Myths and Folktales
If you knew the power of generosity,
you would not let a single meal go by without sharing it.
Over four years, a Fetzer Institute project team inquired into the nature of generosity of spirit and its history through the folktales and stories of the world’s great wisdom traditions. The group uncovered an unprecedented collection of fables, myths and stories that focus on liberating our innate generosity of spirit (and discovering what blocks it).
The group met regularly to share what it found, and its members were astonished to discover the rich, varied and universal stories of human kindness around the globe.
Generosity is an impulse that invokes deep and vital healing in the human family. Sharing our gifts with each other—whether they be gifts of love, time, attention, skills, or money—releases a powerful force for positive change in both the giver and the receiver.
May the opportunities for reflection offered here enable you to have ongoing conversations about the role of generosity of spirit in your life. By awakening and liberating our natural kindness and generosity, it is possible to close the divides between us and seed the world with the strength of true community.
~Mark Nepo, Fetzer Institute Program Officer, excerpted from the Living the Generous Life Reflection Guide
A sampling of the marvelous folktales referenced by the Fetzer Project Team are organized below according to the chapter titles in the Living a Generous Life Reflection Guide. Refer to a complete list of folktales on the Web site or access them by the following categories:
The Reflection Guide is an excellent resource for high-school-aged youth groups, high school or adult religious instruction groups or any gathering of individuals wishing to explore our rich folktale traditions as a springboard for thoughtful discussion.
1. To read, review and print the Living the Generous Life Reflection Guide, open the complete Adobe Acrobat file link below. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader™ to view these files. If you do not have this program, see below.
2. Once you have opened the Acrobat file, refer to the end of each Reflection Guide chapter for additional discussion group questions.
3. For ease of access and quick reference, each Reflection Guide chapter title is listed below with the corresponding story links.
This 50 page, 1.1mb version is recommended for high-speed Internet or cable modem. Access smaller, individual chapter links below.
Reflection Guide By Chapter
- Folktale Web publication permission not yet received.
If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat Reader™ on your computer, you can easily download this free software. You will need to know which version of Microsoft Windows you have on your computer before you download Acrobat Reader (e.g., Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows ME, etc.). Tips for finding this information are listed below.
You can find this information in two ways:
1. Open Windows Explorer; select “Help” from the toolbar at the top and click on “About Windows.” The colored image at the top will show the version.
2. Open a Microsoft Office program like Word or Excel; select “Help” from the toolbar at the top and click on “About Word (or Excel).” Then select “System Info” and read the “OS Name” (Operating System Name) at the top of the System Summary list.