Culture

“Hungarian folktales are medicine for the soul,” says Transylvanian storyteller

“Hungarian folktales are messages from our ancestors that can compel the sluggish to work, inspire the needy to act, and encourage the wealthy to be charitable,” said Emőke Soós, an ethnic Hungarian storyteller and puppeteer from Transylvania. Soós shared her thoughts with the maszol.ro news portal, which interviewed the storyteller about the Day of Hungarian Folktales celebrated on September 30.

As Soós pointed out, these ancient stories strengthen and ennoble people, reminding them of the values that are so important for the well-being of their community. “Folktales can show the way to happiness as a compass in the chaotic world of the 21st century,” said the storyteller. Nowadays, she continued, a number of factors get in the way of reaching inner peace, so folktales should be “prescribed as medicine for every member of a society, with regard to everyone’s own situation in life.”

“Thus, the fainthearted could read about courage, the sick about getting well, the lazy about diligence, and all their hardships would fade away unnoticed. It is a proven fact that stories heal the soul, and a healed soul can strengthen a weakened body,” emphasized the storyteller.

Children can instinctively understand the mysterious symbols hidden in folktales and believe in the unseen yet real miracles that exist around us. They can also re-teach grown-ups to see beyond their immediate circumstances and have a positive view of the world, explained Soós.

If a tale is told well, and people let their imagination fly, the world immediately becomes a better place. Tales can take everyone through all kinds of life situations, and all the obstacles can be overcome “hand in hand with the characters of the story,” explained Soós. The happenings in folktales, much as in our present lives, are marked by ordeals, fights, the search for clever solutions, rewards, personal development, reunions and the joy of homecomings. If people create a structured, honest, stimulating reality for themselves, they will connect more easily to the world of tales as well, which in turn will give them more balance and strength in their daily lives, she underlined.

“Grown-ups really need to find their way back to tales, and just as the characters of folktales do, they should never stop trying to find solutions to their problems,” emphasized the storyteller.

Another storyteller from Szeklerland, Szende Csernik-Pál, wrote on her Facebook page on the occasion of the Day of the Hungarian Folktales: “Children, love tales as tales love you. When you grow up, tell them to your own children, pass on the living words of your grandfathers and grandmothers!” As maszol.ro points out in its article, there are several YouTube channels where people can listen to Hungarian folktales, for instance, the channel of the association called Tekergő Meseösvény, or “Winding Fairytale Trail.”

The Day of Hungarian Folktales has been celebrated since 2005, when the Hungarian Reading Society decided it was important to emphasize the value and importance of these stories, passed on from one generation to the next. One of the most renowned writers of Hungarian children’s literature, Elek Benedek (1859–1929), commonly known as “the great folktale-teller” was born on September 30, so this date was dedicated to the celebration of Hungarian folktales.

Title image: Children can instinctively decipher the hidden symbols in folktales; they can also inspire grown-ups to find their way back to the world of tales

Source:Tekergő Meseösvény Egyesület/Facebook

Author: Éva Zay