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Monday, 17 September 2012


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Christine Harding

I don't remember this one at all, but I remember the Frog King and the Cat and Mouse. One of my favourites was the Juniper Tree... am still searching my childhood edition, but suspect it was probably heavily edited!


Hello Chris! If your childhood edition contained the Cat and Mouse story it was a much fuller edition than mine, and you were lucky!

There being too many tales to fit into a single volume, I suspect this one was a prime candidate for the axe, partly because it contains elements from other well-known tales and partly perhaps, in Protestant England at least, because the Catholicism might have been offputting or outside the experience of most children.

I love the Juniper Tree too! It's number 34 in Joyce's edition, so it'll be a while before I reach it with this project.


Oh just keep these coming! I've just been reading all the funny bits out to Mr Litlove (who laughed most appreciatively) because he wanted to know what was amusing me so much. But you are not just entertaining, you are wonderfully informative, too. I loved your analysis of the mother-daughter relationship in particular.


Thank you very much litlove! I'm enjoying writing these, so I'm glad you're enjoying reading them.


It's interesting how religious elements intersect with folktales- at uni I remember studying Chaucer's Man of Law's tale as a cross between a Saint's Life and a fairytale. I guess it's not a long shot for stories with morals to be written in a religious way, but it's interesting how this changes the way the fairytale is read so the bad events are lessons. Although as you point out maybe that is a common trait of fairy tales.


Catie, that's a great point you make about the Man of Law's Tale. For my MA I read a lot of collections of model sermons and many of them used folk tales or stories which looked like re-worked folk tales. And many saints lives ARE very like fairy tales, which is no coincidence.

I suppose that because we are so text-based in our modern societies, we tend to think of stories as quite fixed and also connected with an author, whereas in more oral cultures they would be perceived as fluid, and belonging to everyone, to be changed and adapted at every retelling (or many of them).

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