The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell reminds us how the stories we tell and continue to tell over generations bind us together in a shared perspective about what it means to live alone and together.
The Power of Myth
“Myth basically serves four functions. The first is the mystical function,… realizing what a wonder the universe is, and what a wonder you are, and experiencing awe before this mystery….The second is a cosmological dimension, the dimension with which science is concerned – showing you what shape the universe is, but showing it in such a way that the mystery again comes through…. The third function is the sociological one – supporting and validating a certain social order…. It is the sociological function of myth that has taken over in our world – and it is out of date…. But there is a fourth function of myth, and this is the one that I think everyone must try today to relate to – and that is the pedagogical function, of how to live a human lifetime under any circumstances.” — Joseph Campbell
Altruistic Stories to Set the Tone of a Caring Community of Friends
Mr. McGill and four of his friends agree to help each other finish their chores so that they will all have time to go to the town fair.
The turnip is too big to pull out of the ground in this Russian Folktale. Everyone pulls together, even Keska the cat, but it’s not until help comes from a most unexpected source that the giant vegetable finally comes out.
A simple story of how compassion and living in the moment are the answers to Nikolai’s three questions. When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do?
Filled with excitement, a city girl and her father pick out a wonderful assortment of flowers, carry them home, and, sitting on newspaper, lovingly transplant them to a window box as a birthday surprise for Mom.
Out for a morning walk to see the sunrise Granny Rose and her dog Henry take shelter in a cave. The discover a bear, and rather than be afraid they care for the bear to help him find comfort and go back to sleep.
The smallest duckling, who is ready to give up walking when his legs are all wobbly, follows his brother’s advice, “Just do one step.”
It’s a very hot day when the pig’s decision leads everyone into the pond.
A moral tale from the native American people of the northern plains, a small mouse journeys into the world, finds fear turning to joy when he responds with compassion.
Newt wakes up from his winter’s nap, deep in the mud. Luckily, his dearest friend, Turtle, wakes up and pulls him out. Now, Newt has spent the summer trying to think of a way to repay his friend.
Lydia Grace brings her passion for gardening to the big city where her generosity brings pleasure to all.
He is a blue-bellied toad hopping aimlessly through life. She is a sad peach yearning for escape and adventure. Then one remarkable day, Peach and Blue explore the pond that Blue calls home and awaken each other to a world neither has ever really seen before.
Someone poisoned a beautiful old tree, which dies despite the best efforts of the community. Facing this horrible loss, Alice remembers the acorns she had saved and plants one nearby.
Bear shows how you can attain your “impossible” dreams if you show some determination, tap into your creativity and use your imagination.
Stellaluna, a bat separated from her mom, is raised by birds and finds herself very odd. In the end she rescues them and the four of them decide that while they may be very different, they are still friends and family.
Theodore, an elephant, who has hurt his leg, wants to meet his cousin at the end of the forest. “What can I do?” he asks his friends. One by one a bird, daddy longlegs, monkey, crab, lion, and opossum give him advice on how to solve his problem.
Peter the pig has composed a song and goes off in search of someone who will appreciate his tune. At a nearby pond, he encounters Frank the frog, who not only listens to Peter’s song, but shares his own, and the new friends make music together,
Wilfrid lives next to a retirement home, and his favorite old person is 96-year-old Miss Nancy. Everyone says Miss Nancy has lost her memory, and despite the fact that Wilfrid doesn’t even know what a memory is, by accident he helps her find it.
Socrates, an abandoned dog who finds eyeglasses is the protagonist in this story of the universal search for friendship and acceptance and its opposite: loneliness.
Big Bear and Little Bear are returning home from a wonderful romp through the snowy woods, when a noise startles Little Bear. Plod, plod, plod—suddenly the woods are alive with unseen Plodders and Drippers and Ploppers. Poor Little Bear is very scared. But Big Bear is beside him with comforting explanations and a piggyback ride to bring him safely home.
A friendship book that addresses competitions and what’s a healthy choice and when to help others.
The countless lupines that bloom along the coast of Maine are the legacy of the real Miss Rumphius, the Lupine Lady, who scattered lupine seeds everywhere she went.
Nicki, a young Ukranian boy, loses a mitten. The animals of the forest pack themselves in as tight as they can, but a small mouse manages to come in and his whiskers tickle the bear’s nose.
A girl is enchanted by the snow bear she has created. As she falls asleep, this backyard snow bear becomes an integral part of her slumber. She explores the frosty arctic landscape in the bear’s cozy company visiting snowy creatures and countryside.
Multi-aged children have long play days free from adults and create a town called Roxaboxen in which everyone is honored as their unique self.
In turn-of-the-century Rosedale, a quilting farmer is an unacceptable oddity, so Sam Johnson challenges the women in the town to a blue-ribbon quilting contest to set matters right. In the end the women and the men cooperate on the winning quilt.
George goes into the city, where he is saddened by the lack of plants, flowers, and birds. But, starting with the seeds from his lunch-time fruit, he slowly brings the dingy city to vibrant life.
Ferdinand, a peaceful bull, gets stung by a bee at the very moment they’re looking for the meanest bull for a bullfight. Ferdinand’s day in the arena is a lesson in nonviolent tranquility.
A simple introduction to good manners to use with family, friends, at school, during meals, with pets, on the phone, during games, at parties, and in public places.