Myths, legends and folktales are shapeshifters. They are fluid, mutable; they change with every retelling. That’s the key to their continued existence: Adaptation according to the times and to the environment in which they are told – and the individual thoughts and feelings of the storyteller.
We tend to think of this process as a slow transition, but as my sister and I discovered recently, new meanings and new wisdom can be found in a single re-telling. To demonstrate this, I’d like to present this adaptation of the beloved Aesop’s fable, “The North Wind and The Sun,” by my four year old nephew Isaac. Seeing as today, May 5th, is Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day) in Japan, it seems only appropriate!
Isaac thought about this, and then said, “Now I’m going to tell a story.”
“Once upon a time, the Sun and the Wind saw a man wearing a big coat.
‘Let’s see who can make him take his coat off!’ said the Sun.
‘OK!’ said the Wind. ‘That sounds fun!’
So the Sun shone and shone, and the man got very warm. ‘Phew, I’m so hot!’ said the man and he unbuttoned his coat.
And then the Wind blew and blew as hard as he could – and he blew so hard that he blew the man’s coat right off!
The Sun and the Wind had to work together to get the man’s coat off.”