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“Around the world in 18th days”
Fairy Tales and Stories from the French-speaking world
7. to 24. Novembre 2013

Ce qui n’est pas clair n’est pas français.
All that is not clear is not French.
Antoine de Rivarol (1783)

Once upon a time there was a king named Franz. In fact, his name was Franz I., because there had not been any king called Franz before. He was a clever king and he did not like complicated affairs. Therefore he made a decision to simplify written correspondence in his kingdom. By a long text which was read all over his empire, he commanded that from now on all letters, laws and other official documents should no longer be written in Latin, the language of the church or other regional dialects any more, from now on they should be written in Franz‘ mother tongue – French.

It happened almost 500 years ago but it is still important for us. With the “Ordinance of Villers Cotterets” in 1539 French became the only official language spoken in the kingdom, the language of public documents and the civil state. This was the birth of a global language. Starting from France the French language was carried out all over the world on different ways.
Varied connections and networks have evolved from the French language since its announcement. Together with the “new” language a whole new culture found its way to the European courts beginning in Paris. This is still visible today at some Prussian Castles like Sanssouci. Last but not least the French Huguenots, who fled from persecution in the 17th century, enriched the world with their French language and lifestyle.

Today approximately 220 million people speak French around the globe. Combined they form the so called “francophone world”. A political organization, “International Organization of the Francophonie” (OIF) or short “Francophonie”, exists since 1970.

Märchenland is celebrating the beauty and expressiveness of the French language. Therefore we dedicate the 24th Berlin Fairy Tale Days to the French-speaking world. During the festival the audience will listen to fairy tales with French-European origins and also to fairy tales from other French-speaking regions. By thoughts we will wander off to Africa, where we are going to meet storytellers called griots, who deliver ancient epics. North Africa is close to the Arab world, which is part of the francophone world as well. Images of nomads, camels and oases will rise in front of our eyes. We will imagine to be surrounded by brightly decorated princesses and the sweet scent of dates and mint tea. We will continue travelling across distant oceans and listen to exotic and colourful fairy tales of clever children, crafty monkeys and rabbits from the islands of Haiti and Seychelles. We will pass Laos as well as Vietnam and then also travel to North America. Fairy tales and stories from French Canada let us slide on a horse-drawn sleigh through snow-covered wilderness while we will be hearing of lavish celebrations, hunting and old superstition.

Märchenland likes to expose the variety of francophone cultures in the world during the 24th Berlin Fairy Tales Days.

A man and wife had seven sons.
One day, the sons set out hunting
and told their aunt that if their mother had a daughter,
to wave a white handkerchief, and they would return at once;
but if a son, a sickle, and they would keep on.
It was a daughter, but the aunt wished to be rid of the boys,
so she waved a sickle.

(from „Udea and her Seven Brothers“ North Africa)