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Norwegian Folktales (The Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library) Paperback – August 12, 1982
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Top Customer Reviews
Although not as well-known as the German Grimm's collection in the United States, this book is widely revered in Norway. Both are teutonic cultures, but these stories are different in character and feel from the Grimm Brother stories. While they contain elements common to all european fables, this book is filled with trolls, and the reformation seems like a recent event. Norsk tales have a unique and compelling charm.
My favorite fable is in this collection--the one about the mill that explains why the sea is salty. Read it yourself--I don't want to spoil the ending.
From a purist point of view, drawings detract from stories such as these, but two of Norway's most most well-known illustrators are represented, and the artwork is compelling.
This paperback is a reprint of the original English-language translation from 40 years ago. I have that original text packed away somewhere lost, so it was a real treat to be able to buy a new copy to share with my son.
Readers familiar with the Icelandic sagas will find many similarities in these hard-minded and hard-handed stories of peasant kings, eerie maidens, and of course trolls, with their peculiar shrewd stupidity. The pleasure of hearing/reading most of the eventyr is in the sardonic humor, the joy of seeing the come-uppance of the rich and powerful. It's interesting to note that stories collected from men are chiefly rough and humorous, and naturalistic, while those collected from women, as translator Pat Shaw reports, "kept to deep, mystic, or eerie themes."
The original illustrations by Erik Werenskiold and Theodor Kittelsen are reproduced in this collection. Black-and-white pen sketches and etchings, they match the eventyr in wry humor and spooky trollishness. I remember them well from my own childhood, when my grandmothers held me on their laps and read to me in Swedish.Read more ›
My daughters (then 8 and 12) read the book from cover to cover many times. Without the availability of an English grade school library filled with teen and preteen romances my daughters read pretty much whatever was placed on the coffee table. They enjoyed Shaw's translation very much, although I also occaisonally translated directly (with effort) from Asbjørnsen and Moe. This translation gives us in English a look at 'the soul of the Norwegian people', as a good friend describes the folk tales.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love fairy tales, folk tales of all kind. Great to read to little ones.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Many of these tales are just like my grandparents told them.Published 10 months ago by Christine L. Hanson
I was really hoping for more. The Norwegian Tales I read in Andrew Lang's collections and elsewhere led me to think that I would find an amazing array of stories here, but for the... Read morePublished 11 months ago by D. Wolf
Great book to start bringing back the old tales that have thrilled thousands over the years.Published 18 months ago by Mr. B. J. Flint