Teaching morals, behavioural change through folktales

FolkloreTHE book, A Treasury of Yoruba Folklore, is a compilation of tales and stories built around animals and persons meant to teach morals and lifelong lessons.

The stories are complied by Benjamin Aderemi Sodipo’s four children, who said their father narrated the stories to them as kids usually in the evening at home. Years after their father died, they have decided to put some of these stories and tales in a book.

Oluremi Solanke, Fadeke Akiolu, Omosalewa Akin-Bankole and Labake Oni complied the stories while Omosalewa Akin-Bankole edited the stories.

Some of the titles of the stories in the book are Laolu the Stubborn Boy, which is meant to teach children to listen to their parents and be law-abiding.

The Smallest Bird in Alaran Kingdom is meant to pass on the message of being fair in every dealings and interaction as well as not overlooking anybody, no matter how small the person is in status and size.

The Beautiful Bride warns against jealousy. The man who got pregnant is about being cautious. The Jealous Wife could not Cook preaches against jealousy. The Greedy Tortoise Got a Broken Back speaks against greediness.

The stories are about the day-to-day activities of man and interaction with one another. The stories spoke to the need to respect elders, not be jealous, be hardworking, contented, and to love and be faithful in relationships.

No doubt, the book brings to mind how valuable family lifestyles where shaped in the past, with parents teaching their children through the folktales they told them while spending time discussing and bonding with them during such sessions.

In the past, parents usually sat down with their children in the evening after dinner to tell stories.

And they were not just stories narrated merely for their entertainment values, but stories meant to instil in the children moral lessons and values that would help them become better persons as individuals and members of the community. And each of the stories in the book is tailored in that direction for effect.

The authors use very simple language to narrate the stories from their father. Though the stories must have been communicated to them in Yoruba, their mother tongue, they have done well by producing the book in English which would broaden its reach in terms of audience and readership.

They have also done a good job by giving a brief summary of the lessons expected to be learnt from each story at the end of the book.

This could help children to better understand the message intended and assimilate the stories for behavioural change.

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