Watch A Children's Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales

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Dr. Hannah Blevins Harvey unpacks more than 60 of our most beloved stories, fables, fairy tales, and songs from around the world. Not only does she provide you with a fascinating, in-depth view into the history, context, and deeper meaning of the tales we know and love, she also treats you to dynamic, theatrical, and engaging tellings of these cherished tales.

A Children's Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (23 episodes). The series first aired on July 21, 2017.

A Children's Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales is available for streaming on the website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch A Children's Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales on demand atAmazon Prime, Amazon, Kanopy online.

The Great Courses Signature Collection
1 Season, 23 Episodes
July 21, 2017
Cast: Hannah Harvey
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A Children's Guide to Folklore and Wonder Tales Full Episode Guide

  • Dr. Harvey reviews the fundamentals of storytelling and expands on common themes that can be found across tales that span time and location, such as protection of family, being resourceful, demonstrating bravery, overcoming entrapment, and more. She shares her favorite tale, "The Wonderful Pot" from Denmark, and concludes with a Scottish tale called "Death in a Nut."

  • Dr. Harvey jumps into the 20th century to demonstrate how Tall Tales reinforce the ideals of the cultures where they were born. After sharing the stories of "Pecos Bill," "Katy Goodgrit" and "Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox," Dr. Harvey delves into how ballads and folksongs served as a voice from those who couldn't speak. She presents "The Ballad of John Henry" and "The Ballad of Casey Jones."

  • Continuing with the triad theme, Dr. Harvey uses this lecture to explore the role of the masculine hero, comparing the actions, motifs, and quests of King Arthur and Winnie the Pooh as she shares "Merlin, Arthur, and the Two Swords" and "Christopher Robin Leads an Expotition to the North Pole." Through this lecture, Dr. Harvey defines the category of legends.

  • Femininity is once again examined, this time with a focus on the roles women play in stories. Dr. Harvey shares a combined version of "Rapunzel," pulling from Grimm's German version and Basile's Italian version. Looking at the triad of Maiden/Mother/Crone and Warrior/Father/Sage, Dr. Harvey shows how stories reduce and distill all our life experiences into simple symbols.

  • Learn why beauty matters, how beauty is akin to as power in many stories, and how, as these stories got retold and rewritten (by men), the roles men played became more heroic while the roles women played became designated to looking lovely. Using Grimm's "Snow White" as a lens to examine instruments of femininity, Dr. Harvey explains how these stories are often metaphors for life.

  • Aesop has made a name for himself. Dr. Harvey presents several of his tales, including "The Tortoise and the Hare," "Androcles and the Lion," "The Stone in the Road," "The Fox and the Wolf," and "Belling the Cat." She also shares Kipling's "Camel Poem" and "How the Hamster Got his Tail," a Kenyan story about why hamsters have small tails.

  • Many fictional stories are an attempt to explain why things in the world are the way they are. Dr. Harvey shares several pourquoi tales from around the world, including Kipling's "How the Camel Got His Hump" from his "Just So Stories" published in India. She also shares an African-American tale "Why the Rabbit has Long Ears and a Short Tail" and the 1929 Norse story "Why the Sea is Salty."

  • Repetition and patterned verse are often the backbone to some of our most beloved tales. Dr. Harvey presents a wide-range of formula tales including, "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" from Norway, Joseph Jacob's "Henny Penny" from Australia, "The Gingerbread Man," and "The Three Bears" which was written by English poet laureate Robert Southey and therefore lends itself to being a cante tale.

  • Well before his debut in Shrek, "Puss in Boots" was making a name for himself in the Panchatantra. Considered one of the most influential written records of oral folklore, this Indian collection of more than 700 animal fables and folk stories dates back more than 1700 years ago. Dr. Harvey shares a French version from 1697, as well as "Iron Heinrich" - or "The Frog Prince" - from Grimm.

  • Hear the story of "The Town Musicians of Bremen" - a tale that has been so prolific and retold through so many forms of art that in Bremen you can find a statue to the storied animals. Dr. Harvey also looks at how various cultures such as Germany, India, and the Netherlands both treated and depicted older characters. She concludes with a "Japanese Wisdom Tale."

  • Just like the lessons learned in the stories Dr. Harvey covers in this lecture, the stories themselves can be deceiving, too. Dr. Harvey first shares the Hans Christian Andersen story of "The Emperor's New Clothes" and then "The Happy Prince" by British playwright Oscar Wilde. Both stores are often mistaken for oral tradition folktales, yet were literary tales by one author.

  • Dr. Harvey presents several stories, each of which explore the power of naming. Starting with classic story "Rumpelstiltskin" from Germany, collected by the Grimm brothers in 1857, you'll also hear an Egyptian creation myth, a Judeo-Christian creation myth, the Egyptian story of Ra and Isis, and "Peerie Fool" from the Orkney Islands, which pulls elements from Norse and Scottish folklore.

  • Folklorists believe that stories like Hansel and Gretel may have begun during the Great Famine in Europe, during the late Medieval age, about 700 years ago. Dr. Harvey shows us how the Scottish version has something else living in the house in the woods as she shares both "Hansel and Gretel" and "Mollie Whuppie." Both stories introduce the themes of triumph and besting evil powers.

  • Many scholars believe that the beanstalk in "Jack and the Beanstalk" is a reference to the Tree of Life, which is one of our most iconic global images. Dr. Harvey presents religious and cultural insights and more through the telling of "Jack and the Beanstalk" and the Norse myth "Yggdrasil The World Tree."

  • Why do we love toppling giants? Stories such as David and Goliath resonate, giving us hope that we can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. Dr. Harvey shares two stories: "The Legend of the Chocolate Hills" from the Philippines, and "The Little Tailor," adapted from the 1857 version by the brothers Grimm, which itself was adapted from a 1557 story called "Der Wegkurtzer" by Martinus Montanus.

  • "Cinderella" stories go back 7000 years, and Mah Pishani is possibly one of the oldest. This Iranian story provides a very different take on the same themes you've become familiar with. Unlike the bickering evil step-sisters, this version is about finding connection with family and community - in particular among women - and about love that stretches beyond the grave.

  • With the French and Italian versions of "Cinderella," Dr. Harvey presented a classic "rise" tale, but "Cinderella" is the one of the world's oldest "magic tales" with many versions, interpretations, and morals. Vasilisa the Fair" follows the traditional "Cinderella" story, but with many twists and offers the idea that there can be ambiguity in folklore characters.

  • Dr. Harvey introduces you to a Norse tale called "East of the Sun, West of the Moon." This story introduces us to the theme of transformation - a theme that is both scary and exciting, and is a common in folktales to help us understand how we grow and change, and to teach the lesson that looks can be deceiving.

  • Get introduced to folktales and the various classifications as Dr. Harvey introduces you to the wide world of folklore. You'll hear the 1697 Charles Perrault version of "Sleeping Beauty" and take a deep dive into the meaning behind the symbolism and the importance differences between this story and the Grimm version we are more familiar with. #Literature & Learning