Don’t be fooled. The little folk of fairytale and fable are the keepers of the wisdom. What’s more, they’re not stuffy about it. Worldwide, no matter the tradition, folk tales challenge the norm, encourage creative problem-solving, even question who you are in order for you to grow into someone else.
We need these stories. Proof is in the fact that if our families don’t provide, we will look elsewhere for them. I have a Native American friend who lives near Taos Pueblo in New Mexico who will not tell a story of the Corn Mother unless her listener also shares a story from his or her tradition. She worries that there are not enough storytellers. She believes that when we forget our stories, we forget everything.
Ireland, of course, is known for its storytellers, as this little video advertises . . .
“Woolgathering?” my granddaughter asked.
I grew up on a sheep ranch in Idaho. She’s currently living in a high-rise apartment in Toronto.
Woolgathering n. Absent-minded indulgence in fanciful daydreams–adj. Indulging in fancies; absent-minded.
The American Heritage Dictionary that resides on my desk doesn’t even include a definition for the real-life activity that gave its name to dreams.
Poor people used to wander through pastures and fields, gathering the wool left behind, on fences, trees and prickly bushes, when sheep rubbed against them. If they were lucky, they’d find enough to make a sweater for the winter.
I did it for fun when I was walking the back roads of Ireland. In fact I still have a handful of that Irish wool. It sits on a shelf below the dictionary. Of course, in a world were “time is money” no one gathers wool any more, daydreaming is absent-minded, and stories are for children. Really?