Folk tales and myths serve as a means of handing down traditions

and customs from one generation to the next in Africa.



For several generations, stories from Africa have traditionally been passed down by word of mouth. Often, after a hard day’s work, the adults would gather the children together by moonlight, around a village fire and tell stories. This was traditionally called 'Tales by Moonlight'. Usually, the stories are meant to prepare young people for life, and so each story taught a lesson or moral.


In the African folk tales, the stories reflect the culture where diverse types of animals abound. The animals and birds are often accorded human attributes, so it is not uncommon to find animals talking, singing, or demonstrating other human characteristics such as greed, jealousy, honesty, etc. The setting in many of the stories exposes the reader to the landform and climate within that region of Africa. References are often made to different seasons such as the 'dry' or 'rainy' season and their various effects on the surrounding vegetation and animal life.


Below are links to some of our favorite African folktales that offer a unique outlook on and depiction of the African way of living...


A Woman and a Bird

Woe or Happiness


The Midnight Goat Thief

The Value of a Person


The Baby Mouse and The Baby Snake

Afiong the Proud Princess

No King as God

The Calabash Kids; A Tale from Tanzania

The Cheetah and the Lazy Hunter; A Traditional Zulu Story

The King’s Daughters; A Nigerian Tale on Pride

The Tortoise and the Hare

The Tortoise, the Dog, and the Farmer; A Tale from Nigeria

Ananse and the Pot of Wisdom

The Dog and the Greedy Tortoise