Collected and retold by Rohini Chowdhury

Folktales are stories passed on from one person to another by word of mouth.  In the modern world, as the tradition of oral story-telling is giving way to books and television, that such tales are being collected and written down.

Sometimes folktales seek to explain the world around us. Sometimes they tell of real people and events, as in the story of Dick Whittington.

Often, they centre around favourite character types – like the old woman who is usually clever, sometimes grumpy, sometimes with a wicked sense of humour. Be careful, lest she get the better of you!

Another recurring character type is the village fool, or the idiot youngest son, who ultimately turns out to be the wisest.  

And sometimes, myth and folklore overlap, and gods and demons rub shoulders happily with ordinary men and women…