Friday, May 12, 2006

How many African folktales exist?

In my first first post, I alleged that very few African folktales had been documented out of the huge collection that must exist. Now, here is a reference which I found on to back that claim up. It says:

"Struck has estimated the number of African folktales at nearly a quarter of a million. Klipple estimates that five thousand different African myths and tales have actually been published, although her bibliography, prepared in 1938, contains references to nine thousand....Among the thousands of tribes in Africa, there is not a single one for which a complete collection of myths and tales has been published." " The Yoruba, for example, distinguish between myths and legends (itan) which they regard as historically true, folktales (alo apagbe), riddles (alo), proverbs (owe), songs (orin), praise names (orile), curses or incantations (ofo), and the Ifa divining verses (ese).."Funk & Wagnalls,Dictionary of Folklore Mythology and Legend,pg.18).

I guess the actual number is anyone's guess, but there must be a lot.

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