All around the world for hundreds and hundreds of years, people have told stories. These tales not only provide great entertainment over a summer campfire or for a long winter's night but also teach important moral lessons, preserve moments in history and even explain some of the mysteries of the universe. Discover the rich heritage of folk tales and fables from around the world through the direct links on the Times Launch Point Web site, http://www.latimes.com/launchpoint/
Here are the best sites for getting your schoolwork done or for just having fun.
Kids Zone: Myths and Fables From Around the World: Why are pine trees green? What happens when a spider named Anansi tries to steal all the wisdom of the world? Travel around the world by reading these beautifully illustrated stories from African, Indian, Japanese, and Native American cultures.
Stories to Grow By: In "Baba Yaga," a young girl is saved by her acts of kindness. This site offers more than thirty classic stories from around the world that have been carefully adapted for children. You can choose stories by theme and other categories, comment on the stories you read and even help illustrate some of the stories.
Tales to Tell: Fables are stories that teach a lesson. Learn about friendship and wisdom through this assortment of tales that includes colorful stories on animals, heroes and adventures from such places as France, Russia, South Africa and Ancient Egypt.
Legends From Oban the Knowledge Keeper: Why are there clouds, and how did the sky come to be the way it is? What happens to a platypus who plays tricks and how did the hummingbird get its hum? Find out through this collection of stories, some of which are Native American and Australian legends and some of which are written by children from around the world.
Aaron's Storybook: Whether it's the African tale of the magic fly swatter or a story about a Chinese superhero that happens to be a monkey, this collection of folk tales and legends from all around the world is full of surprises and fun.
Folk Tales for Children: What happens when flying elephants become a nuisance or when a thief tries to be honest? Read some funny Indian folk tales "from a very long time ago, when animals could speak."
Stories of the Dreaming: Storytelling plays an important role in many cultures as a way of educating children about their history and their culture. Learn about the role storytelling and the Dreamtime has for the indigenous Australians and hear some of these storytellers tell the tales as well as tell the stories behind the tales.
Tales of Wonder: Folk and Fairy Tales From Around the World: A simple mouse is the superior pet in a Chinese folk tale, a foolish braggart in a Native American story and an enchanted prince in a Middle Eastern tale. Compare different styles of folk and fairy tales in this collection that offers stories from around the world.
Aesop's Folk Tales: What would happen if Aesop were writing fables in the 20th century? Find out through this site that offers both traditional and contemporary versions of these fables, such as "The Milkmaid and Her Pail," which becomes "The Girl and Her Interview."
Launch Point is produced by the UC Irvine department of education, which reviews each site for appropriateness and quality. Even so, parents should supervise their children's use of the Internet. This column was designed by James Shepard, Maia Zinger and Anna Manring.
The answer to this Internet quiz can be found in the sites at right.
Why does the arrogant alligator have a rough back?
Clue: See Myths and Fables From Around the World
Find What You Need to Know: Have a project on California history? Need help doing a math problem? Launch Point now covers more than 100 topics for getting your schoolwork done. Go to http://www.latimes.com/launchpoint/ for the full list of subjects and direct links to the best Internet sites.
Answer to last week's Quest: The most famous face in the Louvre Museum is that of the Mona Lisa.