#FolkloreThursday: Retellings and Adaptations I covet

Greetings on this, the first Folklore Thursday post in quite a while. I’ve missed these posts and getting to completely nerd out over folkloric things so I am very pleased to bring them back.

While looking through my reader today, I saw two really interesting posts about retellings and adaptations, one from Mikaela at The Well-Thumbed Reader and the other from Heather at The Sassy Book Geek. I’ve been trying to think of a list post, and as if by magic, these two posts appeared and I just had to throw mine into the pot too!

These are folk tales that I love and that I haven’t read/seen any retellings of but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any. (Please let me know if you know of any!)

1. Chang’e (China)

Chang’e is the Chinese moon goddess, who I have mentioned before. There are lots of stories that can be drawn on and I would be happy with any of them. I am obsessed with the moon, so any story involving it makes me happy and would make me a very happy reader. It has tragic elements, a husband and wife separated (regardless of whether they started as immortals but were punished with mortality, and thus probably deserved it, or whether they were human and definitely did not deserve their separation), a plague, and would make for some very interesting reading. Plus, I could imagine Chang’e as both a delicate and a fierce female protagonist, and I am very much here for a three-dimensional heroine who is not just strong. I would love to read more Eastern-based literature.

2. The Enchanted Quill (German)

The Enchanted Quill features a crow whose feathers, when used to write, make wishes come true, three sisters (two of which are snide and unforgiving, and one who is full of intrigue and cunning and blushes at the thought of a little crow), and of course, the transformation from animal to prince… for a price. I love crows and other birds hailing from the Corvidae family, they carry with them a little bit of magic; the crooked kind of magic that I can’t seem to get enough of (there’s that word again…). It has echoes of Beauty and the Beast, another story I adore, but brings its own little twists and turns to the transformative archetype.

3. The Seven Ravens (German)

Again, I am bringing you Corvidae and potentially fabulous female characters.  A mother and father have seven sons and want desperately to have a daughter. Eventually, they do and she is a sickly little thing so the sons have to go fetch water for her baptism (either to make her better or to ensure she’s accepted into heaven in the event that she dies – I am unsure which), the sons fail horrendously and so the father wishes them into ravens. Years pass, the daughter grows strong and discovers that the ravens that always seem to be around are, in fact, her brothers and goes off on an adventure to restore them to their human form. I love a good adventure story.


So there you have it, three folk tales that I would love to see adapted or retold in some way or another. There are more that I can think of but it’s late and I need some sleep (cue yawning).

Watch this space for part two, coming to a Folklore Thursday post in the probably-not too distant future.

Are there any folk tales you’d love to see retold? What are they, and would I love them? (The answer to that last bit is probably yes.)

Happy Thursday!

#FolkloreThursday: The Cryptozoologist Chronicles – Pontianak

We’re chronicling some more cryptozoology this week, and I am very excited about it. This is another creature that I found while writing a drabble. I like to use folklore in my writing, so it’s no surprise that I find a lot of cool things. Unlike my last creature, this one actually did end up as the focal point of some of my writing and I’ve fallen a little bit in love – as much as you can fall in love with something as dark as this, that is.


Pontianak

The pontianak is a vengeful spirit from Indonesian and Malaysian folklore, also known as kuntilanak or matianak. Taking the form of an often pregnant woman, with long hair, a bloody white dress, and long nails, the pontianak hunts men. It is said that the pontianak can present itself as a beautiful woman to seduce its victims. If caught in this form and pierced in the nape of the neck by a coffin nail, the pontianak will stay a beautiful woman and a good wife. However, once the nail is removed, it will take its original form and kill the man who inflicted goodness upon it. Unlike most spirits, the pontianak has a physical/corporeal form.

The kuntilanak, in particular, is said to be able to transform into a bird and drink the blood of virgins and young women. It is summoned and sent to make women fall gravely ill.

Both variations are the ghosts of women who perhaps either died in childbirth or died violent deaths (presumably at the hands of men). They are ever-searching for their unborn child, including within the bodies of their victims.

Those unlucky enough to be seduced by a pontianak are not in for a pleasant death, the creature will remove and eat the organs, often while the victim is still living. It’s unsurprising that it is the subject of so many Indonesian and Malaysian horror films.

If a pontianak is near, you might smell something sweet and floral which sours into a smell of decay, or you might hear the wailing of a baby. This is perhaps my favourite detail, a nice smell (representing the presenting human form) which then turns horrid, like the monster behind the beautiful face.

There are variations of the pontianak throughout the world, particularly in India and Pakistan. The closest Western relative is probably the vampire.


Happy Thursday!

#FolkloreThursday Film Spotlight: Tale of Tales

Hello, lovely readers. I have a confession to make before I launch into this blog entry. I had no idea the film I’m about to talk about was based on a book. I am terrible. I now want to read said book though, so there’s that at least.

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From the bitter quest of the Queen of Longtrellis, to two mysterious sisters who provoke the passion of a king, to the King of Highhills obsessed with a giant Flea, these tales are inspired by the fairytales by Giambattista Basile.

The above is taken from IMDB. Obviously. Otherwise, I would have known it was actually based on something. I went into this film blind, I’d seen maybe part of a trailer beforehand and was intrigued enough to watch it. I am glad I did.

It’s an incredibly strange film, weaving what at first seem to be three completely separate stories together. The first, a queen who will do anything to have a child; the second, two sisters who win the love of a womanising King by use of trickery and magic; the third, a king who finds and nurtures a flea, loving it more than his own child resulting in his daughter being married off to an ogre.

Naturally, I love it. I adore stories, and if a film has more than one it’s going to be a guaranteed hit with me. Combine that with the fairy tale nature and setting and you’ve got an instant love. This film is dark. It’s also whimsical but the dark kind where you’re not sure if what you’re watching could possibly have a happy ending or whether everyone is going to die horribly.

The film is stunning. From the costumes to the sets, to the music and through the colouring, it is gorgeous. It’s exactly the kind of rich beauty you want from a fairy tale film.

From what I gather of the book, these are only three of an incredible number of tales that could have been used, and now a small hopeful part of me is crossing her fingers and wishing on every star that they turn this into a series of films, each with three tales beautifully produced until the whole book has been done. It is only a vague hope. It will probably never happen. A girl can dream.

It harkens back to the 80s fantasy movies that I adore, only darker and with better visual effects. Definitely, check it out if you’re a fan of fantasy and fairy tales. I love it. Love it.

Happy Thursday!

#FolkloreThursday: An Endless Story (Japan)

Hullo, hullo. It’s one of those Thursdays where I read a folktale that I’ve never read before and relay it for your enjoyment, mostly marvelling at the ridiculousness of it all. I love folktales. I love how weird and wonderful they can be, how different they can be across different cultures, and how they manage to stick around despite how incredibly old they are.

This week, we’re travelling to Japan for a tale with a very misleading title. It is called An Endless Story and yet it is quite possibly the shortest story in Favourite Folktales from around the World.

So, we jump right into the story and discover that the rats of Nagasaki have all jumped onto a ship to Satsuma because there is no food. All is going well, they’re on the ship, they’re sailing but then… they happen across another ship, equally filled with rats. These rats were from Satsuma (can you see where this is going?) making their way to Nagasaki because there is no food.

We have a dilemma on our hands and what do the rats decide to do?

(I’m not sure you’re ready for this. Are you ready for this?)

(Okay, okay. You’re ready.)

The decide to jump into the sea. And drown. 

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Of course, there was no other place in the whole of Japan that might have had food for them. They were clever enough to sail across the sea but apparently, geography was possibly not their strong suit.

So there you have it, An Endless Story made Endless only by the fact that the rats are jumping into the sea one-by-one and that it ends with an ellipsis.

Save a life, feed a rat.

Happy Thursday!

#FolkloreThursday: Four Favourite Fables

Greetings, gremlins. We are back to our Folklore Thursday schedule with a list post! I mentioned in my interlude that I wanted to write a list but didn’t know which list to write. I’m not sure how I decided on fables but decide I did and now here we are with a post. Funny how these things work out, isn’t it? (I jest.)

In my modern fiction (‘modern’ here meaning written in recent years rather than being based in recent times), I tend to shy away from moralising. There are few books that moralise in a way that doesn’t make me want to slam my head into the nearest wall (Wonder by R.J. Palacio is probably the most successful that I have read, but I do shrink back from the idea of it ‘teaching society a lesson’). That isn’t to say that I think books can’t lead towards societal change, they can, I just object to books (and authors) who make that their book’s primary goal. It always seems forced and disingenuous, I much prefer it to happen organically. If that’s the message readers take from the book, great! If it’s shoved down the reader’s throat so that they have no choice but to swallow it, that’s not even in the same hemisphere as fantastic.

Heck, I’m probably against moralising in classics too aside from the fact that I don’t really read them. Folklore, mythology, fables? Come at me. Dickens? Go away, far away. Leave now, and never come back. (There are exceptions, Wuthering Heights and anything by Lewis Carroll being the main ones.)

One of my lingering memories of my early school life is learning about fables (often paired with parables, which would explain why, for quite a while, I thought fables were religious metaphors despite the fact that they, for the most part, originated in Ancient Greece – thanks, Primary School, for that misconception). The Tortoise and the Hare was the obvious feature, there were others but I don’t remember what they were. Alongside the learning about them, we were also asked to write our own. My crude, childish ramblings would have been, I’m positive, about rabbits – if we still have my school books at my parents’ house, I might seek them out and see what moral lessons little!Elou thought needed to be learnt and spread via the medium of probably-brown bunnies.

The fables listed below are not in their original phrasing, if you would like to see them in some of the older forms (there are so many different translations that I wouldn’t know where to start to find the most accurate translation out there), I recommend a trip to Project Gutenberg, which is one of my favourite resources on the internet.

1. The Fox and the Mask

100The Fox and the Mask is one of those little fables that stick with you. Or, it sticks with me anyway and not entirely for the best reason.

The fox, when rummaging around in the belongings of an actor, finds a mask and thinks that it is very beautiful, but laments its lack of sense as this, to the wily fox, makes the beautiful mask worthless.

The overall take-home being ‘what use is beauty without brains?’

I am almost certain that this fable has been used by some male scholar somewhere to prove the hypothesis that pretty women cannot be intelligent (a view that is dangerously taken into some young adult literature, where the popular, pretty girl is painted as stupid and the super special protagonist with all of her book smarts feels superior because of it – this fable is not without its problems).

It’s not the message that appeals to me in this case but the imagery. I love the idea of a fox rooting around and being fascinated by a theatre mask.

2. The Old Man and Death

0133-old-man-deathProbably one of the more famous fables (after The Tortoise and the Hare), The Old Man and Death is a story that I didn’t actually know came from Aesop for the longest time. I love the way the title sounds, I adore literature that involves death as a character (I touched on this in the briefest sense here but I think I might write an entire post about it, or series of posts about death in popular culture… we shall see). I love the way the title sounds, it’s a very pleasant title to roll off the tongue (I prefer it to the alternative used for some translations, The Poor Man and Death).

The story goes thus: a weak old man is gathering (or carrying) a bundle of sticks, and under the weight of the burden the old man falls to the ground. He calls upon Death to come and end his woes because he is too old and too weak to deal with them anymore, but when Death arrives the old man grows frightened and decides he wants a little more time, claiming that he only called upon Death to help him shoulder his burden so that he might be free to go about his business.

The old man has been described as ‘taking liberties’ with Death and I love that, I love the idea of a character dramatically calling on Death to end their suffering on multiple occasions, each time deciding that actually dropping a pile of sticks is probably not a good enough reason to die. Very sorry, Death. Please continue your reaping elsewhere, no reaping needed here. No, sir.

3. The Travellers and the Bear

THE-TRAVELLERS-AND-THE-BEAR-1-q6812This is one of those fables which I should have paid more attention to long before I did. Most fables, I like because of the imagery but this one, I enjoy because of the hard-learned lesson it presents. (That said, I do also enjoy bears.)

Two travellers walk among a forest when suddenly a bear comes upon them. Despite having agreed to protect each other one of the travellers, thinking only of himself, scambles up a tree and out of the way, leaving the other on the ground. The second traveller lies still, pretending to be dead and lets the bear sniff him, believing the common assumption that bears will not eat dead meat.

When the bear leaves, the first traveller descends from the tree and, with a laugh, asks his companion what the bear said to him. The second traveller replies that the bear had given him good advice, and warned him not to trust those who would leave him to save their own skin.

Essentially it presents a test of true friendship where, if the first traveller were a true friend to the second, he would not have left him to die at the paws and jaws of the bear. When things get tough, friends don’t look first to protect themselves.

It’s not a perfect message, everyone is selfish, no matter how good a friend they are. In the context of someone’s life, it might not be a betrayal to abandon you to a bear, but something they have to do for any number of good reasons. (The bear metaphor is pretty thin here, I can’t think of a good reason to essentially feed someone to a bear but you get the idea.)

4. The Moon and her Mother

moon-and-motherI’ve saved the best for last. This is my favourite of all of the fables I have ever read and I can’t imagine that changing anytime soon. This is one of those rare tales where I like both the imagery and the moral.

It is a simple story, consisting only of this:

The moon once asked her mother if she might make her a gown.

“How can I?” her mother replied, “Sometimes you’re a New Moon, and other times you’re a Full Moon, and between the two you’re neither full nor new. There’s no gown I could make that would fit all of you.”

The traditional moral is that if you’re always changing, nothing will fit. No one will know who you are and neither will you. Or, if you’re always changing you will never get what you really want. Or alternatively, don’t commit to something you cannot keep to.

I take it to mean all of those things and something different (I alternate) but this is my preferred moral and the moral I will always think of first: there is no gown that is big enough for all that you are. You are so big and complex and detailed that there is no one thing that can epitomise everything about you, and yes, you will change but you will also always be the same; the moon is still the moon even when it’s in its different phases.

When I feel like my skin doesn’t quite fit, I think of The Moon and her Mother and I feel a little bit better.


So there you have it, four of my favourite fables on this very changeable Thursday. (I was going to say gloomy because it was raining but the weather seems to be having an identity crisis. We’ve had blazing sunshine, rain, wind, snow, hail, everything short of storm.)

Do you have any favourite fables? Do you take away different messages than I do? Have you ever made up your own, if so, what was it?

Happy Thursday!

#FolkloreThursday: An interlude

Hello! It’s Thursday, which means I am looking at Folklore. Well, that’s a lie. I don’t just look up folklore on Thursdays. It’s currently a daily thing for me. All in the name of research!

You’d think, then, that these posts would be easy and they should be but I have been trying to come up with a ‘list’ for this post and I just can’t think of one. I want to feature a list of something next, as I’ve been doing these posts in a pattern but alas, no list is presenting itself to me.

That’s where you come in. I hope. (If you’re willing, still reading, and interested that is.)

What would you most like to see? Think folklore, think lists. Bad-ass princesses? Most annoying mythological antagonists? What should I research?

Alternatively, are you a folklore buff? Would you like to write a guest post? Let me know!

My problem isn’t a lack of ideas but rather too many. Please help!

#FolkloreThursday: The Cryptozoologist Chronicles – Shadhavar

Hello, people of the internet. You friendly neighbourhood Elou here with the second of our Cryptozoologist Folklore Thursday posts. I discovered this creature while looking up Persian mythological beasties I could hide behind a door in a drabble I wrote recently. I didn’t end up hiding anything behind the door but I did stumble across the shadhavar. So without further ado…


Shadhavar

Everyone has heard of unicorns, beautiful white horses with iridescent horns atop their heads and maidens swooning here, there and everywhere just to touch them. Shadhavar are also unicorns but not the ones I obsessed over as a little girl. Some accounts list shadhavar as peaceful creatures, loping around forests, making animals listen to them. This version paints the shadhavar as a deer or gazelle-like creature, with one hollow horn protruding from its head.

This horn is what interested me most. Unlike the twirled, straight horn of a unicorn, the shadhavar has a horn with 42 branches, which creates beautiful music as the wind travels through it. When the wind comes from one side, the tune is happy and jubilant but when it is blown through the other, the song becomes so mournful that it could make a listener cry. These horns were often made a present for kings and could be played as an instrument. (What king wouldn’t want a musical instrument which could so easily alter the emotions of their subjects?)

The other version makes the shahavar more like a siren – though still taking the form of a deer-like creature. Its horn has 72 branches instead of 42, and the music used as a lure. The shahavar calls to its victims through music, like the siren, and then eats them, bloodthirsty as it is.

In The Temptation of Saint Anthony Flaubert draws on this second interpretation for le Sadhuzag, a black stag with the head of a bull and 42 antlers. When the wind hits them from the south, they create a sweet tune which charms all animals nearby but when hit by the north wind they begin to shriek.

Whether carnivorous or calm, the shadhavar are intriguing creatures and I am very glad I found them.

Do you have any creatures you think I’d like? Have you heard of the shadhavar? Do you want one of those horns? We ask the important questions.

Happy Thursday!

#FolkloreThursday: The Curse of Sleeping Beauty

MV5BMjI1ODMzNDYyOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDk4MTMxOTE@._V1_It’s that time again, and this week, I’m sharing another film. Sort of. I’m not going to be gushing about this one as I did with Song of the Sea, that’s why this is not a ‘Film Spotlight’ post. The spotlight is reserved for brilliance.

I stumbled across this film while trawling Netflix for something to watch, I started watching it but then had to stop because I am a wimp and I need people to watch scary things with me (even if they’re not that scary). Luckily, I was meeting with two of my closest friends, both of whom love fairy tales and wanted to watch some horror films. The Curse of Sleeping Beauty seemed like a perfect fit. The trailer made it look like a beautiful film but didn’t give much away. We knew it was going to either be: a terrible film, a terrible film that was also an adventure due to its terribleness (we love these), or a film that surprised us and was actually quite good. You never know what you’re going to get when you find yourself in the deep corners of Netflix, sometimes what you find is brilliant.

Alas, we were not so lucky. The film revolves around tortured artist Thomas, who has, we discover, inherited an incredibly creepy house and with it a series of dreams about a mysterious and beautiful sleeping princess. Of course, the house is at the centre of multiple disappearances. It started well, sort of.

For a large part of the film, we were scared. Faceless mannequins which move when you’re not looking are, after all, terrifying and if it had stuck to the creepy doll theme, it could have been a great movie. But no. It had to bring religion and the crusades and a lot more random pointless things into it. It was like they decided they wanted to write a completely different movie three-quarters of the way through. The first three-quarters were exposition. The plot didn’t really move until right at the end. We were shocked when we realised that the film ended in 15 minutes and yet we had no plot progression at all.

For the first three-quarters of the film, it was a creepy and suspenseful mannequin themed horror movie with fairy tale-esque elements. For the last 15 minutes or so, it was suddenly an apocalypse movie. In the time they had left themselves to conclude the story, they included a pointless, long-winded montage scene which really didn’t serve any purpose other than allowing them to show some ~edgy~ techno special effects. We could have done without it.

The highlight of my watching experience was witnessing my friend, Bekah, go into a full blown rage at their misuse of religious texts – her ranting and correcting was actually more exciting than the film.

Some of the scenes are beautiful, and Briar Rose’s costumes are beautiful if impractical but not even that can save this film.

Do you know of any great horror films based on fairy tales? I would love to find an actual decent one!

Happy Thursday!

#FolkloreThursday: The Crystal Mountain (Russia)

51-kw7IomJLHi, all.

I’ve not explored a new story for a while, so we’re doing that for Folklore Thursday this week. This one is a wild ride from start to finish. I selected the story from another of the Pantheon Fairy Tale & Folklore Library titles, this time Russian Fairy Tales collected by Aleksandr Afanas’ev and translated by Norbert Guterman.

I chose a story called The Crystal Mountain because it sounded right up my alley, and it was for all of about two seconds. It started really well, with the common opening ‘In a certain kingdom in a certain land […]’ which brings to mind all things whimsical and honestly got me quite excited about what was to follow. I maybe should not have gotten so excited.

This story is … random, and perhaps the very definition of ‘Well, that escalated quickly.’

So, the tale begins, as they often do, with a king and his three sons. The sons ask his permission to go hunting, a request which he grants. They each go in different directions and we follow the youngest of them. The prince gets lost and finds himself in front of a gathering of animals. Why is there a gathering of animals, you ask? Well, they’re all fighting over a dead horse. A DEAD HORSE.

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We’ll go with it.

Not only is it dead but it has been dead for thirty years and they’ve been arguing about how to share it between them for the entire time. The prince, being the gem that he is, divides the horse up and ends their three-decade-long struggle (naturally his name is Ivan, as it often is, and the animals just so happen to know this). As a thank you, they give him the power to turn into a falcon, which he does.

With his new falcon powers Prince Ivan flies to the thrice tenth kingdom which has mostly been enveloped by a crystal mountain. The prince, who for some reason wants to hide his identity at every turn, transforms into a ‘goodly youth’ (okay… how?) and asks the guards if the king might hire him, which, of course, he does. The prince lives there for many weeks and eventually the king’s daughter asks her father if she can go for a ride with him. She addresses Prince Ivan by name, so I am guessing he gave up on the disguise thing but who really knows?

Off they trot towards the crystal mountain, when they get close to it, out jumps a golden goat! Prince Ivan, having left his own kingdom to go hunting, naturally makes chase, leaving the princess to fend for herself. He fails to catch the goat and, who’d of thought it, when he gets back to wherever he left the princess, she is gone.

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Naturally, Ivan can’t possibly go back to the king without his daughter so he disguises himself as a very old man and gets the king to hire him again, only this time as an elderly herdsman. The king agrees and shows Ivan the ropes. The ropes, it turns out, include not one but three dragons, each with an alarming number of heads.

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When each dragon comes, Ivan is told to give them the same amount of cows as heads they have. When the first dragon comes, it asks for three cows (and somehow knows exactly who Prince Ivan is and tells him he should be off fighting). Ivan, at this point choosing to be a sod, tells the dragon it doesn’t need three cows, because he gets by just fine on one duck a day, and refuses to hand them over. The dragon is understandably enraged by this and takes six cows instead. Ivan, who is downright rude at this point, utilises his falcon powers, turns into a bird and slices the dragon’s heads off. How big is that bird?

The king, still thinking that Ivan is a lowly old man, asks if the dragon came and took the cows and Ivan proudly tells him that he didn’t let the dragon have them.

The next day, a six-headed dragon comes along, also knowing exactly who Prince Ivan is, and asks for six cows. Ivan again goes into his spiel about the duck, angers the dragon, turns into a falcon and cuts its heads off. #justice4dragons

Again, the king asks him if the dragon came, still not knowing that the old man is Ivan. Ivan brags again about not giving up any cows.

During the night Ivan turns into an ant. (How? How does he turn into an ant?)

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As an ant, he crawls into a tiny crack in the mountain and, imagine that, finds the princess! The princess informs him that she was taken by the twelve-headed dragon and the only way to get out of the mountain is for Prince Ivan to slay the dragon, recover the coffer from inside his right side, in which there is a hare, in which there is a duck, in which there is an egg, in which there is a seed and the seed will allow Ivan to destroy the mountain. Firstly, how does a duck get inside a hare? Secondly, what?

What I am about to tell you all takes place in the one paragraph, are you ready for this? So, Prince Ivan turns into oldman-herdsman again and the twelve-headed dragon comes along to claim his cows (with the customary recognising of Ivan and telling him he should be out in battle or some such and not looking after cows – THEY JUST WANT WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU, IVAN). Prince Ivan goes on about the duck again and tells the dragon that he can’t have the cows. and so they begin to fight. The story says, here, ‘after a long struggle or a short struggle’ – um, one is not like the other, which is it? – Prince Ivan defeats the dragon, slashes him open, gets the coffer and the seed inside the egg inside the duck inside the hare. He takes the seed, sets fire to it, and takes it to the crystal mountain. The mountain melts and out trots the princess. Prince Ivan takes her back to her father, who is overjoyed. I ask myself, at this point, why? Her father didn’t even notice she was missing and if he did he probably presumed she’d ran off with Ivan, since he was masquerading as an old man the entire time. Her father, in a moment that can only be explained by madness, exclaims ‘be my son-in-law!’ and so Prince Ivan marries the princess instantly.

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All this is rounded off by the narrator suddenly informing us that he was at the wedding and the beer and mead flowed down his beard but did not go in his mouth. At this point, I am willing to accept anything.

When I opened the book to a story called The Crystal Mountain, I was definitely not expecting any of that. Despite my snarkiness, I did actually enjoy it but I now have no idea what to say about it other than what? I imagine there is some deeper meaning that I am missing, or perhaps it really is just an incredibly random little tale.

Have you read any super strange fairy tales? What were they? What happened? Feed me weirdness.

Happy Thursday!

#FolkloreThursday: Mythical items I would love to own

Hi, all. Welcome to another Folklore Thursday post. I love these posts.

This week I’ve been looking up items from myth and folklore that I would love to own, either because they just sound really cool or they would help me in life. I present this list to you for your enjoyment.

1. Valshamr, Freyja’s Falcon Cloak (Norse)

Who wouldn’t want a cloak that allowed them to turn into a Falcon and fly? I’ve always had this whimsical dream that if I ended up in a fantasy novel/world, I would end up being a falconer (who just so happens to be a witch) so having a cloak which would allow me to turn into a falcon seems like a good alternative.

2. Senji Ryakketsu (Japanese)

Senji Ryakketsu is a book from the Heian period of Japan, it contains useful divinations for things like finding lost things and how to go about life. I am pretty sure everyone could do with having a copy. I definitely would. If it could tell me where half of the things I own are, I would be very appreciative.

3. The Crock and Dish of Rhygenydd Ysgolhaig (Welsh)

One of the Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain from Medieval Welsh folklore, the Crock and Dish is one of my favourite mythological items. Whatever food you might want to have appears in the Crock and Dish. I love food. I would love to have whatever food I wanted on tap. I would probably get incredibly fat but for the sake of having pancakes ready and waiting whenever I might want to eat them, I think I could handle it.

4. The Chariot of Morgan Mwynfawr (Welsh)

Another one of the Thirteen Treasures, Morgan Mwynfawr’s Chariot will take the rider wherever they wish to go, there is no location it cannot reach. No more paying for planes, trains, taxis, petrol. No more getting lost unless you wanted to. It’s perfect.

5. The Sandman’s Sand (Scandinavian/European)

Sand which, when sprinkled on the eyelids, brings good dreams. It just seems like a sweet thing to have access to.

6. Skatert-Samobranka (Russian)

A magic tablecloth! Ignoring the fact that if you say magic words, all of the food and drink you like will appear because we already have the Crock and Dish for that, the magic tablecloth gets rid of crumbs and plates and mess. I am not a fan of washing up so this sounds like the ideal item for me.

So, there you have it. My somewhat silly choices. I would like to think that most of them are practical.

If you could have any item from mythology or folklore, what would you choose and why? Do you approve of my choices? Have I squandered away all my chances at glory by picking things which will enable me to be lazy? You decide. Let me know in the comments if you are so inclined.

Happy Thursday!