etc. 2. An idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true. It's a myth that money brings happiness. 5000
(n: mythology, noncount) A collection of myths. We have been studying Greek mythology. 7000

Diamond Cuts Diamond (Indian Folktale)

diamond cuts diamondIn this Indian a man travels to a far off land to his fortune. He is successful and decides to return home. As he nears home, a ‘friendly’ merchant tells him that there are many thieves on the road ahead. He leaves his riches in the care of the merchant, and travels on to bring back help. When he returns, the merchant tries to cheat him. To get his riches back, he needs the help of someone who is an even bigger cheat.

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folktale(n: folktale pl folktales) A story that is part of the traditions of a group of people and was handed down in spoken form before books and printing. 9000

seek(v: seek, seeks, sought, seeking) 1. To try to find someone or something. The prince is seeking a wife. 2. To try to get something. She sought help form a neighbor. 3. To make an attempt to do something; to try. The builders sought to make the bridge stronger. 2000

The Heart of a Monkey

heart of a monkeyIn this Swahili a shark offers a monkey a ride on its back to see the wonders under the sea. Little does the monkey know that this is because the shark’s king needs a monkey’s heart to cure an illness. The monkey tricks the shark into returning by saying that he left his heart at home. He then explains to the shark why he won’t go back to sea by telling a story about a hare, a lion and a washerman’s donkey.

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folktale(n: folktale pl folktales) A story that is part of the traditions of a group of people and was handed down in spoken form before books and printing. 9000

The Voice of Death

the voice of deathIn this Romanian a man who becomes very rich thinks how terrible it would be to die and have to leave all of his money behind. He sets out to find a land where people do not die, and finally comes across a country where the word death is unknown. He moves there with his wife and family, only to learn the truth of the English : Nothing is certain in life but death and taxes.

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folktale(n: folktale pl folktales) A story that is part of the traditions of a group of people and was handed down in spoken form before books and printing. 9000

(n: proverb pl proverbs) An old but well-known saying that either gives advice about how people should live, or expresses an idea that is generally thought to be true. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. A rolling stone gathers no moss. 6000

The Shifty Lad

the shifty ladThis Scottish is about a boy who likes to play tricks on people and wants nothing more than to grow up to be a thief. His mother doesn’t like the idea, and tells him that if he does become a thief he will get caught one day and be hung from the Bridge of Dublin. When the boy won’t give up on the idea, she arranges for him to learn under the best thief in the district. He proves to be very good at the job, and the two of them become very rich. Being such a nice lad, the boy then kills the man who trained him. He goes on to become so famous a thief that the king sends soldiers to try to catch him. When this doesn’t work, a series of unlikely events follow which end with the boy marrying the king’s daughter. Luckily, there is still justice in some folktales and the Shifty Lad is soon lying dead under the Bridge of Dublin.

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folktale(n: folktale pl folktales) A story that is part of the traditions of a group of people and was handed down in spoken form before books and printing. 9000