African Folklore: Animals as Heroes Essay

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African Folklore: Animals as Heroes Via course links, along with additional information, I have discovered that animal fables are often considered the most prevalent and widely held of all African Folktales. Throughout history, Africans have always remained in unison with the animal realm. Thus, it is only natural that they craft stories wherein animals are highlighted as the hero. The African story-tellers contribute human emotions onto animals in their stories. It seems to me that the personification of animals reveals the parallel actions and dispositions of man that are either celebrated or persecuted. These animals are often depicted as possessing wisdom, cleverness, greediness, deceitfulness, kindness, jealousy, or treachery as to showcase a lesson of some sort— sometimes of survival and other times of morality. Many African fables exist about a plethora of animals, including the leopard—as in The Fish and the Leopard’s Wife—the tortoise and the hare, the goat, the python, the elephant, the chameleon, and the bat, and many more. Along with offering life lessons, these animals and stories provide answers to many Africans regarding both, existential questions, and why certain animals look and act the way they do. For instance the aim of the tales, Why the Bat is Ashamed to be Seen in the Daytime and Why the Bat flies by Night is to offer an explanation as to why the bat only flies by night. The Purpose of Why Worms Live Underground is pretty evident by means of the very title itself; it is to explain why worms live underground of course! In many of the assigned tales for this course topic it is also shown that animals make for great symbology. The Tortoise With a Pretty Daughter lets us know that “the tortoise was looked upon as the wisest of all beasts and men” (533). This is clear to see, in my mind, given that the

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