Literature Jack And The Beanstalk Discussion

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11:10:11 AM May 12th 2017
edited by LordGro
Deleted this from the first paragraph:
A 2016 Linguistic study traces its roots to at least 3500 B.C.E. as 'The Boy Steals The Ogre's Treasure' making it one of the oldest continuously told tales in all of history.

I looked at the study in question. What I removed does not accurately represent the findings of that study, for the following reasons:

  1. The authors are talking about tale *types*. An individual tale, like Jack and the Beanstalk, is more than a type. For example, the magic beanstalk which features so prominently in this tale is *not* part of the tale type "Boy Steals the Ogre's Treasure", as defined by the Aarne-Thompson index. Saying that "Boy Steals the Ogre's Treasure" (Aarne-Thompson 328) is thousands of years old is not the same as saying that "Jack and the Beanstalk" is thousands of years old.
  2. In the authors' model, there is a 39% probability that "The Boy Steals the Ogre's Treasure" existed in a Proto-Indo-European version (which leaves a 61% probability that it did not exist). I.E. it is a possibility, not a definite fact.
  3. Even if "The Boy Steals the Ogre's Treasure" is that old, it does not follow it is "one of the oldest continuously told tales". They only examined the Indo-European tree of languages. Language goes back far further than Indo-European. There might be tales far older (in fact it is likely that there were).
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