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Scandinavian Folk Belief and Legend (The Nordic Series) Paperback – February 11, 1991
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Keep in mind, this isn't a sit down and read through kind of text, you'll want to treat it like reference material and jump about what interests you. There is plenty great stories to read and the makers were kind enough to provide information on each tale from where it originated from to estimated dating and even some explanation for obscure references.
Pick it up if you love Scandinavian anything, mythology, or an European Anthropologist.
A fascinating collection of over 400 Scandinavian folktales and stories. To paraphrase what the Editors state in the introduction, this compellation is one of the first modern collections of tales covering the totality of Scandinavia, vs. several others that are country specific. Not unlike Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm's collection of folk tales, these stories run the gambit of morality plays, teaching tools for children and adults to just interesting and fun. Some are simple common sense applications to everyday life. Unlike many of the Grimm's stories, (or Sturluson's works, for that matter), most of these stories have not got that heavy handed Christian Church influence that so often changes the original intent of the tale. Conversely, the stories that do deal with Church subjects, the Devil etc, have not been modernized to the point where the original folk wisdom fails to shine through.
The majority of these tales are stories that had been told around camp fires and villages for a thousand years or more. These stories have evolved as time went on, as all oral traditions do. Now, having said this, it must be remembered that these works have been written down for several hundred years or so and have an oral history that stretches back into the mists of ,"AGO", as in," Once upon on a time, a long, long time ago". This was a time when children, or adults for that matter, were not sheltered from the realities of life, sickness and death. Some of the tales are quite, (no pun intended), Grimm. So, if you have a wimpy sheltered child that needs a trophy for placing 12th in a race so their self-esteem wont be shattered and the rest of their lives ruined, you may want to find another venue for story time.
Another aspect of the book I enjoyed was that while most of these stories were rather brief, all were well remarked on and footnoted. This was a delightful change from many of the works available today. All and all, highly recommended for anyone interested in the folk history of Northern Europe.
Spence The Elder
"Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc"
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