Category: Folktales

Stories from the Arabian Gulf: Bu Draeyah, Um Homar and the Survival of Qatari Folktales

Two popular folktales of the Arab world tell of Bu Draeyah, a cruel sea creature, and Homarat Al-Guyla, a half-woman, half-donkey, who eats children.

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Zombies: Through Folklore, Film and Fiction

When one hears the word “zombie” various images come to mind: usually that of flesh-eating, brain-devouring monsters; that is just our modern perception.

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The Shadows and Light Folktale Series: Discovering Story-Power

For a writer whose most famous book is about the biology of animal faeces, it may seem like a stretch to be creating stories with their roots in folktales.

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Folklore of the Welsh Lakes: The Legend of the Bride from the Red Lake

A Welsh legend from the Red Lake tells the story of a doomed marriage between a mortal farmer and a beautiful Otherworld maiden who emerged from the lake.

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Japanese Folklore of the Ocean: The Ama Divers, Sea Demons, and Ise Jingu

Mie is home to the ama divers, an ancient tradition of women who breath-dive for abalone, and Ise Jingu, the most sacred Shinto shrine in the whole of Japan.

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Mermaid Folktales: A 19th Century History

During the nineteenth century, mermaids regularly appeared in art, literature, and music, as well as in the news, with reported public sightings recorded.

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The Secret History of the Grimm Fairy Tales

Like many people, I thought the Grimm brothers had lived long ago & travelled around Germany collecting stories from old women hunched over spinning wheels.

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Folk-Ore: The Magical Power of Blacksmiths and Their Enduring Stories

The folklore of iron and smithing has been common since prehistory, and one of the oldest folktales tells of a blacksmith forging a deal with the devil.

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Angels and Devils: The Legend of the Holy Mountain

The Skirrid Fawr Hill near Abergavenny in Wales is no ordinary hill, but a place of myth, legend, strong religious connection, and black deeds.

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English Folktales: Fox Robin’s Ghost and the Buried Treasure

Fox Robin was a crotchety farmer from Westleigh in Greater Manchester, whose antics in life and death are told in many stories.

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Evil Twins and Doppelgangers: What Meaning Does the Double Have in Folklore?

Many cultures have beliefs around shadows, reflections, and paintings. Taking control of doppelgangers in these forms means taking control of the soul.

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Folk Tales and Fairy Tales: Seven Miles of Steel Thistles

One of the things I wanted to do was to confront popular misconceptions about fairy tales, such as ‘fairy tales are all about princes rescuing princesses.’

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Children’s Teeth and the Mice That Take Them

When I was a child I knew that every time I lost a tooth, the tooth mouse (or tandemuis) would come and swap my baby teeth for cold hard cash.

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The Tooth Fairy: Buying Teeth Since 1900

Who is the Tooth Fairy, and where did she come from?

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The Meadow Dandelion, a Chippewa Folktale

Storyteller Amanda Edmiston retells a First Nations folktale, from the Chippewa people, that originally appeared in a book she recalls reading as a child.

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Five Reasons Fig Trees Are Folklore Royalty

No plants feature so often in folklore, in so many places, as fig trees. There’s a biological basis to many of these stories.

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The Seal Children: Sealskins and Soulskins. Or, When We Were Migrants

The first story that I found in this land where I live was The Seal Children, and as we walk the path to Maes Y Mynydd where the story is set, my…

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Spring in Southeast Asia: Diasporic Chinese New Year Folklore

Here are a couple of folklore and stories associated with Chinese New Year. I have grown up with these stories as they are part of tradition and culture.

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Unravelling the Sexual Mystique of Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty has an allure that is undeniable. Her story has retained a place in our traditions. Time has reshaped her dilemma and salvation.

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Fairy Folklore: The Unchanging Appeal of Changelings

The notion of fairy changelings, whilst dating back centuries, in many ways feels like a modern concept. That a human might be stolen away by the little folk and replaced with a…

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Il Gatto Mammone: The Italian Legend of the Cat King (Or Cat Demon?)

The Gatto Mammone is an influent folktale that very few people remember.

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A Brief History of Trolls

Trolls come in many shapes and sizes. No one description can fit them all. Is there a core of Trollness which we can uncover?

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Top 5 American Folktales

Here, in no particular order, are the top 5 American Folktales.

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Norwegian Folktales: The Ring in the Fish

The motif of the discarded ring recovered from a fish appears in the folklore of various regions

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Russian Fairy Tales: The Top 5 Women in Russian Folklore

The top five women in Russian fairy tales

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The Girl-Fish, an Underrated Fairy Tale by Andrew Lang

A spellbinding tale of redemption, The Girl-Fish is a tale overlooked by most fairy tale enthusiasts, but it contains a great heroine and her amazing adventure.

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The Three Little Pigs Go to War: Fairy Tales in 8 + 1 Battles

I first encountered fairy tales as a child. As in most children, the encounter generated mixed feelings—wonder and excitement

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Rumpelstiltskin, a European Fairy Tale

Austin Hackney's wonderful telling of the fairy tale 'Rumpelstiltskin'.

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Tellers of Tales

Folklore is at heart oral and behavioural traditions, so the notion of written folklore is somewhat oxymoronic. Any attempt to preserve oral traditions in writing involves a transformation of the material

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