Celtic Fairy Tales

by Joesph Jacobs

Other authorsJohn D. Batten (Illustrator)
Paperback, 1994





Senate (1994)


Immerse yourself in these spine-tingling tales of banshees, goblins, and fairies from the Celtic and Gaelic traditions. Author Joseph Jacobs presents a comprehensive collection of stories, tales, and legends from the region. A must-read for fans of fairy tales, or for anyone with Irish heritage who is interested in learning more about the folk beliefs of their forefathers.

User reviews

LibraryThing member cbruiz
The fairy tale I read from this book is "The Wooing of Olwen." Before the imminent death of his wife, having bore his child, King Kilyth is instructed by her not to take another wife until “a briar with two blossoms” is seen upon her grave. At sight of such phenomena, King Kilyth marries the
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widow to King Doged. She then prophesizes to the young Kilhuch, son of King Kilyth, that it was his destiny to marry the maiden Olwen, “or no other.” Kilhuch then goes to his cousin, King Arthur, beseeching him to search for his destined love. Knowing of her father, Yspathaden Penkawr, but not of their whereabouts, King Arthur sends messengers to search for them. After a year of searching, not yielding any new information, Kilhuch takes it upon himself to search for Olwen. To journey with Kilhuch, Arthur sends his companions: Kay, who could hold his breath under water and go sleepless for nine days, and also retained an inner heat so great, that items in his hand would stay dry in rain, Bedwyr, a one-handed warrior who could kill faster than three warriors, Kynthelig, as guide, Ieithoedd knowing “all tongues,” Gwalchmai, who was always successful in quest, and Menw, a mage who could make the bunch invisible. Upon their journey they reach a castle in an open plain. Upon entering the house of a local herdsman, his wife instructs them that the maiden Olwen “came there every Saturday to wash.” Kilhuch meets Olwen and proclaims his love to her. She then instructs him to beseech her father in order that he may possess her love. Yspathadenm, her father then instructs Kilhuch to retrieve a comb and scissors “between the two ears of Turch Truith, son of Prince Tared.” He then instructs Kilhuch on how he may do so: they must hunt Turch Truith with Drudwyn, a dog who cannot be hunted with except by Mabon. First, the bunch come to the Ousel of Cilgwri, who takes them to where the Stag of Redynvre resides, who also joins them as guide to the Owl of Cwm Cawlwyd, in search of Mabon. The owl takes the bunch to the eagle of Gwern Abwy, who then takes the group to the Salmon of Llyn Llyw. The Salmon of Llyn Llyw allows them to ride upon his shoulders to the walls of a prison in Gloucester, and upon reaching, hear the wailing of Mabon from within the walls. Kay and Bedwyr break into the dungeon rescuing Mabon. Arthur, then summons all his warriors in search of Boar Truith. They hunt Boar, who flees to the ocean, but not before snatching the comb and scissors from his head. Yspathaden receives his request and Kilhuch receives his wife. I thought this folktale was ok. I wasn't enthralled by its prose, but I enjoyed the story.
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LibraryThing member vicarofdibley
nice collection of stories from the celtic culture
LibraryThing member antiquary
Collection of tales from various folklore collectors --as the introduction notes, it is dependent on early scholars and includes more Irish and Scottish tales than Welsh ones because there had been more collecting of Irish and Scottish tales up to that time (though I think he may have missed the
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tales incorporated in Burrows' Wild Wales). There is also one tale from the extinct Cornish language. Rather nice sub-pre-Raphaelite illustrations.
I believe this was also one of the exts of the Celtic and Germanic Folklore honors calls I had at Bowling Green in about 1968-69.
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LibraryThing member SumisBooks
This is NOT written as a children's book. The language in this book is written in Old English and reads more like a Shakepearean sonnet. I bought this to add to my young son's library, but it is not appropriate for that. I'm sure however that adults who can read Old English with ease would find
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this book entertaining.
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LibraryThing member Bonnie_Bailey
Skill levels among the readers varied widely, generally stripping the stories of their intended humor or romance.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

234 p.; 8.46 inches


1859580238 / 9781859580233
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