Commentary: Jackie’s Favorite Folktales

Zach’s Commentary –

One thing is for certain. Without a doubt, Jackie definitely knows how to nail it on the head when finding the moral of a story. … Also, in true Folktale fashion, the characters in these stories took on the personality of the story teller. Jackie, you are on your way to being an old man by a camp fire telling stories.

5. Jack and the Cornstalk.

Funny little tale.. sounds familiar.. I thought this was a folktale though… aren’t folktales suppose to have giants in them? Oh wait.. i guess that’d make it to closely resemble another story about a boy named Jack.. He climbed something else as well.. A hill. that’s it…

P.S. – I miss your Parents… and this tale sounds like a shenanigan your Dad would have got himself into… cause your Grandpa would totally stop chopping it down and drink his beer.. probably sitting there in his underwear in a lawn chair, waiting for the drought to come. And your Grandma would totally be ok with leaving him up there. So maybe this story is just telling people how Parenting goes if you live in Kansas.

4. Where is My Liver

“Ate my liver, eh?” (I call BS on this being a Canadian folktale. There wasn’t a single “eh” in the whole story. Also, we all know Canadians are to friendly to take revenge on someone taking their liver. I think the uncle ghost would have been more like “Good job there, eh. Thinking with your noggin when you got yourself in a pinch. Next time watch the time better cause you’re running out of dead relatives, eh.”) (Unless when Canadians are dead their ghosts become all the more wicked to make up for how nice they were in life…. I need to go spend some time thinking on this.)

I think the moral is to start being more responsible or it’ll cost you your life. Also, cannibalism is wrong. Also, livers last forever when someone is dead. So you can dig up dead people to survive the apocalypse. Good morals.

3. The Perpetual Life-Giving Wine

Yeah. Parenting is basically a lot like this. The more kids you have, the higher you float on cloud 9. … no Jackie… This doesn’t mean we can have another yet.

2. Armadillo’s Song

I think the moral of this is actually, give your all when pursuing your dreams, even if it one day takes your life. You will at least die happy.

Wonder if Armadillos actually make good charangos. If so, this should be one of the next weird instruments I buy.

1.  Babe the Blue Ox

I think Babe is part of the reason everyone loves Paul so much. Without him Paul would just be another giant that people are afraid is going to eat their faces off. Babe is to Paul what Hobbes is to Calvin.

Jeremy’s Commentary–

5. Jack and the Cornstalk.

Without getting too specific, I think I can say this story is a clearly an allegory for a boy’s burgeoning sexuality, and a father’s attempts to reign it in. It’s set in Kansas because, let’s be honest, what else is there to do out in the middle of the American flatlands. Interesting fact, this folktale became the basis of the novel (and subsequent movie) The Last Picture Show (except that that was told almost solely from the perspective of the boy/teen). Although, now that I think if it, I don’t want to think about what chopping down the  cornstalk is supposed to represent.

4. Where is My Liver

Isn’t great how folktales can introduce elements of cannibalism and zombie-ism without blinking an eye? One of the terrible things that Disney has done to folktales is make them too sweet and optimistic (the best example is how drastically they changed the story for The Little Mermaid (though the stuff they left in there–a woman grossly altering her body for a man she’s never met–is terrible enough (but I digress))). Can you imagine a Disney story that involves un-anesthetized organ transplants…with zombies?! That being said, the folktale is right in that you should never steal a lever from your dead relatives and then feed it to a dinner party. That’s pretty sound advice.

3. The Perpetual Life-Giving Wine

Another thing that the modern Disney-tellings of these stories leave off is the emphasis on female sexuality. It’s surely in there (see Frozen for example) but it’s not as explicit and/or direct and in the original tales. This story is about…I don’t know. But the attempt to take a young girl’s innocence, and the protecting of that innocence until marriage is surely in there. I don’t know what the mountain represents. Maybe patriarchy? But then there’s a goddess on the mountain, so that doesn’t really work. I don’t know. It’s a great story and marriage is great even without an endless supply of wine.

2. Armadillo’s Song

This is literally the plot to the movie Whiplash.

1.  Babe the Blue Ox

Paul’s just a guy with a beard and a flannel shirt and an ax. If you go to the upper midwest you’ll see literally dozens such men. They may not all be twenty feet tall, but still. You’ll never see a blue ox, though, and that makes Babe extra special. Another thing is that he’s an ox, and you almost never hear about an ox being a person’s best friend (with the exception of Chance the Bull (a great story that you should definitely listen to right now)). I like the connection Zachary draws between Babe and Hobbes. That’s spot on, chap!


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