Sunday, January 27, 2013


On Friday I shared my fascination with The Arabian Nights: Tales from One Thousand and One Nights with my friend Maxine. The stories are basically ancient Middle Eastern fairy tales told by Scheherazade to her husband, the Sultan. The premise being that he has become so bitter by the betrayal of his first wife that henceforth he will wed a virgin one day and kill her the next.  In this manner he avenges his broken heart, takes revenge on womankind and remains impervious to the temptations of love.  Scheherazade is able to escape this fate because she tells him the most marvelous, interconnected stories and he must keep listening.

As I spoke I espoused the merits of going back to the source material by stating, "Fairy tales have become such a common point of reference in our society but I doubt many people have actually read the original stories collected by The Brothers Grimm. I mean, how many times do we make references to Scheherazade without ever having actually read the stories she is credited with telling?"

At this point Maxine gave me a puzzled, raised eyebrow kind of look and told me that most people never reference Scheherazade.


So, I guess it is only me and my good friend Joy who laugh when we imagine an unfortunate Scheherazade running out of stories after one thousand nights by simply announcing...

"I got nuthin!"

Perhaps.  But this got me thinking about the fact that we teach children fairy tales in kindergarten and how I teach my first grade students stories from Greek mythology and Homer's The Illiad and The Odyssey.

Could I supplement that with tales from the Arabian Nights?  Me thinks it can be done!

I also have a parent who is encouraging me to get into the Arthurian legends with my students.  This well-rounded exploration of myths and legends could be another step towards my becoming the Joseph Campbell of the kindergarten/first grade set by providing insights into tot-sized comparative mythology.

Hmmm..something to think about for next year in first grade.


Joy Keaton said...

I love it: you ARE Joseph Campbell for the young'uns!

Pauline said...

Munchkin Myths? Methinks it sounds like fun.

Gary said...

Joy - And to think you were the one who first asked, "Have you ever watched The Power of Myth on PBS?"

Pauline - Great title! I think I shall use that in future.


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