People often say “Time will tell…” when they are at a loss to predict what the future will hold. Perhaps, if time is taken to listen to what has already been told by time, we will be better prepared to deal with what the future brings.
Sure, the notion that history repeats itself is often true, although sometimes it doesn’t actually repeat, but it does rhyme. So learning the facts of history is important so that we can repeat what was good and defeat what was evil.
However, it’s not just the facts of history that are a weapon to defeat present-day evils. Folktales were often told by past generations to provide warnings to their children. It was common that those children would pass on the stories to their children, and the cycle would continue.
It seems we have lost much of that tradition. That is a loss because a lot of wisdom was passed on to the next generations via tales.
I thought I’d share a few examples of stories many of us are probably familiar with…hopefully, it will inspire you to pass on these stories that held important life lessons to your children and grandchildren. Maybe even remind some of your same-age friends about these tales and their lessons too.
A few familiar stories contain a lesson warning that things are not always as they seem to be. Remember how Little Red Riding Hood is fooled by a seemingly friendly stranger she encounters in the forest on her way to visit her ailing grandmother? Then there’s brother and sister, Hansel and Gretel, who are lured towards danger by a house made of candy! Don’t forget about the gullible Gingerbread Boy who believes the false promise made by a fox who says he will gladly help him across a river if he just gets on his back.
Then there’s the warning about the danger of telling a lie after lie in “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” which is important because it teaches that a liar will not be believed, even when telling the truth. You probably remember that the tale involved a bored boy tending sheep who cried “Wolf!” to get attention. He did it again and again, and the villagers came to his aid. By the third time, the boy’s cries of “Wolf” were ignored. This time he had been telling the truth, but no one came to his aid, and he and the sheep were eaten by a wolf.
Yet another lesson too many have forgotten comes from “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” In that tale, it took a small child to tell the truth that ALL could see but were afraid to pronounce. The reality was that the emperor was told he was wearing new magnificent clothing, but in fact, he was wearing NO clothes!
Let’s revisit these tales from a time gone by and share them with the next generations so we won’t all be caught off guard when we encounter age-old tactics of trickery.
Diana Erbio is a freelance writer and author of “Coming to America: A Girl Struggles to Find her Way in a New World.” Read her blog series “Statues: The People They Salute” and visit the Facebook Page.
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