Folktales of Asia draws together a range of folktales from a number of countries in Asia. (Many more folktales from Asia however, can be found through a keyword search of the Asian-Australian Children's Literature and Publishing (AACLAP) subset. A folktale is a particular form of oral storytelling for expressing particular customs and traditions of a specific culture. Other forms of folklore include myths, legends, fairy tales, tall tales, parables, proverbs, riddles, games, and dances. These, mostly oral, art forms usually contain a moral or lesson to be learned. Folktales generally rely on a number of universally recognised motifs (recurring thematic elements) such as the Clever Wife, the Quest, a Foolish Servant, and so on which serve as mnemonic devices that promote the storyline without too much necessary explanation required. However, because folktales rely on these motifs, caution should be exercised so that readers are not drawn into uncritical acceptance of stereotypes and caricatures that could result in a flawed impression of a particular culture.
This folktale tells the origins of an important celebration in Vietnamese culture: the Moon Festival. Another text, Chu Cuoi's Magic Tree (see below) also tells the origins of the Moon Festival. These folktales display similarities but also differences - this is the nature of oral storytelling.
Note the similarities and differences between this play based on a folktale and the Moon Festival (above).
This is another story about the Moon Festival. Both Chinese and Vietnamese people celebrate the Moon or Mid-Autumn Festival. Again, there are similarities and differences between the origins of the story as well as the ways in which the festival is celebrated.
This Chinese folktale demonstrates the importance of festivals and celebrations in the life of a community.
Many folktales rely on binary oppositions such as good versus evil or rich versus poor, but this story has a slight variation on this. It utilises the motifs of Wise King and Wicked Witch to prove that wisdom can defeat power.
This is an example of a pourquoi or origin story in which the origin of something is explained. In this case the tale explains the birth of Korea (Koguryo). Another variation on the pourquoi story is the Just So stories made famous by Rudyard Kipling which explain the origins of animals' defining characteristics, eg the elephant's trunk.
This is a Quest story in which good eventually triumphs over evil.
Kindness is rewarded.
There are many different versions to this folktale. However, while the details of the story may change the moral remains largely intact.
This collection of stories exhibits a defining characteristic of many folktales: they teach moral lessons.
Another folktale in which the hunter becomes the hunted.
This selection of folktales and fables from Asia and Australia showcases the universal qualities as well as regional differences between stories from these two continents.
Tales from Asia included in this volume are Chinese, Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesian), Indian (Hindi), Pakastani (Urdu), Thai and Japanese reflecting the diversity of cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the people of Australia.
These plays, based on folktales from Asia, contain a number of familiar motifs such as a trickster, a thief, two brothers and an inheritance.