By Katharine Briggs
In 1970 Katharine Briggs released in 4 volumes the sizeable and authoritative Dictionary of British Folktales and Legends to huge acclaim. This sampler contains the superior of these stories and legends. accrued within, readers will locate an extravagance of gorgeous princesses and stout solid boys, sour-faced witches and kings with hearts of gold. every one story is a masterpiece of storytelling, from the hilarious 'Three Sillies' to the delightfully macabre 'Sammle's Ghost'.
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Additional resources for British Folk Tales and Legends: A Sampler (Routledge Classics) (Volume 13)
The History of Jack and the Giants (Glasgow, 1807), pp. 8–12. This tale is a thinly disguised version of “The Grateful Dead”, only lacking the link between Jack and the dead man; the ransomed dead man in “The Old Wives’ Tale” was also called Jack. The tale is more explicit and widely distributed in Celtic areas; it is therefore interesting to come across this practically complete version in an English tale. Note: See also “Four Eggs a Penny”, “The Red Etin”. Celtic versions are: “Jack the Master” and “Jack the Servant”, Kennedy; “The Barra Widow’s Son”, Campbell .
The king was astonished, for he imagined that he had been away for three days only. Some of his companions descended from horseback before the dog was released, forgetful of the dwarf’s commands, and were instantly crumbled to dust. The king then forbade any more of his companions to descend until the dog leapt down. The dog has not leapt down yet. One legend states that Herla for ever wanders on mad journeys with his train, without home or rest. Many people, as they tell us, often see his company.
An’ when owd cock cum’d hoäm he fun’ pigs just ﬁnishin’ cock’ril’s yaller legs, an’ he heerd red cock crawin’ like mad upo’ steäm-hoose wall. “A-dearyme,” says he, “I knaw’d how it would be if he wouldn’t keäp his tung still. ” M. Peacock, The Lindsey Folk-Speech, p. 105. 21 Part 2 Fairy Tales In this group the term “Fairy Tales” are those folk-ﬁctions of which magical or supernatural episodes are a necessary part. This is the real distinction made between the Novelle and the Fairy Tales. The theme may very often be similar, the dividing line is between the natural and magical machinery.