I love reading fairy tales and reading fairy tales from different countries is really interesting as it tells you a lot about their culture and past. So I picked up Welsh Fairy Tales by William Elliot Griffis for my Kindle a few months back.
As you can expect it’s fairly short with a collection of different fairy tales within it’s covers all hailing from Wales.
Anyone familiar with fae lore especially when it comes to the English and Welsh (Scotland had a slightly different take on things) will find some familiar places, myths and even characters.
I’m not going to lie, this book starts off pretty week describing the origins of the “Welsh Rarebit” (aka Cheese on Toast) which whilst interesting to some degree it is not… so interesting it makes you want to read the rest of the book.
However it does go on into the stories of Fae in Wales – a lot of which are tied into not-quite-proven historical events – e.g. King Arthur.
The stories are enjoyable and really interesting if your into mythical history and lore. Unfortunately the Griffis, who is retelling these fairy tales in his own words (many fairy tales are “retold” because they would have been just verbally told way back when) feels the need to get a bit patriotic about Wales. Whilst I do love Wales, he mentions far too many times how Wales did this first, or they made the best this or that and it’s just so obvious and feels unnatural in the context of a fairy tales. Not to mention Griffis wasn’t even Welsh, he was American so it’s not even like he’s singing the praises of his own country because of how dear it is to him.
There are also some inaccuracies for example London Bridge being called Tower Bridge.
That aside though this a great little collection that does capture the spirit of Wales and of a time when men and Fae lived side by side peacefully (for the most part). It’s doesn’t cover all of Welsh Fae stories and lore I’m sure but it’s a great place to start and a quick read.
Author Website: N/A
Publication Date: 17th May 2012 (first published 1921)
Genre(s): Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Short Stories
Purchased From: Amazon/Kindle UK