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Four Functions of Folklore Author(s): William R. Bascom Source: The Journal of American Folklore, Vol.

Four Functions of Folklore Author(s): William R. Bascom Source: The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 67, No. 266 (Oct. - Dec., 1954), pp. 333-349 Published by: American Folklore Society

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FOUR FUNCTIONS OF FOTLKLORE

FOUR FUNCTIONS OF FOTLKLORE

BY WILLIAMR. BASCOM

BY WILLIAMR. BASCOM

N

anthropological

that the most effective way to bridge the gap between the anthropological

N

that

and the humanist points of view towards folklore is through a common con-

of view towards folklore is

and the humanist

opinion

a paper given at the El Paso meetings last year I expressed the opinion

a

paper given

the

most

at the El Paso

way

to

meetings

bridge

the

last

gap

year

I

expressed

the

effective

points

between the

through

a common con-

cern with common

cern with common problems, rather than relying as in the past on a common

on a common

interest in a common body of subject matter. I also attempted to explain the

the

interest in a

anthropological approach to folklore, and extended the invitation for someone

anthropological approach

to folklore, and extended the invitation for someone

problems,

body

rather than

of

subject

relying

as in the

past

common

matter. I also

attempted

to

explain

to

to present in a similar manner the viewpoint of the humanities.' I do not propose

I believe

tonight2 to reverse my role completely and take up my own challenge. I believe

that this job can be done far more competently by a non-anthropologist,although

that this job can be done far more competently by a

non-anthropologist,although

I I am still convinced that if this

out into

tonight2

propose

present

in a similar manner the

to

reverse

my

role

viewpoint

of the humanities.' I do not

up my

own

challenge.

can be

brought

completely

and take

am still convinced that if this

underlying disagreement can be brought out into

underlying disagreement

the open and discussed moderately and rationally, in the same spirit in which I I

the open and discussed moderately and rationally, in the same spirit in which

attempted to do it, it will be for the ultimate good of our Society.

attempted

Society.

to do

it,

it will be for the ultimate

good

of our

This

Associa-

This year, when we are meeting with the American Anthropological Associa-

year,

when

we

are

meeting

with the American

Anthropological

which are of

tion, I propose rather to expand on three of these common problems which are of

especial

passing

especial concern to anthropologists, but which could only be mentioned in passing

folklore

the social context of

the social context of folklore, (2) the relations of folklore

last

last year. These are: (i)

tion,

I

propose

rather to

expand

on three of these common

but which could

only

folklore, (2)

problems

concern to

These are:

anthropologists,

(i)

be mentioned in

the

relations of

year.

to

the

to culture, which might be phrased as the cultural context of folklore, and (3) the

culture,

which

might

be

phrased

as the cultural context of

folklore,

and

(3)

functions of folklore. The most appropriate transition between what I said last

from Hallowell:

year and what I have to say tonight is a quotation from Hallowell:

year

functions of folklore. The most

transition between what I said last

appropriate

is a

and what I have to

say tonight

quotation

So far as the

that while it has

So far as the anthropologists are concernedI believeit is fair to say that while it has

been

been

anthropologists are

a

long

published,

published,

concernedI believeit is fair to

to collecta

collecta

studying,

studying,

is

an

open

open

our

shelves waiting

waiting

say

customary over

of

customary over a long period

period to

to

to be

be

representativesample

it is an

it

representativesample of

the oral narra-

of the oral narra-

tives

tives of the

the

peoplethey happen

happen

peoplethey

secret that,

secret that,

once

once recorded,

recorded,

very little subsequent use may be made of such material. Indeed, these archivalcollec-

material. Indeed, these archivalcollec-

tions,

tions,

very little subsequent use may be made of such

once

once

often

often moulderon our shelves

moulderon

for the

professional folk-

for the professional folk-

lorist, or someone else, to make use of them in a dim and uncertainfuture

lorist, or someone else,

to make use of them in a dim and uncertainfuture

The

The

consequence has

consequence has been that, for

been that, for many anthropologists, folklorebecomesa floatingseg-

many anthropologists, folklorebecomesa floatingseg-

ment of cultureand the close

ment of cultureand the close study of the oral narrativesof a

of the oral narrativesof a

may

may

study

peoplethey investigate

peoplethey investigate

remainof

remainof

marginal interestto

marginal

interestto them, except

which

them, except for the

oral narrativeshave

for the obviousconnectionssuch as

obviousconnectionssuch as

those between

those

between myth

myth

and

and religion.

religion.

This marginal position which oral narrativeshave occupied in

studiesis not due to the inherentnatureof the materialbut to a failureto

studiesis not due to the inherentnatureof the materialbut to a failureto

This

marginal position

of a

a

of

of

occupied

in

anthropological

anthropological

exploitfully

exploitfully

the

potentialities of suchdata.

the potentialities of suchdata.

Perhaps the major barrierhasbeenthe traditional emphasis

the exclusionof the investiga-

becometradition-

folks, may becometradition-

Perhaps the major barrierhasbeenthe traditional emphasis

investiga-

upon problems

tion of

upon

tion of other

problems of

types

literary-historicalnature,

literary-historicalnature, almostto

almostto the exclusionof the

major

major

folks, may

contributionsto

contributionsto the

the

of

other types of

the rest of

problems.Scholars, like the rest of

problems.Scholars, like

bound.Over a

bound.Over a

long period

period

long

time,

time,

at

at

the

least, the

least,

study of

study

oral

of oral

narratives, both inside and outsideof anthropology, seem to have remainedwithin the

narratives, both inside and outsideof anthropology, seem

to have remainedwithin the

2

1

1 W.

W.

2 Presidentialaddress delivered

Bascom,

Bascom,

"Folkloreand

"Folkloreand

66

Anthropology,"JAF, 66

Anthropology,"JAF,

(1953),

(1953),

283-290.

283-290.

Presidentialaddress delivered at

at

the

the

Annual

Sixty-fifth Annual

Sixty-fifth

of

Meeting of

Meeting

the American Folk-

the American Folk-

lore

lore Society, Tucson, 27 December I953.

I953.

Society, Tucson,

27

December

333 333

334334

JournalJournalofof AmericanAmericanFolkloreFolklore

literary-historical orbit.

literary-historical orbit.

Consequently,anthropologists

Consequently,anthropologists

the

uninterestedin

uninterestedin the

problem

problem

defined

defined

by

by

this

this

frame of

frame of

referencehave not botheredmuch with oral narratives, and

narratives, and

referencehave not botheredmuch with oral

concernedwith

those concernedwith such

such

those

problems have

problems

have not made use of the materialin

other

not made use of the materialin any other

any

way

way

Despite the important contributionsthat have been made to the study of oral narra-

tives from a literary-historicalpoint of view and the furtherwork that undoubtedly

tives from a

undoubtedly

needsto

needsto be

oral narra-

Despite

be

the important contributionsthat have been made to

literary-historicalpoint

the

study

of

for

of view and the furtherwork that

limited

to

ask,

done, the

done,

the factremainsthat

factremainsthat only a

only

a limited range of

range of problems canbe envisaged

problems canbe envisaged

pertinent to ask, for example,

example,

within this framework. Among other

whetherthe

whetherthe study of

within this framework.

Among other things

things it seems pertinent

it seems

in human

in

human societies, or

societies, or

then

then

an isolated

isolated

an

put upon a

study

of oral narrativeshas by any

cultureand its

oral narrativeshas by any meanscontributedits full shareto our

whetherthe study

study

whetherthe

meanscontributedits full shareto our

understanding of

understanding of cultureand its functioning

functioning

and the

and the

oral narrativesis relevantto such

relevantto such questions,

of myth

of

myth

and tale has

and

tale has nothing whatsoeverto

nothing

the

the

individualto

individualto

his

his

questions,

In

do with

whatsoeverto do with

investigation of

culturally constitutedworld? If

culturally constitutedworld? If

investigation of

human psychology

human psychology

adjustment of

adjustment of

the use of

the use of

oral narrativesis

prehensive

prehensive

should be one of

they should be one of

they

the

the primary

primary

concernsof the

the

marginalposition. In my

concernsof

marginalposition.

anthropologist ratherthan

anthropologist ratherthan

subject-matter that

subject-matter that occupies

a

occupies a

my opinion,

opinion, such

such studiesneed to be

the

much morecom-

studiesneed to be put upon a much morecom-

alone. For

alone. For

basis than that

basis than that

representedby the literary-historicalapproach

representedby

literary-historicalapproach

this, two

"psychological."4

the "functional"and the "psychological."4

this,

the "functional"and the

other framesof

two other framesof

reference, which

reference, which nicely supplement each other,

nicely supplement each other, are

are needed-

needed-

The first point I wish to discuss is that of the social context of folklore, its

its

The

first

point

I

wish

to discuss is

that of

the

social context of

folklore,

place in the daily round of life of those who tell it. This is not a "problem" in the

with

strict sense, but

strict

but

the texts, if the problems of the relation between folklore and culture or the func-

the texts, if the problems

must be recorded,along with

in the

place

in the

sense,

daily

round of life of those who tell it. This is not a

rather a

rather a

series of

series of

related facts which

related facts which

must be

"problem"

recorded,along

of the relation between folklore and culture or the func-

tions of folklore, or even the creative role of the narrator, are to be analyzed.

facts include:

These facts include:

These

analyzed.

tions of

folklore,

or even the

(i)

(i)

creative role of

the

narrator,

are to be

when and where the various forms of folklore are told;

told;

when and where the various forms of folklore are

(2) who tells them, whether or not they are privately owned, and who composes

dramatic devices

dramatic devices employed by the narrator, such as gestures,

gestures,

composes

(2)

who tells them, whether or not

in

in

the form

the

form

of

of

of

the

laughter, assent or

laughter,

narrator, singing

or

they

are

privately owned,

the

or

and who

such

as

parts

in

a

the

the audience; (3)

(3)

facial

facial

audience;

employed by

dancing,

narrator,

acting

out

expressions,pantomime, impersonation,

expressions,pantomime,

assent or other

or

impersonation, or

mimicry; (4)

mimicry;

(4)

audience

participa-

audience participa-

tion

tale;

couragement

couragement of the narrator, singing or dancing, or acting out parts in a tale;

tion

responses, running

other responses, running

criticism or en-

criticism or en-

(5)

(5)

and

categories of folklore recognized by the people themselves; and

categories

of folklore

recognized by

the

people themselves;

(6) attitudes

attitudes

(6)

of the people toward these categories. These factors have long been recorded,

recorded,

of

even if haphazardly and incompletely, by some folklorists, but the importance

even if

importance

of

of

repeatedly emphasized by Malinowski in his Myth in Primitive Psychology:5

repeatedly emphasized by

The limitationof the study of myth to the mere examinationof textshas been fatalto

The limitationof the

the

people

toward

these

and

categories.

These factors have

some

folklorists,

"its

setting

long

but

been

the

haphazardly

the

incompletely, by

in actual life" was

understanding the "social context" of folklore, "its setting in actual life" was

understanding

"social context" of folklore,

study of myth to

Malinowski in his Myth in Primitive Psychology:5

the mere examinationof

textshas been fatalto

a properunderstanding of its nature.The formsof myth whichcometo us fromclassical

whichcometo us fromclassical

a properunderstanding of its nature.The formsof myth

antiquity and

antiquity

come down to us without the contextof living faith, without the possibility of obtain-

come down to us without the contextof

living faith, without the possibility of obtain-

and from the ancientsacredbooksof

from the ancientsacredbooksof

the East and othersimilarsourceshave

the East and othersimilarsourceshave

ing commentsfrom true believers, without the concomitant knowledge of their social

least without the

organization, their practisedmorals, and their popular customs-at least without the

full informationwhich the modernfield-workercan

full

tablets,

ing

commentsfrom true believers, without the concomitant knowledge of their social

organization,

their

practisedmorals,

and their

popular

customs-at

.

.

.

.

informationwhich

The

The

the

modernfield-workercan

not

the

to the

to

obtain

easily obtain

easily

.6

.6

bound

anthropologist is

anthropologist is not bound

scanty remnantsof

scanty

remnantsof

broken

culture, broken tablets,

culture,

3

3 A.

A.

I.

I.

Hallowell,

Hallowell,

"Myth, Culture and

"Myth,

Culture and

Personality," American Anthropologist,49

Personality," American Anthropologist,49

544-545.

544-545.

4

4

Hallowell, I947, p. 546.

Hallowell,

546.

B.

B.

I947,

1926,

p.

p.

5 5

6

Malinowski,

6 Malinowski,

Malinowski,Myth

Malinowski,Myth in

Primitive Psychology(New York, I926)

in Primitive

Psychology(New York,

I926)

I8.

1926, p. I8.

p. 90.

p. 90.

(947).

(947).

FourFunctions of Folklore

FourFunctions of Folklore

335335

with

tarnished

tarnished texts, or fragmentaryinscriptions. He need not fill out immense gaps with

his

voluminous, but conjectural, comments.The anthropologist has the myth-maker at his

elbow. Not

elbow. Not only can he take down as full a text as exists, with all its variations, and

can he take down as full a text as exists, with all its variations, and

voluminous,

texts,

or

but

only

fragmentaryinscriptions. He

need not fill out immense

gaps

conjectural, comments.The anthropologist has the myth-maker at

over;

he has also a host of authenticcommentatorsto draw

myth myth

myth

controlit over and

controlit over and over; he has also a host of authenticcommentatorsto draw upon;

upon;

still more he has the fulnessof life itself from which the

has been born.And as

we shall

as in the

we

has been born.And as

this live contextthereis as much to be learnedaboutthe myth as in the

still more he has the fulnessof life itself from which the

shall see, in

see,

in this live contextthereis as much to be learnedaboutthe

narrativeitself.7

narrativeitself.7

The

The

of

text,

text, of

course,

course, is extremelyimportant, but

extremelyimportant, but without the contextit

is

the interestof the

the

is

story is

story

vastly

vastly

without the contextit remainslife-

its

enhancedand it is

enhancedand it is given its

remainslife-

less. As we have

less. As we have seen, the interestof

seen,

given

proper character by the mannerin which it is told. The whole natureof the perform-

perform-

proper

character by the mannerin which it is told. The whole natureof the

ance, the voice and the mimicry, the stimulusand the response of the audiencemean

as

hour

natives.The performance,again, has to be placed in its propertime-setting-the hour

of the day, and

of the

as

should take his cue from the

ance,

audiencemean

the voice and the

the

the

mimicry,

the stimulusand the

text;

and the

sociologist

placed

in its

has to be

response of

the

much to

much to

natives as the

natives as the text; and the sociologist should take his

cue from the

natives.The

day,

work,

performance,again,

propertime-setting-the

and the season, with the background of the

and

influenced by the

influenced by the magic of

magic

of the

fiction.All

fiction.All theseelementsare

equally

being

able to evoke the

reality.8

the season, with the background of the sproutinggardensawaiting

sproutinggardensawaiting

tales.We must also bear

tales.We must also bear

future work, and slighty

in mind the

future

slighty

in mind the sociological contextof privateownership, the

sociological contextof privateownership, the

turalroleof

turalroleof

fairy

the fairy

sociablefunctionand the cul-

sociablefunctionand the cul-

amusing

amusing

theseelementsare equally relevant; all

relevant; all

must be studied

must be studied

as well as the text. The storieslive in nativelife and not on

as well as the text. The storieslive in nativelife and not on

paper,

paper,

and when a scholar

and when a scholar

flourishhe

jots them down without being able to evoke the atmosphere in which they flourishhe

jots

has given us but a mutilatedbit of reality.8

has

Malinowski's remarks touch upon the functions of folklore and upon the rela-

Malinowski's remarks touch

upon the functions of folklore and upon the rela-

them down without

given

atmosphere in

which

they

us but a mutilatedbit of

social

tions of folklore to culture, as well as upon what I distinguish as the social

context of

context of folklore. Moreover the last

tions of

fea-

folklore. Moreover the last quotation refers to some of the specific fea-

folklore

to

culture,

as

well

as

upon

what

I

distinguish

as

the

quotation

refers to some of the

specific

"fairy tale," which is only one of three forms

tures of what Malinowski calls the "fairy tale," which is only one of three forms

of of narrative

tures of what Malinowski calls the

distinguished by

narrative distinguished by

the Trobriand Islandersthemselves:

the Trobriand Islandersthemselves:

(I)

(I)

Fairy tales (kukwanebu) are fictional,dramaticallytold,

Fairy

tales

have

(kukwanebu)

November,

November,

are

and

fictional,dramaticallytold, and

privately owned.

privately owned.

They

They

are told in

are told in

betweenthe

betweenthe harvestand

harvestand fishing seasons.There is

fishing

in the

in

the gardens, and they end with

gardens, and they

in

told

told in

stereotypedway,

or

a

seasons.There is a vague

vague

belief,

very seriouslyheld,

belief, not very seriouslyheld,

crops which

crops

not

that their recitalhas a beneficialinfluenceon the new

that their recitalhas a beneficialinfluenceon the new

been

which have been

recentlyplanted

recentlyplanted

a formalized

end with a formalized

referenceto

referenceto a

a

very fertilewild

very

fertilewild

plant.

plant.

(2)

(2)

Legends (libwogwo)

Legends (libwogwo)

are believedto be true and to contain important factual

important factual

are believedto be true and to contain

information. They are not

information. They are

privatelyowned,

not privatelyowned,

any stereotypedway, or magical

any

in

magical in

their effect.

their effect.

(3)

(3)

Myths

Myths (liliu)

(liliu)

are

are regarded not

regarded not merely

as

merely as

to

true, but as

true,

venerableand sacred. They

validity of

of

but as venerableand sacred. They

are told when ritualsto which they referare

these ritualsis

these ritualsis questioned.9

are told when ritualsto which

be

they referare to be

performed, or

performed, or

the

when the

when

validity

questioned.9

the

recording the

recording

native categories of folklore. The times and places they are told, the identity of

native

owner-

ship, the

of

the narrator and the

the narrator and the composition of

ship,

the audience, the factor of private owner-

this

Even this

Even

brief,

brief,

familiar

familiar

summary

summary

should show the

should

the

show

of

importance of

importance

categories

the

style

style of

of

of folklore. The

times

and

places they

the

are

told,

the

identity

composition of the

audience,

factor of

private

recitation, recitation, the the participationby the audience,

the attitudes of the

participationby the audience, the attitudes of the

people, and even the functions are to a considerableextent unique or distinctive

or distinctive

people,

and even the functions are to a considerableextent

unique

for

for the various categories which are recognized. Although

Although

the

various

categories

which are

recognized.

many studies of

many

studies of

folklore still do not discuss the native

native

folklore

still

do

not

discuss the

categories,

categories, it

it is worth

is worth noting that an excel-

that an excel-

noting

lent discussion of this

lent discussion of this important point is to be found in Chatelain'scomments on

Chatelain'scomments on

important point

is to be found in

17-i8.

7Malinowski, I926, pp. 17-i8.

7Malinowski, I926, pp.

8Malinowski, 1926, p.

8Malinowski,

1926,

p. 24.

24.

9Malinowski,

9Malinowski,

I926,

I926,

pp.

20-30.

pp. 20-30.

336 336

Journal of AmericanFolklore

Journal of AmericanFolklore

It is un-

Mbundu folklore in the first volume of the Memoirs of this Society.10 It is un-

Mbundu folklore in the first volume of the Memoirs of this

Society.10

fortunate

fortunate that Chatelain's discussion cannot be quoted here in full, because it

because it

shows

shows great insight into points which will be consideredlater.

that

Chatelain's discussion cannot be

into

points

quoted

here

in

full,

great insight

which will be consideredlater.

the

Nevertheless,

Nevertheless, the

literature is

literature is still

deficient on these "non-scienti-

still surprisingly deficient on these "non-scienti-

surprisingly

fic" but

the

the people

people

towards their own folklore. It would seem that many folklorists neglect even to

even to

fic"

towards their own

but

extremely

extremely

suggestive

suggestive

classifications, and

classifications, and

also

also on

on

the

the

attitudes of

attitudes of

folklore. It

would

seem that

many

folklorists

neglect

ask the

ask the simple question of whether or not the various tales, which they take great

great

simple

question

of whether or not the various

tales,

which

they

take

pains to record, are true. Nevertheless it is certainly significant that some groups,

such as the Trobriand

such as the Trobriand Islanders, the Marshall Islanders,?10 the Mbundu,11 the Ibo

and

and Yoruba,12 the Ashanti,l3 the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, and Dakota14 dis-

and Dakota14 dis-

Islanders, the Marshall Islanders,?10 the Mbundu,11 the Ibo

pains

groups,

to

record,

are true. Nevertheless it is

the

Ashanti,l3

the

certainly significant

that some

Yoruba,12

Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara,

tinguish between narrativeswhich they regard as true and false, while the Ojibwa

they regard

Ojibwa

tinguish

regard all their tales as true.15It is essential to the understanding and interpreta-

regard

tion of folklore to know whether a given tale is regarded as historicalfact or fiction.

tion of folklore to know whether a

This bears directly upon the explanation of folklore as a form of amusement or

This bears

interpreta-

between narrativeswhich

as true and

false,

while the

and

all their tales as true.15It is essential to the

directly upon

the

understanding

given tale is regarded

as historicalfact or fiction.

explanation

of folklore as a form of amusement or

as

as "literature," and on

myth.

The

The problem of the "culturalcontext" or the relationship between folklore and

dis-

problem

problem has two dis-

between folklore and

"literature," and on

the troublesome,perennial problem of the nature of myth.

the

troublesome,perennial problem

of the nature of

has two

problem

aspects of

aspects

of the

"culturalcontext" or the relationship

This

itself far more important. This

important.

other

other

of culture is in itself far more

culture is in

10 H.

10 H.

Chatelain,

Chatelain, Folk-Tales of

of

Folk-Tales

Angola (Memoirs of the American Folklore Society), I

Angola (Memoirs

of the American Folklore

Society),

I

(I894),

(I894),

20-22.

20-22.

generally accepted

which tell of the old gods and demigods, may not be so regarded

are

'true'storiesof

are the 'true'storiesof

which tell of the old

regarded

lo0

the

lo0 "The

"The

myths

myths

are

are

generally

gods

and

today.

today.

or

may

to be

accused of

accused of

accepted

as

as

true,

true,

though today parts, particularly

though

today

parts,

.

those

particularly those

demigods, may

Becausetheir

Becausetheir

not have

logical.'

not be so

Modern myths

myths

Modern

is

veracity is

veracity

are

undisputed,they

undisputed,they are very hard to get,

hard to get,

very

fairy

for the

'this is

with

begins with

begins

a fairy tale; it may or may not have happenedlong ago; it is not to be taken seriously; it

is

telling

a

it

is

"MarshalleseFolk-

not always supposed to be logical.' In ordinarydiscourse, a person exaggerating or telling

Davenport, "MarshalleseFolk-

do not class them with the other forms of

for the people do not class them with the other forms of

people

it

. The

. The fairy tale always

always

tale

the word

word

the

which without

kininwatne, which without

kininwatne,

having specific meaning signifies 'this is

having specific meaning signifies

fairy tale;

not

may

happenedlong ago;

In

ordinarydiscourse,

tales."W.

telling fairy tales."W.

telling fairy

H.

H.

it is not to be taken

a

seriously;

or

always supposed

is

is

person exaggerating

Davenport,

an

an unbelievable

unbelievable story

story

lore

lore Types," JAF, 66 (1953),

(1953),

Types,"

11Three

11Three

JAF,

66

22I,

22I,

223,

224.

223, 224.

classes of

classes of

narratives are

narratives are

"The first

distinguished

distinguished in Kimbundu terminology. "The first

in

Kimbundu

stories,

preserved and

terminology.

those which strike the native mind as

class includes all traditionalfictitious stories, or rather, those which strike the native mind as

stories, or rather,

being

being

the head

the head

are the

are

men or elders of each

men

class includes all traditionalfictitious

what

what

we

we

the

or

.

of

. The second class is

Historical

the

tribe

each

unit,

political unit,

political

The second class is that of true stories, or rather stories reputed true;

reputed true;

that of true

carefully

or rather stories

special

class

of

history.

and transmitted

transmitted by

by

they

call

call anecdotes.

anecdotes.

narratives

Historical narratives

make a

make a special class of history. They

They

chroniclesof

chroniclesof the tribe and

and

elders

nation, carefully preserved

nation,

whose

whose

origin, constitution,

origin,

constitution, and

and vicissitudes

vicissitudes they relate."

relate."

Chatelain,

Chatelain,

I894, pp. 20-21.

pp.

I894,

20-21.

12

12

W.

W.

of

Bascom,

Bascom, "The Relationship of

"The

Relationship

Yoruba Folklore to

Yoruba Folklore to

(943),

Divining," JAF, 56

Divining," JAF, 56 (943),

I29.

I29.

to

According to

According

an

an

the fact that folktales

Ibo student in

Ibo student in

the United States,

the

the Ibo also make this distinction.

United States, the Ibo also make this distinction.

13

13

Despite the

Despite

fact that folktales might

might

refer to actual social situationsand characters, the

characters, the

refer to actual social situationsand

make-

Ashanti storyteller stated before beginning "that what he was about to say was just make-

what we

believe" through the nominee 'We do not really mean, we do not reallymean, (that what we

their conventional endings, "This,my

their conventional endings, "This,my

believe"

Ashanti

storyteller

through

stated before

beginning

"that what he

really mean,

in one of

one of

was about to

say

was

just

take as

the nominee 'We do not

we do not

reallymean, (that

some

you may

are

are going to say is true);"

going to say is true);" and he concluded,

and

he

concluded, in

which I have

have

I

related; if

related;

if it be

it be sweet, (or)

sweet, (or)

story, which

story,

true,

if it be not sweet;

if it be not sweet; some you may take as true,

and the rest you may praise me (for the telling of it)." R. S. Rattray,Akan-Ashanti Folk-Tales

and the rest you may praise me (for the telling of it)." R. S.

Rattray,Akan-Ashanti Folk-Tales

(Oxford,

(Oxford,

I930) pp. xi, 49,