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Folktales are rich with deeper meaning and hidden symbolism. Every story paints a metaphorical picture of the human condition, the problems we face and the journeys we take to bring ourselves to our own “happily ever after”. Every telling guides the listener through his or her own emotional and cognitive life and gives a new perspective on who he or she is on the inside.

The best way to experience the deeper levels of a story is to meet the characters on an emotional level, by imagining how it would feel to be each character, which is something that children do naturally when they listen. In this way, we can see that each story is a journey through the emotions that occur within some aspect of the human condition. The audio program Guiding the Journey: Using the Hidden Meaning in Folktales explains how this process unlocks the hidden meaning of the tales and takes you through three sample journeys of this type.

The story guides found here provide a shorter explanation of the hidden meaning and developmental uses of the stories. They are meant to help adults understand the symbolic level of the stories, which will help adults choose when and how a story is best used. The information in these guides is not meant to be shared with children. Children experience stories through their imaginations as a fun, engaging experience. With story, they learn without trying. When we expect them to pay attention to the story at an abstract, intellectual level, we take away the fun and the magic.

And, of course, the symbolism that I describe for each tale is only one way of looking at the story. Each storyteller brings a unique symbolic understanding to a tale, just as each listener hears a unique message. The Story Guides are meant only to show the depth of meaning that each tale offers and to give a glimpse of the particular meaning that I give to a story.

Tales For The Journey Story Guide   The Magic Spring Story Guide   Quiet Heroes Story Guide

Dragons of the Sea Story Guide   The Last Leaf Story Guide