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Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry, Edited by W.B.Yeats, Social Science, Folklore & Mythology Paperback – 1 Oct 2005
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If you are a stranger, you will not readily get ghost and fairy legends, even in a western village. You must go adroitly to work, and make friends with the children, and the old men, with those who have not felt the pressure of mere daylight existence, and those with whom it is growing less, and will have altogether taken itself off one of these days. The old women are most learned, but will not so readily be got to talk, for the fairies are very secretive, and much resent being talked of; and are there not many stories of old women, who were nearly pinched into their graves or numbed with fairy blasts. At sea, when the nets are out and the pipes are lit, then will some ancient hoarder of tales become loquacious, telling his histories to the tune of the creaking of the boats. Holy-eve night, too, is a great time, and in old days many tales were to be heard at wakes. But the priests have set their faces against wakes. In the Parochial Survey of Ireland, it is recorded how the storytellers used to gather together of an evening, and if any had a different version from the others, they would all recite theirs and vote, and the man who had varied would have to abide by their verdict. In this way, stories have been handed down with such accuracy, that the long tale of Dierdre was, in the earlier decades of this century, told almost word for word, as in the very ancient MSS. In the Royal Dublin Society...
About the Author
William Butler Yeats (1865 - 1939) was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, he helped to found the Abbey Theatre, and in his later years served as an Irish Senator for two terms, and was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival along with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn and others, founded the Abbey Theater, where he served as its chief during its early years. In 1923, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature as the first Irishman so honored for what the Nobel Committee described as "inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation". Yeats is considered to be one of the few writers who completed their greatest works after being awarded the Nobel Prize.
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Yeats and other respected Authors had collected over the years fairy tales from the Irish Peasantry and they were then collated into one book.
It was a nice surprise to find that I hadn't heard of a single fairy tale in this book. This made it so exciting to read that I couldn't put it down and therefore read it nearly in one go.
I like the way there is at the end of some of the chapters, an explanation of how to pronounce some of Celtic words and Names. I had of course heard of the Beansidhe, The FirBolg, the Tuatha de Danaan and the 'Gentry', the Gancanagh, The Leprchauns and the Sidhe.
This was a great little book and even better because it was free. I have to admit that I would have paid the full price for it otherwise.
Great reading and recommended for children and adults alike.