By Katharine Briggs
In 1970 Katharine Briggs released in 4 volumes the monstrous and authoritative Dictionary of British Folktales and Legends to large acclaim. This sampler includes the superior of these stories and legends. collected within, readers will locate an extravagance of gorgeous princesses and stout reliable 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)
The glint of the gold was too much for the ﬁsherman. He said, “Just ride him round the ground then,” and the King leapt on the horse’s back. The ﬁsherman turned to look at the gold, and it turned to dung before his eyes, and when he looked back, the horse was gone. The King of the Black Art rode the horse back to a stable where he was fastened up with other horses, and they were fed on salt beef, and not given a drop to drink till their tongues were swollen and coated. One day the King and his sons had gone hunting, and the boy spoke to the groom who brought their food, and begged to be given a drink.
There are no birdies here to save you,” said the farmer, and ﬂung the rope up at the nearest branch, high above them. But as he threw, there was a grand whirr of wings, and the birds swept down from the sky again, and the rope fell to the ground. ” At the sight and the sound, the farmer’s heart was softened, and he burst into tears. He knew that his wife was true to him, and he knew that if he had murdered her in his jealous anger, the birds would have followed him night and day, and he would have known no rest.
The School of Scottish Studies, Maurice Fleming, from Bella Higgins, Perthshire. Note: No exact parallel to this can be found. See “The Fox and the Magpie”. THE FARMER AND HIS OX There were a zurly old varmer and ’e ’ad a girt ox. One day ’e said to it, “Thee girt orkurd vule. Stupid vule thou be. ” Ruth L. Tongue, Folktales of England, p. 140. 19 20 fables and exempla Note: Baughman records only American versions, the earliest in 1925. Text from South Carolina. This could be classiﬁed as a Shaggy Dog story, but the brevity and the moral both qualify it to be considered as a fable.