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What is a Folktale? Folktales are stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. It is seldom that a folktale has a single author because each person that tells the story adds their own personal touches. Many folktales were centuries old, and made their way between different countries and even continents before anyone wrote them down. It is this reason the stories are called folktales because they are written by, and performed by “folk,” or regular people.

I love folktales, so when my voiceover artist friend Pam Atherton approached me with the idea of recording these stories for your enjoyment, I couldn’t resist. All of these tales can be found in The Cultured Chef under their respective countries.

These stories were written by Nicholas Beatty and performed by Pam Atherton

Enjoy!

Choctaw

This Choctaw Native American folktake originates from the gulf coast region, and explains why some plants and animals are poisonous.

Canada

This lovely origin story from the Inuit peoples of Northern Canada addresses constellations, and the wonder of the night sky.

Sweden

Trolls and other mischievous characters find their way into many Scandinavian folktales. In this tale a young man learns not to always believe what you see.

Portugal

The Barcelos Rooster makes his way into many Portuguese folktales, as well as depictions in art and craft such as jewelry and pottery.

Hungary

This story about a cunning hedgehog and a naive King is one of my favorites! I especially love the surprise ending that makes you realize… maybe true love exists!

Russia

I want to know these lively Russian women as I’m sure their home is always filled with laughter and excitement. Check out this whimsical legend of the Matryoshka.

China

Chinese folklore is really exciting as it is filled with all sorts of dragons and monsters! This origin story explains why Chinese New Year is celebrated each year.

Myanmar

Elderly folks make the best characters in folktales because they are always full of such hard-won wisdom, you know they will definitely have something profound to say.

Japan

Momotarō the little peach boy enjoys an almost cult-like popularity in Japan, with countless stories and statues dedicated to him.

Republic of Korea

It always pays to behave nicely, and to be fair and just. Just keep that in mind when you listen to this exciting Korean tale about family.

Iran

Don’t be greedy because it never turns out well in the end. Check out this Iranian tale in my blog as well where I’ve posted a video version with illustrations.

Zimbabwe

What do you get when you unite an ingenious tortoise and a flock of accommodating birds? A Zimbabwean legend… that’s what you get!

Nigeria

This origin story explains why the moon goes through different phases each lunar cycle. A little old lady, a generous moon, and Nigerian legends are born.

Australia

This story comes from the Ualarai culture, an indigenous people of Australia. The elders would use this story to explain why the birds traveled and fed in flocks.

Haiti

Ahhh, Uncle Bouki and Ti Malice are a silly pair! Check out one of my favorite Haitian folktales, then research all the other wonderful tales featuring these two.

Hawaii

This legend tells the story about the two Hawaiian flowers, Mountain Naupaka and Ocean Naupaka, Scaevola chamissoniana. The flowers are extremely similar in their half-shape, appearing as if each completes the other.

New Zealand

Sophora microphylla, known as Kōwhai (meaning “yellow” in Māori) is a small tree with bright yellow flowers that is commonly found in most parts of New Zealand. This story explains how the tree came to be.

Mexico

Find out how the Poinsettia came to be associated with Christmas in this heartwarming Mexican folktale. The best gifts come from the heart.

Jamaica

Anancy is a Jamaican trickster god who is the caretaker of all knowledge and stories. He’s very crafty and loves to keep people guessing.

Dia de los Muertos

Esmerelda’s Journey Home is a full length story (30 minutes) about Dia de los Muertos in Mexican Culture. You can download a free copy of this audio book here!