Thai Folktale Analysis Individual Thai Folktale Directions

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Thai Folktale Analysis

Individual Thai Folktale
Directions: The following exercise is based on the PowerPoint presentation Folktale Analysis Notes. Read two of the three Thai folktales provided in class. Once you finish the stories, decide which folktale you wish to analyze. Read the descriptions below and complete the chart by following each of the descriptions. As you read, identify 5 new words and list them with their definitions below the analysis chart.
Hero/Heroine: Describe the hero or heroine in the story.

Type of Folktale: What type of folktale would best describe this story? Explain why?

Human Qualities: Describe the human qualities that are given to the characters in the story. Give examples.

Problem/ Conflict: Describe the problem or conflict in the fairytale.

Supernatural/Magic: Describe how magic or supernatural power plays a role in the fairytale.

Moral Teaching: Describe the moral teachings that you understand from the story.

Historical/Cultural References: Describe the Thai cultural or historical references made throughout the story.

Story Comparison: Describe a story you have heard that is similar to this one. Explain how these two stories are similar.

Summary of Buddha Footprint

This story is about a Buddha footprint which has miracle power and monks are trying to find that footprint in Thailand, but they cannot find it. One day, one man is in the forest and shot the arrow to the deer. The deer got shot and run away and when it came back, the deer had no injury. The man was really surprised about it and went around the place where the deer came out. What he found was a footprint and there is water inside and then he drank the water. Surprisingly, his body healed by the water when he drank it and realized that that was Buddha footprint. He told to the king that there was Buddha footprint in Thai mountain and governor asked to protect it and they made the temple around it which exists now in Saraburi City.

Folktale: The Buddha Footprint


Buddhists have to believe in the Buddha Footprint


Boon – he is a hunter and I think he is the main character in this story because he is the only one who exists in the story and he found the footprint of Buddha, so I think he is the hero.

Type of Folktale

Proquoi – because in Saraburi City, the two ponds still exist in the temple and those ponds are relates to the story. Proquoi is the kind of the folktale which why something is at it is and how things came to be. As I told you before, the Buddha footprint is in a temple and many people believe it and go to that temple now, so I think it is Proquoi.

Human Qualities

Boon – he is a curious person because when he shot the arrow to the deer and it came back without injured he was surprised and looking around the place where the deer came out. After a while, he found the footprint. I can see from this part that Boon likes to search something when something wired happened.

Problem/ Conflict

The conflict is that the monks couldn’t find the Buddha footprint in Thailand


There is no magic

Moral Teaching

I learned from this story that Thai people really believes Buddha, especially the monk. Because they tried to go around the Asia to find the 5 Buddha footprint.

Historical References

  • The religion in Thailand – Buddhism that most of Thai people believe in Buddhism and they go to that temple to see two ponds. Also there is monk.

  • The geography – the temple exists in Saraburi City and also, the time is in Ayutthaya periods.

Story Comparison

Yamata-no-orochi – this is a Japanese which is about the snakes with eight heads tried to disturb nations. While people were having problem about it, one man stood up who named Susano-no-mikoto. He killed the Yamata-no-orochi and cut his eight heads and buried in a place and planted the cedar above it. People made it the shrine around it and the shrine exists in Shimane prefecture in Japan. I think this is similar to Thai story because both of them built their religious house which is temple and shrine. Also it appears in our life now.

  • Worship – reverent honor and homage paid to God or sacred

  • Pagoda – a temple or sacred building

  • Spear – arrow

  • Inspect – to look carefully at

  • Smeared – to spread or daub, drink

Summary of Woodcutter

Once upon a time, there is very honest and kind person who was a woodcutter and he worked as hard as he could every time. One day, when he was doing his work in the forest, he unfortunately dropped the axes which he really loved it. While he was crying, there was a guardian spirit and asked him what happened. The honest man told him what happened and the guardian spirit wanted to help him, so he brought some axes which color was gold. The honest man said that axe is not his and the guardian spirit brought another axe with silver color, but the man told him that was not his again. Finally, the guardian brought his real axe and the man thanked him. The guardian spirit gave the man all axes because of this honesty and the man sold the axes and became rich. When the honest man’s brother who is really mean to him heard about it, he wanted to get that axes also, so he went to the river and dropped it. The guardian came again and did the same thing as what he did to his brother. The mean brother said both silver and gold axes were his and after he took the axes he ran away and the guardian spirit realized that the mean man lied. He said some words and that made the mean man’s axed all disappear. Finally, he lost everything even his old axes because of his greedy.

  • Folktale: The Woodcutter


    People should know the word “enough” and be honest to people otherwise it will bring suffering. Don’t be greed.


    The honest man – he is a hero because he is really honest to the guardian spirit and hero has to be a good person, so that the children are able to imitate like that hero.

    Type of Folktale

    Fairytale- we can say this as a fairytale because this story begin with the phrase “Once upon a time” and also, there is a cursed that guardian spirit use. Moreover, they compare the bad person and good person in this story, so we can say this as a fairytale. This cannot be other folktales because this doesn’t relate to the present and there are no animals which use language. Also no one cause the problem for one another in this story, so we cannot use fable, Proquoi, and trickster tales.

    Human Qualities

    Honest man – honest and behave with modesty. He is a good person in this story because when he lost the axe and the guardian spirit asked about his axe, he said his axe is very old one and not gold and silver axe. So we can say he is a good characteristic person.

    Greedy man (brother) – this character represent as a bad person. He is very stingy and greed because after he heard about his young brother, he went to the river and lied to the guardian spirit that both gold and silver axes are his. At the end of the story, he got punishment because of his lying.

    Problem/ Conflict

    The conflict is that the honest man dropped his important axe in the river and couldn’t get it.


    The guardian spirit used a cursed to greedy man when he got silver and gold axes and just run away.

    Moral Teaching

    This teaches me that people should be honest and don’t be greed, otherwise they will get punishment.

    Historical References

    • The work that the honest man has – I think in Thailand, there are some woodcutters in present also, and cutting the trees.

    • The actions that the honest man did after he got the silver and gold axes – in Thailand, there is poor and rich people and the honest man sold both silver and gold axes to be rich, so we can see from it that Thai nations like to get money.

    • The geography – Thailand has river

    Story Comparison

    Gold and Silver Axes – this is Japanese folktale and the setting and plot are really similar to this story. However, it is different when the guardian spirit asked to have the axes to the honest man. In Thai story, he got both of them, but in Japanese story, the person still refused to get it and finally, he didn’t get it because he thinks that only his own axe is enough for him. So I was surprised that when I heard the Thai honest man sold the silver and gold axes to be rich. Also the bad person was different, in this story, the bad person was a brother, but in Japan the bad person was just a stranger who is really stingy.

    Topple – to fall forward

  • Retrieve – to bring back

  • Disguise – to change appearance

  • Intolerant – unable or unwilling to tolerate or endure

  • Greed – excessive desire

Summary of Tikawukumarn

This story is about a gentle man who was a prince in the city, but the city conquered by the other city named Prommathat. The gentle man’s father and mother hide in that city and lived quietly. One day, a person realized that there were queen and king in Prommathat and the king of Prommathat told them to kill the father and mother. Tikawukumarn didn’t know it and when he was in the city, he saw his father and mother were killing by the soldier. Tikawukumarn saw it and shocked about seeing it, but his father said people should forgive before he died, so he remembered that word. One day, Tikawukumarn went to a hunt with King Prommathat and he got tired, so Tikawukumarn asked him to sleep. While he was sleeping, Tikawukumarn tried to kill him so many times, but he remembered the word that his father said so he stopped it. The king woke up and surprised what Tikawukumarn was doing and Tikawukumarn told who was his father and mother were. Prommathat noticed that Tikawukumarn was really nice person because even though his parents got killed by Prommathat, but he forgave the king. Finally, Tikawukumarn stayed with king forever and the king told everyone about people should forgive something to everyone.

  • Folktale: Tikawukumarn


    If people believe Buddha, then they should conquer the enmity by forgiveness


    Tikawukumarn – he is a hero in this story because he teaches us that people should forgive people even though they did really bad things.

    Type of Folktale

    Proquoi – I think this can be Proquoi, maybe. Because now Buddhist forgive most of the thing because of this story.

    Human Qualities

    Tikawukumarn – gentle man because even though his father and mother got killed by their enemy and tried to kill him, he remembered what his father said and didn’t do the revenge.

    King Prommathat – he is really weak person because he killed Tikawu’s father and mother and when Tikawu tried to kill him, he just said don’t kill me. After Tikawu accepted Prommathat’s apology, then Prommathat just say thank you for not killing me. So I feel that he just want to survive and don’t have any pride of being the king when he almost got killed, so I think he is weak.

    Problem/ Conflict

    This problem is that King Prommathat killed Tikawukumarn’s father and mother.


    There is no magic

    Moral Teaching

    I learned from this story that Thai people really believe Buddha, and it teaches that people have to forgive something even though it is hard to do.

    Historical References
    • The religion in Thailand – Buddhism that most of Thai people believe in Buddhism and people should not revenge to someone.

    • The geography – the name of the city and person.

    • The social status – King Tikiti and his queen was in high position but they disguised to commoners when they were in the other city.

    Story Comparison

    Heaven and Hell – There is a kind of legend in Japan about life after we die. After we die, the soul goes a place and there is a judger who judge whether we go heaven or hell. It will be judged by the action that we did while we were in the real world. If you did bad thing, then you have to go to hell and suffer in there. Opposite side of hell that if we did good thing, then you can go to heaven and relax at there. Because Japan believes in Buddhism, we believe the Karma about it. I think this Japanese story is similar to Thai story. Both of these stories relate to Buddhism and forgiveness will make our life easier, so I think these are related.
    Enmity – a feeling or condition of hostility

  • Gist – the main or essential part of the matter

  • Commoners – a common person, not high and low position in social rank

  • Mahout – a driver of an elephant

  • Uttered – speak or pronounce

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