The finest, funniest stories of England, Scotland & Wales, refreshed for the 21st century. By Brother Bernard, as told to Jem Roberts.
There are currently no books which bring together the ancient stories of England, Scotland, Wales and the Isles, and particularly none that aim, above all, to entertain the largest audience possible. There are lots of localised anthologies and expensive academic works, mythology-based books which remain ghetto-ised as ‘Special Interest’. But in this time of Brexit-based disunity, we believe that one thing which has always brought the people of this island together is our shared culture, and particularly our national treasury of tales, which have been retold afresh for each generation.
Each one of the 77 stories to be found in TALES OF BRITAIN – from the folktales of Dick Whittington, Robin Hood and King Arthur to heroes who deserve to be better known, like Mollie Whuppie, Bran the Blessed and Jack O’Kent – has been forged in performance to find the 21st century retelling to grab today’s audience, no matter what their age, gender, sexuality or creed. Some tales are moving, some bawdy, some downright weird, but above all, they have been retold with a crucial sense of anarchic fun, while restoring the true root of every legend in a way which should appeal to every Briton, whether first generation or thousandth – or indeed, lovers of great stories all around the world, from any background.
Inspiration for these Tales’ delivery comes not just from the magic of Dahl and Rowling, but the Grim Tales anarchy of Rik Mayall and Anthony Horowitz, the warmth of John Hurt’s Storyteller, and the enthusiasm of Tony Robinson’s Odysseus. What the Grimms did for German folklore, TALES OF BRITAIN will do for the British – with the added bonus that each story is rooted in the landscape, and so a tourist guide is provided for every tale, encouraging everyone to visit the places where each story ‘really happened’. Enjoy the tale on a Tuesday, and on Sunday afternoon, you can relive it.
This is not just a book, but a campaign, to enhance Britain’s standing as an island full of ancient story magic, and to revive and celebrate the shared culture of the United Kingdom, in a time of political uncertainty – and, above all, to have a lot of fun with it. With the enthusiastic support of #FolkloreThursday and an ever-growing online community of compassionate Britophiles and story lovers, this TALES OF BRITAIN collection is almost ready to share, and can be designed and released by Unbound as soon as the pledge target hits!
CADOC & THE MOUSE
‘Being bored at school is just the worst – especially when you skipped breakfast.’
During King Arthur’s lifetime, in the hilly Brecon area of central Wales, there was a small but respected school in the tiny valleyside village of Llanspyddid. The students there were of all ages and abilities, but the brightest pupil of them all was probably Cadoc.
He’s more commonly known as Saint Cadoc, but young Cadoc was certainly no saint. He yawned through his classes, gazed out of the window daydreaming at clouds, and spent more time doodling than studying. This wasn’t because he was a bad lad at all, he was just far too bright for the lessons taught by his boring old teacher, Bachan. Cadoc had already travelled through Britain and Ireland learning so much about life from all angles, but he had returned to his Welsh home and was forced to sit through tiresome lessons such as…
‘And that, boys and chaps, is how we know that God created the mermaid to test us all. Now, get out your Science textbooks, and I will tell you all how flat the Earth is, and how quickly the sun spins around it. ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME, CADOC?’
Cadoc’s gaze left the window, and he turned to face his teacher in a flash. ‘Sorry, sir, no sir, I wasn’t!’ the dreamy lad replied – proving that he was anything but a liar. The teacher sighed, and continued to drawl his bad lessons to the dozy class.
It wasn’t just that Cadoc was bored of hearing these silly ‘facts’ he was quite certain were all far from correct, either. It was a humming hot day and everyone in the classroom had only had half a handful of green oats and a few hawthorns to eat that week, and it was nearly suppertime. The whole valley for miles around was in the grip of a terrible famine, and no grain was being grown in the stodgy, rotten fields. Cadoc’s ribs were sticking out of his tunic, and sometimes he got so hungry he was tempted to teach himself how to eat leaves, like the goats.
Suddenly, the teacher Bachan squealed, and leapt up onto his chair.
Humpty: A Cannon and Egg Problem
Thursday, 18 April 2019
Ahhh, Easter – the unimaginably ancient time of rebirth, where we all get together to have that exhausting conversation about whether the festival stems from the pagan goddess 'Eoster', 'Ishtar', or anything of the like – or if, as smart-bums like to patronise us, that's as much bunkum as the Christian story about the carpenter and the capital punishment.
We could rifle through our book's 77 folktales…
Long Live The King of Cats!
Thursday, 11 April 2019
A very happy pet-themed Folklore Thursday, everyone!
Firstly, thank you to excellent children's author Ross Montgomery for being the first to review the book – it does mean an awful lot to get good feedback, especially from a pro storyteller, so please do take a moment to add your reviews to his, in the usual places, if you can…
But today's story is one of my favourites. I have been asked…
The Liver Birds
Thursday, 4 April 2019
A gloriously feathery bird-themed Folklore Thursday to you all!
Thank you to everyone who came to our London and Bath shows – particularly the little lad Ben who bought not just a book for himself and his little sister, but another for his school library! That concludes our pledge launches after all these years, but we still have three outstanding visits from Brother Bernard to co-ordinate with…
Home Springs Eternal
Thursday, 28 March 2019
HAPPY FOLKLORE THURSDAY, HOMELY FOLKIES!
First of all – our website has been updated with the latest season of blogs from here, and if you check out the media player, you'll also find Brother Bernard's appearance on Cerys Matthews' 6music show available for a cosy listen! Just click HERE for loads of folkloric goodness.
And now, still off-theme, a note away from home! Monday was our first…
Rhymes Of Britain
Thursday, 21 March 2019
Happy musical Folklore Thursday! Only four days to our first ever London show – and nine to our Bath book launch! We dearly hope to see you at one of them if you're anywhere near the bottom half of this island...
We should just take a moment to tell anyone reading who's either awaiting a cpy of Tales of Britain, you can order one here, as this book is needed all over the world, you won't find…
Saint Necessarily So
Thursday, 14 March 2019
Just a brief blog this week, as stories of those Christian oddballs some call SAINTS are one of the things we have largely avoided in the book. From our own experiences wading through books of British lore, amid all the…
Standing On The Shoulders of Giantesses...
Thursday, 7 March 2019
... If you'll forgive the gendered term. Still, HAPPY WORLD BOOK DAY and INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY EVERYONE! First of all, THANK YOU so much for sharing your excitements at the arrival of the book at last, perfect timing for such an auspicious day, please do keep them coming!
Today Brother Bernard is off at the Merlin Theatre in Frome entertaining the Year 9s and 10s of Frome School – he was supposed…
A Traveller's Tale
Monday, 4 March 2019
Happy Monday, Tales-lovers, from the Travellers' Tavern next to Victoria Coach Station; consider this a telegram en route home, March is a ricochet of Bath-London and back from here on in...
If you missed our gorgeous chat with Cerys Matthews on BBC 6music yesterday morning, it's on Listen Again here, and will be uploaded to talesofbritain.com when it drops off the iPlayer.
It was a nerve…
PUBLICATION DAY! The Journey Continues...
Thursday, 28 February 2019
A very happy and auspicious FOLKLORE THURSDAY to you all!
We would say who needs a theme this week, when, after 15 years of very hard work, of dreaming and hoping, this week TALES OF BRITAIN FINALLY ARRIVED ON OUR DOORSTEP!? But thank you to Folklore Thursday for such a perfect theme, of TRAVEL AND JOURNEYS, as suggested by our recent article for the Folklore Thursday website!
We have indeed…
Wayland the Smith, And Other Artists
Thursday, 21 February 2019
Happy Folklore Thursday, to all our fellow ARTISTS!
How exciting! Our book is headed from the printers right into our open arms, a work of art which has taken us up to 15 years to make a reality, with your kind help!
Crucially, some of you pledged good money for extra perks, and we need to hear from you ASAP about how we can honour those promises to you. We're particularly keen to arrange…
Tristan 4 Isolde 4eva
Thursday, 14 February 2019
A very LOVELY Folklore Thursday to you all, this Valentines!
The usual FT crew may be taking the day off, but we can at least give you a very crucial update – a week after a horrifying false alarm when Amazon messed up its setting on our eBook, so it looked like the book was cancelled... we can finally reveal that, despite some over-ambitious early release date teasing beyond our control, and all…
Tales of... Where Next?
Thursday, 7 February 2019
Happy Worldwide Folklore Thursday, pledgers!
Well, we had a bit of a wobbly day yesterday when emails went out suggesting that our eBook had been cancelled, but thankfully it turned out to be just an Amazon blip. We do so hope that's the last negative tremor we feel, and that the book's release will now forge ahead without a hitch. Not least as we've already been on TalkRadio and BBC Shropshire…
77 Stories To Rule Them All...
Thursday, 31 January 2019
Happy Folklore Thursday, and happy National Storytelling Week to boot, Tale-lovers! You want to discuss folktales? We have 77 to choose from, each with tourist guides! Who else can claim that this story-steeped Thursday? The question is, which to start with? The familiar famed folklore of Robin Hood, King Arthur, Jack or Godiva? Or the stories which deserve more love, like Molly Whuppie, Bran the…
The Gift Horse: You Know What They Say...
Thursday, 24 January 2019
HAPPY PLANT-PACKED FOLKLORE THURSDAY!
Those of you keeping a close eye on the release date for our book may be wondering what's happening on this delayed day of release and celebration – hold tight, we're sure the clouds will clear soon! This has been such a long and painful journey, but we're so close! At the time of writing, Amazon is showing NEXT Thursday... so let's keep everything crossed…
TALES OF BRITAIN COMING TO YOUR TOWN!
Thursday, 17 January 2019
Merry Folklore Thursday! Families, places and communities is the theme? Nothing could more perfectly sum up TALES OF BRITAIN!
However, keen supporters of our campaign may be wondering where our big launch announcement is, as 17th January has been on the Amazon page for our book for a long time... but it looks like the release has been delayed a week. This is such an odd time to release a book,…
WORK WORK WORK... HELP!
Thursday, 10 January 2019
A VERY MERRY WORKADAY FOLKLORE THURSDAY TO ALL OUR LOVELY SUPPORTERS!
Or, it would be a workaday Thursday, had your author managed to rise from his sickbed by now, but – despite having a gig at THE FLIPPING BRITISH LIBRARY on Sunday, sadly this is one storyteller whose tubes are still full of gunk and nastiness. Wish us well…
Despite this, of course, the work has to go on – and now, with the…
Thursday, 3 January 2019
HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM BROTHER BERNARD, SISTER SAL AND ALL AT TALES OF BRITAIN!
And, for that matter, happy first Folklore Thursday of 2019!
Except… it’s not as happy as we’d like, as your storyteller is currently in bed, in quarantine, with a chest heaving with burning demons and pained spirits. 2019 kicking off with a massive cold is not quite the jolly new beginning we were hoping for, but what…
MERRY YULE, AND MARI LWYD!
Thursday, 20 December 2018
Happy festive Folklore Thursday everybody!
Please find attached this year’s totally bonus ‘brand new’ yule story, for all you lovely pledgers – MARI LWYD. As you know, our book is more about tales than ‘lore’, but thanks to those lovely folks at folkwales.org.uk, there seemed just enough of a plot surrounding that Victorian vicar to wind a pleasing wee narrative around. We hope you agree! And…
HAPPY YULE! PUBLICATION DAYS AWAY!
Thursday, 13 December 2018
DEAR FOLKLORE THURSDAY LOVERS, BOOK PLEDGERS, AND FELLOW BRITISH FOLKTALE REVIVAL CAMPAIGNERS...!
First of all, we can't wait to see as many of your as possible at this year's LIVE YULE SHOW in Bath on Saturday afternoon. There will be one or two traditional yule tales repeated from last year's show, but lots of fresh tales to enjoy too, including our panto-ish rendition of DICK WHITTINGTON…
A Saxon Yule Feast: THE LAST YULE
Thursday, 6 December 2018
LET THE SCRUMPTIOUS YULE FEAST, MEAD AND FLESH AND WINE AND CAKES AND ALE, BE ENJOYED BY ALL PLEDGERS THIS FOLKLORE THURSDAY!
With only a week and a bit to go until our 2018 YULE special live show maybe we shouldn't be sharing free stories, but well, it's Xmas, so do find linked above the full – and rather boozy – one-man rendition of THE LAST YULE, last year's free Xmas story for you all,…
Robin Redbreast's Snowy Mission
Thursday, 29 November 2018
I hope you're all wonderfully wrapped up this cold and damp Folklore Thursday!
It's not quite feeling festive just yet, but today's snowy theme suggests perhaps the simplest tale of the 77 in our book – a yuletide tale enjoyed by Rabbie Burns as a tiny tot, THE MARRIAGE OF ROBIN REDBREAST.
This seems to be one of the very rare tales we haven't yet blogged about, but it's hardly surprising…
It's... Panto Folklore! Oh Yes It Is.
Thursday, 22 November 2018
HAPPY FOLKLORE THURSDAY, BOYS AND GIRLS! And anyone else anywhere they like on the spectrum.
When we discovered that this week's Folklore Thursday theme was THEATRE, we wasted up to a minute trying to think which of our 77 tales were relevant – the welsh harp player in 'Vengeance Will Come'? The play acting of the locals in 'The Wise Folk of Gotham'? Then the obvious occurred – right now we're…
SEAQUAKE! The Drowning of Cantre'r Gwaelod
Thursday, 15 November 2018
Well I have to say, dear Folklore Thursday types – 'volcanoes and earthquakes' is a rather unfair theme for a collection of British folktales! We don't get much in the way of streams of lava over here in Blighty, so a spot of creative thinking is required...
Natural disasters, of course, proliferate in our collection – but they are more typically of the very wet kind, and essentially Welsh…
Community Folk Magic From Tintagel to Edinburgh
Thursday, 8 November 2018
Merry Folklore Thursday, all in our wonderous community!
Folk magic and community traditions, you say? Hmm, well in specific folktale terms, the one tale of our 77 which most perfectly encapsulates the concept would be THE TIDDY MUN – generally we shy away from such basic superstitions, folklore is awash with that kind of thing, but there's our little concession to it all...
Except, of course…
Our Hero, TERRY JONES
Thursday, 1 November 2018
A heroic Folklore Thursday to you all, and to pledgers especially!
If you will forgive your author’s unusual stepping out from underneath Brother Bernard’s green velvet cowl, this is a rather tricky and sensitive blog which has been in the offing for quite a while, but how to go about it? Rather than focussing on one British folktale, today we’re celebrating one British HERO – Python, movie director…
Black Vaughan's Revenge: HALLOWEEN TALES!
Thursday, 25 October 2018
MWAH-HA-HA-HAAAA! SAMHAIN APPROACHETH, LOYAL PLEDGERS! Here's wishing you a very Happy Halloween from Brother Bernard, Sister Sal and all at Tales of Britain!
If you have the slightest chance of making it to Somerset on Saturday afternoon, seek out the RING O'BELLS in Widcombe, five minutes' walk from Bath Spa train station, where we'll be performing a whole hour of spooky stories as part of our…
Be Afraid: Of THE LAMBTON WORM!
Thursday, 18 October 2018
Howay, a f-f-f-frightful Samhain-ish Folklore Thursday to you all, lovely pledgers!
As we observed last week, our road atlas of 77 tales is bursting with beasts enough to terrify everyone to the grave and back, and we shall be featuring four such scary stories in our first ever Samhain/ Halloween show in Bath a week on Saturday! Brother Bernard and Sister Sal will share with you legends including…
The Exorcism of Jan Tregeagle
Thursday, 11 October 2018
Spooky Folklore Thursday to all!
As we mentioned a season ago, on holiday in Tintagel, staying in Bodmin led us to discover the 400-year-old legend of JAN TREGEAGLE, and despite it being a ghost story, we couldn't resist spending an afternoon retelling the legend afresh – even though, being written so long after delivery of our manuscript, this is one story which won't be found among the 77 in…
The Loch Ness Story
Thursday, 4 October 2018
A monstrously jolly Folklore Thursday to you, pledgers!
We may be running short of Tales we haven't blogged about, but there's still a certain amount of shiftiness in celebrating this ANIMAL-themed week with the tale of Nessie, the last of the dinosaurs who lives up in the deep waters of Northern Scotland.
Admittedly, her qualification as an animal is slightly circumspect, but more to the…
Stone Dogs & Dragon Hills in the New Forest
Thursday, 27 September 2018
Happy Folklore Thursday, folks!
Folklore of Objects? Well, here's one – what does this stone dog have to do with British folklore? Perhaps it will help if we add that it is one of two stone bull mastiffs which decorate the entrance to a place called Bisterne House, the New Forest seat of the ancient Berkeley dynasty – one of whom, Sir Maurice de Berkeley, was said to have defeated a vicious…
TALIESIN and the Turning of the Seasons
Thursday, 20 September 2018
A heart harvest Folklore Thursday to all your campaign supporters!
As we enter our sixth season of weekly blogging, it's a rare feat to find one of our 77 tales we haven't blogged about, and even moreso to be able to theme it to the weekly topic. But while other stories we have covered may have more immediate pertienence to autumn and harvest – Jack O'Kent's crop-based deals with The Devil…
Travelling By Bear: The Green Glen
Thursday, 13 September 2018
Happy Folklore Thursday, folksters!
It is, I fear, a necessarily rushed folktale blog this week, due to a double deadline clashing with the book launch for Soupy Twists in London on Wednesday, and then a recording of Great Lives on Douglas Adams for Radio 4 in Bristol today. And then, after all that metropolitan publicity, I'm spending the weekend in a tent at the countryside, wrapped in a green…
Fairyland In The Border: Thomas The Rhymer
Thursday, 6 September 2018
We wish you an otherworldly Folklore Thursday, dear Tales pledgers!
Hectic times over here, given that this Folklore Thursday is also publication day for SOUPY TWISTS – the official biography of Stephen Fry & Hugh Laurie, otherwise known as 'The Book That Came Before Tales of Britain'!
But of course there's always time to share a special themed blog with you lovely folksters... however,…
Thumbs Up For Tattershall Tom
Thursday, 30 August 2018
A bear hug for you all this Folklore Thursday!
First off, a thank you to all who came to the Waverley in Edinburgh a week ago today for our Scottish debut, where we got away with doing Molly Whuppie with all the accents. Maybe a Thursday lunchtime isn't the best time for any kind of gig, but we were outnumbered by the audience, which is some kind of achievement at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Rub-a-Dub-Dub: The Madness of GOTHAM
Thursday, 23 August 2018
Busy Folklore Thursday, dear folksters – our first ever Scottish storytelling show kicks off at Waverley Bar as part of the Free Fringe at 1pm!
There are so many tales among our 77 full of rhyme and song, but so little time today! But we do just have time to consider the silly old British rhyme of 'Rub-a-Dub-Dub' – at least inasmuch as it is brought to mind by the madness of the folk of the Nottinghamshire…
The Kintraw Doonies: Christianity vs Faeries
Thursday, 16 August 2018
Merry Folklore Thursday, lovelies!
Thank you to everyone of all ages and smells who came along to the Bath Folk Festival show last Saturday – yes, even baby Robyn who joined in with a fair few tales. It was one of Brother Bernard's best solo shows yet, though we really hope to get a few folktale fans at our first ever Scottish show a week today – 1pm at the Waverley Bar, as part of the Free Fringe…
Who Needs Hogwarts? Merlin at Dinas Emrys
Thursday, 9 August 2018
Well, salagadoolah, menchikaboola, and bibbiti-bobbiti-boo to all TALES OF BRITAIN pledgers this MAGICKAL MAGICIAN-THEMED FOLKLORE THURSDAY!
First of all, please do forgive the plug, but this is our last chance to alert you to our show for the Bath Folk Festival on Saturday – the very first item in the whole festival indeed, at St. James Wine Vaults, Bath at 3pm! Bernard is performing solo, with…
Pennard Castle: A Verry Fine Feast
Thursday, 2 August 2018
A fine, feast-filled Folklore Thursday to all!
We love a feasting theme – so many of our tales involve food, it gives us almost carte blanche. Knucker Pie? The Apple Tree Man? The Shillington Goblins all partying away? No, this week we make a return to Wales, and a look at the wild feasting party which led to the Gower fortification of Pennard Castle being buried under a mountain of sand!
British Folklore: The Stories So Far...
Thursday, 26 July 2018
Happy Folklore Thursday, pledgers! As today's theme is folklore from around the world, we're taking the very rare chance to not feature any specific story – they are all British, after all – and give an update on where we stand.
You know why this campaign has been fought for so long, and why we will continue far beyond this book's release. There are endless books of random lore, myriad non-fiction…
MACBETH: A Deed Without A Name...
Thursday, 19 July 2018
Hail to thee, O Tales pledgers... a foul and fair ritulatistic Folklore Thursday!
You may have received emails this week saying our book has now reached the next stage of production. The strictures of the digital deal we had to make when we moved from Unbound's inflated original target mean having to make so many huge concessions with design – but the main thing is, the WORDS! 77 retold folktales…
BEGIN THE BUGGANE!
Thursday, 12 July 2018
Happy and indeed proud Folklore Thursday to one and all this week of #Pride – and good one to the FT gang for recognising it in this week's theme!
You may have picked up by now that – besides having a laugh and promoting tourism to each story's location – a crucial part of our Tales of Britain campaign is the long overdue de-toxifying of our national folklore, examining what makes our best…
Milky Milky: Mitchell's Fold & Shropshire's Blue Remembered Hills
Thursday, 5 July 2018
Thank you to everyone who came along to the Ludlow Fringe Tales of Britain show on Saturday! By the end of local tale The Stokesay Key, Welsh tale Vengeance Will Come and very silly Scottish yarn The Brown Bear of the Green Glen – plus bonus request Jack O'Kent & The Devil – the hat contained enough money to more than cover the horrendous train fare up from Bath, so nil desperandum!
You Don't Know Jack...
Thursday, 28 June 2018
This blog marks a FULL YEAR of providing you with weekly blogs for Folklore Thursday! And as Unbound has not yet provided us with a release date for this book we're all anticipating so warmly, we must prepare ourselves for at least another few dozen, even though most blogs are centred on one tale, and we have 77 in total. When time allows, we'll start trying to migrate all this hard work to a…
Tiddy Mun, The Weather's Thruff!
Thursday, 21 June 2018
Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks – or indeed, enjoy the lovely sunshine this solstice, ye folktale-pledgers!
This here is the Ancholme valley in eastern England – or at least, a particularly pretty bit of it, the result of centuries of drying out the biggy land and finding ways to live and capitalise on every square foot, despite the area's natural sogginess. There's a very particular piece…
London Pride Has Been Handed Down To Us...
Thursday, 14 June 2018
... London Pride, is a beer that's RANK! Merry Folklore Thursday, me old cocker-knee sparras!
After last week's birthday shenanigans in Kernow, it looked like we'd been confronted with another major challenge for this week's Urban/City theme – because the idea that we hadn't covered DICK WHITTINGTON in any of the last year's blogs seemed absurd!
Dick Whittington's fictionalised life story…
Happy Birthday To Us: In TINTAGEL!
Thursday, 7 June 2018
Happy birthday to Folklore Thursday, and happy birthday to Brother Bernard too!
Now, this is uncanny. After completing nearly a year of annual blogs themed to Folklore Thursday’s lovely whims, this is the week we were planning to give ourselves the week off – 'Tales of Britain Is On Holiday, in Tintagel!' – due to Brother Bernard hitting the terrifying milestone of 7,040!
But then, thanks…
Art of the Landscape: Wade & Bell in Whitby
Thursday, 31 May 2018
I hope everyone's feeling creative for this Artistic Folklore Thursday...? We think we win this week, as we have two artists who created the actual landscape itself!
This is Wade's Causeway, which you'll find in the Whitby area of North Yorkshire – some call it a Roman road but, like many a 'Roman road', it's been around a lot longer than the Romans – because it was built thousands of years…
THERE MIGHT BE GIANTS: Round the Wrekin
Thursday, 24 May 2018
OW BIST THEE, FOLKLORE LOVERS? (In my Shropshire voice.)
'Creature Lore' is a wide open goal for Tales of Britain – we're well stocked with so many flavours of little people, from mystical faeries to the 'duergar' of the Scottish borders, and then there's a whole menagerie of vicious scaly things, not just worms and dragons but the Saffron Cockatrice and many more, and there are trolls, and…
A Funny Old Game: Elidor & The Golden Ball
Thursday, 17 May 2018
We hope this sporting Folklore Thursday finds you all cheering!
We're afraid our crowd of lovely backers has stopped growing – though admittedly we are spending more time worrying about when we will hear back about the latest manuscript copy-edit than actually spreading the word, particularly when there will be so much noise to create when the book is finally available to buy! We can confirm that…
Ye Gods: Wayland & Flibbertigibbet in Oxfordshire
Thursday, 10 May 2018
BY TOUTATIS! Is it Folklore Thursday again already? Gods almighty...
Ferretting out a God-themed tale from our 77 British stories is a taller order than you might think. Probably our most theological tale of all, LONG MEG AND HER DAUGHTERS, is not only all about how we don't need gods or religion, but it's also... well, already been blogged about. Obviously. The thing is, unlike Norse, Greek…
A Home-Grown Story: Britain's Famous Porky Trio
Thursday, 3 May 2018
A happy 'Hearth & Home' Folklore Thursday to all!
This is our 43rd update since we launched last June – a trifle early, due to hoping to attract Glasto punters – and with 77 tales in our collection, we wonder how long we can keep this up, with fresh tales every week tying in to @FolkloreThurs' changing themes. In particular, we were hoping that the 77 tales would deliver a fair few lovely surprises…
The Fiery Leap Of Conjuring Minterne
Thursday, 26 April 2018
A toasty FIRE-themed Folklore Thursday to each of our lovely 300 backers!
We're still trying to find places to do our storytelling show in CORNWALL in early June, and EDINBURGH/GLASGOW in late August (Please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help!) but for today's fiery theme, we're headed to Batcombe – and be careful, as there's more than one Batcombe, we're…
Body Horror: Sigurd & The Severed Head
Thursday, 19 April 2018
It's a BODY themed Folklore Thursday! If only we hadn't used up the far more pleasurable connotation of the theme by blogging about Lady Godiva several weeks ago, we could avoid this nastiness. But as it is, let's delve into the body-horror of SIGURD'S HOWE...
A violent and nasty tale from the north Scottish coast and Orkney, this story is anchored in the titular Sigurd's Howe – a burial…
LUKKI MINNIE: Fair Isle's Bad Luck Trow
Thursday, 12 April 2018
Good luck to you this Folklore Thursday, TOB-backers!
Many folktales could be said to be filled with good luck and bad, fortunes rising and falling, so we've double-themed our tale for this LUCK-LORE Folklore Thursday by focusing on that scourge of the Shetland Isles, LUKKI MINNIE!
There's very very little to go on when it comes to this hideous trow from the far-northerly leas of Far Isle…
Zennor's Woman Of The Sea
Thursday, 5 April 2018
Happy oceanic Folklore Thursday, all! 299 backers! How exciting! Who wants to be the next...?
And this week's Maritime theme has suggested quite a rarity for us of late – a very simple tale, with no need for updates, switched genders or altered angles, and with an extremely solid location where the story took place centuries ago, unquestionably worth a visit – THE MERMAID OF ZENNOR!
The Three Bears: Hold The Goldilocks!
Thursday, 29 March 2018
Good gracious and merry Folklore Thursday to all TOB-backers! We reached the coveted 150% funded level, hooray! If you've not taken the plunge yet, maybe today you can push our campaign even further, because the more budget we raise, the smoother the book's journey to your hands will be!
Today's theme of Nature and Wildlife rather poleaxed us – it could almost comprise any of our 77 tales,…
The Green Bird of Bala: VENGEANCE WILL COME!
Thursday, 22 March 2018
A chirpy Folklore Thursday to you all, faithful folksters – let's see if we can nudge our total up to 150% this sunny spring day!
The chosen theme of BIRD FOLKLORE does not chime with a huge array of our 77 tales – birds crop up in tales, fluttering around the Babes in the Wood or having a wart cut off their ear, like the Eagle of the Green Glen – and of course, Rab Burns' Robin Redbreast has his…
THE HEDLEY KOW: Money Can't Buy You Happiness
Thursday, 15 March 2018
Happy Folklore Thursday to all the lovely folkies in the Tales of Britain campaign!
It's actually quite nice to have such a relatively uncomplicated theme this week – MONEY. And the first of our 77 tales to come to mind is also one of the first we retold many years ago – THE HEDLEY KOW.
©John D Batten
The tale's simplicity is one of its many appeals, and to summarise it runs the risk…
Tales of Britain Princesses & The Saffron Cockatrice
Thursday, 8 March 2018
Happy Folklore Thursday AND International Women's Day, folkie folks!
Whatever you think about Disney's 'Princesses', as you can see, our 77 tales offer our own pantheon of women heroes. We're not short of legendary Queens, Princesses and powerful protagonists aplenty – one of our core drives has always been to make up for millennia of damsels in distress being handed over to male heroes as…
VENGEANCE WILL COME!
Thursday, 1 March 2018
Here's an unexpected second blog in one day for all you folksters out there, in honour of World Book Day 2018, and of course, St. David's Day!
I was supposed to be presenting our first ever schools event this afternoon, for Frome College at the well-monikered Merlin Theatre! But, the snow has put paid to that, and so poor Brother Bernard risked his fingertips shouting in the cold like this.
The Rose & The Root: Tam-Lin & The YA Conundrum
Thursday, 1 March 2018
A glorious Gardening-themed Folklore Thursday to you, green-fingered folkies!
Although it's snowing so heavily our World Book Day event at Frome College and the Merlin Theatre has been cancelled, and it's St David's Day, so a tale about Scottish summer flowers could not be less apposite. Nonetheless, NOW READ ON...
Our copy-edited manuscript of 77 tales with tourist guides was just being tweaked…
Welcome To The Greenwood
Thursday, 22 February 2018
O valiant Tales-of-Britain-backers, I hope the sun is shining through the leaves with you this Folklore Thursday!
Tree folklore is such a fish in a barrel for our collection of 77 tales – although many of the most obvious candidates, like The Apple Tree Man and The Whikey Tree, have already been blogged for your reading pleasure.
So which figure from British mythology do we most associate with…
Babes In The Wood: Suitable For Minors?
Thursday, 15 February 2018
Happy childhood-themed Folklore Thursday, lovely little TOB-backers!
These signs are proudly displayed in the Norfolk village of Griston and town of Watton, testifying to the areas near Wayland Woods as the site of the original events which gave us the story of the Babes In The Wood. For all the tale's development as a fun pantomime every Xmas, all the added jollity of the babes being taken…
Tristan & Isolde: Britain's Greatest Love Story?
Thursday, 8 February 2018
Happy lovey-dovey Folklore Thursday, sexed-up Tales-backers!
As fans of racist tunesmith Dicky Wagner will know well, Cornwall is the home of perhaps the greatest love story in mythology – those Italian kids in Verona be blowed. The legend of Tristan & Isolde is also a rather good testcase for the variety you'll find in our collection of 77 tales...
As we're proud to repeat, our greatest…
The King of Cats & Folkie Days Out!
Thursday, 1 February 2018
Happy Folklore Thursday, TOB-backers!
Due to annoyances involving hospitals and other unpleasant things, we had no time to wait for the Folklore Thursday theme this week, and so we're very relieved that the theme is 'favourite tales' as that gives us over 77 to choose from! We don't really have any one favourite, but this is always a joy, so we've gone for one of the most nebulous and slight tales…
FOOD, FAMINE & FOLKLORE
Thursday, 25 January 2018
Another foody Folklore Thursday, another Folklore Thursday of food...
It was unsurprising that the first tale which came to mind when we heard about today's foody theme was THE KNUCKER – but that would be because we already wrote that blog last September! So instead, we turn to the complete absence of food, and a tale which has been here in plain sight since we launched TALES OF BRITAIN at Glastonbury…
No Clothes Please, We're British
Thursday, 18 January 2018
Happy Folklore Thursday, Tale-Lovers! Have you told anyone today that we'll soon be launching the first full British folklore collection in GENERATIONS? Blow some minds, spread the word!
Now, with today's Folklore Thursday theme being CLOTHES, we hope this doesn't count as facetiousness two weeks running, but the first of our 77 tales to leap to mind was one of our very favourite – LADY GODIVA…
A Hard Day's Knight
Thursday, 11 January 2018
We’re very glad to see that this week’s theme is WORK because what could be harder WORK than being a Knight? What’s the worst job you ever had? Did it involve slaying dragons, or indeed having your head cut off? No, well, there we are then. Hardest job in the world, gallant Knight.
Okay, most tangential theming ever, we know, but the truth is we couldn’t hold out any longer on singling out…
New Beginnings: BRUTUS, LAND AHOY!
Thursday, 4 January 2018
A very very happy 2018 to Britophile story lovers everywhere! But particularly to everyone out there who realises just how momentous it is that we're all working together this year to launch the first full treasury of British tales in at least 30 years! This is a literary revolution to unite the nation in a love for storytelling, and all of us involved should feel very proud. Right now the process…
142%? HAPPY YULE!
Thursday, 21 December 2017
Well, there we are then, absolute confirmation, that TALES OF BRITAIN is now marching towards your homes as we speak – Xmas downtime aside. And as originally promised, we did actually hit 42% as well!
The above isn't strictly true, the manuscript was delivered on Halloween, and we're hoping for a late spring/early summer release. That's a very quick turnaround, and we have yet to decide…
THE LAST YULE!
Thursday, 14 December 2017
A very merry Folklore Thursday and a happy new book, pledgers!
It has gone all-too silent, deep, crisp and peaceful since our BIG ANNOUNCEMENT last week, and if you're disappointed that the promised switch hasn't yet occured, we can only offer you solidarity! No word has come through about what our situation is, but hopefully we won't all be left hanging over the festive season. As it is, we have…
TALES OF BRITAIN IS GO?!
Friday, 8 December 2017
TERRIBLY IMPORTANT TALES OF BRITAIN INFORMATION FOLLOWS...
This blog was originally intended to be incredibly tangentially connected to yesterday's Folklore Thursday theme of Urban Myths – you see, there is an urban myth that the number 42 is the answer to the Ultimate Question, of Life, The Universe and Everything. Well, as Douglas Adams' official biographer, I have to say, it's not so much…
BLACK SHUCK: Urban Myth!
Thursday, 7 December 2017
Happy Folklore Thursday, all! This is a novelty – an emergency blog! A few gremlins to battle behind the scenes before we make our yuletide announcement. But as today's #FolkloreThursday theme is Urban Myths, nothing fits the bill better than one of Britain's most famous 'monsters' – BLACK SHUCK.
We explicitly state in our pitch that one of the problems with British folklore books is the sheer…
BEWARE THE CAT!
Thursday, 30 November 2017
NOTE TO ALL FOLKTALE LOVERS – we've messaged all social media followers individually, but despite that, we have only 275 pledges from nearly 2,000 followers, which seems a bit of a discrepancy. We have exciting news imminent, but we hope to see a boost soon anyway. Have you pre-ordered? Have you told friends? We need to pull together to really get this crucial campaign spread further. Please help…
BEDDGELERT: A Good Doggy
Thursday, 23 November 2017
Merry Pet-themed Folklore Thursday, dear Tales-backers! Exciting news due soon, but for now, let's talk dogs.
Actually, after last week's treatise on the real basis of legends, with KING LEIR, sadly this week we have to face up to a bit of relatively recent myth-making, when it comes to the tragic story of the Welsh Prince Llewelyn, and his trusty dog, Gelert.
This is a particularly sad…
BLOW, WINDS, AND CRACK YOUR CHEEKS!
Thursday, 16 November 2017
Here's wishing a clement Folklore Thursdays to all our backers! 40% – let's see how quickly we can get up to the mythical 42%, pledge or get someone to pledge TODAY!
For this terribly British weather-themed Folklore Thursday, we were tempted to visit the Ancholme Valley to become acquainted with The Tiddy Mun, the people's saviours in times of drought... but when it comes to weather and British…
ARE YOU LOCAL?
Thursday, 9 November 2017
Of all the Folklore Thursday themes to throw us, 'Local Lore' is the toughest – we have 77 tales, all chosen to be local to everyone on this island, with at least one never more than a Sunday afternoon's drive away from any Brit. Should we head to the North-East to explore the silliness of The Hedley Kow? Or visit the Kingdom of Seals up on the north coast of Scotland? Or plumb the depths of the villainous…
See The Little Goblins...
Thursday, 2 November 2017
Skeleton lore is today's Folklore Thursday theme? Oh dear... we thought you said SHILLINGTON LORE! We don't have any skeletons in our closet, but we do have a wonderful story about party animal goblins, which reminds us all of the importance of having a flipping good time.
But first! It's a momentous week for Tales of Britain, as we have formally delivered the manuscript to Unbound. Of course,…
Tam O'Shanter's Halloween Dash
Thursday, 26 October 2017
Happy Samhain, and Folklore Thursday, our dear diabolical TOB-pledgers!
First of all, thank badness for Folklore Thursday's theme this week – we were never intending to offer anything but Halloween frights this week anyway! And we'd already started early with the ghostly lore with last week's look at HERNE THE HUNTER!
But when it comes to witches – and even more specifically, Scottish witches…
Friday, 20 October 2017
Hello, your friendly neighbourhood storyteller Jem Roberts here – I try to hide myself away as much as I can, but when it comes to a certain mountaineering legend, it gets personal.
Before we all go off to our lovely weekends – on which you could explore the story-dwelling sites of Britain, had we reached 100% – I just wanted to shout excitedly about two wonderful people who have just joined our…
GreenFire: Herne the Hunter & Windsor Castle
Thursday, 19 October 2017
Happy Folklore Thursday! Lots of love to the sainted 256, but we need to be at least another 100 strong before TALES OF BRITAIN goes into production at last! Keep the faith strong! This Saturday at 3pm we will be kicking off half-term at Bath's Rondo Theatre with TALES OF BRITAIN LIVE, packed with dragons, pigs, pies, battles and bogles! brother Bernard and Sister Sal hope to see you there...
Jersey: The Cream
Thursday, 12 October 2017
Happy Folklore Thursday, dear pledgers! 35% up the mountain, and no time to set up camp!
We're rather spoiled for choice with today's @FolkloreThursday theme of 'Island lore', as all 77 of our tales could be called Island lore! We have stories from Shetland, the Orkneys, a whole host of Hebridean islands, the Isles of Man and Wight, and the Channel Islands. But we've plumped for one of the furthest…
Robert Henryson: The Scatalogical Scribe
Thursday, 5 October 2017
Happy Folklore Thursday! Pre-orders are coming in spits and spots, but it's possible that a way to smooth our way forward may be found – watch this space for updates, but all those of you who share our passion for getting this roadmap of tales into shops, and into your hands, will have your kindnesses rewarded! In the meantime, any scheme that occurs to anyone out there to spread the word and get…
The Land of the Green Man
Tuesday, 3 October 2017
It's unusual both to blog on any day but Folklore Thursday, and to write about any book other than our own roadmap of British tales, but having just come to the end of Professor Carolyne Larrington's The Land of the Green Man, it's hard to resist offering a recommendation to all our pledgers. When Tales of Britain launched back in late summer, the passionate cries of there being nothing out there…
The Wizards Of Radio
Thursday, 28 September 2017
A magickal – with a K – Folklore Thursday to all our lovely pledgers! We're now into the middle third of crowdfunding, and we hope that one or two big announcements in the offing will give us a leg-up to the next level, but until then, please do keep spreading the word, and if you haven't yet pre-ordered a copy of this all-new roadmap of British stories, choose an option from the list on the right…
It Is Time For Your Appointment... with The Apple Tree Man.
Thursday, 21 September 2017
HAPPY HARVEST FOLKLORE THURSDAY, LOVELY TOB-BACKERS!
Before we dive into this week's themed tale, we're positively fizzy with excitement not only to be 1/3 funded, but also to announce that the tickets for the next TALES OF BRITAIN LIVE at the Rondo Theatre, Bath, are now available to buy HERE. Brother Bernard (comedian and Blackadder chronicler Jem Roberts) and Sister Sal (actor Kate Harbour…
THE WILD HUNT for backers
Thursday, 14 September 2017
Happy Folklore Thursday, dear pledgers.
As you can see from the video above (with the whole manuscript formatted into an impossible font, after we realised we could give away most of the book doing this!), we've reached a crucial stage for TALES OF BRITAIN – all 77 stories are now complete, sequenced into order in a single manuscript, and practically ready for the clever folk at Unbound to start…
BBC Bristol Interview
Tuesday, 12 September 2017
It's a little early for Folklore Thursday, but here's an interim update, with edited highlights of author Jem Roberts' folktale chat with BBC Bristol's Doctor of the Airwaves, Dr Phil Hammond, back in July.
It was huge fun to chat with Phil all about this, though it's worth adding – a few folk have become exercised about the assertion that 'there is no British story collection', and it's true…
Knucker Pie: TALES LIVE IN OCTOBER!
Thursday, 7 September 2017
JOLLY FOLKLORE THURSDAYS ALL ROUND, TOB-BACKERS!
FIRST THINGS FIRST: We're sadly still not up to the 1/3 funded point a week on, so if any of our backers knows any way we can spread the word further, perhaps with coverage on radio, like the BBC Bristol tales we recorded, or in print, online, or via any means, it will require us all to pull together and do anything we can to interest our fellow…
FREE TALE: Robin's Arrow
Thursday, 31 August 2017
Happy Folklore Thursday, merrie backers – we are now 200 strong, and more! Can we get over 30% today, what can we all do to help us get there, to get a few individuals to pledge? Because we will need a lot more to see that green light shine, so whatever you do, please keep spreading the word about our campaign for 21st Century British Folklore!
And as a special treat for everyone who has joined…
An Artist's Eye...
Thursday, 24 August 2017
A glorious Folklore Thursday to all our lovely backers!
Would you like to help us illustrate and find a fresh visual dimension to Tales of Britain? Do you know any keen artists who would simply love to get involved, and create the look of 21st century British lore? Well, do read on...
This here is the Eye of Lewis – the very hole through which the last remaining giant of Albion threaded…
Rhiannon: Wouldn't You Love To Love Her?
Thursday, 17 August 2017
A very warm Folklore Thursday greeting to all pledgers!
Our campaign continues to grow, and we now have some wonderful heroes joining our ranks, including legendary musicians Cerys Matthews and Neil Innes, historians Greg Jenner, Justin Pollard and Francis Pryor, actors David Lloyd and Hugh Fraser, the great director Dirk Maggs, and some of the UK's best cartoonists, including Davey Jones, David…
Long Meg Lives!
Thursday, 10 August 2017
Happy Folklore Thursday, blessed 150! 20% funded in a month, we just need to do all that five more times...! We'd like to take this opportunity to share a bit more about the genesis of Tales of Britain, what drives it, and to celebrate the name of one of Cumbria's greatest mythical women – LONG MEG!
Last weekend we gave a special talk on Tales of Britain at Bristol's Sunday Assembly, including…
Thursday, 3 August 2017
Happy Folklore Thursday, brave story-adventurers!
If you click on the mp3 link just above, you'll hear the 5th of 5 very short tales recorded for BBC Bristol – AVALON! The tale of Arthur's final stand, and legendary final journey to the Isle of Apples...
We'll be sharing the remaining two recordings when we can, but we've 'skipped to the end' to highlight one of the cornerstones of this…
Molly Whuppie! Shout her name!
Thursday, 27 July 2017
Happy Folklore Thursday!
This week we need to talk about perhaps the most inspiring figure in the Tales of Britain collection: MOLLY WHUPPIE.
©Errol le Cain
I for one had never heard of this crafty hero from the western isles of Scotland until I embarked on this journey 13 years ago, and the injustice of her obscurity is one of the things which has driven the whole project – and that…
Thursday, 20 July 2017
Happy Folklore Thursday, lovers of British lore!
It may have escaped your notice that Tales of Britain has been featured every day this week on BBC Radio Bristol, in Laura Rawlings' afternoon show at about 4.25pm. Brother Bernard has performed specially truncated versions of 5 tales – 3 from the Somerset area, plus 1 each for Wales and Scotland – in the hope that Brizzle's loyal listeners will…
OGGY OGGY MABINOGION! OI OI OI!
Thursday, 13 July 2017
Brother Bernard, Sister Sal, Jem, Kate, Kwaku, John and everyone battling to launch the 21st century British story treasury thank you all from the bottoms of our hearts and the hearts of our bottoms! All 35 of you who have stepped up to pledge so far, that is. 5% in one week still only leaves us in the foothills of the mountain we have to climb, but though this campaign may still take several months…
Help Us Revive Britain's Story Treasury TODAY!
Thursday, 6 July 2017
Happy Folklore Thursday, and welcome to the TALES OF BRITAIN campaign!
PLEASE join with us in creating and promoting this exciting new treasury of ancient tales from Scotland, Wales, England and the Isles.
Whether you love stories, or Britain, or both, or know anyone who would delight in a fresh anthology of British folklore, we see this as a movement to culturally re-unite the UK, from…
These people are helping to fund Tales of Britain.