Before categorizing the stories as fables or fairy tale, it is very interesting to note that Ramanujam has made the use of oral tales rather than literary texts. Both of them collectively emphasize the importance of allowing oral tales to circulate. Significantly, he tries to convey that the survival of the stories depends in a “fluidic” manner i.e. being passed on as they move from time to time, they take lives of their own. Unlike myths, both the tales are profane in nature rather than being sacred.
Quoting Wikipedia, a fable is a story that can feature forces of nature that are anthropomorphized i.e. showcasing things with giving human qualities such as the tendency to speak. This is certainly a major characteristic of “The untold stories”. The evidence promoting it from the text is when the stories start talking to each other. The stories have the voice of their own. Not only the tale has an entertainment value but also serves an elementary purpose of teaching something in a form of an instructional story. Ending with the moral is an added evidence to this claim as the author is creating a decree by saying that a Gond, a woman and a dream cannot be trusted. The tale is an exact fit to an enduring form of folk literature, which has less of literary anthologies and more of oral transmission.
On the other hand, “Tell it to the walls” loosely fits in both the categories. Being metaphorical in nature and idealizing representations of social reality, it also has a hidden moral, which is not explicitly mentioned. The story is not didactic in nature but at the same time gives us the precept that “the tales of grievances” rather than being restricted within oneself, should be expressed. It points out that not telling of stories is uncontrolled and how telling of stories may complicate the relationship between the teller and the tale. However, the story also qualifies to be called as a fairytale. Unlike classic fairy tales, it neither has a magical beginning neither a special ending. But the story has a bigger meaning to it which makes it a fairy tale. It explores human weakness (i.e.- adverse health conditions like growing fat) and highlights the triumph of the poor (i.e. – how the old woman relieved herself from her grievances and now felt lighter in mood ). It reveals the societal problems that an old woman faces because of her sons and daughter in laws and this puts the story in a category of a fairy tale.
If we see in a broad sense, both the stories are unboxing a story within a story. With both the stories the author tries to highlight the fact that if you know a tale, you owe it not only to the others but to the tale itself, otherwise it will suffocate. Both of them are simply a part of cultural repositories embarking on the principals of metafiction which loosely orient themselves in both the categories.
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