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Aspinwall program brings tales from around the globe

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“Folktales Around the World” begins at 7 p.m. at the Aspinwall borough building at 217 Commercial Ave. It is free.

The program is sponsored by the Aspinwall Civic Association.

Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Beth Cusick Ruff just needs to look at her oldest son to see the influence of classic folktales.

Her son is named Finn, just like Finn McCool, a hero who is the subject of Irish folktales.

Tales about McCool and other stories from around the world will be on display this Friday in Aspinwall.

Ruff will be joined by Keiko Maeda Edwards, Janina Kvedaras and Javier Rodriguez during “Folktales from Around the World.”

The four will read stories from Ireland, Japan, Venezuela and Puerto Rico, respectively.

Paolo Corso of Aspinwall, who runs the Writers in the Wall program, coordinated the event.

“I'm trying to make it trot the globe,” Corso said.

The night will feature family-friendly stories, ethnic foods and discussion.

Many of the stories being shared have been passed down through generations, Corso said.

“I think many of us grew up with stories passed down to us, and I think many of us have read them to our children, so I think there is a real tradition,” Corso said.

Ruff, an Aspinwall resident, said the stories about McCool have him fighting dragons and wicked fairies, among other adventures.

“It's very kid friendly,” Ruff said. “There are several legends about him.”

Classic folktales are a way to learn about other society's traditions, Ruff said.

The enthusiasm for learning about the world is especially true for children.

“They're so open to learning about different parts of the world and different cultures,” Ruff said.

Corso said she has passed on some Italian traditions to her own family to teach them about their background.

“We weren't so much concerned about St. Nick but whether La Befana was going to be flying on her broom,” Corso said.

The positive message and lessons from folktales can be appealing to readers, Corso said.

“A magical leap is something that's very refreshing and uplifting,” Corso said.

Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513 or

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