And while the names and places change from country to country, the essential folktale elements remain the same. Often narrative, the storytelling is generally about present or past characters and experiences, and can include animals that act and behave like humans. They also provide information about the trials of everyday life. Folklorists have collected and cataloged these elements and, as a result, have developed common themes, or "motifs" such as trickster and healer.
Folktale motifs are fluid and change with each telling. In this way they are always being created a new. That means you can blend the old with the new to produce surprising stories. Combine character traits and universal themes, such as creativity and honesty, with contemporary folk heroes and heroines like computer geek or electric car mechanic, and you've got vibrant, living folktales that tell others about the times you live in and about what's valued and cherished.