Tag Archives: Myths

Book Review: Welsh Fairy Tales by William Elliot Griffis

Welsh Fairy Tales by William Elliot Griffis
Welsh Fairy Tales by William Elliot Griffis

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.

Rating: 4_stars

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Author Website: N/A
Publisher: Kindle
Publication Date: 17th May 2012 (first published 1921)
Pages: 146
Genre(s): Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Short Stories
Purchased From: Amazon/Kindle UK

Author Recommendation: Hamilton Wright Mabie

Hamilton Wright Mabie
Hamilton Wright Mabie

I don’t normally do author recommendations (more book reviews) but Hamilton Wright Mabie is a bit in a category of his own – he is more of a essayist, who for part of his published works has put together collections of stories.

I stumbled across Mabie when looking for fairytales for my Kindle. The vast majority of his books are free and so I promptly downloaded Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know. This book was everything I wanted and then some. It had fairytales that I do indeed know (although usually an older or original version), as well as some others I didn’t know but were really interesting and definitely hit that fairytale sweet spot. But what really made this special was the foreword by Mabie himself – a mini essay if you will about fairytales, their place in the world and the significance of them through a child’s eyes.

I have just finished Myths That Every Child Should Know – which is sadly for some reason not available on Kindle anymore (it was also free). This got much the same treatment as the fairytales – a retelling of myths. It’s mostly Greek Myths (some of them are the Roman versions) with a few others such a Odin/Thor/Loki (which is Norse mythology), so perhaps not a huge variety in terms of different mythologies but some great stories nonetheless. The foreword in this book is equally fantastic.

I love the fairytales and myths of course but the mini-essays at the beginning of the books are a fascinating insight to how Mabie sees the impact of all these stories on the world – especially children. So even if you know all the stories re-told, they’re worth getting just to read his introductions.

Amazon Kindle has a collection of a few of his works – like I said above, a lot are free. I certainly intend to download and read more of his stuff.

You can see what’s available from Hamilton Wright Mabie by clicking here. Enjoy!

What author have you discovered lately?