The Folktale Project

The Folktale Project
Who doesn’t love a good story?

The Dangerous Reward - A Chinese Folktale
Dec 11 • 7 min
‘The Dangerous Reward’ tells a cautionary tale of listening closely when one of the Gods gives you a warning in a story about a man who is just trying to help.
The Bird with Nine Heads - A Chinese Folktale
Dec 9 • 9 min
In ‘The Bird with Nine Heads’ we meet a few sea dragons, a brave (but not so bright) youth and a kidnapped princess. It’s quite a way to start a week of Chinese tales.
The Three Languages - A German Folktale
Dec 6 • 7 min
In the Brothers Grimm folktale of ‘The Three Languages’ we get a story that is both expected (the protagonist uses his unique knowledge to better himself) and unexpected (the Grimms don’t generally do stories disparaging the Church).
The Wolf and The Man - A German Folktale
Dec 4 • 4 min
In ‘The Wolf and The Man’ we learn how animals may perceive human technology, specifically hunting technology.
The Duration of Life - A German Folktale
Dec 2 • 5 min
The Brothers Grimm story of ‘The Duration of Life’ cuts way too close for someone deep in the years of the Ass.
The Ghost Bride - A Pawnee Folktale
Nov 29 • 6 min
In the Pawee folktale ‘The Ghost Bride’ we get an interesting view into the daily life of the Pawnee on the plains. Plus a ghost, just because.
The Dog and The Root Digger - A Blackfeet Folktale
Nov 27 • 8 min
Our second Native American folktale this Thanksgiving week is the story of ‘The Dog and The Root Digger’ and tells us the tale of a man who steals the buffalo from the plains and the brave Napi who gets them back.
Two Fast Runners - A Blackfeet Folktale
Nov 25 • 4 min
In our first of three Native American folktales this week we get the story of why the deer has no gall bladder and the antelope has no dewclaw.
The Parrot - A French Folktale
Nov 22 • 14 min
In our final chapter of ‘Blondine, Bonne-Biche and Bon-Minon’ the action really gets going with the introduction of ‘The Parrot’.
Blondine’s Second Awakening - A French Folktale
Nov 20 • 11 min
‘Blondine’s Second Awakening’ shows just how alone Blondine feels in the castle of Bonne-Biche. It’s heartbreaking for sure, but nearly outweighed by the teaching methodology of Bonne-Biche and Beau Minon.
Bonne-Biche - A French Folktale
Nov 18 • 8 min
This week we’re picking up where we left off in the story of ‘Blondine, Bonne-Bich, and Beau-Minon’ with the story of Bonne-Biche, where we meet the very talented white hind herself.
The Boy Who Was Saved By Thoughts - A Canadian Folktale
Nov 15 • 13 min
In our last Canadian Fairy Tale ‘The Boy Who Was Saved By Thoughts’ we have a story of trials, tribulations, and humility instead of a tale of origins. It’s quite a story to end the week.
The Songbird and The Healing Waters - A Canadian Folktale
Nov 13 • 9 min
Another Canadian origin tale from Cyrus Macmillan’s “Canadian Fairy Tales’”, ‘The Songbird and The Healing Waters’ is the story of a loving and devoted husband who makes a discovery.
Rainbow and The Autumn Leaves - A Canadian Folktale
Nov 11 • 12 min
‘Rainbow and The Autumn Leaves’ is a very special Canadian folktale. It’s the source of two completely different origins.
Salman and Rostom - An Armenian Folktale
Nov 8 • 8 min
‘Salman and Rostom’ is an origin story hidden in a tale of a great warrior and a warlord.
The Old Woman and The Cat - An Armenian Folktale
Nov 6 • 6 min
The nursery tale of ‘The Old Woman and The Cat’ is a familiar progressive folktale with a truly surprising ending, complete with a moral worthy of Aesop.
The Dreamer - An Armenian Folktale
Nov 4 • 16 min
The Armenian folktale of ‘The Dreamer’ is a story whose pieces we’ve heard before, but when put together makes a fascinating tale to say the least!
The Courteous Prince - A Scottish Folktale
Nov 1 • 9 min
In the final Halloween folktale this week of ‘The Courteous Prince’ we have a love story that takes place on Halloween eve and features the kindest Prince in folklore.
Stingy Jack - An Irish Folktale
Oct 30 • 5 min
Happy Halloween from The Folktale Project! We’re celebrating, as we do every year, with a retelling of the story of the origin of the Jack o’ Lantern, ‘Stingy Jack’.
Twinkling Feet’s Halloween - A Cornish Folktale
Oct 28 • 13 min
‘Twinkling Feet’s Halloween’ is the perfect story to start our week of Halloween folklore this year. It’s an adorable tale of a pixie who loses his laugh on Halloween and looks to a jolly witch and Jack o Lantern for help.
The Lord, St. Peter and The Apostles - An Italian Folktale
Oct 25 • 6 min
The best way I can describe ‘The Lord, St. Peter and The Apostles’ is as the original, Italian folklore version of “Buddy Christ” and shows Jesus as your friend who plays bad practical jokes.
The Ingrates - An Italian Folktale
Oct 23 • 4 min
‘The Ingrates’ tells us about the ways of the world as it is, and not at all as we’d like it to be. And it’s not the best reflection of ourselves.
Vineyard I Was and Vineyard I Am - An Italian Folktale
Oct 21 • 4 min
In the Italian folktale of ‘Vineyard I Was and Vineyard I Am’ three people handle a misunderstanding in the most adult way possible, talking through the issue at hand and not overreacting (too much).
The Half-Chick - A Spanish Folktale
Oct 18 • 10 min
‘The Half-Chick’ is the perfect cautionary tale about being rude and dismissive to those you meet along your journey. Because everyone needs a little help sometimes.
Elvira, the Sainted Princess - A Spanish Folktale
Oct 16 • 8 min
In ‘Elivra, the Sainted Princess’ we see the conflict between the historical King Wamba and his secretly Christian daughter, Elvira.
The Wicked King - A Spanish Folktale
Oct 14 • 8 min
In ‘The Wicked King’ the King is truly wicked, but the more interesting character (in my opinion) is his enabler, the executioner.
The Three Ruling Gods - A Chinese Folktale
Oct 11 • 5 min
‘The Three Ruling Gods’ tells us the story of how the Gods of the Water, Earth and Heavens came to be, and why they appear the way they do.
The Silkworm Goddess - A Chinese Folktale
Oct 9 • 5 min
In the Chinese tale of ‘The Silkworm Goddess’ we learn about the origin of the Goddess who is tasked with protecting the silkworm. And it’s quite the story.
The Great Flood - A Chinese Folktale
Oct 7 • 9 min
In the first of three new stories from China we have ‘The Great Flood’ a story that has familiar elements from the Judeo-Christian tradition, Russian folklore and others.
The Knave of Bergen - A German Folktale
Oct 4 • 5 min
‘The Knave of Bergen’ is the tale of an executioner who was, thankfully, able to think on his feet.
The Cathedral Clock - A German Folktale
Oct 2 • 5 min
The magistrates in ‘The Cathedral Clock’ are some of the most shortsighted rulers to have ever come into power. No pun intended.
The Toy of the Young Giantess - A German Folktale
Sep 30 • 4 min
The German folktale of ‘The Toy of the Young Giantess’ is all about remembering to keep perspective in mind.
How Rabbit Caught the Sun in a Trap - An Omaha Folktale
Sep 27 • 5 min
In ‘How Rabbit Caught the Sun in a Trap’ we hear the story of a sun catcher who hated not being first to the hunt (even though he was).
The Legend of The Peace Pipes - An Omaha Folktale
Sep 25 • 6 min
In ‘The Legend of The Peace Pipe’ we get a view of the origins of the peace pipe from the Omaha nation.
Father and Son - An American Folktale
Sep 23 • 7 min
We often romanticize it, but in the individual stories of soldiers we see the true brutality of war. The American folktale of ‘Father and Son’ tells such a tale and the impact that it can have on generations.
Hana-Saka-Jiji - A Japanese Folktale
Sep 20 • 11 min
In the Japanese folktale of ‘Hana-Saka-Jiji’ we meet two old couples who couldn’t be more opposite of each other, and in the end each gets their due.
The Star Lovers - A Japanese Folktale
Sep 18 • 11 min
The meddlesome father in this story of love from Japan may be a Deity, but that unfortunately doesn’t make him any less of a villain to ‘The Star Lovers’.
The Fire Quest - A Japanese Folktale
Sep 16 • 8 min
Heading back to Japan this week we start with a story that tells us why moths and other insects are drawn to a flame. And of course it’s blamed on a female insect. :rollseyes
Blondine’s Awakening – Beau-Minon - A French Folktale
Sep 13 • 6 min
In ‘Blondine’s Awakening – Beau-Minon - A French Folktale’ our Princess awakens to find herself alone in the enchanted Forest of Lilacs. Or is she really alone?
The Forest of Lilacs - A French Folktale
Sep 11 • 4 min
In Part 3 of Blondine, ‘The Forest of Lilacs’ we get a bit of breather as the young Princess comes to the realization that she is lost in the enchanted forest.
Blondine Lost - A French Folktale
Sep 9 • 13 min
This week we’re catching up with the story of Blondine with Part 2, ‘Blondine Lost’ where we see the young Princess become lost in an enchanted forest.
Why Dogs Wag Their Tails - A Filipino Folktale
Sep 6 • 5 min
Our final story from the Philippines this week is one of my favorite types of stories - an origin tale that tries to explain an animal’s behavior. In this case it’s ‘Why Dogs Wag Their Tails’.
The Mistaken Gifts - A Filipino Folktale
Sep 4 • 4 min
As someone who truly hates conflict I absolutely understand the protagonist of ‘The Mistaken Gifts’. But let’s all remember to get confirmation of all of our wedding proposals, OK?
Kowhai Blossom - A New Zealand Folktale
Aug 30 • 5 min
Our final fairy tale from New Zealand is a story about two different types of fairies playing in the Bush in New Zealand. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Fairy Tenderheart - A New Zealand Folktale
Aug 28 • 11 min
‘Fairy Tenderheart’ only wants to see an end to war and finds help in The Oldest Fairy and a magic flower.
Christmas Tree - A New Zealand Folktale
Aug 26 • 6 min
‘Christmas Tree’ is the story about how fashion came to the Piccaninnies in New Zealand and has nothing at all to do with Christmas.
Catskin - An English Folktale
Aug 23 • 12 min
‘Catskin’ is a version of the Cinderella story, and what is missing with the evil stepmother and sisters is more than made up with a cook who constantly calls Catskin “you dirty, impudent slut!”
How Jack Went to Seek His Fortune - An English Folktale
Aug 21 • 7 min
‘How Jack Went to Seek His Fortune’ is a fun version of ‘The Bremen Town Musicians’ and an excellent foil to the American idea of the solitary Hero’s Journey. Jack can’t get his fortune without the animal friends he meets along the way.
The Old Woman and Her Pig - An English Folktale
Aug 19 • 6 min
‘The Old Woman and Her Pig’ is the silliest of silly English folktales. And for a progressive tale that’s saying quite a bit.
The Old Gravestone - A Danish Folktale
Aug 16 • 10 min
‘The Old Gravestone’ is a love letter by Hans Christian Andersen to the art of storytelling in quite possibly the saddest way possible. Because it’s Hans Christian Andersen.
The Happy Family - A Danish Folktale
Aug 14 • 10 min
In ‘The Happy Family’ Hans Christian Andersen gives us a pretty solid allegory for the myopic view of nationalism.
The Teapot - A Danish Folktale
Aug 12 • 6 min
‘The Teapot’ is Hans Christian Andersen at his finest. A sweet, sad and poignant tale that is almost a complete rebuttal to last Friday’s story of divine classism from the Brothers Grimm.
Eve’s Various Children - A German Folktale
Aug 9 • 7 min
‘Eve’s Various Children’ provides us a divine rationalization for some very serious classism.
The Grey Mare in the Garret - German Folklore
Aug 7 • 9 min
At first blush ‘The Grey Mare in the Garret’ seems like a ghost story, but in reality it’s a love tale set during The Plague in “Folklore and Legends: German”.
The Bright Sun Brings it to Light - German Folklore
Aug 5 • 6 min
In ‘The Bright Sun Brings it to Light’ the Brothers Grimm bring us a story about the strength of a guilty man’s conscience.
The Rabbit’s Eyes - Korean Folklore
Aug 2 • 9 min
In the Korean folktale of ‘The Rabbit’s Eyes’ we find a turtle who has nefarious plans and a bunny who is (thankfully) as smart as he is trusting.
A Bridegroom for Miss Mole - A Korean Folktale
Jul 31 • 9 min
In ‘A Bridegroom for Miss Mole’ we meet a father determined to find the best husband in the entire world possible for his beautiful daughter. But nobody feels worthy.
The Unmannerly Tiger - A Korean Folktale
Jul 29 • 9 min
‘The Unmannerly Tiger’ is our very first folklore from Korea and the story of a very hungry, very proud tiger named “Mountain Uncle” 🐯.
The Story of a Monkey - A Filipino Folktale
Jul 26 • 4 min
‘The Story of a Monkey’ is a Filipino progressive folktale with a surprising twist at the end.
The Story of the Creation - A Filipino Folktale
Jul 24 • 4 min
‘The Story of the Creation’ from Mindanao is an amazing creation tale, and that’s not just that I love creation folklore.
The Flood Story - A Filipino Folktale
Jul 22 • 5 min
The Filipino folktale of ‘The Flood Story’ isn’t an adaptation of the Judeo-Christian Flood. It’s so, so much better.
Morozko - A Russian Folktale
Jul 19 • 9 min
‘Morozko’ is a tale of the Russian Jack Frost, a good daughter and a bad daughter, and the world’s smartest talking dog.
The Tale of the Peasant Demyan - A Russian Folktale
Jul 17 • 5 min
It seems like we all end up knowing someone like Demyan from ‘The Tale of the Peasant Demyan’. Someone who is hard hearted and always ready to both be right and to quarrel.
The Brave Labourer - A Russian Folktale
Jul 15 • 4 min
This week is a visit to Russia for three new tales, beginning with Bain’s ‘The Brave Labourer’, a story all about the bravery we find when we really don’t have a choice in our actions.
The Halos of The Saints - A Chinese Folktale
Jul 12 • 5 min
In ‘The Halos of The Saints’ we discover that saints and scholars have halos that can blind people. and that foxes are scared of them both!
The Three Rhymesters - A Chinese Folktale
Jul 10 • 5 min
‘The Three Rhymesters’ is a fun story that praises intelligence and a quick wit. And it praises (to an extent) a young woman, which is unfortunately rare in folklore.
Who Was the Sinner? - A Chinese Folktale
Jul 8 • 3 min
We start off our week of Chinese folklore with a short tale chock full of schadenfreude, ‘Who Was the Sinner?’ from “The Chinese Fairy Book”.
The Consecration of Washington - An American Folktale
Jul 5 • 7 min
Today we have our annual reading of Charles Skinner’s ‘Consecration of Washington’. Because nobody deifies their leaders quite like Americans.
The Phantom Dragoon - An American Folktale
Jul 3 • 5 min
‘The Phantom Dragoon’ is a rare tale from the Revolutionary United States that praises the ingenuity of a young English scout. A rare story indeed.
The Party from Gibbet Island - An American Folktale
Jul 1 • 7 min
‘The Party from Gibbet Island’ is a tale about Ellis Island long before it was the hub of immigration in the US.
The Two Humpbacks - An Italian Folktale
Jun 28 • 7 min
In ‘The Two Humpbacks’ we have another tale that explores the difference in fates between two individuals. However, in this case, there’s no clear good or bad person but definitely good and bad outcomes - and maybe that’s the point.
The Bucket - An Italian Folktale
Jun 26 • 9 min
‘The Bucket’ is a story that should feel terribly familiar. However, unlike other versions, a lesson is learned where is wasn’t before.
The King Who Wanted a Beautiful Wife - An Italian Folktale
Jun 24 • 9 min
Not a single character in ‘The King Who Wanted a Beautiful Wife’ could even remotely be considered a “good” person. Which is, honestly, a first for The Folktale Project.
The Table, The Sifter and The Pinchers - A Portuguese Folktale
Jun 21 • 10 min
‘The Table, The Sifter and The Pinchers’ is my favorite version of the story of three gifts given by a King and stolen by an innkeeper. Seriously, what was wrong with innkeepers?
Why Dogs Sniff - A Portuguese Folktale
Jun 19 • 6 min
Sometimes you want a story to make you think about race, gender or power. And sometimes you want an explanation for why dogs sniff each other. Today, ‘Why Dogs Sniff’ answers that pressing question.
The Islands of Flowers - A Portuguese Folktale
Jun 17 • 5 min
You know that I can’t pass up a good origin story, right? ‘The Islands of Flowers’ is a very, very good one about the origin of the Azores.
Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse - An English Folktale
Jun 14 • 7 min
‘Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse’ is an English folktale that is profoundly sad, beginning with two lovely mice and a countryside tableau and ending with none of this.
Tattercoats - An English Folktale
Jun 12 • 10 min
Take one part “The Goosegirl”, one part “Cinderella”, and mix it with a little ‘Pied Piper’ and you’ll get the English folktale of ‘Tattercoats’.
The Golden Ball - An English Folktale
Jun 10 • 8 min
If you think you have family issues may I refer you to the English folktale of ‘The Golden Ball’. Now this poor girl has family issues. Luckily she also has a true love, which is almost always better in folklore.
The Sparrow and The Two Children - An Armenian Folktale
Jun 7 • 8 min
The Armenian folktale of ‘The Sparrow and The Two Children’ is much, much more than another story about a wicked stepmother trying to kill off her stepchildren. It’s all about showing kindness, especially to animals.
Mind or Luck, Which? - An Armenian Folktale
Jun 5 • 6 min
The Armenian folktale of ‘Mind or Luck, Which?’ has some strong thematic ties to the story of Job in the Old Testament. Two sides arguing with a man caught in the middle and in the end, nobody actually wins.
A Wise Weaver - An Armenian Folktale
Jun 3 • 6 min
In the Armenian tale of ‘A Wise Weaver’ we have a rather ingenious man save his kingdom from invasion and then politely decline the King’s job offer.
A Story About Three Youths All Skilled in Certain Things and How They Used That Skill to Circumvent a Difficulty - A Nigerian Folktale
May 31 • 5 min
In ‘A Story About Three Youths All Skilled in Certain Things and How They Used That Skill to Circumvent a Difficulty’ we see the familiar trope of threes played out in a unique manner. Instead of three challenges to overcome we see three different ways to
The Story of The Boy and The Old Woman and How the Wasp Got His Small Waist - A Nigerian Folktale
May 29 • 4 min
In the Nigerian tale of ‘The Story of The Boy and The Old Woman and How the Wasp Got His Small Waist’ we learn not why the wasp is, but rather why he’s shaped the way he is. And the reason, according to the Hausa, is quite a tale.
The Story of a Slave, By Name ‘The World’ - A Nigerian Folktale
May 27 • 8 min
In ‘The Story of a Slave, By Name ‘The World” we meet an adulterous woman and her lovers, including a slave who cannot hold his tongue.
The Wonders of The World - A Jewish Folktale
May 24 • 12 min
In the last of Aunt Naomi’s tales of King Alexander, ‘The Wonders of The World’, we get to see the world through the eyes of Alexander the Great. And Alexander makes a great discovery in the process.
The Land of Darkness and The Gate of Paradise - A Jewish Folktale
May 22 • 11 min
In ‘The Land of Darkness and The Gate of Paradise’, King Alexander learns the wisdom of the Queen of The Amazons and discovers the River of Life and The Garden of Eden.
The Vision of Victory - A Jewish Folktale
May 20 • 9 min
This week the podcast is bringing you the three tales of King Alexander’s Adventures from “Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends”. This first story, ‘The Vision of Victory’ introduces us to King Alexander and introduces King Alexander to the Jews.
Legend of The Corn - An Arikara Folktale
May 17 • 8 min
If you’ve every wondered “who was the first person to try to eat corn” the Arikara tribe has the answer in ‘The Legend of The Corn’.
How The World Was Made - A Cherokee Folktale
May 15 • 9 min
I’m a sucker for creation tales, but the Cherokee tale of ‘How The World Was Made’ is now my absolute favorite. It is the very first creation story I’ve found that fully accepts that there are unknowns in the story and I love that about it.
The Baker’s Dozen - A North American Folktale
May 13 • 6 min
Sometimes folklore can help to answer a question that you’ve held since childhood, like why is a baker’s dozen thirteen? In ‘The Baker’s Dozen’ Charles Skinner gives us a reason filled with saints, cakes and a Dutch baker in Albany, NY.
The Idiot - An Armenian Folktale
May 10 • 9 min
‘The Idiot’ is an Armenian travel tale all about a real doozy of an idiot, even if his idiocy isn’t fully apparent from the start.
The Tricks of a Woman - An Armenian Folktale
May 8 • 6 min
With ‘The Tricks of a Woman’ it’s surely all about historical perspective. You can see this as a tale to warn men of the cunning nature of women, but I like to see it as a woman putting a cocky man in his place.
The Maiden of The Sea - An Armenian Folktale
May 6 • 8 min
In ‘The Maiden of The Sea’ (our first tale ever from Armenia) we meet “the baby” my very favorite character ever. And I can almost guarantee that you’ll love him too!
Blondine - A French Folktale
May 3 • 9 min
Our final French story of the week, ‘Blondine’ is part one of a Patreon supporter special, the complete story of ‘The Story of Blondine, Bonne-Biche, and Beau-Minon’.
The Widow and Her Two Daughters - A French Folktale
May 1 • 12 min
In Mme. De Beaumont’s ‘The Widow and Her Two Daughters’ we have a story where both daughters give of themselves. They each get a gift from a fairy, but are both truly rewarded?
The Fairies - A French Folktale
Apr 29 • 9 min
We’ve looked at many fairytales that follow the story of ‘The Fairies’, but Charles Perrault’s version has some spectacular features that make it well worth it.
The Judgement of Shemyaka - A Russian Folktale
Apr 26 • 7 min
The Russian tale of ‘The Judgement of Shemyaka’ is a cautionary tale on the ability of some people to seemingly get away with anything. The entire story is mind boggling.
Who Lived in The Skull? - A Russian Folktale
Apr 24 • 5 min
‘Who Lived in The Skull’ is the perfect story to learn to perform for small children, especially if you learn Arthur Ransome’s recommended hand movements.
Story of The Duck with Golden Eggs - A Russian Folktale
Apr 22 • 11 min
In ‘Story of The Duck with Golden Eggs’ we have a duck who lays golden eggs if cared for, but can make you a Tsar if you eat it. I’ll let you guess what happens to the duck.
The Flying Ogre - A Chinese Folktale
Apr 19 • 5 min
Another story from the Chinese Fairy Book starring an Ogre, but in the case of ‘The Flying Ogre’ we also see a heavenly hunter of said ogre.
How The Five Ancients Became Men - A Chinese Folktale
Apr 17 • 7 min
The Chinese folktale of ‘How The Five Ancients Became Men’ explains the creation of the Gods from nature. It’s a beautiful mixture of folklore, history and mythology.
The Maiden Who Was Stolen Away - A Chinese Folktale
Apr 15 • 7 min
‘The Maiden Who Was Stolen Away’ features a young maiden, a brave brother and an ogre in love that just doesn’t take no for an answer, but still respects the no that’s given.
The Cellar of the Old Knights in the Kyffhauser - A German Folktale
Apr 12 • 9 min
In ‘The Cellar of the Old Knights in the Kyffhauser’ we get a terrific moral lesson about trying to profit from that which is given to us.
Bearskin - A German Folktale
Apr 10 • 14 min
‘Bearskin’ by the Brothers Grimm has the single best twist that I’ve found in over 530 folktales. Even I was surprised.
The Mouse, The Bird and The Sausage - A German Folktale
Apr 8 • 5 min
In ‘The Mouse, The Bird, and The Sausage’, the Brothers Grimm show us once again why once roommates figure out their respective jobs they should just stick to them. Also, why you should never listen to a jealous bird.
The Guest - A North American Folktale
Apr 5 • 4 min
In the Eskimo folktale of ‘The Guest’ an old witch gets her due after getting jealous over some extra game.
Samuel Sewall’s Prophecy - A North American Folktale
Apr 3 • 5 min
‘Samuel Sewall’s Prophecy’ comes from a particularly complicated historical figure, Samuel Sewall. Sewall was an early abolitionist (although not terribly favorable to the African American) and one of judges at the famous Salem Witch Trials.
The Division of the Saranacs - A North American Folktale
Apr 1 • 6 min
‘The Division of the Saranacs’ tells the sad tale behind the schism between the Upper and Lower Saranacs.
The Stepmother - An Italian Folktale
Mar 29 • 7 min
I’m normally all for the antagonist getting their just desserts (as we all know), but I’ll be the first to admit that ‘The Stepmother’ from Thomas Crane’s “Italian Popular Tales” takes it all a bit too far.
The Baker’s Apprentice - An Italian Folktale
Mar 27 • 11 min
In ‘The Baker’s Apprentice’ we hear the familiar story of a tour of the after life with the Madonna, but with quite a unique ending.
The Cock and The Mouse - An Italian Folktale
Mar 25 • 5 min
‘The Cock and The Mouse’ is the most Italian progressive tale ever told. And I love it for that alone.
Maria of the Forest - A Portuguese Folktale
Mar 22 • 10 min
‘Maria of the Forest’ tries to teach us that we can’t avoid our fate, by having a King repeatedly attempt murder because a strange voice said he was fated to marry a the daughter of a poor charcoal burner. Not really the nicest way to teach such a lesson
King Robin - A Portuguese Folktale
Mar 20 • 8 min
While I won’t ever condone murder there is a sense of poetic justice present in the Portuguese folktale of ‘King Robin’ where a boy who tortures animals gets his just desserts.
The Magic Mouthful - A Portuguese Folktale
Mar 18 • 6 min
‘The Magic Mouthful’ is a reminder that folklore can be used to reinforce some pretty misogynistic views and behaviors. The worst of them are like this tale and feature a wise older woman giving misogynistic advice to a younger woman. Not cool.
The Master and His Pupil - An English Folktale
Mar 15 • 7 min
‘The Master and His Pupil’ is the English version of Goethe’s ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ which, in turn, is the basis for Disney’s animated version. And it’s probably the most fun I’ve had with a folktale this year.
Henny-Penny - An English Folktale
Mar 13 • 7 min
In the progressive tale of ‘Henny-Penny’ we really shouldn’t blame Foxy-Woxy for being a fox, should we?
The History of Tom Thumb - An English Folktale
Mar 11 • 13 min
You may think you know about Tom Thumb, but unless you’ve read ‘The History of Tom Thumb’ by Joseph Jacobs you probably don’t know all about Tom, King Arthur’s smallest knight.
The Leaf Fairies - A New Zealand Folktale
Mar 8 • 6 min
‘The Leaf Fairies’ is a type of tale that doesn’t get enough coverage on the podcast, a fairy story for children to teach them about the natural world.
The Magic Mirror - A New Zealand Folktale
Mar 6 • 15 min
In ‘The Magic Mirror’ fairies teach us how to rule a monarchy in a way that endears you to your people.
Tea Tree - A New Zealand Folktale
Mar 4 • 5 min
In ‘Tea Tree’ we have the first of our stories to come from Isabel Peacocke’s “Piccaninnies”.
How the Brazilian Beetles Got Their Gorgeous Coats - A Brazilian Folktale
Mar 1 • 10 min
The first time you listen to ‘How the Brazilian Beetles Got Their Gorgeous Coats’ all you’re going to hear is the story of ‘The Tortoise and The Hare’ and I promise you it’s not. It’s so much better.
The Most Beautiful Princess - A Brazilian Folktale
Feb 27 • 16 min
‘The Most Beautiful Princess’ seems like it’s going to be a very typical “Prince saves the Princess from a Giant” story, but it’s definitely not.
How The Monkey Got Food When He Was Hungry - A Brazilian Folktale
Feb 25 • 6 min
‘How The Monkey Got Food When He Was Hungry’ is part ‘There was an old woman who swallowed a fly’, part begging Peter to pay Paul, and all Elsie Spicer Eells.
The Robe of Feathers - A Japanese Folktale
Feb 22 • 12 min
In ‘The Robe of Feathers’ we have one of my favorite pieces of give and take in dialogue between man and fairy ever. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
The Jelly-Fish Takes a Journey - A Japanese Folktale
Feb 20 • 9 min
Every now and then there’s an origin story that really sends you for a loop. And to be honest I admire the individual who looked at a jellyfish and thought, I know how that happened.
The Nurse - A Japanese Folktale
Feb 18 • 13 min
‘The Nurse’ is a story about honor and the love between a nurse and her young charge who is wronged by, of course, his stepmother.
The Bushy Bride - A Norwegian Folktale
Feb 15 • 17 min
In Norway’s version of the black and white bride ‘The Bushy Bride’ we can’t help but end up asking ourselves with so many stories about evil stepmothers and sisters why did anyone bother getting remarried? It never really ended well.
How the Stalos Were Tricked - A Norwegian Folktale
Feb 13 • 18 min
With just a hint of murder ‘How the Stalos Were Tricked’ is a tale about how stupid Norwegian trolls can be and how to get revenge on them.
The Lad Who Went to the North Wind - A Norwegian Folktale
Feb 11 • 9 min
‘The Lad Who Went to the North Wind’ may seem like another story about a boy who is given three magical items (and loses them as quickly as he gets them) but it’s certainly a bit more than that.
Manstin, the Rabbit - A Native American Folktale
Feb 8 • 14 min
Our final folktale from North America is ‘Manstin, the Rabbit’ and it comes from my favorite Native American author of folklore, Zitkála-Šá. And boy, does Manstin have one hell of a journey.
The Mink and The Wolf - A North American Folktale
Feb 6 • 12 min
If the Starks had half the wits that the Mink has there never would have been a Red Wedding. At least that’s how Andrew Lang tells it in ‘The Mink and The Wolf’.
An Event in Indian Park - A North American Folktale
Feb 4 • 5 min
‘An Event in Indian Park’ is a love story from Charles Skinner and like most Skinner stories it reflects a bit of a negative view of Native Americans it’s still very much a love story.
Snow-White and Rose-Red - A German Folktale
Feb 1 • 18 min
‘Snow-White and Rose-Red’ is a very different tale than the one that you know. Plus possibly the first Easter egg in folklore. At least it’s the first I’ve noticed.
The Elves - A German Folktale
Jan 30 • 8 min
‘The Elves’ is an anonymous German folktale that brings us kind and gentle elves that aren’t out to trick or deceive, but rather live comfortably and serve the house of Rosenberg.
The Spindle, The Shuttle, and The Needle - A German Folktale
Jan 28 • 9 min
The Brothers Grimm bring us the love story of ‘The Spindle, The Shuttle, and The Needle’ with a beautiful orphan, a goodly Godmother, a Prince, and some enchanted tools.
Water and Salt - An Italian Folktale
Jan 25 • 6 min
After two rather depressing (and violent) stories from Italy this week I’m happy to bring you ‘Water and Salt’ - a story that has no dismemberment, death or abuse. Just attempted murder.
The Mason and His Son - An Italian Folktale
Jan 23 • 11 min
‘The Mason and His Son’ has some truly messed up parts. Theft, decapitation, numerous burials/exhumations and even senicide ends up with a reward in this Italian folktale.
Fair Maria Wood - An Italian Folktale
Jan 21 • 12 min
‘Fair Maria Wood’ is the kind of folktale that I deliberate heavily before sharing because of the extreme misogyny and abuse. In the end I hope that this spurs conversation about abuse and the place that our folklore has in having brought us to where we a
The Night on the Battlefield - A Chinese Folktale
Jan 18 • 7 min
Haunted burial grounds are a standard part of every culture’s folklore. ‘The Night on the Battlefield’ is one such tale from China with a very interesting twist.
The Dragon After His Winter Sleep - A Chinese Folktale
Jan 16 • 4 min
‘The Dragon After His Winter Sleep’ teaches us one of the most fascinating things I’ve learned from folklore. Definitely the most interesting thing I’ve learned about dragons in a long, long time.
Women’s Words Part Flesh and Blood - A Chinese Folktale
Jan 14 • 7 min
I don’t see any women’s words parting flesh and blood in this Chinese folktale, but ‘Women’s Words Part Flesh and Blood’ is hands down my new favorite tale about moderation.
How the Pigeon Became a Tame Bird - A Brazilian Folktale
Jan 11 • 9 min
It’s hard to read some folklore without seeing the racist attitudes that are undeniably present. Especially in stories like ‘How the Pigeon Became a Tame Bird’, where it has no bearing whatsoever on the origin it supposedly brings us.
How the Monkey Became a Trickster - A Brazilian Folktale
Jan 9 • 6 min
In ‘How the Monkey Became a Trickster’ the monkey uses his skill and knowledge to trick every other animal in existence. Because of course he would.
Why the Tiger and the Stag Fear Each Other - A Brazilian Folktale
Jan 7 • 9 min
The Tiger and the Stag are the Odd Couple of the animal kingdom in ‘Why the Tiger and the Stag Fear Each Other’ and bring some next level passive aggression to their relationship.
Teeny-Tiny - An English Folktale
Jan 4 • 4 min
For the end of a tiny week of folklore we have a teeny-tiny tale from Joseph Jacobs filled with the most amazing alliteration that I absolutely love.
Johnny-Cake - An English Folktale
Jan 2 • 8 min
England’s ‘Johnny-Cake’ is much like Norway’s ‘The Pancake’, but the wily nature of the fox provides an ending that makes this a uniquely English folktale.
Top of 2018, #1 - The Golden Arm - An English Folktale
Dec 31, 2018 • 4 min
As we end 2018 we’re looking back at your three favorite tales of the year. Your favorite story in 2018 was the English folktale ‘The Golden Arm’.
Top of 2018, #2 - The Fire-Bird, the Horse of Power, and the Princess Vasilisa - A Russian Folktale
Dec 28, 2018 • 25 min
As we end 2018 we’re looking back at your three favorite tales of the year. Your second favorite story was the Russian folktale of ‘The Fire-Bird, the Horse of Power, and the Princess Vasilisa’.
Top of 2018, #3 - The Sugar-Candy House - A Belgian Folktale
Dec 26, 2018 • 7 min
As we end 2018 let’s look back at your three favorite tales of the year. Your third favorite story was the Belgian folktale of ‘The Sugar Candy House’.
An Account of a Visit From St. Nicholas - A Christmas Folktale
Dec 24, 2018 • 5 min
Merry Christmas from The Folktale Project! Today’s folktale is an annual tradition on the podcast - a reading of Clement C. Moore’s ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’.
Mrs. Santa Claus - A Christmas Folktale
Dec 21, 2018 • 8 min
In ‘Mrs. Santa Claus’ we get to see Mrs. Claus being awesome and stepping in to hand deliver three dolls that Santa forgot at the North Pole.
Babouscka - A Russian Christmas Folktale
Dec 19, 2018 • 6 min
I absolutely love the story of ‘Babouscka’ - the old Russian woman who declined to follow the Three Wise Men on their way to Bethlehem to see the Christ child, then decided to bring him some toys in the morning.
The Legend of The Thunder Oak - A Christmas Folktale
Dec 17, 2018 • 6 min
Stories like ‘The Legend of The Thunder Oak’ do an amazing job of showing how Christianity absorbed the rituals and ceremonies of other religions. Plus we get yet another story of the first Christmas tree.
Androcles - A Greek Folktale
Dec 14, 2018 • 9 min
For our final Greek folktale let’s look at two versions of a story that most (myself included) conflate with ‘The Mouse and The Lion’ - ‘Androcles’.
The Hare With Many Friends - A Greek Folktale
Dec 12, 2018 • 4 min
In ‘The Hare With Many Friends’ Aesop shows us the failing in relying on quantity over quality when it comes to friendships.
The Fairy Comb - A Greek Folktale
Dec 10, 2018 • 11 min
‘The Fairy Comb’ is a Greek story that’s largely about consent and just how damaging it can be to act without it.
The Dun Cow - A Russian Folktale
Dec 7, 2018 • 11 min
In ‘The Dun Cow’ it’s as if Alexander Afanasyev tried to put together as many folktales as humanly possible. And incredibly - it works!
The Wood Sprite - A Russian Folktale
Dec 5, 2018 • 5 min
‘The Wood Sprite’ is a Russian tale all about a mischievous creature who lives in the wood and leaves far more questions than answers.
The Bear, the Dog and the Cat - A Russian Folktale
Dec 3, 2018 • 9 min
‘The Bear, the Dog and the Cat’ is the most Russian version of the ‘Old Sultan’ folktale I’ve ever come across, with the inclusion of the most cattish cat ever.
The Death of the Little Hen - A Brothers Grimm Folktale
Nov 30, 2018 • 5 min
‘The Death of the Little Hen’ is exactly what you expect when you know you’re listening to a Brothers Grimm story. Namely that everyone dies.
The Frog King, or Iron Henry - A Brothers Grimm Folktale
Nov 28, 2018 • 10 min
In ‘The Frog King’ we learn that we should always keep our promises, no matter how ridiculous it may be. Also, always be nice to frogs - they tend to be transformed royalty.
The Crystal Ball - A Brothers Grimm Folktale
Nov 26, 2018 • 9 min
‘The Crystal Ball’ is a tale of love and the strength of brotherly love between the sons of an enchantress and, of course, a kidnapped princess.
A Bird in Search of a Mate - An American Folktale
Nov 23, 2018 • 5 min
‘A Bird in Search of a Mate’ is a silly, sweet love story from North America. The perfect way to head into the weekend!