5 Folktales From Around The World That Would Make Incredible Movies

Laura Stolfi/Stocksy

If you ever find yourself combing through the library stacks in search of a book of folktales, you should know it won't be found next to your favorite novel. Fairy tales and folklore are not classified as "fiction" in the Dewey Decimal system, the library shelving system used throughout the United States. Nope, folktales are considered "nonfiction," housed within the Social Sciences section. That's right. These fascinating international folktales have a lot of truth at their core.

Folktales carry with them a few defining characteristics: they spring from an oral storytelling tradition, they do not carry with them one, singular author and they are often looked to as intimate lenses into a specific society. You want to understand a culture? Don't immediately turn to a white anthropologist's interpretation. Look at the stories they've been telling themselves for generations. They can illuminate beliefs systems, daily routines, superstitions and religious practices.

So while yes, these international folktales are full of adventure and romance, warfare and personal drama and love and suffering, to categorize them simply as next year's summer blockbuster contenders would be doing them, and the communities from which they come, a deep disservice. Remember that these stories have existed through centuries all on their own — and if they are told for the screen, they should be told by the people to whom the stories belong.