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Discussant: Jesse James O.

Topic: Introduction to Folktales
Decameron: Sir Federigo and His Falcon
Folktales are stories passed down from generation to generation by word of
mouth, which is called oral tradition.
Folktales are made to explain the wonders of the world or to teach morals
and lessons.
Different Types of Folktales
1. Trickster Tales
One character, usually the protagonist, is a clever trickster that causes
problems for the other characters
They usually goes unpunished
Example Trickster Characters:
Anansi the Spider (Africa), Hare (North America), Wolf( Europe)
2. Fables
These are stories that teach a lesson or have a moral
The main characters of Fables are usually animals with human
The moral is never stated, but needs to be inferred by the reader
Examples of Fables: Tortoise and the Hare, The Ant and the Grasshopper
3. Pourqoui stories
Explain WHY something is as it is
Explains HOW something came to be and it usually explains something
in Nature
Examples of Pourquoi stories:
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in Peoples Ears
How the Elephant Got Its Trunk or How the Tiger Got Its Stripes
4. Fairytales
Include good and evil characters
Usually has a hero or heroine
Has Magic
Often begins with Once upon a time
Conflicts are resolved through kindness, courage or intelligence
Examples: Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin
Common Elements of Folktales:
Rule of Three: Items happen in sets of 3 or 7s (things happen in 3s, lots of
repetition or repeated phrases)
- 3 characters
- 3 events
- 3 tests the character must overcome
Ex: Jack and the Beanstalk showed Jack climbing the beanstalk three times.
The wicked stepmother visited Snow White in the forest three times before she finally
got her to eat the apple.
Magic is commonly used, to explain the unexplainable.
You will see similar characteristics from stories across the world
Characters go through tests to prove something (the good character must
solve a problem)
Good v. Evil (has characters that good, others are bad)
Good is rewarded and evil is punished in the end (tales have a happy ending)
Characters change only after they have gone though the lesson learned during
the course of the story
The hero is usually young and fair, kind, brave, unselfish, and may possess
some sort of special power.
Magic helpers, such as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, allow for things to
occur within a story that would otherwise be impossible

Place is usually described easily and briefly, leaving the imagination to fill in
the gaps. For example, folktales take place in a cottage in the woods or in a
magical kingdom
Time is fantasy time, such as Once upon a time, or A long time ago
(Italian: Decameron [dekameron; dekamern; dekame
ron] or Decamerone [dekamerone]), subtitled Prince
Galehaut (Old Italian: Prencipe Galeotto [prentipe aletto; prntipe]), is a
collection of novellas by the 14th-century Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio (1313
The book is structured as a frame story containing 100 tales told by a group of
seven young women and three young men sheltering in a secluded villa just
outside Florence to escape the Black Death, which was afflicting the city.
Boccaccio probably conceived the Decameron after the epidemic of 1348, and
completed it by 1353.
The various tales of love in The Decameron range from the erotic to the tragic.
Tales of wit, practical jokes, and life lessons contribute to the mosaic. In
addition to its literary value and widespread influence (for example
on Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales), it provides a document of life at the time.
Written in the vernacular of the Florentine language, it is considered a
masterpiece of classical early Italian prose.
Sir Federigo and His Falcon
Storyteller: Fiammetta
She wants to make sure the ladies understand the power their beauty has over noble
men and to show that everyone has the ability to choose where they apply their
A nobleman called Federigo Alberighi falls in love with a woman named Monna
She is, of course, beautiful beyond all imagination. She's also married.
Federigo spends a lot of effort and money on showing Giovanna that he's in
love with her, but to no avail.
Federigo realizes that she'll never dishonor her husband, but too latehe's
spent all his money and now has only his good falcon and a small farm in the country.
Monna Giovanna carries on with her husband until he dies early. She's left with
only one son to inherit all of his father's wealth.
As a fashionable Florentine woman, Giovanna takes her son to spend the
summer in their country house. It happens to be near Federigo's farm.
Giovanna's young son loves birds and dogs, so he quickly becomes friends
with their neighbor. He's especially enamored of Federigo's falcon.
The boy then falls ill and believes that he might have something to live for if
only his mother can get Federigo's falcon for him.
This puts Giovanna on the spot: she knows that Federigo loved her so much
that he was reduced to poverty, but she never gave him the time of day before. How
can she now ask for the falcon?
But things go from bad to worse for the boy, and Giovanna's maternal instincts
get the better of her. She takes a companion with her and sets off for Federigo's farm.
You can imagine his surprise when she appears and says she wants to have
breakfast with him, to make amends for ignoring him all this time. Federigo's
overjoyed, but now he realizes just how poor he is: he has nothing to put on the table
for breakfast.
In his panic, he reaches for the only edible thing in the househis falcon.
Federigo and the lady eat up the bird and then Giovanna tells him the real
reason for coming.
Federigo's inconsolable and has to explain the problem to Giovanna.
At first, she admonishes him for killing so good a bird just to feed a woman.
Then she's utterly blown away by his generosity.
And then she's dismayed, because now her son can't have his falcon.
Sure enough, the lad dies some days later. Fiammetta isn't really willing to say
it was because of the falcon mishap (he might have had some incurable disease, after
Giovanna inherits the estate from her son (note the line of inheritance, ladies),
and her brothers urge her to marry after a period of mourning.
So Federigo marries Giovanna, becomes a wealthy man again (and smarter
about his money), and lives happily ever after.