Fairy Tales of Zakynthos

Selection, Adaptation, Illustration: Zoe Nikitaki
Trimorfo Publications
ISBN: 978-960-6730-28-3

Shut up.
I will brush my pants
from the dust of the stars
from the small emeralds of the sea …
I will be brushed well
in order no one to smell our trip
no one to understand that you traveled me
holding my hand in your tales …
Look well,
if on my shoulder remained
a handful of stars.

Giannis Ritsos, “Morning Star”

The Fairy tales, this precious wealth of the collective memory of mankind, were transmitted from mouth to mouth and from generation to generation… The storytellers undertook the task of spreading the tales and stories without the help of writing, but with the belief that if their stories were forgotten,then the people would loose their soul.
Marietta Giannopoulou Minotou (1900-1962), a significant folklorist and important spiritual personality of the island of Zakynthos, who lived and created in the first half of the 20th century in Greece, but also internationally, collected 84 fairy tales from the folk tradition of her island, Zakynthos, that were used to be spread from mouth to mouth. This work of her took place in the decade of ’30s and by this, managed to rescue the soul of the folk culture of her homeland. Rescuing the inexhaustible treasure of this important oral tradition, managed to preserve as well the local accent, the popular beliefs reflecting the attitudes and way of thinking of  people for life and death, fate and illness, dreams, redemption, love.
In the era of the globalization we are all experiencing from one corner of the planet to the other, the preservation and dissemination of the language of the ordinary people of the countryside  is equivalent to the preservation and dissemination of our culture and our national ID. Now, more than ever, preserving languages and cultures of the planet is a precious treasure and an important task.
When I discovered the folk tales of Zakynthos, collected by Marietta Minotou, in the dialect of the ordinary people of rural countryside, I was charmed by the rhythm and music of their language, but also by the personality of the collector. So I chose seven magical tales from that collection and dared to write them from the beginning, without forgetting as I hope, that the language is like the universe, a complex of rhythms and that with the rhythm everything begins. And then I took my brushes, pencils and colors  and I continued the journey to the world of the unexpected and improbable, where everything is possible and I felt that even for a while, I was involved with the dream. Besides, all of us are creatures made by the material of dreams. It is our destiny to dream and perhaps because of the fact that the dreams are translated through words and images, become fairy tales and paintings that nourish our soul.
The creation of images of the book along with the study of a rare bibliography of the two previous centuries (for architecture, nature, customs, costumes and lifestyle of the people of the island  of Zakynthos in earlier times) lasted two years and unfolded with much love and joy. I hope that through the images you will be able to listen to the music of  the fairy tales, but “you will listen their smell” as well, as it is said in the island of Amorgos … And maybe the wind of the fairy tales will blow little in your heart and mind. And maybe every journey into the world of the real and the imaginary will always have the same destination: the return to the Source, from where come out all the dreams, all the wishes and prayers …

Zoe Nikitaki