Summary Writing 

Summary Writing :

Summary writing can be of two types.

TYPE – 1 : You could be asked to condense the number of words of the whole passage to about one-third its length.

TYPE – 2 : You could be given a specific question and given a specific number of words in which to limit your answer.

Modern summary writing is generally concerned with the second type. Hence we will study this in greater detail.

Read the following passage about the origin of folk tales. The passage is followed by question on summary writing and its solution.

Nine hundred years ago a remarkable collection of stories called Kathasaritsagara, the Ocean of Stories, was produced in Kashmir. Somadeva, its author, is said to have included in this tome many stories which he had heard from others and which, in fact, had their origin in folk-literature. The Kathasaritsagara, which may justly be called a treasure of folk tales, has had considerable influence on countries which were in close touch with India during the Middle Ages.

The first collection of Kashmiri folk tales in English was brought out by the late Rev. John Hinton Knowles towards the end of the last century. Sometime later, a renowned scholar, the late Sir Auriel Stein, published another collection of this kind. Hatim’s Tales, as this latter is called, is a collection of tales in verse and prose recited in Kashmiri for the savant by one Hatim who was an oilman by profession. These two works can by no means be said to exhaust the harvest of tales garnered in the fertile minds of the people. The present editor has endeavored to collect some of the more interesting tales current in the valley of Kashmir which, but for two exceptions, have not appeared earlier.

Tales, myths, sagas and other narratives comprise perhaps the most interesting part of the literature named Folklore’, a term coined in 1846 by W J Thoms to designate the traditional learning of the uncultured classes of civilised nations. This is not the place to go into minute details on the subject. Suffice it to say that folk tales comprise a respectable volume of literature in all languages which is being explored with increasing interest everywhere.

The earliest tales of this kind are traced to about 2800 B.C. in Egypt. There is an unmistakable similarity in many folk tales of countries as far apart as Kashmir and France or China and Sweden. The obvious conclusion is that they have all been influenced by a common stock of tales which appear as variants in different languages.

Apart from this there is the same affinity between the folk tales of different countries as in their fables, legends, myths, apologues, etc. There is, therefore, nothing to be surprised at if some of the folk tales of Kashmir have close parallels in other countries. Several tales in this section are based on incidents centering on real persons. By and large, however, the tales portray a large variety of men and women, both individuals and types, and project peoples’ beliefs, customs, ideals, preferences and prejudices in all their rich variety as few other literary forms can do. As a matter of fact, they impart meaning and substance to culture as it is crystallised in our day-to-day living. In this sense, they are allied to myths. ‘Myths,’ according to the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, ‘are not created out of nothing. It (a myth) is always the covering, the shell, to a kernel of truth contained inside.... Folk tales are the myths of the race.’

In not more than 60 words explain what are folk tales and the journey of the Kashmiri folk tale.

ANSWER : Folk tales are stories of a race of people. Nine hundred years ago Somadeva compiled Katbasarilsagara from the stories he had heard. The first collection in English was published by Rev. Knowles. Sometime later Sir Auriel Stein published another book called Hatim's Tales that contained stories narrated by an oilman, Hatim. The present editor has collected and published interesting tales currently popular in Kashmir.

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