24 Festive Tasks: Door 17 – Winter Solstice, Task 4 (Soyal – Zuñi & Hopi / Native American):
While systems of written symbols and communication already existed with the Pre-Columbian Native American cultures, to many tribes even today (including the Zuñi and Hopi) the oral tradition is still important. Have you ever had stories told to you (e.g., as children’s bedtime stories, or at night during a camping vacation)? Or if you haven’t, try to imagine a “storytelling” situation you’d like to experience?
My mom told or read me a good night fairy tale or fable almost every night when I was little — mostly from the Brothers Grimm’s collection, but also those by Hans-Christian Andersen and Wilhelm Hauff. I generally preferred the Grimm tales over Andersen’s, chiefly because they could be relied upon to have a happy ending (which is also why witches and evil giants didn’t scare me one bit there — I knew their ultimate purpose in the narrative was to be vanquished by the hero(ine); whereas in Andersen’s tales that wasn’t a given, and if the ending was sad, it was very sad indeed). The stories I liked best, though, were those by Wilhelm Hauff: many of them were set in oriental or otherwise exotic settings in the undifferentiated “past” and were mischievously funny — and those that had sad or serious aspects reached me much more forcefully than Andersen’s.
As I said in another post, fairy tales and fables also made for the first audiobooks I owned, in the form of vinyl records that I learned to play way before I had reached elementary school and “reading” age.