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Fairy tales have ancient origin

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posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 09:46 AM
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Fairy tales have ancient origin


Popular fairy tales and folk stories are more ancient than was previously thought, according research by biologists.

By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent
Published: 9:00PM BST 05 Sep 2009

They have been told as bedtime stories by generations of parents, but fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood may be even older than was previously thought.

A study by anthropologists has explored the origins of folk tales and traced the relationship between varients of the stories recounted by cultures around the world.

The researchers adopted techniques used by biologists to create the taxonomic tree of life, which shows how every species comes from a common ancestor.

Dr Jamie Tehrani, a cultural anthropologist at Durham University, studied 35 versions of Little Red Riding Hood from around the world.

Whilst the European version tells the story of a little girl who is tricked by a wolf masquerading as her grandmother, in the Chinese version a tiger replaces the wolf.

In Iran, where it would be considered odd for a young girl to roam alone, the story features a little boy.

Contrary to the view that the tale originated in France shortly before Charles Perrault produced the first written version in the 17th century, Dr Tehrani found that the varients shared a common ancestor dating back more than 2,600 years.

He said: “Over time these folk tales have been subtly changed and have evolved just like an biological organism. Because many of them were not written down until much later, they have been misremembered or reinvented through hundreds of generations.

“By looking at how these folk tales have spread and changed it tells us something about human psychology and what sort of things we find memorable.

“The oldest tale we found was an Aesopic fable that dated from about the sixth century BC, so the last common ancestor of all these tales certainly predated this. We are looking at a very ancient tale that evolved over time.”

Dr Tehrani, who will present his work on Tuesday at the British Science Festival in Guildford, Surrey, identified 70 variables in plot and characters between different versions of Little Red Riding Hood.

He found that the stories could be grouped into distinct families according to how they evolved over time.

The original ancestor is thought to be similar to another tale, The Wolf and the Kids, in which a wolf pretends to be a nanny goat to gain entry to a house full of young goats.

Stories in Africa are closely related to this original tale, whilst stories from Japan, Korea, China and Burma form a sister group. Tales told in Iran and Nigeria were the closest relations of the modern European version.

Perrault’s French version was retold by the Brothers Grimm in the 19th century. Dr Tehrani said: “We don’t know very much about the processes of transmission of these stories from culture to culture, but it is possible that they may being passed along trade routes or with the movement of people.”

Professor Jack Zipes, a retired professor of German at the University of Minnesota who is an expert on fairy tales and their origins, described the work as “exciting”. He believes folk tales may have helped people to pass on tips for survival to new generations.

He said: “Little Red Riding Hood is about violation or rape, and I suspect that humans were just as violent in 600BC as they are today, so they will have exchanged tales about all types of violent acts.

“I have tried to show that tales relevant to our adaptation to the environment and survival are stored in our brains and we consistently use them for all kinds of reference points.”

SOURCE:www.telegraph.co.uk...

Interesting article. I would imagine this is because we really haven't changed all that much over the few thousand years our speices have been in existance.




posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 10:14 AM
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Violation or Rape? I always thought is was a cautionary tale to be aware of your surroundings lest you be consumed by those that would take advantage of your distraction.

Like predatory lenders and the housing crisis preyed on those distracted by the low rates and zero down payment. In other words not everyone you think as friendly really is a friend.

[edit on 9-9-2009 by Ahabstar]



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 11:35 AM
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Very interesting article, if you did not get the violent undertones, you were never a little girl. It is sort of obvious.



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 12:32 PM
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Originally posted by Ahabstar
Violation or Rape? I always thought is was a cautionary tale to be aware of your surroundings lest you be consumed by those that would take advantage of your distraction.

Like predatory lenders and the housing crisis preyed on those distracted by the low rates and zero down payment. In other words not everyone you think as friendly really is a friend.

[edit on 9-9-2009 by Ahabstar]


Yep... like the man said... violation.



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 12:40 PM
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Good post.

A lot of our history has been passed through the generations by Story-Tellers.

Most of the general population(s) did not read or write so The Story-Teller was a way to pass along info. These stories were then retold and retold.

Nice to see this study being done and the comparissions between the different regions!



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 12:41 PM
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This is a really neat article. I had never thought that fairy tales were really thousands of years old but, when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. It's easy to imagine the stories changing from culture to culture, sometimes changing so much they create new stories.

Looks like certain things have been valued by every culture.



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 12:48 PM
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Interesting article. thanks!
Though it doesn't surpise me. I once saw an exhibit of santa clauses from around the world. The American Santa is relatively new compared to some. And they come in all shapes, sizes, species and genders.



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 01:04 PM
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Awesome article....


A little off topic Watcher, is that the word Fair in Fairy tales, actually means Watch.

:-)


Watcher Tales... is what they are ;-)

Thought you might like that



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 01:05 PM
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This may be very controversial? I think the story is deeply entrenched in sex as a brutal albeit natural act. All animal sex is rape more or less; the lion doesn’t ask the lioness out for dinner and a drink, he just takes it. I think it is nature, thanks to conscious awareness that humans possess to varying degrees, we rise a bit above our nature.

There is a line in the film classic “The African Queen” where Katherine Hepburn’s character says to Humphrey Bogart’s character, “Nature, Mr. Alcott is something we were born to overcome.” I am paraphrasing and it might not be exact but that line struck me as very true.

Being a female and especially a little girl, we can be vulnerable and therefore this story carries a lot of weight for me.



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 02:08 PM
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Originally posted by cindymars
This may be very controversial? I think the story is deeply entrenched in sex as a brutal albeit natural act. All animal sex is rape more or less; the lion doesn’t ask the lioness out for dinner and a drink, he just takes it. I think it is nature, thanks to conscious awareness that humans possess to varying degrees, we rise a bit above our nature.




It goes both ways though. Black widows kill their male mates outright as the normal reproductive process. As a male, this scares the bejesus outta me :-)

Both sides of the sexes are attempting to wrest something from the other... it is the natural order of the sexual tension which gives rise to everything we hold dear in the world.



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 02:45 PM
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Originally posted by HunkaHunka

Originally posted by cindymars
This may be very controversial? I think the story is deeply entrenched in sex as a brutal albeit natural act. All animal sex is rape more or less; the lion doesn’t ask the lioness out for dinner and a drink, he just takes it. I think it is nature, thanks to conscious awareness that humans possess to varying degrees, we rise a bit above our nature.




It goes both ways though. Black widows kill their male mates outright as the normal reproductive process. As a male, this scares the bejesus outta me :-)

Both sides of the sexes are attempting to wrest something from the other... it is the natural order of the sexual tension which gives rise to everything we hold dear in the world.



So as a boy, you were naturally afraid of women?
Because I don't think it does go both ways.
Now I also do not believe that I am not, only a woman, it is just the vehicle that I inhabit in this cycle.



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 02:49 PM
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reply to post by cindymars
 


There is a time we are terrified of girls when we were very young at least. Or at the very least intimidated. We aren't supposed to show or admit it though so I think I just broke a manlaw.


[edit on 9-9-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 02:50 PM
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reply to post by HunkaHunka
 


Maybe.....

This is a naughty second line. It must be whipped promptly!


[edit on 9-9-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 03:03 PM
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Originally posted by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
reply to post by cindymars
 


There is a time we are terrified of girls when we were very young at least. Or at the very least intimidated. We aren't supposed to show or admit it though so I think I just broke a manlaw.


[edit on 9-9-2009 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]


Yes but if all civilized norms were stripped away, when a boys hormones
rage they would not be afraid to do what they wanted (therefore not afraid of rejection) and take what they wanted. As it would be in nature.



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 03:10 PM
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Originally posted by cindymars

Originally posted by HunkaHunka

Originally posted by cindymars
This may be very controversial? I think the story is deeply entrenched in sex as a brutal albeit natural act. All animal sex is rape more or less; the lion doesn’t ask the lioness out for dinner and a drink, he just takes it. I think it is nature, thanks to conscious awareness that humans possess to varying degrees, we rise a bit above our nature.




It goes both ways though. Black widows kill their male mates outright as the normal reproductive process. As a male, this scares the bejesus outta me :-)

Both sides of the sexes are attempting to wrest something from the other... it is the natural order of the sexual tension which gives rise to everything we hold dear in the world.



So as a boy, you were naturally afraid of women?
Because I don't think it does go both ways.
Now I also do not believe that I am not, only a woman, it is just the vehicle that I inhabit in this cycle.


Yep actually I was. I came from a very sexually repressed family, and I was taught never to be caught alone with a girl, because if she made any accusations it would be her word against mine and I would always lose. Mind you this was long before I even knew what to do with a female. And this was taught to me by my mother.

My parents did a poor job of explaining relationships to me. I'm never one to make the first move in a romantic setting for all sorts of reasons. And I'm not ashamed to admit that women intimidate me romantically. They always have.

That's what I mean. There are dominant women as much as there are men. Don't be fooled by the Romanesque society we live in today. In Celtic society the concept that women were vulnerable would be laughed at, as they fought right along side the men, and as a sex, they were as thick as thieves as the men were.



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 03:26 PM
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The original of Little Red Riding Hood that was told by the ancient Celts was quite shocking by today's standards.

The tale is a young girl's Rite of Passage into adulthood that begins when a girl had her first menses. To the Celts, menstruating women were considered "contaminated" just as many other ancient cultures did. For this reason, they had to wear a Red Cloak to denote when they were menstruating, so that others would not touch them and become "contaminated".

At the Coming of Age, a girl had to accomplish two things...she had to complete the cycle of life by participating in Ancestral Eating and she had to have her first Sexual Experience. Yes, in the original it is not the Wolf that eats the Grandmother, but Little Red Riding Hood...The food she was carrying was not to feed her Grandmother but to use to cook her Grandmother! The belief was that this had to be done so that her Grandmother's spirit might live on within her (and you thought the ancient Celts were a bunch of crystal-rubbing faerie-loving tree-huggers didn't you!). Once she had closed this cycle of life, she was then ready to experience her first Sexual Experience. This was usually done not with a youth her age, but my the eldest single male of the Tribe (thus the imagery of a "Wolf"). We would consider such to be Statutory Rape, but back then such practices were considered normal...the eldest women would sexually initiate the boys Coming of Age and the eldest men would sexually initiate the girls Coming of Age...just as the women would train the men to fight in battle and the men would train the women to fight in battle.

It's a dark and disturbing tale of a much darker and disturbing time. I can understand how it would have changed over the course of two thousand years as it passed to other cultures that didn't share the same cultural beliefs as the ancient Celts.



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 03:34 PM
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reply to post by HunkaHunka
 


Yes but I am not talking about a grown woman but a girl.
Societies and civilizations have put attitudes onto us, I am talking nature.
It is violent. The wolf will tear you apart and eat you but its not personal, its just hungry. A male animal is driven by the pheromones released from the female, to copulate and so they do without asking, it is not personal but natural.

[edit on 9-9-2009 by cindymars]



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 03:40 PM
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reply to post by cindymars
 


That is not precisely true. Animals have certain cues biologically and behaivorly *is that even a word?
*
to signal when they are "in season" thusly "mateable". And then there are the speices that mate for life. I am not sure I would call it akin to rape.



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 03:47 PM
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reply to post by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
 


Ok then look what happens when societies, governments and laws breakdown, what happens?
Women are brutalized and raped.



posted on Sep, 9 2009 @ 03:48 PM
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reply to post by cindymars
 


Cindy, that depends on the culture. Did you read Frateromos's post?

As you can see the Celts had a much different society.







 
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