Problem-Solving in the Trickster Tales of Nasrdin Avanti: Folktales from the Uyghur People
Trickster tales can be found in the folklore of various preliterate people. Nasrdin Avanti is a series of humorous trickster tales from the Uyghur people. In this series, the protagonist Nasrdin Avanti confronts a variety of problems or difficulties, but is able to overcome or solve them. This paper explores Nasrdin Avanti’s problem-solving strategies as found in the book, The Frog Rider: Folk Tales from China, which contains 29 of his stories. Moreover, this paper discusses the functions of these folktales in their cultural and social contexts. It finds that the trickster hero uses eight strategies, the most frequent of which is talking nonsense (six stories), while the others include: feigning ignorance (four stories), satirizing (four stories), using the same reasons as the antagonists (four stories), playing on words (three stories), staying one jump ahead (three stories), taking advantage of the situation (three stories), and flattering (two stories). These problem-solving strategies can cause antagonists to lose face, stop people from bothering the trickster hero or prevent them from taking advantage of him, provide other people with new perspectives, and make them happy. In addition, the folktales of Nasrdin Avanti fulfil different social and emotional functions. Paradoxically, they provide amusement and allow people to escape from the harsh realities in their everyday lives, while at the same time, helping to retain social values and inculcate moral lessons.