Father and Daughter Tales

Father and Daughter Tales

by Josephine Evetts-Secker, Helen Cann
     
 

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Focusing on girls whose fathers teach them to live full, adventurous lives, this beautifully illustrated, multicultural collection of folk stories is full of traditional wisdom.

In ten engaging folk tales--Danish, Dinka (Sudanese), German, French, Muskogee (Native American), English, Indian, Polish, Italian, and Arabian--this anthology explores the wonderful

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Overview

Focusing on girls whose fathers teach them to live full, adventurous lives, this beautifully illustrated, multicultural collection of folk stories is full of traditional wisdom.

In ten engaging folk tales--Danish, Dinka (Sudanese), German, French, Muskogee (Native American), English, Indian, Polish, Italian, and Arabian--this anthology explores the wonderful complexities of father-daughter relationships around the world. At every step these stories show how fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and other father figures can help girls to grow up in a complicated world. Often the men urge their daughters to stand on their own and to face challenges with courage, wit, and integrity. As the girls make their way from childhood to young womanhood, they learn to value their own judgment in addition to their fathers' experience. Filled with traditional wisdom, this anthology explores timeless issues like kindness, respect, self-reliance, and trust.

With colorful watercolor illustrations on every page, Father and Daughter Tales is perfect for adults to read aloud to young children, or for older children to read independently. Familiar stories like "The Frog Prince" and "Beauty and the Beast" appear side by side with tales that most readers will find new and exciting. In a helpful conclusion the author provides insights into the stories' most important themes, which adults will find useful as they read and discuss these tales with their children.

Other Details: 89 full-color illustrations 80 pages 8 1/2 x 8 1/2" Published 1997

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780789203922
Publisher:
Abbeville Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/28/1997
Series:
Abbeville Anthology Series
Pages:
80
Product dimensions:
8.87(w) x 10.71(h) x 0.54(d)
Age Range:
8 - 10 Years

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Foreword

Most folk and fairy tales have some aspect of the family drama at their center. In this anthology, the stories focus on the relationships that develop between fathers and daughters. How can a father love his daughter wisely and well? How can a daughter grow into an independent adult while still honoring her father? In every culture, these have always been dilemmas.

In these stories, the daughters of spirits, kings, viziers, rich merchants, hunters, woodcutters, and poor farmers all share common experiences. While the father usually sets the story in motion, he often disappears until the end. During his absence, the daughter can explore the world on her own and become self-reliant; in short, she grows up. Then father and daughter can reunite, forging a new relationship appropriate for the mature young woman.

Folk tales do not demand that their characters be perfect; the tendency to fail is accepted as part of the human condition. Instead, these stories work to repair and restore wholeness in a very imperfect world. This collection is full of fathers who fail through weakness or inflexibility, even though they love their daughters very much. But through error comes wisdom; the fathers' mistakes are the windows through which new and unexpected possibilities appear, often initiating a girl's most important adventures.

In most cultures, fathers traditionally embody authority, which in folk tales is particularly prone to fail. Fathers who rule over their daughters in these stories are assumed to be wise--yet they are often foolish, and need to learn from their daughters. Sometimes daughters must defiantly question their fathers' authority, relying instead on their ownhearts.

Other girls in these tales have overprotective fathers who love them too much, keeping them from living fully. These girls must free themselves-often symbolized by their marriage, a sacred ritual in which the daughter leaves her father and unites with another. We might describe this tradition differently today, but it is important to understand its symbolic value in folk tales.

In the stories that follow, we see fathers struggling to love their daughters warmly and to receive love in return. Their responsibility is to encourage learning without betraying feeling; to protect without stifling; to guide without coercing; and to encourage independence. It is not surprising that this anthology is full of contradictions and enigmas. There is no simple equation, no single map: every father and daughter must create their own relationship. This flexibility is part of the excitement and fascination of these tales.

As the Dinka tale begins, "Listen to this ancient tale!" The authority of this voice has held us in its power for centuries, and we continue to benefit from the insight of the folk tales it relates.

Josephine Evetts-Secker

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

1997

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