Analyze a Folktale

Title: ________________________

Country of Origin: ________________

1. Happened in the distant past
E.g. “Once upon a time. . . “
My story’s beginning:

2. Events or characters in threes
E.g. three bears; three pigs; three Billy goats; three days
My story’s events in threes:

3. Magic
E.g. talking animals; imaginary creatures; people sleeping for a very long time
My story’s magic:

4. Repetition
E.g. “Who’s been sleeping in my bed?” said by different characters
My story’s repetition:

5. Youngest is sometimes the hero
My story’s hero:

6. The ending is often happy
E.g.. the princess wakes up; the grandmother is rescued
My story’s ending:

7. There’s a lesson or moral
E.g.. don’t make foolish wishes; have courage; accomplish a task
My story’s lesson:

[This page may be copied for use with students if the following credit is provided: ©2010 Sophie Rosen.]

Dinn, Philip. Peg Bearskin: A Traditional Newfoundland Folktale. St. John’s, Nfld.: Running the Goat, Books & Broadsides, 2019, ©2003.
Peg, the youngest of three girls, was not wanted by anyone. But in the end – because this is a folktale – she was the one who saved her sisters and lived happily ever after. This adaptation of a story recorded in 1976 has all the elements of a well-told folktale: a focus on courage and cleverness, a bit of magic, a sense of justice, and the marvellous flowing language of a story from the oral tradition. This is not a sanitized, modernized fairytale but instead a satisfying old-fashioned story of persistence that leads to happiness. A story to read aloud to listeners of all ages. 
Afterwards, you may want to talk about what stands out for the listeners, why that is important, and how an imaginary story can give us courage to face our own battles in the real world. (P.S. For folklore collectors, this is a Canadian version of the Scottish story of Molly Whuppie.)


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