Thursday, October 7, 2010
Folktales, Fairytales, & Legends
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale
By: John Steptoe
Written in 1993
A folktale is a story that grew from the lives of people and is based on culture. Most folktales are developed from oral story telling of the people from a common culture. Fairytales, legends and myths fall under the same category as folktales. Folktales contain stories that are traditional to its culture and will contain a moral that is taught to its readers.
I chose to do my blog about a folktale called, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe. I have never read this book before and after reading I am happy to say that it is now a favorite of mine. The story is about two young African girls named Nyasha and Manyara. They are both very beautiful and their father Mufaro loves them very much. Nyasha was the kind hearted, gentle, and trusting sister. Manyara was selfish and only cared about ruling the land and nothing else. Manyara tells her sister Nyasha that she will one day rule as Queen and Nyasha will be her servant. Nyasha encounters a garden snake one day that she names Nyoka. She was kind and gentle toward Nyoka.
Mufaro soon received word that the King was in search for his Queen. He asked that all the worthy and beautiful young women go to him so that he can chose his wife. Manyara believes that she is better than Nyasha and decides to leave without her sister to find the King. On her journey she encounters strange people and does not treat them very nice. Nyasha is gentle and loving towards those whom she meets. The strange beings that the girls encounter turn out to be the King. The King choses Nyasha to be his Queen because he saw in her a beautiful woman inside and out who cared for him even when she didnt know who he really was. Ironoically, Manyara becomes Nyasha's servant when she becomes Queen.
This story has the qualities of a great folktale because of the lesson it teaches to its readers. Beauty is only skin deep and what really matters is what is inside a person and how they treat others. Readers will walk away with livelong knowledge. I also found while reading that this story can be read as the African version of Cinderella. It was a great story and I would reccommend it to anyone!