In class we had a guest speaker, Dr. Greg Alles, who presented a lecture titled “Myths and Legends of the Ādivāsīs in India”. I thoroughly enjoyed this lecture because it was told from firsthand experience through funny stories and riveting pictures. For this class we read the story “Rāma in the Rāmāyāna” however we did not talk about the story during this class. Instead Dr. Alles talked about many other stories, but more than the stories he talked about the culture and country of India. At first I wondered why he was giving so much background information and not delving into the stories right away like most of the other guest lecturers we have had. I found out through the lecture that he did this because the culture and the country was so influential in the stories, more so than any other cultures fairy tales that we have seen.
The many different cultural rituals that take place in India have stories that go with them. These origin stories describe how things came to be and why all of the rituals are the way they are and the purpose of each step. The stories he shared with us were not so much fairy tales because they didn’t have the elements of fantasy and magic but were rather more similar to folktales. They were like folk tales because they explained different parts of a culture and were passed through oral tradition to many generations. The stories were much different than European fairy tales because they did not have a moral or were not used to help civilize children. The tales in India were instead for all ages and did not have a moral but rather an explanation.