Singing Bones

Singing Bones
The secret history of fairytales.

The Red Shoes
Jul 20, 2017 • 20 min
Hans Christian Andersen’s classic and violent tale is looked at through the lens of the man who wrote it, and the 1948 film which changed the way we see it today. From Denmark to dance via the Devil we explore the iconic red footwear.
Jun 8, 2017 • 24 min
This week we look at the tale of the girl with the impossibly long hair, from it’s ancient roots to the court of Louis XIV and the fascinating woman who recorded the version of the tale we know. Featuring Rapunzel expert Kate Forsyth author of the books…
The Wild Swans
Dec 8, 2016
The story of a girl who saves her brothers from a curse that turns them into swans is older than you think. Swan have been symbols of royalty, purity, and love in many cultures. Here we trace the stories of people who transform from swans to humans from…
Nov 16, 2016
A brief history of the tale of Rumpelstiltskin
Asbjørnsen and Moe
Aug 29, 2016 • 22 min
Episode fourteen is about the Norwegian fairy tale collectors Asbjørnsen and Moe. Famous for their rigour, their poetry, and their expression of their national culture. Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe recorded tales such as The Three Billy Goats…
The Little Mermaid Part 2
Aug 8, 2016 • 47 min
The Little Mermaid is a famously dark and melancholy fairy tale. This week we look at the stories that inspired Hans Christian Andersen stories of sirens, of Undine, and Eastern European rusalka and the scary watermen known as Vodnik. We also talk to two…
The Little Mermaid Part 1
Jul 21, 2016 • 22 min
Part one of two traces the history of The Little Mermaid, from Ancient Goddesses of love and fertility to folk stories of love and marriage, slavery and gender politics. This episode focuses on selkies, finfolk, and Sea Kings, with an interview with Finn…
Ali Baba and 1001 Nights
Jul 7, 2016 • 21 min
A brief history of the 1001 Nights stories, looking at Ali Baba and the 40 thieves.
Twelve Dancing Princesses
Jun 12, 2016 • 23 min
The Twelve Dancing Princesses or The Shoes That Were Danced To Pieces, are stories of fairy kidnapping and possession. In this episode we look at the stories of the fey, the she, elves, devils, peri, and all sorts of wicked spirits that wisk young maidens…
Little Red Riding Hood
May 25, 2016 • 22 min
Little Red Riding Hood is a story with origins in largest witch trials in history. The hysteria and fear translated into a lesson for young ladies when in the hands of storytellers, and thus a story of sex, violence, and male dominance was born. Listen…
May 12, 2016 • 22 min
Bluebeard is one of the most gruesome and dark stories of the fairy tale cannon. Before true crime or horror stories people told the story of the serial killer with the un-naturally blue beard, and the many wives he murdered. Before we had the term serial…
The Brothers Grimm and Sisters Wild
Apr 22, 2016 • 36 min
The Brother’s Grimm are synonyms with fairy tales. Yet most people do not know how they collected their tales, or more importantly who they collected them from. Born in a time of war and shifting borders and fearing a loss of national identity the…
The Singing Bone
Mar 23, 2016 • 14 min
The Singing Bone is one of the oldest folk tales and is often considered a bridging point between folk tales and ghost stories. With origins going back 2200 years to China and Africa it continues to live in folk and country songs. Telling the sad tale of…
The Sleeping Beauty
Mar 9, 2016 • 26 min
Sleeping Beauty is one of the darkest and most erotically charged tales and this weeks episode is not suitable for those that simply want to hear the picture book story. From origins in Icelandic and French folklore through to the forgotten second act of…
Jack and The Beanstalk
Feb 24, 2016 • 22 min
Giants are our fears and foes made large, Jack and The Beanstalk comes from a history of the small against the strong. It is what remains of a lost tradition of boys own adventure tales. In this episode we follow our fears from Goliath, to Norwegian…
Snow White
Feb 11, 2016 • 22 min
Snow White is one of the best known tales, how and why did it become so? In Episode three we look at poisoned Baronesses, Persephone and Hades, pantomime, and early cinema. Looking at the dark story of jealousy and blossoming beauty.
The Pied Piper
Jan 28, 2016 • 29 min
In episode two we look into the only fairytale that does not start ‘once upon a time’ but rather ‘in 1284’. The mystery of what happened to the children of Hamlin has fascinated Johann Goethe, Robert Browning, and troubled the minds of historians for…
Beauty and The Beast
Jan 18, 2016 • 20 min
In our first episode I unlock the history of Beauty and The Beast, from Roman myth through to modern tale, the Animal Bridegroom has fascinated and repulsed us for over a thousand years. For who could ever love a beast?….