What does Traditional Tale Stand for?

A story is a fictional story whose length is reduced. Traditional, on the other hand, is that which is linked to tradition (custom or habit).

The notion of traditional story refers to the narration whose authorship is generally unknown, which is transmitted from generation to generation orally. These anonymous accounts usually have several versions.

Traditional tales, in their origins, were spread by word of mouth. Over time, the stories ended up being collected in books, adapting to the printed format. This allowed the stories to remain valid throughout history.

A traditional tale known worldwide is “Puss in Boots”.

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“Puss in Boots”, a traditional tale

An example of a traditional tale is “Puss in Boots”. This account first appeared in a book in the 16th century, compiled by Giovanni Francesco Straparola. Over the years, it had very popular versions written by authors such as Giambattista Basile and Charles Perrault.

This traditional tale tells how a cunning cat helps a miller’s son become a millionaire. The young man had inherited the animal from his father: just when he was thinking of eating it, the cat asked him for a pair of boots and a bag to show him that he could make him rich. Thus, after a series of tricks, the feline transforms the poor boy into the Marquis of Carabás and manages to get him to marry the king’s daughter.

“Little Red Riding Hood” is a very popular traditional tale.

Characteristics of these stories

Each region has its own traditional tales. Also called folktales or popular tales, they are usually geared towards children and often include a moral. The values ​​of a community, on the other hand, are spread through these types of stories.

In recent times, many of the traditional tales that had accompanied dozens of generations have undergone important changes in their plots, especially in their endings, with the aim of making them “less tragic”. In other words, most of the stories of this type have –today– a happy ending, although originally it was very different.

A traditional tale with several endings: “Little Red Riding Hood”

Take the case of Little Red Riding Hood, a traditional tale known to millions of people around the world, which has had versions in cartoons and movies, in addition to the obligatory printed books, both with full color illustrations and in pure text. How does this story end? Well, the answer changes according to the generation of the person who answers.

Until a few decades ago, the big bad wolf ate the grandmother as soon as he entered her house by force, put on his clothes and waited for Little Red Riding Hood to arrive, who he also gobbled up after the mythical dialogue :

-Grandma, what big teeth you have!

-To eat you better…

On the other hand, there is a version in which the wolf locks the old woman in a closet and fails to eat Little Red Riding Hood, since she manages to escape in time and meets a hunter, who kills the wolf and saves his two victims.. Over the years, these and other elements have been combined to adapt this traditional tale to the “needs” of the different regions, and little by little it has disguised the violence until it has prevented all deaths : today, neither even the wolf dies.

This tendency to “soften” the endings of traditional stories does nothing but deprive the new generations of valuable teachings that their elders did receive at the time. A happy ending teaches us that everything is possible, that no matter how much we make mistakes, we will always achieve our goals, and it goes without saying that life is not like that. Fortunately, many people in the world of literature are working to recover the original versions, complete with their tragic endings.