Myths and Storytelling, Part Two

I believe that myths, legends and all our amazing storytellers have created (and continue to create) the very fabric of human experience. This second blog in our series will explore the timeless legends and stories of Robin Hood and Rudyard Kipling.

History gives us clues to the possibility of a Robin Hood existing in the 13th Century possibly originating from Scotland. The first literary reference to Robin Hood appear in a series of 14th and 15th Century ballads about a yeoman who lived in Sherwood Forest with his men and frequently clashed with the Sheriff of Nottingham. Little John and Will Scarlet are part of Robin’s “merry crew” in these ballads. Medieval chroniclers took it for granted that a historical Robin Hood lived during the 12th and 13th Century. John Major’s “History of Greater Britain ” written in 1521 depicts Robin as a follower of King Richard, one of his characteristics in modern times.

As in all myths and legends Robin Hood and his tales have a universal appeal. The notion of a brave rebel who lives on the outskirts of society, fighting injustice and oppression with his band of companions is a heroic archetype that fits the Hero’s Journey through most stories.

The legend of Robin Hood grew especially after The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood written by Howard Pyle, an American author and illustrator. His book was for children. It was written in 1883 and became very popular. His version is what inspired all the Robin Hood tales, books and movies since then.

Rudyard Kipling was born on December 30, 1865 in Bombay, India. He was very happy until he started school at six years old. At six years old his parents sent him to Southsea, England to receive a formal British education. He lived with a foster family. He was beaten and bullied by his foster parents. They took all of his books away and he had to hide and read in secret or he would be beaten. When he was eleven years old a family friend visited and saw what condition he was in and told his mother. She rushed to England and rescued her son from the Holloways. Alice his mother took him on a long extended holiday and put him in a new school where he flourished and discovered his joy of writing. He also became the editor of the school newspaper.

At sixteen years old Rudyard Kipling returned to India. He worked for a newspaper. He wrote thousands of words of journalism before his creative style as a storyteller emerged.

The Jungle Book published in 1894 is a collection of Rudyard Kipling’s stories. Most of the characters are animals such as Share Khan the tiger, and Baloo the bear.

His main character is a young orphaned boy Mowgli who had been raised by wolves. The setting is a beautiful forest in India. He does seem to include archetypal characters along with the Hero’s Journey in his storytelling.

The Jungle Book has stood the test of time as has its storyteller. Myths and Storytelling make up the fabric of societies. Many of them are oral stories or myths passed on through generations before a writer sets them to pen and paper or in this day and age computer or digital form. Allowing our minds to open up to the creative possibilities is the best way to allow these stories to form. This series will have six parts and I would love to have your thoughts and opinions.

Blessings, Patricia