Tales Online is a database of folktales, fairytales, myths of indigenous peoples, legends, sagas, and fables of world cultures in collections. All of the texts and notes are exact duplication of the original and no attempt has been made to either alter the style or wording contained in the original collection. Although at times the language is awkward, it is true to the original.
The collections contained in the database includes journal articles, archival material, and tales contained in printed volumes. Each tale is analyzed by a professional or advanced student folklorist. The analysis includes: an identification of the "genre" of the tale; a notation is made if the tale is field collected or adapted. (A field collected tale is spoken by a storyteller -- anyone who is telling a story--and the tale is recorded by an individual listening to the tale. The tale is either published in a journal, placed in an archive for listening, or is later selected for inclusion in a collection in a book.) Along with the preceding the analyzer identifies the "tale type," "motifs," (a classification system of individual events which occur within a tale,) identification of characters appearing in the tale and their role, (see glossary for an explanation of the various roles possible,) and the various settings that appear in the tale.
These analyses help identify various elements of a tale in which a user may be interested. For example: role--hero, villain; setting--forest, the sea, a cave; and any other terms which may appear in the description for each tale type or motif. The use of these various analyses enable one to locate a number of tales that contain similar elements.
To aid in the selection of appropriate tale(s) a short summary has been written for each tale and appears on the results page along with the title and the source of the tale. This enables you to include all of the information for each tale in a bibliography if needed.