Form and Content (Masterplots II: Juvenile & Young Adult Literature Series, Supplement)
French Legends, Tales, and Fairy Stories is a collection of twenty-three traditional French narratives, grouped under four categories: “Tales of the French Epic Heroes,” “French Courtly Tales of the Middle Ages,” “Legends from the French Provinces,” and “French Fairy Stories.” The first two categories consist of tales retold from written sources in medieval France; the latter two are derived from oral traditions that are still current. Several of the stories in the first three groups prove useful in understanding French literature and culture, among them “Roland and Oliver” and “The Battle of Roncevalles,” both stemming from the Old French La Chanson de Roland (The Song of Roland); and such tales as “Aucassin and Nicolette,” a widely read love story, and the legend of “Mélusine,” whose title character is credited, in folklore, with many landmarks in the neighborhood of Poitou, including the castle of Lusignan. The final section of the book presents several French fairy tales that are interesting partially because of their resemblance to (and differences from) other familiar tales, such as “Ripopet-Barabas,” whose plot and central characters recall those of “Rumpelstiltskin.”
The tales are short enough to be read in one sitting by young readers, averaging approximately ten pages. (The longest is “The Miller and the Ogre,” at fifteen pages.) The tales in the first section all come from...
(The entire section is 348 words.)
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