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  Folk tales, creation myths, tall tales and fables

Folk Tales & traditional stories

All over the world different people tell different stories in the style of their ancestors. Often these came from oral (spoken) storytelling.

Creation Myths

Many stories have been written to explain nature, weather and misfortune. They include Australian tales of the Dreamtime.

Tall Tales

Tall Tales began in the 1800s as a way for pioneers to understand the greatness of the America West. A tall tale usually depicts the wild adventures of an extravagantly exaggerated hero, explains the origin of natural landforms/inventions, tackles the fear of huge forests, ferocious creatures, etc. and creates a picture through the use of exaggerations and hyperboles.
Tall Tales from Carbondale


Aesop was the best known writer of fables. Fables have a moral to the story.
Fables from Harsh of Singapore

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How the Baboon got its red bottom

By Allysia, 10, Christchurch, New Zealand

One day cheeky little monkey was being cheeky, as usual.
So the next day all the animals made up an excuse to cheeky little monkey to go to a meeting without him.
Then the Animal God spoke and made a plan with the other animals.The next day was extremely hot.
Cheeky little monkey felt like a swim, so he asked Belinda the crocodile if he could swim in her lake.
She said no but she said that there was a small black water hole that he could swim in.
But the water hole wasn't filled with water at all.
It was actually filled to the brim with hot bubbling tar, but the animals called it schlopp.
So cheeky little monkey climbed up a tree ready to climb in.
But he was so busy focusing that he didn't realise Celia Snake was climbing up the tree.
And before he could do anything Celia pushed him in.
He cried out for help but nobody would listen.
Then the animal god spoke.
He said the monkey would be free,but he would have a red bottom and would be called "baboon".
So now my dear reader I hope you know why the baboon has a red bottom. (October 2006)

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Why the Earth is Round

By Gina, 10, Bozeman, MT USA

One day many years ago, there lived a man named Theseus. He was the god
of all the big black. The big black is what is now the universe. Theseus
decided to take a wife. To wife, he took Hyppolita, Queen of the stars. They
were a happy couple and soon began to have children.
Their first child was named Thera princess of the sea. The next child they
had was Kiokao prince of the land. The family of 4 then began to anticipate
the coming of the 3rd child, and then, it began...
Theseus and Hyppolita fought for 15 days straight about something or other
and during that time Kiokao and Thera created Earth, a lonely square shaped
planet in the big black. They created all the land and all the water, but there
was nothing to live there , so they abandoned it. When they returned to their
parents, they found them preparing to divorce, even though, Hyppolita was to
have the baby in 3 1/2 weeks.
Thera and Kiokao had been born in secret and no one knew about them but
their parents. When they began to plead for their parents divorce to be
canceled with the judge, they were imprisoned for posing as the children that
supposedly Theseus and Hyppolita had never had.
Theseus and Hyppolita divorced and their next baby, Jiolin princess of the
living things, was stolen and neither Theseus or Hyppolita ever lived to see
the baby again.
They did not know that the only thing that made them immortal were their
Later, 35 years later,it was revealed that Theseus and Hyppolita had had 3
children and Thera and Kiokao were released from their prison cell.
Thera and Kiokao found their sister Jiolin to create Earth, the sqaure planet.
However, the first years of Earth were rough and Earth was banged up and
turned circular.
(June 2006)

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Flowers in the Wind

By Nick, 13, Vandalia, Ohio, U.S.A.

Once in a far away land lived a woman. He name was Echo. Her brilliant voice spread many rumors across her town, and led her to great popularity. Well, one day, a witch cursed her to where she could only repeat words of others, so she would never start a cruel rumor again.

To Echo's great dismay, she left the town, and went into the country, never to be seen again. As she was doing her laundry one day, a handsome man passed by, and was lost from the long walk he had taken into the country. His name was Narcissus, and he was the most selfish person on the planet.

"Hello, is there anyone here?" he cried.

"Hello!" responded Echo.

"Come out this moment!"

"Out!" Echo said.

Echo ran out into the cold morning and bowed down to her dream husband.

"Why, where am I?" he asked.

Echo could not respond, for the witch had taken her voice.

"Answer me at once!"

Echo still could not respond, and so Narcissus told her he hated her, and left into the hills. Echo was filled with grief and she died later.

A couple of years later, Narcissus returned to find Echo gone. He noticed a bird bath near her garden, and looked into it's waters. He then saw a beautiful face, and he fell in love with it, for it was his own reflection. After many months, Narcissus died of loneliness, and was never satisfied again. Exactly where his body lay in the dirty garden, the plants grew over him, and formed the first Narcissus flower ever. It was white and beautiful with a potent fragrance, and it is said that whenever you say something, your echo flies across the petals of the Narcissus flower giving it a warm kiss.
(May 2006)

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Kairtri and the Big Fire

By Kenny, 13, Wesley Chapel, FL, USA


A long time ago, when man was still young, there was a man called Kairtri. The people of Kairtri’s village thought that he was worthless. He spent all his time trying to make fire. Kairtri was the only man who knew what fire was and how to make it. A long time before, in a dream, the old god Tarret had showed Kairtri how fire was made, and what it was.
But the now big god at that time was called Marnak, and he always wanted to be better than man. He thought that if man never got fire, he would never become great. So when Marnak found out about Kairtri he was angry.

“Man should not have fire! He roared. “Man will become great! I will not be able to control them! I must kill the Kairtri!”

Kairtri heard Marnak screaming, and decided that he must hide. So he ducked into a cave and hid for two years.

All this time, Marnak had been searching the world for Kairtri. He looked in every village to find him, but, of course, he couldn’t find him. Finally, he gave up. Now Kairtri came out of his cave and rolled up a big ball of reeds. He shaped the reeds into the shape of an arrow. Then he made a bow out of the branch of an oak tree. He made a fire and set the arrow aflame. And he shot the arrow up through the big cloud that Marnak ruled from and set Marnak on fire.

Marnak fell through the clouds and landed on top of a mountain. When he landed, a large hole opened up and swallowed him. Marnak was so angry, that he roared at the top of his lungs. All this time, the mountain had been burning away. But when the fire heard Marnak’s roars, it ran down the mountain and far away. It was the first volcano.

Kairtri saw this and was satisfied. He showed every person on Earth how to make fire and climbed up to Marnak’s seat in the clouds. Then, he changed his name to Tormakc and ruled the people justly. Now fire is a part of life.
(May 2004)

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Why the sky is so far away

By Matauka, 10, Kitwe, Zambia

Long ago the sky was so near that men took advantage of the sky. They refused to work. The sky warned the people that if they took a piece of the sky and threw it away the sky would go up high where they could not reach for it. One day a greedy woman took the biggest piece ever taken in the city. Her family and her friends ate and ate but they could not finish it so they gave the whole city some but they also failed. The sky was upset and moved up further away. August 2003.

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