Tell the Tales

From the years 1828 to 1921, any Londoner who desired to do so could read the various literary compositions in "The Athenaeum Magazine".  Contributors included the likes of T. S. Eliot, Aldous Huxley, and Virginia Woolf (Don't be afraid).  Another contributor was William Thoms.  Few today know his name.  Yet most are aware of his regularly recalled addition to the English vocabulary.  He coined, in 1846, the term "folklore."  he combined two words: 
folk = "the common people"
lore = "knowledge"

When people think about folklore, most think of tales such as "The Ugly Duckling, "Rip Van Winkle," and "The Frog Princess." 

African children grow up hearing the story, "The Clever Jackal Gets Away."  Parents in Japan tell their children about Momotaro.  In 1922, Clara Bayliss' collection of tales told stories of Eskimos living in North America.  

Many tales of folklore make their way into published material.

Other stories stay within tighter realms. 

What are your family tales?  I love each time that my wife, children, and I visit our families in the Lower 48.  We enjoy eating, laughing, and telling old family favorites.  The stories range from times when great-uncles fished the rivers of Arkansas to great-aunts with wigs flying off as events made it necessary to quickly apply the brakes.  If anyone in our family merely says, "Who's got the tickets?" or "He's got to Uncle Lee it," we all laugh - recalling the origin of such phrases. 

What are your stories?  What phrases bring laughter to your family?  Keep telling those stories!  Future generations will be glad you did.

Common people tell Ordinary tales, passing the lore on down the family line.


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