Friday, December 11, 2009

Folklore and Mythology

If you've been searching high and low for folklore and mythology from around the world I think you need to check out what D.L.Ashliman of the University of Pittsburgh has put together.

Folklore and Mythology is a compilation of electronic texts that reveal the specific cultural way in which universal motifs (themes) are conveyed. This ethno-centric application also reflects the creativity that people bring to the beliefs and ideas they pass on to each other.

Originally oral in nature, these stories have taken on a more fixed expression in the electronic texts. The texts themselves gathered together as they are in groups also suggests that all cultures have some things in common; particularly, folkloric and mythological images.

For example here is only a portion of what is listed under the category of Air Castles:

The Broken Pot (India, The Panchatantra).
The Poor Man and the Flask of Oil (India, Bidpai).
The Daydreamer (India, Cecil Henry Bompas).
The Barber's Tale of His Fifth Brother (1001 Nights).
A Wise Lesson; or, The Dervish and the Honey Jar (Jewish).
The Milkmaid and Her Pail (Aesop).
Lazy Heinz (Germany, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm).

Here's what's been compiled for "end of the world":
The Timid Hare and the Flight of the Beasts (India, The Jataka Tales).
The Flight of the Beasts (Tibet, Anton Schiefner).
Plop! (Tibet).
The Story of Chicken-Licken (England, James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps).
Henny-Penny and Her Fellow Travelers (Scotland, Robert Chambers).
The Cock and the Hen That Went to Dovrefjell (Norway, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe).
The Little Chicken Kluk and His Companions (Denmark, Benjamin Thorpe).
The End of the World (Flanders, Jean de Bosschère).
Brother Rabbit Takes Some Exercise (African-American, Joel Chandler Harris).

This collection which covers everything from Animal Brides to the End of the World to Weather and Climate and beyond is a real treasure. Be sure to check it out. You'' be surprised at how many common themes we share with one another!


  1. I am currently trying to find different articles on Mythology and Folklore about the "End of The World" I am hoping that maybe you might be able to help me, If you have any information or can direct me in the right direction please email me at It would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Hi Samantha,
    Let me do a bit of research and see what I can find for you.
    Best, Karen