World Fairy Tales
Marie Louise Von Franz wrote that fairy tales tend to keep more or less the same form over time in a particular culture because the tales encapsulate a process in the collective unconscious of that nation or culture. The same tale may therefore vary in form between different cultures depending on their experience and psychological propensity. This collection tends to focus only on tales in which mythological motifs are evident and so complements the collection of myths.
Fairy tales are the purest and simplest expression of collective unconscious psychic processes. Therefore their value for the scientific investigation of the unconscious exceeds that of all other material. They represent the archetypes in their simplest barest, and most concise form.
(Marie-Louise von Franz, The interpretation of fairy tales p1)
There are also many fairy tale collections online and we've started an index of these at: Fairy Tale Collections.
|Bodach na Chóta Lachtna||Fionn, the son of Cumhal military manouvre's on Howth Head are interrupted by the arrival of a very intimidating champion on a ship. A race rather than single combat is agreed and Fionn sets off for Tara to get Caelte the fastest of the Fianna. On the way he meets a dirty great giant that insists he will run the race instead.|
|Cahal, Son of King Conor, in Erin, and Bloom of Youth, Daughter of the King of Hathony||Cahal's bride-to-be, Bloom of Youth, is abducted by Striker son of the King of Tricks, who loses her to Wet Mantle, who subsequently loses her to Long Sweeper, who in turn loses her to the Black Horseman, who not long thereafter loses her to White Beard, into whose head she then sticks a sleeping-pin and waits.
Cahal? Never fear, he is coming!!!
|Coldfeet and the Queen of Lonesome Island||Similar structure to other tales like the The King of Erin and Queen of the Lonesome Isle and The Brown Bear from the Green Glen. There is no kingdom in distress, Coldfeet is a giant who has eaten his poor mother out of house and home. To sleep even he must stick his feet out the window.|
|Cud, Cad and Micad, Three Sons of the King of Urhu||Continues preoccupation with the trauma of famine evident in The King of Erin and the Queen of the Lonesome Isle and similar variant tales. The heroes are three, two and one year old respectively and are suggestive of the archetype of the child and the promise of the future.|
|Marriage of Robin Redbreast and the Wren||More a nursery tale, but we include it on the basis it may constitute a vestige of a mid winter ritual or myth.|
|Mirko, The King's Son||Mirko, the youngest of the king's three sons, travels to the domain of the rising sun, and kills a witch who weaves endless armies and so releases his father's old comrade, Hero of the Plain, from interminable warfare. His success spurs him on to head north to take on the redoutable, Doghead. However, he get's off on the wrong foot with the daughter whose first glance turns him to stone.|
|Mongan's Frenzy||A nicely crafted tale within a tale within a tale with some evocative vignettes of 6th century Ireland.|
|Oisín's Mother||Heart breaking tale of how Fionn meets Saeve who initially has the enchanted form of a deer. She is released from this enchantment but the Fear Doirche, its originator, is remorseless and comes from the land of the sidhe to take her back.|
|The Birth of Bran||As Cuchulainn is associated with his two chariot horses, so Fionn MacCumhaill is associated with his two dogs, Bran and Sceolan.|
|The Bold Knight, the Apples of Youth and the Water of Life||Interesting example of apples being associated with youth and water with healing and restoring life.|
|The Boyhood of Fionn||Beautifully evocative descriptions of nature by James Stephens in this tale of Fionn mac Cumhaill's boyhood and subsequent ascendancy to the head of the Fianna.|
|The Brown Bear of the Green Glen||A tale collected by the Scottish folklorist, John Francis Campbell, from a travelling tinker. Compare it with the King of Erin and the Queen of the Lonesome Isle with which it shares many motifs.|
|The Celtic Dragon Myth||This is really several tales in one. Of mythological interest is the struggle with the sea monster which is a variant of the motif inThe Thirteenth Son of the King of Erin.|
|The Coming of Angus and Bride||A wonderful telling, by D.A.Mackenzie, of the tale of the warring seasons, between Beira, the hag of winter, and Bride, the promise of spring. Of interest to those with an interest in Celtic mythology.|
|The Enchanted Cave of Keshcorran||Fionn mac Cumhall and the Fianna are waylaid by by four Faery hags and only their enemy Goll McMorna can rescue them.|
|The Fair Gruagach, Son of the King of Eirinn||Interesting tale with Fionn and Fianna providing the backdrop. Evidence of influence from Norse myth. Some support also for the societal conflict hypothesised by J.G.McKay in his work on the demise of a Deer Cult and its presiding priestesses.|
|The Giants Stairs||A child disappeared for seven years is found to have been apprenticed to the giant, Mahon McMahon. There are really two tales one of which is evocative of an Irish psyche awakening from long slumber.|
|The Glass Mountain||The successful hero reaches the princess but cannot leave her castle. The golden apples heal wounds and kill, or remove, the dragon. The eagle's blood restores the dead knights - many of whom he killed.|
|The Golden Bird||A golden bird that pinches golden apples from the king. The youngest son tries to bring the bird back for the king but finds he has business with a golden horse and princess to contend with first.|
|The King of England and his Three Sons||Has some similarities with the Brown Bear of the Green Glen, including a bear. Also of interest is the Green Man resonance of renewal by decapitation and, in my view, a suggestion of the bear being an Arthur-like figure and the possibility that Castle Melvales is an English form of Chateau Merveille in Parsifal.|
|The King of Erin and the Queen of the Lonesome Isle||An remarkable tale manifesting renewal in the wake of the Irish Famine which appears to draw on motifs and symbolism laid down during the European Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages.|
|The Little Brawl at Allen||The little brawl highlights the tension between the two warrior clanns of mac Morna and Baiscne. Apart from the proclivity to fight the tale suggests something of the values of these warrior clans.|
|The Soul Cages||In this tale from T Crofton Croker, Jack after many sightings finally meets and befriends a merrow. The tale is about setting free trapped souls and maybe thereby expiating unconscious guilt.|
|The Thirteenth Son of the King of Erin||The thirteenth son is cast out. As a cow herder he tackles three giants and gains their treasures. Goes on, with the help of Claíomh Solais (Sword of Light), to save a maiden from an ollphéist (sea monster) which has been ravaging the countryside. The maiden later identifies him by means of a glass boot she took from him.|
|The Water of Life||Some similarities to the King of England and his Three Sons. Wilhelm is said to have assembled this from two tale fragments and this may account for a couple of anomalies: one we would expect the young prince to have first traversed the three strife-ridden kingdoms on his way to the castle and two, it is odd that the lady of the castle is awake when he arrives.|
|The Well at the End of the World||Three sons set off to find the Well at the End of the World to obtain a flask of water to cure their lame father, the King. Similar to the Scottish tale, The Brown Bear of the Green Glen.|
|The Widow's Son||Opening sequence has interesting deer imagery. May be a remnant of J.G.McKay's hypothesised deer cult. Not a smooth narrative but still an interesting sequence of motifs.|
|The Wooing of Becfola||Is Becfola a flighty woman or is there more to this unusual tale of love?|
|The Young Man of the Ancient Race who was carried off when asleep in the field||A Bushman tale that gives some insight into the kind of psychological terrors that existed in hunting cultures where an animal like the lion might be regarded as a divine-demonic spirit.|
|Tuan mac Cairill||The redoutable Finnian sets off to convert a recalcitrant heathen, Tuan macCairill, and is shocked to discover that his memory reaches back to the very first people in Ireland.|
|One to Thirty of Thirty Tales|