Fairy Tale/Folk Tale Friday- Tale End

My retelling/review of this tale comes from my Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales by Theresa Breslin and Kate Leiper.

This is the last tale in my Scottish Folk and Fairy Tale book. I’m sad to see it finish as I’ve loved reading these tales.

Tale End centres around Kirsty MacLeod who is an ordinary girl. Every single thing about her is ordinary. Kirsty had long red hair that would be brushed out and braided by her mother and father.

One day when Kirsty was walking, she saw a fox in the middle of a bridge. The fox thought she looked good enough to eat and approached her. The fox asked where she was going. Kirsty was a smart girl and didn’t think the fox needed to know. The fox offered her to go and visit him in his den but she firmly told him no. He tried to entice her by saying that should could play with his darling baby cubs. The fox was getting cross so came out with a cunning plan.

He told Kirsty that he was sad that he might not see his cubs again. He said he was afraid of running water and couldn’t go over a river by himself. He asked if he could hold on to the end of her plait in order to get across. Kirsty thought about this and told him that he could do so, but must shut his eyes so that he didn’t see the running water. She would give him the end of her plait to hold.

The fox agreed and thought that when he had hold of her plait, he would not let go and drag her into his den. When Kirsty was sure the fox’s eyes were shut, she gave him the end of his won tail. The fox cheated and peeped a tiny bit, he saw the red fur and assumed it was Kirsty’s red hair. Kirsty told him to hold tight and he did. He pulled and pulled until his own tail broke off. He howled in pain, wondering what on earth had happened to him. Clever Kirsty told him that he’d reached the end of his tail! 🙂

Fairy/Folk Tale Friday- The Dragon Stoorworm and the Boy Called Assipattle

My retelling/review of this tale comes from my Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales by Theresa Breslin and Kate Leiper. 

This story centres around a boy know as Assipattle. He was the seventh son of a seventh son and a little bit of a dreamer. He loved to make up stories and was generally known for being a bit lazy and useless. When it came to it though, Assipattle proved he was more than what he seemed.

The story is all about the Dragon Stoorworm which was the worst dragon to ever exist. It was so big that it nearly took up the whole of Scotland. The trouble for Scotland was that it was likely to gobble anyone up that came near it. As well as being massive, the dragon had an enormous tail with jagged spikes on it. When the dragon was in a mood it would lash out with its tail, doing considerable damage to buildings and even mountains. Another terrible thing was that the Dragon Stoorworm was eating everything in Scotland. The cows, horses, sheep and other livestock. It would even eat the crops and drink all of the water from the loch, so it didn’t take long for Scotland to be in a very bad way.

The King sent his three wisest men to try and talk to the Dragon Stoorworm and get him to stop making so much trouble. However, Dragon Stoorworm ate two of the men and the other got away. He came back with a message that the Dragon Stoorworm would stop only if the king sent him a pretty girl to eat for breakfast each morning. The men of Scotland went to hide their daughters, wives and sisters, but the women had already be intelligent enough to hide themselves already (Girl power!) The only girl left was the King’s own daughter who said she would sacrifice herself to prevent Scotland from being ruined. The King tried to encourage people to save his daughter and in return have her hand in marriage, his sword and his country, but the Princess was not impressed with that and said she’d marry whomever she pleased. A feisty Princess!

Each day, the King and the Princess were let down by knights, nobles and commoners who never seemed to come back. Until Assipattle came down the road. He was different to the others. He enjoyed singing, reading, making up stories and songs. He may have seemed lazy to his family who were hard-workers but Assipattle didn’t seem to mind. He saw the Princess and tried to get to talk to her as he wanted to share his poems and stories with her. He had told the King that she was ‘pretty enough!’ The Princess was offended by this as she was so used to being worshipped by others. However, Assipattle didn’t know she was a Princess and he intrigued her. The Princess revealed herself, but the King told Assipattle that he had to sort out Dragon Stoorworm first.

Assipattle and the Princess came up with a plan. When Dragon Stoorworm awoke and yawned, it would take in the water where Assipattle and the Princess would be in a tiny boat. They sailed into Dragon Stoorworm’s mouth, down his throat until they arrived at his lived. The Princess held the boat steady as Assipattle dug a hole in the flesh of the Stoorworm. The Princess had a peat that they’d taken from the fire and once blazing, they rammed it into the liver of the Stoorworm (aggressive!). Assipattle and the Princess waited.

Shortly, the fire began to hurt the Dragon Stoorworm. It writhed around in agony. It tried to get rid of the pain by vomiting which brought out the Princess and Assipattle. The Princess handed Assipattle the sword and he managed to swipe the Dragon Stoorworm around the head with such force that he was knocked out for ten thousand years and a day.

Assipattle and the Princess kissed and got married and lived happily ever after in Scotland! ❤

Fairy Tale/Folk Tale Friday- The Brownie of Ballharn Hill

My retelling/review of this tale comes from my Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales by Theresa Breslin and Kate Leiper. There are lots of stories about brownies in Scottish folklore. A brownie is said to be like a goblin or an elf but extremely shy. They look strange too! 

The story centres around Fiona and Finn who were orphan twins. Fiona and Finn lived with their granny in the north of Scotland. They were happy with their granny. She looked after them well. The reason they could be kept so well was because they lived land near a river. A field was nearby where cow and sheep grazed, the field grew crops, fruit trees and a river to fish from.

Fiona and Finn loved to be told stories about the Brownie of Ballharn Hill. They were told that they’d never see him because he was very shy and always busy looking after those that needed it. The Brownie came back to rest at Ballharn Hill every now and then. It just so happened that the Brownie returned after a terrible accident had occurred. Granny was spring cleaning and ended up breaking her leg after toppling. Granny worried that although the children could do some of the jobs, the field wouldn’t be ploughed which meant that they wouldn’t have enough food for winter.

As Fiona and Finn discussed what to do with one another, the Brownie was listening into their conversation. The Brownie couldn’t resist helping and sang a song letting the children know that he’d help. They searched for the voice but couldn’t find anyone. When they told Granny, she though it might be the Brownie of Ballharn. She told the twins to cook him some food and if it was gone in the morning, then they’d know that the Brownie was looking out for them.  It just so happened that the Brownie was helping them!

This went on all over spring. Each night, Fiona and Finn left food out for the Brownie. One night, they hid. Desperate to see the Brownie. He was a strange looking creature. He was dressed in only a short kilt. Once more they heard him sing. This time it was about the lovely food he was eating. He mentioned being cold and Fiona and Finn realised apart from the kilt, he was naked.

They ended up wanting to make some clothes for the Brownie, despite the fact that Granny told them he wouldn’t return. Fiona and Finn said they were wiser now and could easily help out. Granny was pleased with their maturity and kindness. She taught them how to cut, stitch and sew. The next time the Brownie visited, along with the food, they left out the clothes. The next day, they watched him leave singing about how happy he was to have new clothes.

Granny thought that the Brownie might be offended with the clothes, but the twins reasoned that if he was offended, he wouldn’t have taken the clothes away with him. Granny couldn’t argue with that!

Such a cute story of kindness ❤

Fairy/Folk Tale Friday- The Eagle And The Wren

My retelling/review of this tale comes from my Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales by Theresa Breslin and Kate Leiper. The tale is set in the Western Isles of the beautiful Hebridean Islands that lie off the coast of Scotland. 

This cute little story centres around an eagle and a little wren. They begin to talk one day.

The eagle tells the wren that he is the greatest bird of the skies. The wren wondered what made the eagle so special. The eagle preened and showed off his wings. However, the wren insisted that having magnificent wings doesn’t make them the greatest bird of all. The eagle insisted that he was also the greatest bird because he could rise higher in the sky than any other bird. Again, the wren wasn’t sure about that either. The eagle challenged the wren to rise further than him. He rose up in the air and asked where the wren was… the wren had risen above him. The wren told the eagle how he could see further than him. They both pointed out landmarks in Scotland that they could see, each pushing the other higher and higher.

The mighty eagle was furious that the tiny wren could see so far. The tiny wren explained that he could see further as he was nestled in the eagle’s fur!

I loved this little tale!

Fairy/Folk Tale Friday- The Selkie of Sanday

My retelling/review of this tale comes from my Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales by Theresa Breslin and Kate Leiper. The tale is set in The Orkney Islands which lie to the north of the mainland of Scotland. Seals are referred to as selkies and can be seen swimming/basking on the rocks. This Scottish tale tells of the author’s interpretation of the folklore surrounding selkies. It was thought that they could take off their skin and become human!

The tale centres around Magnus, a fisherman who lived alone on the bay in Orkney Island of Sanday. He wished that he could spend his life with a lovely girl. He had so many plans of what they could do together, but he was crippled with shyness. He resigned himself to being alone.

One summer evening, Magnus had real issues with catching fish. He kept on seeing seals in the water. Magnus had heard that the seal people gathered together at Midsummer. The older people of Sanday had said that the selkies had swum onto the beach and slid their skins to take the form of humans. Then they would dance away through Midsummer’s Eve. Magnus assumed that this is why there wasn’t any fish for him- the selkies must have been eating all the fish.

The next day which was Midsummer’s Eve, Magnus took his boat out further. Later in the day, he saw the selkies in human form in the water. He was amazed at how beautiful and magical they were. A sudden storm came and most of the selkies managed to get their skins back on and get back into the water. Magnus thought he heard a cry and thought it must’ve been a seabird. Early the next morning, it was still going on. Eventually, he came across a young woman with long hair. She was shivering with the cold. Magnus gave her a blanket and pulled her into his boat. The woman was beautiful in a very unique way. He took her to his cottage where she lay down to rest.

Whilst she was resting, Magnus took the boat out again. He’d heard that selkies could sometimes lose their skin. He sailed in and out and eventually found a sealskin caught up on the rocks. When Magnus arrived home, he intended to give the young woman her skin so that she could return to her family in the sea. He soon realised that he had fallen in love with her. He hid the skin at the bottom of a chest. He locked it up.

Magnus tried to feed the young woman but she wasn’t interested. She was scared of him. Magnus recalled that selkies like music, so he took down his fiddle and eventually, the woman became more confident around him. She’d accept his food and drink. He explained about the storm and told the woman that she could stay there as long as she wanted.

The following day, Magnus was successful with the fish. The young woman ate hers raw. With the fish remaining, he sold it and with the money, bought the woman a dress. Eventually, Magnus gained her trust enough to propose to the selkie-woman. The next summer, a child was born. Both Magnus and the selkie-woman were very pleased with their son. On Midsummer’s Eve, they realised that there was a flap of skin between the baby’s big toe and second toe. The selkie-woman realised her feet were the same and that Magnus didn’t share that quality. The selkie-woman realised how deeply she missed her own people. At first, Magnus refused to let her go as he was scared that he would never see her again. However, he knew that her heart would break if she didn’t return to the sea. Magnus gave her back her selkie skin and told him to never forget him or their child.

The next night, she didn’t return. However, he found a seashell beside him and his son. This kept on happening. When their son wouldn’t settle, taking him to the sea always helped. When Midsummer arrived once more, Magnus forced himself to stay awake through the night. No seal or selkie came to the beach. Out on his boat, Magnus and his son searched for his selkie-wife. Eventually the head of a seal poked up, he thought it was just another seal, but the eyes altered and he realised it was the eyes of his wife. 🙂 ❤

Fairy Tale Friday- The Pea And The Princess

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Something a little different today for Fairy Tale Friday. A twist on the The Princess and The Pea. I loved this story. It’s a great spin on the original tale. Mini Grey is a talented writer that I’d highly recommend. I love it because it tells the story from the Pea’s point of view. No-one ever thinks about the story from the poor Pea’s side.

The Queen threatens to stop the Prince’s pocket money unless her finds a bride by the time he is 35. None of the Princesses are quite right. The Queen uses the ‘true princess’ test. She puts a pea under a mountain of mattresses. All of the Princesses are so well mannered, they never complain. The poor Pea has had enough and finally steps in to save the day…

I highly recommend reading this book to young children. I’ve used it with 6-7 year olds and they loved it!

Fairy Tale Friday- The Runaway Pancake

I am very familiar with this fairy tale so it brought back very fond memories.

One morning, a woman mixed up some pancake batter to make a big pancake for her seven children. They fought over who should have the first bite. The eldest child said they should have the first bite, the youngest said they should have the first because they needed to grow. As the pancake heard the arguments, it wriggled and flapped and jumped out of the pan. the children were too busy arguing to notice it.

The mother screamed at them to catch the pancake, but the pancake was too fast to catch. It past a hare who demanded that it should stop for it to eat. The pancake laughed and said it had ran away from seven squabbling children so it could run away from it. It rolled past a goat who wanted to eat it and once again, the pancake managed to escape seven squabbling children, a hare and the goat. The pancake then approached a fox who it also managed to outrun.

Finally, the pancake came to a river. There was a pig at the river who offered to carry it across the river. The pancake rolled onto the pig, the pig took the pancake halfway across the river and then turned, tossed the pancake and ate it whole! 🙂

This gave me gingerbread man vibes but it’s a story that I’m still so fond of! 🙂

An extract from A Year Full of Stories, by Angela McAllister, illustrated by Christopher Corr (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2016)