The Book of English Folk Tales by Sybil Marshall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Before the advent of radio, TV and the internet, people used to listen to stories and tales of people and places. Most of the time these were very local, how a rock came to be balanced on a hill, stories of battles against strange and magical creatures, accounts of local history that have become legendary and moral tales to warn people from pursuing a particular way.
Marshall had collected this comprehensive collection of folk tales over thirty years ago from all around the country and has grouped them by subject and theme. The themes are as wide ranging as Fabulous Beasts, Moral Tales and the Supernatural. All of these stories are deeply rooted in the local vernacular and were as much as a part of the old English countryside as the hills, cliffs and sea.
Choosing the stories in this collection must have been tough, but there are enough from different regions to ensure that she has chosen the best example. This is a beautiful book to hold too, not only does it have a richly patterned cloth cover, but throughout the book are John Lawrence’s stunning wood engravings that bring so much to the tales that Marshall collected. A worthy reissue of the collection and I hope that people can one again be enchanted by these myths and chronicles. 3.5 stars
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