Wisdom Tales From Around the World

Wisdom Tales From Around the World retold by Heather Forest. Little Rock: August House, 1996. PBK ISBN 0-87483-479-1, 160 pp. $17.95.

There are many reasons why humans have always told stories: to entertain, to explain, to caution, to teach. Stories are told to demonstrate what is valued, and are told to show the proper way to live.

The fifty stories in this collection come from around the world, and contain the wisdom and teachings of members of the Sufi, Zen, Taoist, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, African, and Native American traditions. Here you will find the story of St. Genesius, whose actions, it is said, inspired the traditional performer's good luck wish "break a leg." There are stories about greed, patience, falsehood, and truth. Many will be familiar to you, all will provoke thought.

Simply and elegantly told by storyteller Heather Forest, these stories are ones which you will want to share with your families and your audiences. I have always maintained that the people of today's diverse society are lacking that body of wisdom, told to them in stories throughout a lifetime, which helps them to cope with challenges, stress and conflict. Here is an excellent source for just such a body of stories. If every parent and teacher saw to it that children heard and lived these stories, we would be well on our way to a healthier society. Forest includes a section of proverbs from around the world, and completes the book by adding a generous section of notes and references.

Easy to learn, fun to hear, and important to know. Recommended for all ages.

The Second Story Review, Vol 2 , No. 2, June 1997

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