By Katharine Briggs
In 1970 Katharine Briggs released in 4 volumes the enormous and authoritative Dictionary of British Folktales and Legends to large acclaim. This sampler includes some of the best 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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Extra resources for British Folk Tales and Legends: A Sampler (Routledge Classics)
A wise wife, who compensates for her husband’s lack of intelligence, is to be found in “A Pottle of Brains”. THE GOLDEN BALL There were two lasses, daughters of one mother, and as they came from the fair, they saw a right bonny young man stand at the house-door before them. They never saw such a bonny man before. He had gold on his cap, gold on his ﬁnger, gold on his neck, a red-gold watch-chain— eh! but he had brass. He had a golden ball in each hand. He gave a ball to each lass, and she was to keep it, and if she lost it, she was to be hanged.
This anecdote about the conspiracy of the Scottish nobles against the favourites of James III shows that the fable was familiar in Scotland as early as 1482. THE BUM BEE [summary] The Queen of the Bumble Bees went out one day to get food for her children, and she was overtaken by a terrible storm. When it was at its worst, she saw ahead of her the palace of the King of the Pismoules, so she knocked at the door. ” The maid shut the door and went to ask the King of the Pismoules. “Oh no,” said the King.
The pigmy guided them down the dark passage, and there gave them a (small) bloodhound (canem sanguinarium) small enough to be carried (portabilem), then, strictly forbidding any of the king’s retinue to dismount until the dog leapt from his carrier, he bade them farewell, and returned home. Soon after, Herla reached the light of day, and having got back to his kingdom again, called an old shepherd and asked for news of his queen, using her name. The shepherd looked at him astonished, and said, “Lord, I scarcely understand your language, for I am a Saxon, and you a Briton.