WORLD TALES STORY BANK

ISF has embarked on a project that has never been attempted or achieved before: the creation of a digital repository of the world’s stories and folklore. The World Tales Story Bank will be to the computer age what Aesop was to writing, and the Brothers Grimm to the age of printing.
ISF has embarked on a project that has never been attempted or achieved before: the creation of a digital repository of the world’s stories and folklore. The World Tales Story Bank will be to the computer age what Aesop was to writing, and the Brothers Grimm to the age of printing.

A STORY SEED-BANK

The inspiration for this project has been drawn from Idries Shah’s wonderful collection of stories, World Tales. A best-seller when it was published in 1991, the richly illustrated book drew together traditional stories that have appeared, ‘in all times, in all places’, transcending mere national boundaries. Building on this concept, the World Tales Story Bank will capitalise on the power of the internet to demonstrate how stories constitute a world heritage with the power to bind humanity. Modelled on the great seed-banks in Svalbard and Kew Gardens, ISF will upload and store all of the world’s ancient stories. Access to this invaluable resource will be free – and through an interactive website, children and educators alike will be able to read and listen to tales drawn from across the ages and learn about the lands and cultures that nurtured them.

‘How can it be that the same story is found in Scotland and also in pre-Columbian America? Was the story of Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp really taken from Wales (where it has been found) to the ancient East; and, if so, by whom and when? A classical Japanese narrative is part of the gypsy repertoire in Europe; where shall we pigeonhole it in national terms?’ So writes Idries Shah in his Introduction to World Tales (to read the full introduction click here). ‘There is an almost uncanny persistence and durability in the tale which cannot be accounted for in the present state of knowledge,’ he continues. ‘Not only does it constantly appear in different incarnations which can be mapped – as the Tar-Baby story carried from Africa to America, and medieval Arabian stories from the Saracens in Sicily to the Italy of today – but from time to time remarkable collections are assembled and enjoy a phenomenal vogue.’

More about this project