Folklore & Mythology
Pilgrims of the Mist
The Stories of Scotland's Travelling People
Singer, storyteller and author Sheila Stewart is one of the last in the line of Scotland's travelling people and these tales, gathered from her friends and family, are a tribute to a way of life that has now all but died out. There are stories of myth and magic, hauntings and sudden deaths, lovers and childbirths, and the hardships of a people often spurned as social outcasts.
Legends of the Caucasus
The Caucasus, that mountainous region that divides Europe from Asia, is home to a range of diverse peoples - Georgians, Abkhazis, Chechens, Ingush and many others - and boasts a rich and dynamic oral literature. This volume makes 100 myths, legends and proverbs available in English for the first time. Originating in 14 ethnic groups, they speak of hunting, cattle rustling, magic, clan warfare, revenge, and the eternal struggle against oppression.
The epic Ramayana ('The Travels of Rama') tells how Vishnu, incarnated as Rama, is sent into exile and his wife Sita is abducted by the Lord of the Underworld, until a monkey army helps him to win her back. The story's many variant versions span the cultures, religions and languages of Asia; Daljit Nagra's vibrant, energetic reworking draws on scenes from these traditions to create a new Ramayana for today's multicultural, multi-faith readers.
Holy Grail and Holy Thorn
Glastonbury in the English Imagination
'The status of Glastonbury rests upon two contentious claims,' writes Richard Hayman - first, that Joseph of Arimathea founded the first Christian church at Glastonbury; and second, that the town is the final resting place of King Arthur. This illustrated exploration of the Glastonbury myth examines both legends in full and explores how their influence has been felt from medieval to modern times, including William Blake's Jerusalem and the town's role as the capital of New Age culture.
Legends of the Samurai
Looking beyond the image of the almost superhuman swordsmen promoted in modern film and literature, Hiroaki Sato confronts both the history and the legend of the samurai, untangling the two to present an authentic picture of these legendary warriors. Through his translations of original samurai tales, laws, dicta, reports and arguments, accompanied by insightful commentary, Sato chronicles the changing ethos of the Japanese warrior from the samurai's historical origins to his rise to political power in the 18th century.
Imagining the Pagan Past
Gods and Goddesses in Literature and History Since the Dark Ages
The importance of stories of Britain's pagan history - tales often discounted as historically dubious - is explored in this study of British pagan gods and goddesses in literature and historical writing since the Dark Ages.
Breaking the Spell
Stories of Magic and Mystery from Scotland
These tales of kelpies, selkies and witches, friendly giants and a baby monster are all based on Scottish legends and folklore, retold for children by Lari Don and illustrated by Cate James. At the end of the book there are 'notes from the author' on each of the ten stories. Age 5+
The Cat and the Birds
and Other Fables
VS Vernon Jones's translation of Aesop's fables, with striking black and white illustrations and silhouettes by Arthur Rackham, was originally published in 1912. Drawing on that earlier edition, this little book from the British Library presents more than 70 tales, including many lesser-known fables as well as favourites such as 'The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing' and 'The Town Mouse and Country Mouse'.
The Conference of the Birds
Led by the Hoopoe, a conference of birds embarks on a perilous quest for the mountain of Kaf, where their king, Simorgh, lives. In this book, the award-winning Czech writer and illustrator Peter Sis retells the classic 12th-century Persian poem in his own inimitable style. His lyrical text and magical paintings bring to life this epic of love, pain, beauty and faith, in which the birds must jettison all they hold dear to find their true purpose.
A Brief Guide to Celtic Myths and Legends
The pre-Christian beliefs of Celtic communities from Brittany to Scotland gave birth to stories of gods and giants, fierce warriors, shape-shifting monsters and even severed heads that talk. Whittock introduces the reader to the world of this folklore, using evidence from Greek and Roman inscriptions, recent archaeological research into ancient Celtic culture and the versions of legends preserved both in medieval manuscripts and in oral traditions from different regions.
Grimm's Household Tales
This British Library edition of Mervyn Peake's illustrated Household Tales by the Brothers Grimm is based on the original edition published in 1946. Combining the comic and the sinister, Peake's drawings are a perfect match for stories such as The Nose-Tree, Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs and Rumpelstiltskin. Altogether there are 75 tales in this anthology, with an introduction by Sarah Waters and reproductions of the original colour illustrations.
The Greek Myths
Stories of the Greek Gods and Heroes Vividly Retold
Full of the magic of the gods and the emotions of mortals, the myths and legends of ancient Greece are meaningful tales that have survived and inspired writers and artists through millennia. The classicist Robin Waterfield presents a fresh retelling of the stories, from the creation of the gods of Olympus to the epics of the Trojan War and the travels of Odysseus, illustrated with images of over 120 of the myriad paintings and sculptures they have inspired.
Best Fairy Stories of the World
Beginning with Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, this anthology of over 60 stories draws on folk traditions around the world as well as the European tales of Perrault, the Brothers Grimm and Andersen, and from older lore and legend, such as Childe Rowland and The Tiger, the Brahman and the Jackal. This is a Collector's Library edition, beautifully bound in red linen, with gilt-edged pages and a silk marker.
Best Fairy Tales
The other 19th-century master of fairy tales, Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) took a very different approach from the Brothers Grimm. He did not collect folk tales and retell them, but created new stories that would appeal to children and engage their parents. This little Collector's Library edition contains 32 stories, starting with The Tinder Box and including Andersen's most famous tales.
Grimms' Fairy Tales
First published in Germany in 1812 the Household Tales, with learned footnotes and commentary, were not an overnight success. Over the years editions became less academic, there were less threatening, illustrated versions for children - and the book became one of the world's most enduring bestsellers. This English edition, first published in the early 1900s, has illustrations by Arthur Rackham, hand-coloured by Barbara Frith.
The Mythology Handbook
An Introduction to the Greek Myths
Twenty-five lessons in Greek mythology are included in this ringbound guide, presented as an expert's handbook for her own children. The residents of Olympus come first, followed by the tales of the interactions of gods and men, and the legends of heroes such as Heracles. The text is substantial but accessible, with dozens of illustrations, puzzles, stickers, maps and a family tree. Age 9+
Scottish Traditional Plant Lore
This handy reference book collects lore from local people covering the traditional uses of Scottish plants. Organized by habitat - from fields, meadows, hedgerows, woodlands and hillsides to lochs, bogs and the seashore - it includes botanical information and colour photographs for more than 100 plants, so serves as an ID guide for anyone out walking. There is also a section on vegetables and kitchen cures.
Serpents & Werewolves
Stories of Animal Shape-Shifters from Around the World
This elegantly written and accessible collection of 15 tales from around the world includes a girl whose stepmother transforms her into a dragon, a princess who makes a deal with the queen of snakes and a curious boy who becomes a wolf cub. Age 7+
Goblins and Ghosties
Stories of Darkness from Around the World
The 25 folk tales and fairy stories in this collection originate in locations as far apart as the Isle of Man, Colombia, Korea and New Zealand. They range in tone from the farcical to the magical and the spooky, and feature ghosts in the library, hungry trolls, a werewolf's bride, vampires, goblins and spirits. Age 8+
Described as 'a complete theme-by-theme guide to extraordinary, mind- stretching stories and images from around the world', this is a compendium of the most enduring tales from both well-known and more obscure mythological traditions. Christopher Dell recounts the myths alongside hundreds of colour illustrations, comparing similar features to show how these diverse products of the human imagination share many story-patterns, from the world's creation to conceptions of the afterlife and underworld.
Understand Chinese Mythology
This Teach Yourself guide is the ideal introduction to Chinese myth, covering little-known symbolic stories as well as the familiar dragons and astrology that are well embedded in popular culture. The author begins by explaining the background to Chinese culture and mythology, then goes on to explore the myths, retelling them in modern English and teasing out their meanings and cultural significance.
Blind Ossian's Fingal
Fragments and Controversy
The poems of Ossian, Highland bard of the 3rd century, inspired the Romantic movement when they were 'rediscovered' and translated by James Macpherson in 1760. This volume is an introduction both to the poetry and to the continuing controversy about it: was it a hoax, entirely the work of Macpherson's imagination, or does it form part of a great Gaelic oral tradition? The texts of Fragments of Ancient Poetry and Fingal are reprinted here, together with contemporary and modern opinions. No jacket.
On the Trail of King Arthur: A Journey into Dark Age
Scotland including Illustrations, Maps and Itineraries
Drawing on early written records and archaeological evidence, Crichton provides a compelling account of Arthur as Celtic hero. Includes details of sites to visit along the King's journey southward.
All In! All In!
Children's traditional street-games play an important role in the folk culture of a country. The Dublin children's folklore gathered by Eilis Brady (1927-2007) is now part of the National Folklore Collection at University College, Dublin. A selection of the games and rhymes from that collection are presented here, with music where appropriate, photographs and a short introduction to the background language.
The Story of Siegfried
First published in New York in 1896, this is Baldwin's retelling of the story of Siegfried. Drawing materials from various versions of the northern sagas and from his own imagination, he presents the action-packed adventures of Siegfried and other mythical figures, including Aegir, Brunhild, Thor and Balder, in 20 tales from the ancient Eddas. Reprint.
The Persian Book of Kings
Written a thousand years ago by the Persian poet Ferdowsi, the Shahnameh is an epic that tells of the beginning of time and of how great heroes like Sam, Zal and Rustam fought and conquered demons, and how women like Rudabah and Gordafarid stole the heroes' hearts. The stories are retold here by Elizabeth Laird, with illustrations and decorated pages by Shirin Adl. Age 8+
Trevor Beer's Country Folklore and Legend
Author and naturalist Trevor Beer is well known for his Nature Watch column in the Western Morning News. Drawing on his lifelong passion for wildlife and country lore and legend, this book features stories about the British countryside, from ancient Celtic beliefs and old recipes and curatives to animal behaviour. Illustrated by the author's own drawings, the book provides a charming source of reference for all those who love wildlife and the countryside.
The Midas Touch
World Mythology in Bite-Sized Chunks
The legends of Bai She Zhuan (China's White Snake Woman), the Mayan twins Hunahpu and Xbalanque and Hine-Nui-Te-Po, the Maori goddess of death, join the more familiar creation myths and immortals of Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Norse myth in this concise introduction to the mythologies of nine cultures. For each one Daniels outlines the history of the civilization before briefly retelling a selection of its most important myths and legends.