Telling Tales: Exploring new techniques for guidance and counselling

This session will focus on the FOLK TALES of your region with a view to linking these stories to guidance and counselling.

Kamini Ramachandran is an internationally renowned story teller and will lead this session. She will receive your submissions, work with you to edit or adapt your story and then perform your folk tale during the session.

This will also be an opportunity for us to explore motifs, symbols and concepts that have a bearing upon culture resonant careers services.

What is a folk tale?

A folk tale is a story or narrative that is drawn from a culture's oral tradition. Folk tales are usually about everyday life. Not all folk tales are for children. Some of them maybe bawdy and even violent. Folk tales are not 'fairy tales'. They don't have a magical element and they don't rely too much on fantasy. Folk tales are also not personal anecdotes. They are commonly known and told and re-told within a community.

Look at your own oral narrative traditions and pick out a story that provides a glimpse into your culture: a story that gives an insight into the values and customs of your society, sparks the imagination and transports your audience to your land and your way of living and working.


  • Theme: The story must be related to work, livelihood, occupation or career development.
  • Length: 800 - 1,000 words.
  • Validation: Ideally, you must be able to validate that your folk tale is from your region,dialect, nation, continent, tribe or tradition. As Kamini says: 'It would be terrible to have a story submitted as 'Indian' only to discover it's from the Sioux Nation of the Native American Indian tradition.'

Folktale Submission Guidelines:

Given below are examples of how Kamini would like you to submit your folk tale.
Published Stories: Example #1

  • Full story title: The Old Brahmani Widow
  • Origin of tale: A Cambodian folktale
  • Author: Carrison, Muriel Paskin
  • Title of Book: Cambodian Folk Stories from the Gatiloke
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
  • Publication year: 1987
  • Location of publisher: Boston
  • ISBN number: 0-8048-1905-X
  • Pages: pp. 90-94

Synopsis: An aged widow, mother of a Bodhisattva reincarnated as a wise teacher, falls in such deep love with her son's handsome young disciple that she is willing to kill her son to marry the student. The student tells his teacher about his mother's murderous plans. On the night of the intended murder, the Bodhisattva places a banana tree trunk in his bed and covers the decoy with a blanket. The old woman enters the room and brings a huge sword crashing down on the banana trunk. The effort of wielding the sword kills the old woman instead.

Both the Bodhisattva and the student secretly observe the woman's death and come to terms that she did what she did out of love.

Published Stories: Example #2

  • Full story title: 'Coyote Marries His Daughter'
  • Origin of tale: A Northern Ute story
  • Author: Hazen-Hammond, Susan
  • Title of Book: Spider Woman's Web: Traditional Native American Tales about Women's Power
  • Publisher: Perigee Books
  • Publication year: 1999
  • Location of publisher: New York
  • ISBN number: ISBN: 0-399-52546-7
  • Pages: pp. 131-135

Synopsis: Coyote, the Native American trickster figure, had a beautiful wife, daughter and son. However, perhaps his daughter was too beautiful and Coyote lusted after her. So he made plans to wed his own daughter. Before feigning his death, Coyote prophesised to his wife that after his death a tall handsome stranger wearing a mountain lion skin would eventually appear and that this man should be the chosen one to marry their daughter. Indeed after Coyote's 'death and cremation', such a man appeared at their camp and Coyote's widow instructed her daughter to marry this man. Only the quick wits of Coyote's son prevented further damage from taking place. To get beyond Coyote's reach, his wife, daughter and son ran away to the skies and became the stars.

Unpublished Stories: In case you have a story that has not been published, please do the following:

  • Full story title: Give the title you have heard
  • Origin of tale: Describe where and how you heard the story. This is an important aspect of your submission because it will help us validate your story. Try to give as much detail as possible, as to the source of the story.
  • Author: Give the name of the author of the story, if you know or the name of the storyteller whome you heard it from, if you heard it orally.
  • Title of Book: Say: Unpublished
  • Publisher: Say: Unpublished
  • Publication year: Say: Unpublished
  • Location of publisher: Say: Unpublished
  • ISBN number: Say: Unpublished
  • Pages: Say: Unpublished

Selection criteria will follow the same procedure as for other sessions. Click here for details.

Click here for the Folk Tale Submission Form.