Category: Folktales

Folkore of Wales: The Skeleton Tree, Derwen Ceubren yr Ellyll

Derwen Ceubren yr Ellyll, which means “The Hollow Oak, Haunt of Demons” or “The Blasted Oak of Spirits” was a real tree. Its story is dark and terrifying.

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Philippine Folktales and Legends: Catalina of Dumaguete

Even the wild people who once roamed the remote mountains spoke of Catalina with love. As the wind howled they would tell the story of Catalina of Dumaguete.

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Folklore of the Welsh Lakes: Reflecting on Faerie Brides, Drowned Towns, and the Otherworld

There are may lakes scattered around Wales, each with their own unique characteristics and history. Many also have the most amazing legends and folklore.

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Beauty and the Beast: From French Folklore to Victorian Romance

A tale with a handsome prince cursed to live as a monstrous beast and a courageous beauty who consents to be his prisoner in order to save her father.

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What Lies Beneath: Legendary Creatures from the Seas

Deep below the depths of the ocean, creatures from myth, legend, and lore, stalk our nightmares and give us chills, but we are always wanting more.

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Meet the Hulders (Whether You Want to or Not)

The Norwegian hulder-folk pursue Christian-folk - kidnapping their children, making them their partners and servants, and getting their help to steal food.

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Folklore of the Welsh Lakes: The Legend and Legacy of the Lady of Llyn y Fan Fach

In Wales, legends of encounters with the Otherworld are never far away. One such legend is associated with Llyn y Fan Fach, a lake in Carmarthenshire.

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Folklore as a Mode of Tyrannical Resistance

Folklore can be said to flourish in times of unrest and oppression, and can be seen as a powerful and imaginative means of resistance to social tyranny.

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Trows, Changelings and Wise Women in Early Nineteenth Century Kirkwall

A nineteenth century autobiography written by the minister William Leask offers a fascinating insight into supernatural belief in contemporary Orkney.

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Off the Grid: The Epic Tale of The Dun Cow, or… How Now Brown Cow?

There was once a bright-white cow which travelled round the world, giving milk enough for all comers. Whoever drank of her milk immediately became wise.

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50 Shades of Red: Sexuality and Loss of Innocence in Little Red Riding Hood

Of all the folk and fairy tales known to us, the tale of Little Red Riding Hood is perhaps one of the most enduring and provocative.

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Tongue, Pen, Ear, Page — Collecting and Performing Folktales and Ballads

How do writers collect and re-tell regional folktales? Kevan Manwaring explains his influences, methods, and inspirations for his work in this area.

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A Very British Book: The Road to ‘Tales of Britain’

Author Jem Roberts explains the genesis of Unbound Publishing’s 21st Century roadmap of British folktales.

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The Fairy Midwife and the Magic Ointment

An old woman in the cottage gave the midwife a box of ointment and asked her to anoint the baby all over, but to not get any of the ointment in her…

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Animal Folklore: Chasing Hares Through Stories, Myth, and Legend

Hares are widespread geographically, so hare stories are widespread culturally. But hares take on a surprising variety of roles in folklore, myth & legend.

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Fairy Folklore: Come Away, O Human Child

To be led astray, Peter Pan style, by a fairy – ‘pixie led’ – is an old fear from isolated communities where weather and terrain seemed to judge and punish.

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The Medieval Robin Hood: Folk Carnivals and Ballads

Robin Hood is known by everyone as the English outlaw hero, dashing through the greenwood with his band of merry men to rob from the rich and give to the poor, before…

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Georgian Folklore: The Prince Who Befriended the Beasts

This is a story collected in Michael Berman’s book Georgia Through its Folktales. The book explores the shamanic possibilities held within folk tales.

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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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