|Aka Sly Cataolcom
(3/6/01 1:37:08 pm)
I'm currently looking for stories where the main character(s) find themselves in the woods (or other wilderness habitat) and comfront a strange creature or person. There are the obvious ones, I know, like Little Red Ridding Hood or Hansel And Gretel, but I'm trying to find some lesser known ones. Can anyone help?
(3/6/01 3:59:41 pm)
|strangers in the woods|
Two things you might try first: search the web for the site by DL Ashliman. He was a professor at Pitt who has an extensive folklore site. Also, try to get (interlibrary loan or some such) a copy of the type and motif index by Aarne and Thompson. The theme you're after is likely listed in there.
(3/6/01 9:09:00 pm)
One good place to look is any culture that has a rich forest/woodland tradition. So read through a collection of British folktales (try Katherine Briggs, "Dictionary of English Folktales" a venerable collection) or "Russian Folk Tales" collected by Alexandr Afanasev. There are wonderful tales in there--and many of them set in the woods. Among my favorite, tales of the woodwitch, Baba Yaga. But even Grimms has it share of forest tales....
(3/8/01 4:44:37 pm)
|more woodland stories|
I appreciate all the help on finding European tales, but in addition to those I was also looking for something more...exotic. Like from Japan or Africa or something. I'm trying to get a little more multicultural.
(3/9/01 5:19:24 am)
Well, try looking at "Japanese Tales" edited by Royall Tyler. It's a very nice collection and there are quite a few stories that take place in the forests--though some are bamboo forests. The stories of the Tengu are great for that--they are these wonderfully strange birds that look like vultures that often shapeshift into human form (usually a monk) and they live in the mountain forests. They are famous martial artists and almost every Japanese hero worth his (and her) salt has taken kendo lessons in the mountainsfrom the tengu.
As for African collections, you will probably find what you are looking for by seeking out West African tales (there is a nice collection by Dorson, from the Folktales Around the World). Though one of my favorite collections is by Rev. Henry Callaway, "Nurser Tales, Traditions and histories of the Zulus (which you will findin a university library collection). The South African "woodland" is a little different but not too far off--try looking at Utombi Yapansi (a tale that has similiar lines to the European "Goose Girl") and "Umxakaza" a long rites of passage narrative in which the "forest" comes to the girl when she is being unpleasant and takes her away on a moving mountain and forces her to begin her journey to adulthood.
best of luck and let us know what you finally use