Monday, December 19, 2016

Witches and Cats in Puss in Boots and Other Cat Tales From Around the World

It was rather inevitable that witches would need to appear in a collection of cat tales, so there are several in Puss in Boots and Other Cat Tales From Around the World. Witches and devils are almost always evil and need to be destroyed in these stories, so they are not the happiest of tales, but definitely an interesting subgenre of folklore.

From my introduction:

It would be negligent to not include tales of cats as witches’ animal manifestations, familiars or companions since that is one of the most prevalent associations for cats in folklore. While I collected many short anecdotes featuring cats and witches—or devils which are interchangeable with witches in many of these stories—finding full stories to share was challenging. I have enough material and notes for a short book devoted to the topic, but it’s not one that is as interesting to me and has been addressed in greater depth elsewhere. However, I wanted some representative tales of witches and cats to be included here and so chose some of the most interesting and fully developed stories from my research.

One of my favorite stories in the entire anthology appears in this section. It is “The Black Cat,” from North Carolina in the United States. It made me laugh outloud the first time I read it and I knew it would have a place somewhere in this collection. It’s short and not an easy read since it is written in a Southern USA dialect, but be sure not to miss it.

Many of the tales offered as witch stories do not have an ATU type but fall into a different cataloging system as Migratory Legend 3055: The Witch That Was Hurt.[1] In this legend type, a witch is injured while in the shape of an animal, often a cat or hare. Her secret identity is revealed when the corresponding injury is seen on her after she has resumed her human form. She is usually punished or even executed for her witchy activities. The injury, thankfully, is usually a serious one, not a simple scratch, but more on the level of a missing appendage.

[1] Migratory legends are another tale classification system developed by Reidar Thoralf Christiansen in The Migratory Legends: A Proposed List of Types with a Systematic Catalogue of the Norwegian Variants (1958).

The Witch tales in the collection are:

The Cats of San Lorenzo from Italy
San Miniato fra le Torre from Italy
How Diana Made the Stars and the Rain from Italy
Diana as Giving Beauty and Restoring Strength from Italy
The Cat-Hags of Gries from Tyrol (Italy & Austria)
The Green Lady: Norfolk from England
The Weaver’s Wife and the Witch from England
The Cat Witches from Wales
The Two Cat Witches from Wales
Macgillichallum of Razay from Scotland
The Witch of Laggan from Scotland
The Severed Hand from Norway
A Witch Burnt from Netherlands
The Witch’s Cat from Belgium
The Devil’s Cat from Germany
The Severed Hand from Germany
The Witch from Russia
The Lady Who Became a Cat from India
The Vampire Cat of Nabeshima from Japan
A Plantation Witch from United States
The Crow and Cat of Hopkinshill from United States
The Black Cat from United States
The Cat Who Wanted Shoes from United States
The Woman-Cat from United States

Saturday, December 17, 2016

ATU 560: The Magic Ring in Puss in Boots and Other Cat Tales From Around the World

ATU 560: The Magic Ring is the tale type that I had the least amount of experience with and consequently learned the most about during the research for Puss in Boots and Other Cat Tales From Around the World. For this reason, it became one of my favorite tale types offered in the book. This is also one of the rare tale types where I was able to find more English translations of Eastern versions than European. And there was sufficient difference between the variants to make them interesting, especially the Eastern Hemisphere ones.

From my introduction:

Another vast tale type that features a cat as a key player is ATU 560: The Magic Ring which is often conflated with ATU 561: Aladdin—the more recognized tale in popular culture—since there are not many distinguishing factors between these magic object stories. However, a cat usually appears in the tales that fit best into ATU 560: The Magic Ring.

There are hundreds of known Magic Ring stories and no single tale is considered the definitive tale. One of the earliest known versions can be found in Basile’s Il Pentamerone as the first diversion of the fourth day, often known as “The Rooster’s Stone” or “The Stone in the Cock’s Head.” However, this version does not feature a cat so it has not been included in this collection.

In these stories, a young man acquires a magic ring after he unselfishly rescues several animals from abuse or death by paying for them with his last coins. He rescues the three animals in a succession of events, a dog, a cat and a snake. The snake is a prince among his kind and provides the means of acquiring a magic ring (or other object) that ultimately provides riches to the young man through wish fulfillment. The man’s wealth impresses the king and gains him a princess for a wife. Eventually he reveals the power of the ring and it is stolen from him, often through his wife’s complicity. He loses everything, is imprisoned, and faces imminent death. The dog and the cat have remained faithful during his journey from rags to riches and so set out to recover the ring for him. The cat is the better mastermind but together the cat and dog restore the ring to their master, thanking him for sparing their lives. His wealth is restored and he lives happily ever after in the lifestyle he prefers, sometimes as a king and sometimes as a regular man, depending on the level of his wife’s complicity in his trials.

This tale appears around the world, but the majority of the variants offered in this collection come from India and other parts of Asia. It is a fun tale, one with which I was less acquainted before I began the work on this anthology, but it became a grand treasure hunt to find rare variants to share. This tale type is more gratifying than “Puss in Boots” since the hero usually demonstrates his worthiness for his elevation to a higher social level. The Chinese and other Eastern versions are of particular interest, since they offer the story as a pourquoi tale of why cats and dogs do not like each other.

The Magic Ring tales included in the collection are:

The Cat and Dog and the Talisman from Turkey
The Grateful Snake, Cat, and Dog and the Talisman from Turkey
The Snake, the Dog, and the Cat from Greece & Albania
Gigi and the Magic Ring from Italy
The Hind of the Golden Apple from Portugal
The Enchanted Watch from France
Three Years Without Wages from Norway
The Ring with Twelve Screws from Russia
The Enchanted Ring from Russia
Sharau from Russia
The Story of the Man Who Bought Three Pieces of Advice from Iran
The Clever Cat from North Africa
The Wonderful Ring from Nigeria
The Magic Ring of the Lord Solomon from India
The Merchant, the Princess and the Grateful Animals from India
The Prince and His Animal Friends from India
The Charmed Ring from India
The Wonderful Ring from India
Lita and His Animals from India
The Golden Beetle; or, Why the Dog Hates the Cat from China
Why Dog and Cat Are Enemies from China
Tokgabi’s Menagerie (Cats and Dogs) from Korea
Why Dogs Wag Their Tails from Philippines
Juan Manalaksan from Philippines
Juan the Poor, Who Became Juan the King from Philippines

Friday, December 16, 2016

Lauren Conrad Snow White Collection at Kohl's

Have you seen the Snow White collection by Lauren Conrad at Kohl's? It is selling quick because it is cute and/or romantic with most pieces not splattering anything overtly Disney on them. That's okay if you like that, of course, but I prefer subtlety when it comes to every day fairy tale themed clothing. I'm middle aged and was trained by my dad to not pay others to be their walking billboard. Unless I really ADORE something, of course, because clothing is rarely about absolutes.

I love florals so some of these pieces are my taste exactly. Same thing happened with the summer line of Alice in Wonderland by Lauren Conrad. And I don't even LIKE Alice in Wonderland but I own some cute pants from that line. Now I am crossing my fingers there will be a Beauty and the Beast line in the spring in conjunction with the movie with more clothes like these. Of course, Hot Topic and Torrid (since they are the same company) will have some, too, but they tend to be more kitschy although some of their recent Once Upon a Time line was subtle and more appealing to me, too, I admit. Shocked me!

As for the Lauren Conrad stuff, I fell in love with the Snow White Peasant Top and the Floral Tulle skirt. There are little apples on the peasant top which is a wink to me that this is a Snow White themed shirt, but that's it. No one else has to know unless they are savvy about the clothes or I tell them. That's the way I like it a lot of the time. And wonderfully enough--it also was a peasant top that flattered me which is sometimes iffy with peasant top styling. Because yes, I own the blue one below.

And, no this isn't an affiliate deal--I get no kickback or otherwise. I just really have enjoyed these Lauren Conrad special lines. I wonder if I missed previous ones...yes, I see I missed the Cinderella one but none of those looked like they work as well with my personal style. Or if they did, too late now!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

ATU 402: The Animal Bride--The Cat Versions

So another small section--but one of my favorites--in Puss in Boots and Other Cat Tales From Around the World offers Animal Brides.

Another famous folktale cat can be traced directly to the French salons and a specific author, “The White Cat,” by Madame la Comtesse d’Aulnoy. While her creation is literary and very long, it is part of a long, rich tradition of women who are rescued from living in animal form in folklore.

These tales can be typed as ATU 402: The Animal Bride. Several animal bride stories featuring enchanted cats are included in this collection. Most ATU 402 tales do not feature a cat; many feature an enchanted frog or mouse instead, but cats are more common than most other animals.

Animal bride stories can include several variations from other tale types but the overarching plot usually involves a third son who through service and various challenges breaks the enchantment of a princess and thus wins her hand in marriage. He usually doesn’t know that the animal he is serving is in fact a bewitched princess. His valor and worthiness are usually proven by the actions he takes despite his ignorance of the full situation. The final step in breaking the challenge often includes physical violence such as decapitation, mutilation or burning, an act he performs reluctantly after making an honorable promise to the enchanted creature.

More enchanted cats appear in other sections of the book, but those tales that fit most comfortably into the ATU 402 tale type are gathered into their own grouping.

It is interesting that women are so often enchanted cats when men rarely are. Here is a list of the Cat Bride tales found in the book:

  • The Grave Prince and the Beneficent Cat from Tyrol (Italy & Austria)
  • The White Cat from France
  • The White Cat of Ecija from Spain
  • Cucúlin from Ireland
  • Peter Humbug and the White Cat from Denmark
  • The Poor Miller’s Boy and the Cat from Germany
  • Silly Jura from Czech Republic
  • The Cat Who Became a Queen from India

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dick Whittington's Cat

Although I could share more about Puss in Boots, I wanted to move on to other tales to be found in Puss in Boots and Other Cat Tales From Around the World. One of my favorite tale types from this book is ATU 1651: Dick Whittington’s Cat. It's such a simple tale but with a rich history that can be found in many cultures, primarily the seafaring ones for obvious reasons.

I cannot think of another animal whose usefulness to humanity is explored so well in folklore. Doesn't mean there isn't, but I've not run into it yet. The crux of this tale type centers around the much needed vermin controlling aspects of cats. They are essentially unknown and thus valuable to the cultures that don't know about them in these tales. There's a subtle humor to it, too, since so many societies with cats find themselves overburdened with a feline population at times, something you realize with a little thought while reading the tale. So an abundant, but skilled animal--one that is common to us--is extraordinary and bring riches. There is a wish fulfillment aspect to that--who wouldn't like to make their fortune with an easily acquired animal, one that is about to be destroyed due to its overpopulation at the beginning of some versions of the tale?

From my introduction:

After “Puss in Boots,” perhaps the second best known cat folktale is ATU 1651: Dick Whittington’s Cat. The story is not as well known in modern popular culture, but it has been widespread and casually referenced in previous centuries with a fascinating range of variations on the theme.

The story describes how an honest and humble man finds his fortune by either directly or indirectly introducing a cat to a distant land overrun by mice and rats. The citizens are so thrilled with the cat’s prowess in controlling the rodent infestation that they pay for the cat with a great fortune. The cat is not a character in the story, but it is a key element and ultimately provides for the hero’s blessed future simply by doing what it does naturally.

This tale, too, has some fascinating examples of early scholarship to share. The first is “Whittington and His Cat” by Thomas Keightley excerpted from Tales and Popular Fictions; Their Resemblance and Transmission from Country to Country (1834). The second is “Whittington and His Cat” by William Alexander Clouston excerpted from Popular Tales and Fictions: Their Migrations and Transformations (1887). These articles share in full text some of the earliest known versions of the tale which I did not repeat as individual tales in the section devoted to ATU 1651, so be aware that there are more ATU 1651 stories in this collection than are listed in the table of contents.

Both articles discuss the history of the tale, including its strange—and inaccurate—association with the very real Whittington, a political figure in 15th century London. How a tale with a long history and wide variety of versions became so closely associated with a real historical person is unknown, but it only adds to the charm and mystery of the usually short and straightforward story. It is also a much more comfortable story since no one is truly exploited or deceived, not even the cat, but a great fortune is achieved in a much more honest method.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Charles Perrault and Puss in Boots

Today I'm sharing more about Puss in Boots since the book, Puss in Boots and Other Cat Tales From Around the World, got its name from him. I am so tempted to jump ahead to the other tales in the collection because they were more fun with me--I already knew quite a bit about Puss and his cohorts before I started the book. Many of the other tales were very new to my knowledge base.

But we may not be here discussing ATU 545B tales at all if not for the genius of Charles Perrault and his version of the cat. So from my introduction:

Charles Perrault’s influence on the ATU 545B tale type cannot be overstated. His “Le Maître chat ou le Chat botté,” commonly known as “Puss in Boots” in English—the “Master Cat” is usually omitted[1]—is the most recognized version of the tale in the modern world. While we can only conjecture about which oral and literary versions of ATU 545B stories inspired Perrault and to what degree, there is no doubt he left his literary stamp on the tale when he published it for the first time in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697. Perrault, influenced by the French salons and the fairy tale writers of the late seventeenth century, added descriptive flourishes and humor to the story as well as two almost nonsensical morals, the first about inheritances and the second about clothing. He, too, apparently struggled with the questionable morality of the tale.

Perrault is most likely responsible for the cat’s famous footwear. Just as he invented the glass slipper for Cinderella,[2] he adds the cat’s request for boots to his tale. Any later ATU 545B tale that includes boots can be credited to Perrault’s literary influence. The many images of cats in boots in popular culture hearken back to the French tale. Perrault also may have invented the ogre from whom the estates are essentially stolen by Puss in Boots for his master, improving the morality of the tale somewhat since a monster is a better victim than a rich nobleman. An ogre appears memorably in his “Sleeping Beauty,” too. But overall Perrault’s wondrous details create an entertaining story of a cat that is the cleverest character in any room he enters.

While it has not maintained the widespread recognition of some of his other tales—especially “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Little Red Riding Hood”—Perrault’s story continues to influence modern pop culture in subtle and overt ways, including the Puss in Boots character voiced by Antonio Banderas in the Shrek film franchise that included his own titular film in 2011. The character’s story arcs in the films in no way resemble Perrault’s or any ATU 545B tale other than maintaining the clever trickster traits of the character.

Another important influence to note is Gustave Doré, one of the more famous illustrators of Perrault’s tale. Doré’s swashbuckling rendition of “Puss in Boots” in which the cat resembles a French Musketeer inspired many later illustrators and is the obvious and accredited inspiration for the version seen in the Shrek franchise. Doré’s vision of Perrault’s Puss in Boots is the modern iconic rendition of the character.

Since this tale is critical in the study of ATU 545B, two translations are offered in these pages. The first is from Andrew Lang’s The Blue Fairy Book, a version that is based on the 1729 translation by Robert Samber. Samber was the first to translate Perrault into English. His versions of Perrault’s tales have been reprinted and adapted countless times, usually without crediting Samber as the source. Some outdated sources credit G.M. as the first translator but this has been disproved by Iona and Peter Opie based on a misprinted publication date of 1719 instead of the correct 1799. To read an unadulterated version of Samber’s translation of “Puss in Boots,” see the Opies’ The Classic Fairy Tales (1974). Most of the uncredited English translations of Perrault are derived from either Samber or G.M.’s work. Their translations were reprinted in countless chapbooks and other books for decades after their original printing.

To date, there has not been a definitive translation of Perrault preferred by scholars, but several translations are available, including but not limited to J.R. Planché (1858), Charles Welsh (1901), A. E. Johnson (1921), Stanley Applebaum (2002), and Christopher Betts (2009). I decided to include Planché’s translation since I have an affection for his style. Planché was a writer more than a translator and his literary finesse shines through in his prose, capturing the spirit of Perrault’s original French. More recently, Christine A. Jones has published a new translation in Mother Goose Refigured: A Critical Translation of Charles Perraults Fairy Tales (2016). If you are interested in the art, science and influence of fairy tale translation, an important resource is Gillian Lathey’s The Role of Translators in Children's Literature: Invisible Storytellers (2010).

[1] There is a fascinating debate over the correct translation of “Maitre” among scholars. For example, the title is translated as “The Capable Cat; or, Puss in Boots” in The Complete Fairy Tales in Verse and Prose translated by Stanley Appelbaum (2002). See Appelbaum’s introduction for a brief discussion of meanings for “Maitre.”

[2] Perrault did not invent Cinderella’s magical footwear wholesale, just their incredible composition of glass materials. And, no, the glass is not a poor translation of “vair” or “fur.” See Cinderella Tales From Around the World (2012) by Heidi Anne Heiner for further discussion of the glass slipper.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Puss in Boots Tale Type and the Earliest Recorded Versions

The plan for Puss in Boots and Other Cat Tales From Around the World was to always have a sizable section devoted to the most famous of fairy tale cats, Puss in Boots. I say famous, but the cat has waned in recognition over the years even with the boost provided by the Shrek film franchise.

There are 25 variants of Puss in Boots offered in Puss in Boots and Other Cat Tales From Around the World in addition to two articles--examples of early scholarship--about the tale and two additional translations of two of the earliest versions. That alone was enough to create a sizable book--165 pages are devoted to Puss in Boot stories.

Today I am sharing some excerpts from my introduction about the tale type in general and the earliest recorded versions, both Italian.

From the book's introduction:

The best known tale type featuring cats is ATU 545: The Cat as Helper which includes a cycle of related tales, primarily ATU 545A: The Cat Castle and ATU 545B: Puss in Boots. ATU 545B is the most prevalent tale in this cycle of tales. The earliest recorded variants of the tale in Europe feature cats as the helpers and true protagonists. A brief history of those tales follows, but it is important to note that once the tale leaves a concentrated European area, the helper is rarely a cat unless the tale is an obvious descendant of the early literary versions. In Europe, if the animal helper is not a cat, it is most often a fox. Moving into Asia, the animal may be a fox, but is most often a jackal, especially in India. In the Philippines it is a monkey. In Africa, it is a gazelle or a lion instead of a domesticated cat.               

Briefly, the ATU 545B type tells of a young man, often a youngest son, whose sole inheritance is a cat. He bemoans his fate and poverty. The cat, however, proves resourceful and through deceit, trickery and some murder—never fear, the victim is an ogre or other monster, an acceptable death in folklore—the cat helps the man reach the upper echelons of wealth and society, including a societal marriage to a princess. The morality of the tale is problematic for rarely do ill consequences fall upon the cat or the supposed master for their deceptions. Some tales offer a coda showing various levels of reward or honor provided to the cat, often focusing on the lack thereof, for the master is usually quick to forget that all he owns is due to the cat’s loyalty and cunning maneuverings.

[Footnote: The cycle also includes ATU 545A*: The Magic Castle and ATU 545D*: The Pea King. These tale types are rare and hard to find in English translation. They are not represented in the present volume since they rarely, if ever, feature cats in the narrative. The best example of a Pea King tale—in which an enchanted bean provides many services similar to those rendered by Puss in Boots—can be found in Italo Calvino’s Italian Folktales (1980) as “Dealer in Peas and Beans” which was in turn adapted from the tale “Don Giovanni Misiranti,” found in English translation in The Collected Sicilian Folk and Fairy Tales of Giuseppe Pitré (2009). The Pitré collection also includes a rare ATU 545A* tale, “The Enchanted Dog.”]

The earliest literary versions, both from Italy:

Le piacevoli notti, most often translated as The Facetious Nights or The Pleasant Nights, by Giovanni Francesco Straparola, was first published in two parts in 1550 and 1553. Little is known about Straparola—most likely not his real surname—but he is often called the father (or godfather) of the literary fairy tale since his Le piacevoli notti contains several tales that are precursors to later literary fairy tales. This is open to debate but nevertheless his work has an important notch on any timeline of fairy tale history. Whoever the author and whatever his sources and methods, Le piacevoli notti gathers tales presented under the conceit that they were shared at a thirteen day festival in Venice, similar to the framing conceit of many collections around this era, including The Decameron and The Canterbury Tales. They range widely in subject and style with many ribald and extremely violent elements. It has rarely been translated into English with one of the earliest English translators, W. G. Waters, translating some parts into French instead of English to protect the sensibilities of his readers.

The first tale of the eleventh night is not titled—none of the tales are—but is familiarly known as “Costantino Fortunato” or “Costantino and His Wonderful Cat.” Waters fortunately considered this tale tame enough to be rendered completely into English. His translation is provided in the current collection. The tale is the first known recorded version of an ATU 545B tale. Another excellent English translation with extensive commentary and resources can be found in The Pleasant Nights, Volume 2 by Giovan Francesco Straparola edited by Donald Beecher (2012). Beecher offers an extensive commentary on the tale, one of the best and most recent articles on the tale’s history.

Based on the widespread prevalence of this tale type and the inclusion of many common folktale elements, most scholars think that the tale was well-known before Straparola recorded it in enduring print for the first time. Its close resemblance to Perrault’s “Puss in Boots” also leads to the majority conclusion that Perrault was familiar with the tale and drew from Straparola as a major source of inspiration.

Over eighty years later, Lo cunto de li cunti, overo Lo trattenemiento de ‘peccerille (The Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones), also familiarly known as Il Pentamerone, by Giambattista Basile was first published posthumously in 1634-6. The book is a collection of fifty tales told within a framework story. Many of the tales are early literary versions of popular fairy tales, just like Straparola’s collection.

The fourth entertainment of the second day, “Gagliuso,” also known in some translations as “Cagliuso,” is an ATU 545B tale that differs significantly from Straparola. One key commonality between the two tales, however, is that the cat is female. In Perrault and most of the later recorded ATU 545B tales, the cat is male when the gender is described. Two translations of “Gagliuso” are included in the present volume.

For further reading and one of the most authoritative English translations of Basile, consult Nancy Canepa’s Giambattista Basile's “The Tale of Tales, or Entertainment for Little Ones” (2007). Despite the title’s implications, the book was not intended for a child audience but rather conveyed the “low class” or folkloric entertainment the tales emulated. While not as ribald as Straparola, much of the content would not be considered suitable for a modern children’s audience.             

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Today Only: Lots for Fairy Tale and Myth Ebook Titles on Sale!

Amazon's Kindle Daily Deal offers 57 titles in the Kindle Books Kids (and You) Will Love sale. There are several fairy tale and mythology titles--including several of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series. There are also several fairy tale novels by Melanie Dickerson. And Chris Colfer is on the list, too, which his books are generating fairy tale questions to me these days, too.

So there's a lot to find there for all ages!

Hidden in the list is also Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell, a steampunkish Cinderella.

And The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows...

So there's a lot of reading goodness. Best sale I've seen for people like us--folk and fairy tale lovers--so far this holiday season. And I doubt there will be a better one!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Now Available: Puss in Boots and Other Cat Tales From Around the World

Puss in Boots and Other Cat Tales From Around the World (US Link) and Puss in Boots and Other Cat Tales From Around the World (UK Link) are now available for ordering on Amazon and Amazon UK. The titles will start populating at other booksellers in the coming days.

You can see the table of contents on my previous post at New Book: Puss in Boots and Other Cat Tales From Around the World.

The first question I am asked when I have mentioned this book in the last few years is, "Do you love cats? Why a cat book?"

Well, to be honest, no, I am not a cat lover although I love books and have worked as a librarian, stereotypical cat lover stuff. I am allergic to cats which has given me a very difficult relationship with them over the years. My husband has developed a severe allergy to them even worse than mine that will send him into a migraine if we aren't prepared to take preventative measures. So no cats in our home.

But that doesn't mean I don't love the folklore about cats. I've been studying and reading folklore for decades now and cats are a regular tried and true entity in many tales. I've been collecting stories in all sorts of categories for years. Honestly, I thought this book would be "easy" since I already had so many stories. But as I read and researched more, I kept adding tale types and other stories to the collection. I finally reached capacity and was only deleting good stories to make room for other ones. It was time to stop and share with the world. After searching through over 1,000 folklore, fairy tale, and cat books, I was done. The primary bibliography for the book has 150 sources. The results are diverse, fascinating and hopefully fun.

As I looked at other "cat books" of recent years, one of the concerns from readers in the reader reviews was animal cruelty and portrayal of cats. I can explain here that while there are a few examples of cats as victims in these stories, the vast majority of the tales focus on cats winning. The cats use cunning, flexibility, loyalty, and many other of their natural qualities to triumph in their stories. Conversely, they are rarely portrayed as evil either, even in the Witches and Cats stories. This book is a celebration of cats in all their glory with very few stories that will raise alarms.

So I hope you enjoy! On Monday, I will start sharing more in depth about the tales inside.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

New Book: Puss in Boots and Other Cat Tales From Around the World

Hallelujah! By Monday, but probably much sooner, Puss in Boots and Other Cat Tales From Around the World will be listed for ordering on Amazon. It will soon follow on other book seller sites. At the moment, the link is a dead one, but it could change at a moment's notice so I am inserting it.

One of the last items I read during my research was The Tiger in the House by Cal Van Vechten, a book published in 1920. I was quite amused, especially near the end of my journey into cat folklore, to read this:

There are so many folk-tales about cats that some enterprising young man of the future may fill a large book with these alone.

Ha! I may be a middle-aged woman--when did that happen?--but I've certainly filled a large book with cat tales alone. Well, a handful don't feature cats, but there are 271 entries in the book so there's plenty of cats within these pages.

Throughout December, I will be posting about the book with more in-depth posts about particular tales, finds, etc. but wanted to share the general book information in this first post.

From my introduction:

CAT folklore collections are not a new concept—there have been several excellent collections published over the years—but this is to my knowledge the most expansive collection by far to be compiled for publication. The average collection contains 15-30 tales within its pages. Puss in Boots and Other Cat Tales from Around the World offers over 250. While to some this may be considered a failure of good editing, the goal is to offer a wider range of tales featuring cats, and occasionally without cats, across cultures and themes. While it is far from comprehensive, the intent is to show many of the ways cats have been represented in world folklores.

This book is organized according to tale types and themes as well as countries of origin. First, we have several tales offered by their tale type, starting with the most famous folktale cat of all time, the titular “Puss in Boots,” and the tales that closely resemble that story. Other tale types with cats follow, including “Dick Wittington’s Cat,” Cat Brides, and “The Bremen Town Musicians.” Many other tale types are included in the More Cat Tales section. No attempt was made to tale type each story but when a common tale type was recognizable, it is noted in the tale’s introduction. All of these are also listed in an index of tale types in the end matter of this book.

Book description:

Whether domesticated or wild, cats have long attracted and repulsed humanity in countless cultures around the world. Folklore provides a view into the attitudes and beliefs surrounding cats through the centuries.

This collection gathers together examples of the earliest scholarship on cat folklore, compiling over 250 folktales, fables, and nursery rhymes about cats from around the world into one convenient anthology. Inside you’ll find variants of many fairy tales featuring cats, including:

• Puss in Boots (ATU 545B)
• Whittington and His Cat (ATU 1651)
• Cat Brides (ATU 402)
• The Bremen Town Musicians (ATU 130)
• The Magic Ring with Cat Helpers (ATU 560)
• Witches and Cats Lore

Dozens of additional tales about cats are presented with a wide range of themes from a variety of countries, too.

Whether you are a cat enthusiast or a student of folklore, this anthology offers a diverse array of tales that entertain and educate their readers, all gathered into one collection for the first time.

Table of Contents

Introduction by Heidi Anne Heiner
Notes About This Edition

ATU 545B: Puss in Boots

1 Puss in Boots: A Discussion of the Tale by W. R. S. Ralston 2
2 Puss in Boots: A Discussion of the Tale by Andrew Lang 16
3 How the Fox Wooed for the Miller the Daughter of the Pasha of Egypt Turkey 26
4 Puss in Boots Turkey 28
5 Costantino Fortunato Italy 31
6 Gagliuso (Taylor Translation) Italy 34
7 Gagliuso (Burton Translation) Italy 38
8 How the Beggar Boy Turned into Count Piro Italy 42
9 Don Joseph Pear Italy 47
10 Master Cat, or Puss in Boots, The (Samber) France 51
11 Master Cat, or Puss in Boots (Planche) France 55
12 Earl of Cattenborough, The England 59
13 Lord Peter Norway 63
14 Palace That Stood on Golden Pillars, The Sweden 67
15 Mighty Mikko Finland 77
16 Prince Csihán (Nettles) Hungary 85
17 Story of the Woman, Her Husband, and the Lion, The West Africa 92
18 Friendly Lion, and the Youth and His Wife, The Nigeria 94
19 Sultan Darai Tanzania 97
20 Story of a Gazelle, The India 124
21 Match-Making Jackal, The India 134
22 Clever Jackal, The India 140
23 Jogeshwar's Marriage India 142
24 Boroltai Ku Mongolia 146
25 Story of Juan and the Monkey, The Philippines 147
26 Masoy and the Ape Philippines 149
27 Monkey and Juan Pusong Tambi-tambi, The Philippines 152
28 Andres the Trapper Philippines 157
29 Domingo's Cat Brazil 163

ATU 1651: Whittington’s Cat

30 Whittington and His Cat: A Discussion of the Tale by Thomas Keightley 166
31 Whittington and His Cat: A Discussion of the Tale by W. A. Clouston 178
32 Cat, The Albania 185
33 Cats Who Made Their Master Rich, The Italy 186
34 Whittington and His Cat England 186
35 Cottager and His Cat, The Iceland 192
36 Honest Penny, The Norway 195
37 Three Brothers; or, the Cat, the Cock, and the Ladder, The France 198
38 Three Sons of Fortune, The Germany 204
39 Cat of Schilda, The Germany 207
40 Three Copecks, The Russia 209
41 Just Earnings Are Never Lost Serbia Serbia 212
42 Poor Man and His Three Sons, The Philippines 215

ATU 402: Cat Bride

43 Grave Prince and the Beneficent Cat, The Italy 218
44 White Cat, The France 229
45 White Cat of Ecija, The Spain 240
46 Cucúlin Ireland 243
47 Peter Humbug and the White Cat Denmark 252
48 Poor Miller's Boy and the Cat, The Germany 257
49 Silly Jura Czech Republic Czech Republic 261
50 Cat Who Became a Queen, The India 263

ATU 130: The Bremen Town Musicians

51 Benibaire Spain 268
52 Bull, the Tup, the Cock, and the Steg, The England 270
53 Jack and His Comrades Ireland 271
54 Story of the White Pet, The Scotland 276
55 Choristers of St. Gudule, The Belgium 280
56 Bremen Town Musicians, The Germany 284
57 Martin's Eve Austria 287
58 World's Reward, The South Africa 288
59 Monkey and the Crab, The Japan 290
60 Battle of the Ape and the Crab, The Japan 291
61 How Jack Went to Seek His Fortune: I United States 293
62 How Jack Went to Seek His Fortune: II United States 296
63 Dog, the Cat, the Ass, and the Cock, The United States 298

ATU 480: The Kind and Unkind Girls

64 Cats, The Greece 302
65 Little Convent of Cats, The Italy 304
66 Colony of Cats, The Italy 307
67 Teresina, Luisa, and the Bear Italy 312
68 Two Sisters, The Austria 313
69 Two Caskets, The (Thorpe) Sweden 316
70 Two Caskets, The (Lang) Sweden 328
71 Good Child and the Bad, The Liberia 335
72 Juanita, Marianita, the Cat and the Bear North America 337

ATU 560: The Magic Ring

73 Cat and Dog and the Talisman, The Turkey 342
74 Grateful Snake, Cat, and Dog and the Talisman, The Turkey 344
75 Snake, the Dog, and the Cat, The Greece 348
76 Gigi and the Magic Ring Italy 351
77 Hind of the Golden Apple, The Portugal 357
78 Enchanted Watch, The France 360
79 Three Years Without Wages Norway 363
80 Ring with Twelve Screws, The Russia 370
81 Enchanted Ring, The Russia 376
82 Sharau Russia 385
83 Story of the Man Who Bought Three Pieces of Advice, The Iran 389
84 Clever Cat, The Africa 396
85 Wonderful Ring, The (Nigeria) Nigeria 404
86 Magic Ring of the Lord Solomon, The India 410
87 Merchant, the Princess and the Grateful Animals, The India 412
88 Prince and His Animal Friends, The India 416
89 Charmed Ring, The India 418
90 Wonderful Ring, The (India) India 425
91 Lita and His Animals India 430
92 Golden Beetle; or, Why the Dog Hates the Cat, The China 436
93 Why Dog and Cat Are Enemies China 444
94 Tokgabi's Menagerie (Cats and Dogs) Korea 445
95 Why Dogs Wag Their Tails Philippines 448
96 Juan Manalaksan Philippines 450
97 Juan the Poor, Who Became Juan the King Philippines 452

Witches and Cats

98 Cats of San Lorenzo, The Italy 462
99 San Miniato fra le Torre Italy 464
100 How Diana Made the Stars and the Rain Italy 465
101 Diana as Giving Beauty and Restoring Strength Italy 467
102 Cat-Hags of Gries, The Italy 470
103 Green Lady: Norfolk, The England 471
104 Weaver's Wife and the Witch, The England 472
105 Cat Witches, The Wales 473
106 Two Cat Witches, The Wales 475
107 Macgillichallum of Razay Scotland 477
108 Witch of Laggan, The Scotland 479
109 Severed Hand, The (Norway) Norway 483
110 Witch Burnt, A Netherlands 484
111 Witch's Cat, The Belgium 485
112 Devil's Cat, The Germany 488
113 Severed Hand, The (Germany) Germany 489
114 Witch, The Russia 490
115 Lady Who Became a Cat, The India 493
116 Vampire Cat of Nabeshima, The Japan 495
117 Plantation Witch, A States 500
118 Crow and Cat of Hopkinshill, The States 503
119 Black Cat, The United States 504
120 Cat Who Wanted Shoes, The States 505
121 Woman-Cat, The States 505

More Cat Tales

122 Cat, The Turkey 508
123 Prophet and the Cat, The Turkey 510
124 Countess's Cat, The Italy 511
125 Why Cats and Dogs Always Quarrel Italy 512
126 Cat and the Mouse, The (Italy) Italy 513
127 Feast Day, A Italy 515
128 Giant Jordan, The Italy 517
129 Story of a Cat's Tail, The Portugal 520
130 Mally Dixon England 522
131 Dildrum, King of the Cats England 523
132 Johnny Reed's Cat England 523
133 King o' the Cats, The England 526
134 Spectral Cat, The England 528
135 Mouse and Mouser England 533
136 Cat and the Mouse, The (England) England 535
137 Owney and Owney-na-peak Ireland 536
138 Cat of the Carman's Stage, The Ireland 546
139 Enchanted Cat of Bantry, The Ireland 547
140 Concerning Cats Ireland 549
141 King of the Cats, The (Ireland) Ireland 551
142 Demon Cat, The Ireland 552
143 Cat Nature Ireland 553
144 Seanchan the Bard and the King of the Cats Ireland 556
145 King Arthur and the Cat Ireland 560
146 Murroghoo-more and Murroghoo-beg Ireland 562
147 Little White Cat, The Ireland 566
148 Black Cat, The Scotland 575
149 King of the Cats, The (Scotland) Scotland 576
150 Cattie Sits in the Kiln-Ring Spinning, The Scotland 577
151 Widow and Her Daughters, The Scotland 580
152 Poor Woman and Her Three Daughters, The Scotland 584
153 Kisa the Cat Iceland 585
154 Greedy Cat, The Norway 589
155 Mirri, the Cat Finland Finland 593
156 Troll Turned Cat, The Denmark 595
157 Cat and the Cradle, The Netherlands 596
158 Why Cats Always Wash after Eating Belgium 600
159 Fox and the Cat, The (Germany) Germany 601
160 Cat and Mouse in Partnership Germany 602
161 Lazy Cat, The Hungary 605
162 Enchanted Cat, The Hungary 607
163 Why the Dog and Cat and the Cat and Mouse Are Enemies Estonia 612
164 Three Sisters, The Estonia 613
165 Courageous Barn-Keeper, The Estonia 614
166 Story of the Dog, the Cat and the Mouse, The Romania 621
167 Story of Adam and Eve and the Devil, The Romania 623
168 Story of the Cat, the Mouse and Noah, The Romania 624
169 Town Mouse and the Field Mouse, The Romania 625
170 Enchanted City, The Ukraine) 626
171 Fox and the Cat, The (Ukraine) Ukraine 630
172 Cat, the Cock, and the Fox, The Ukraine 633
173 Seven Simeons, Full Brothers, The Russia 635
174 Cat Who Became Head-Forester, The Russia 640
175 Story of the Tom-Cat and the Cock Russia 643
176 Bear, the Dog, and the Cat, The Russia 648
177 Ideas and Superstitions About Cats in the Holy Land Holy Land 651
178 Cat as Sham Holy Man, The Palestine 653
179 Why Does the Cat Eat Mice More than Any Other Creeping Thing? Hebrew 655
180 Why Does the Dog Fight the Cat? Hebrew 656
181 Why Is It that the Dog Recognises His Master and the Cat Does Not? Hebrew 658
182 Why Is There a Seam in the Mouth of the Mouse? Hebrew 658
183 Quarrel of the Cat and Dog, The Jewish 659
184 Cat and the Mouse, The (Iran) Iran 663
185 Story of an Ambitious Cat Iran 668
186 Why the Cat Kills Rats Nigeria 668
187 How a Hunter Obtained Money from His Friends the Leopard, Goat, Bush Cat, and Cock, and How He Got Out of Repaying Them Nigeria 669
188 Cat's Tail, The Kenya 671
189 Paka the Cat Kenya 673
190 Cat and the Parrot, The India 675
191 Cat and the Sparrows, The India 679
192 Punishment Visited upon the Wrong Persons India 681
193 Hypocritical Cat, The (India) India 682
194 Otters and the Cat, The India 683
195 Barru Jataka: The Greedy and Angry Cats, The India 686
196 Mouse and the Farmer, The India 687
197 Lean Cat and the Fat Cat, The India 689
198 How the Cat Came to Live with Man India 692
199 Story of a Cat, a Mouse, a Lizard and an Owl, The India 693
200 Tiger and the Rats, The India 698
201 Tiger and the Cat, The India 699
202 Tigers and the Cat, The India 700
203 How Raja Rasâlu Played Chaupur with King Sarkap India 701
204 Princess and the Cat, The India 705
205 Great Rat, The China 707
206 Two Cats, The China 707
207 Hypocritical Cat, The (China) China 710
208 Cat and the Mice, The (China) China 711
209 Boy Who Drew Cats, The Japan 713
210 Shippeitaro Japan 716
211 Story of the Faithful Cat, The Japan 718
212 Cat's Elopement, The Japan 719
213 Lion and the Cat, The North America 721
214 Secret Room, The United States 726
215 Why the Cat Always Falls Upon Her Feet Unknown 728
216 Cat and the Mice, The (Aesop) Aesop 732


217 Eagle, the Cat, and the Wild Sow, The Aesop 732
218 Parrot and the Cat, The Aesop 733
219 Cat and the Cock, The Aesop 734
220 Venus and the Cat Aesop 734
221 Cat-Maiden, The Aesop 735
222 Belling the Cat Fable 736
223 Fox and the Cat, The (Fable) Fable 737
224 Cat and the Birds, The Aesop 738
225 Council Held by the Rats, The La Fontaine Fable 738
226 Cat and the Thrush, The La Fontaine Fable 740
227 Dog and Cat, The La Fontaine Fable 741
228 Cat Metamorphosed into a Woman, The La Fontaine Fable 742
229 Eagle, the Wild Sow, and the Cat, The La Fontaine Fable 743
230 Cat and the Old Rat, The La Fontaine Fable 745
231 Cat, the Weasel, and the Young Rabbit, The La Fontaine Fable 747
232 Cat and the Rat, The La Fontaine Fable 748
233 Monkey and the Cat, The La Fontaine Fable 750
234 Cat and the Fox, The La Fontaine Fable 752
235 Cat and the Two Sparrows, The La Fontaine Fable 753
236 League of the Rats, The La Fontaine Fable 754
237 Quarrel of the Dogs and Cats, and that of the Cats and Mice, The La Fontaine Fable 756
238 Cockerel, the Cat, and the Young Mouse, The La Fontaine Fable 758
239 Old Cat and the Young Mouse, The La Fontaine Fable 759
240 Cook and the Cat, The Krylov 761
241 Pike and the Cat, The Krylov 762
242 Wolf and the Cat, The Krylov 763
243 Cat and the Nightingale, The Krylov 764

Nursery Rhymes

244 Crooked Sixpence, The Nursery Rhyme 766
245 Hey! Diddle, Diddle Nursery Rhyme 766
246 Cat Came Fiddling Out of a Barn, A Nursery Rhyme 767
247 Pussy Sits Behind the Fire Nursery Rhyme 768
248 Pussy Sat by the Fire-side Nursery Rhyme 768
249 Pussey Cat Sits by the Fire Nursery Rhyme 769
250 Cat Sat Asleep by the Side of the Fire, The Nursery Rhyme 769
251 Feedum, Fiddledum Fee Nursery Rhyme 770
252 Cat Ran Up the Plum-Tree, The Nursery Rhyme 770
253 As Titty Mouse Sat in the Witty to Spin Nursery Rhyme 771
254 Some Little Mice Sat in a Barn to Spin Nursery Rhyme 771
255 As I Was Going to St. Ives Nursery Rhyme 772
256 Kilkenny Cats, The Nursery Rhyme 772
257 My Father Left Me Three Acres of Land Nursery Rhyme 773
258 Ding Dong Bell Nursery Rhyme 774
259 Pussicat, Wussicat, with a White Foot Nursery Rhyme 775
260 Pussy Cat Mole Nursery Rhyme 775
261 I Like Little Pussy, Her Coat Is So Warm Nursery Rhyme 775
262 Ride, Baby, Ride Nursery Rhyme 776
263 Ride Away, Ride Away Nursery Rhyme 776
264 Highty Cock O! Nursery Rhyme 777
265 Sing, Sing, What Shall I Sing? Nursery Rhyme 777
266 Dame Trot and Her Cat Nursery Rhyme 778
267 Pussy Cat Eat the Dumplings Nursery Rhyme 778
268 Little Robin Redbreast Sat upon a Tree Nursery Rhyme 779
269 ABC Nursery Rhyme 779
270 Pussy-Cat, Pussy-Cat, Where Have You Been? Nursery Rhyme 780
271 I Have Been to Market, My Lady, My Lady Nursery Rhyme 780

Primary Bibliography
Secondary Bibliography
Tale Type Index

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Coming to DVD: Classic Storybook Collection with Hayley Mills

Classic Storybook Collection with Hayley Mills will be released on 1/17/17. The 2-DVD set includes all 32 segments from the show's run:


Travel to a world of make-believe with your host HAYLEY MILLS as these fanciful, educational stories come to life. Come away on a journey you’ll treasure forever with this enchanting, animated anthology.

Target Audience:

Kids 3-7, Parents 30+

Notable Cast/Crew:

Voice talents of James Earl Jones, Mickey Rooney, John Carradine, Tammy Grimes, Ruth Buzzi, June Foray (Granny in Looney Tunes cartoons and Cindy Lou Who in How The Grinch Stole Christmas), Hans Conried (Captain Hook in Peter Pan and Dr. T in The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.), Lucille Bliss (Smurfette in Smurfs), Jack Angel (King Zarkon in Voltron) and more!

Key selling points:

- Produced for TV and school libraries as The Storybook Series with Hayley Mills
- Reminiscent of “Reading Rainbow” which has enjoyed a recent resurgence
- The entire collection of stories were produced by Bosustow Entertainment – a prestigious animation studio from the 1960s-1990s with multiple Emmy® and Oscar® winning features along with animated segments for Sesame Street and CBS After School TV Specials
- DVD + DIGITAL ACCESS – provides consumers with 2 ways to watch!


The Fisherman and His Wife
Tom Thumb
Seven with One Blow
The Youth Who Wanted to Shiver
Three Golden Hairs
Hans in Luck
Hug Me
Silver Pony
The Furious Flycycle
Someone New
Ghost in the Shed
The Reluctant Dragon


The Practical Princess
Beauty and the Beast
I'm Not Oscar's Friend Anymore
Martha Ann and the Mother Store
The Man Who Had No Dream
The Legend of Paul Bunyan
The Wave: A Japanese Folktale
Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Just Say Hic!
The Beginning
Who Do You Think Should Belong to the Club?
Good Goodies
Noises in the Night
All in the Morning Early
Birds of a Feather
Modern Life
My Mother is the Most Beautiful Mother in the World

Bargain Ebook: The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton for $1.99 including Transformations

The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton is on sale for $1.99 in ebook format. The book merits mention here since the complete poems includes Sexton's landmark Transformations collection of fairy tale poems. Transformations is currently selling for $7.99, $14.95 in paper, so with this book you get it and all of her other poetry for $1.99. That's exceptional and a price break I have never seen before unless you buy a used copy. Sexton's work is often studied and mentioned in literary fairy tale studies so it's an important part of a fairy tale library, too. Of course, the poems are not for the faint of heart either, so be aware of that.

Book description:

The collected works of Anne Sexton showcase the astonishing career of one of the twentieth century’s most influential poets

For Anne Sexton, writing served as both a means of expressing the inner turmoil she experienced for most of her life and as a therapeutic force through which she exorcised her demons. Some of the richest poetic descriptions of depression, anxiety, and desperate hope can be found within Sexton’s work. The Complete Poems, which includes the eight collections published during her life, two posthumously published books, and other poems collected after her death, brings together her remarkable body of work with all of its range of emotion.

With her first collection, the haunting To Bedlam and Part Way Back, Sexton stunned critics with her frank treatment of subjects like masturbation, incest, and abortion, blazing a trail for representations of the body, particularly the female body, in poetry. She documented four years of mental illness in her moving Pulitzer Prize–winning collection Live or Die, and reimagined classic fairy tales as macabre and sardonic poems in Transformations. The Awful Rowing Toward God, the last book finished in her lifetime, is an earnest and affecting meditation on the existence of God. As a whole, The Complete Poems reveals a brilliant yet tormented poet who bared her deepest urges, fears, and desires in order to create extraordinarily striking and enduring art.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Bargain Ebook: The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire) by C. J. Redwine for $2.99

The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire) by C. J. Redwine is on sale in ebook format today for $2.99! This was the only book in the 442 ebooks on sale for Cyber Monday on Amazon that was fairy tale related. That's rather rare, but if I had a book to choose for the list, this would be on my short list.

Redwine lives in my area and I got to hear her speak last month at the Southern Festival of Books. It wasn't my first time, but each time is more fun than the last. She's so funny! This is part of a planned long series with lots of world building and several fairy tales in the mix. This is the first time the book has been bargain priced to my knowledge, so get it now if you haven't already!

Reminder! Today is the last day to Get $10 off $25 print book purchase on Amazon!

Book description:

A New York Times bestselling dark epic fantasy inspired by the tale of Snow White, from C. J. Redwine, the author of the Defiance series. This breathtakingly romantic, action-packed fantasy is perfect for fans of A Court of Thorns and Roses and Cinder.

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic of his own—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman—and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Get $10 off $25 print book purchase on Amazon!

Get $10 off $25 print book purchase on Amazon! I look for this every Thanksgiving and use it to get a book off my wish list.

Terms & Conditions
▪ To use this promotion, you must enter “HOLIDAYBOOK” at checkout under the “Gift cards & promotional codes” section to receive $10 off any books purchase of $25 or more.
▪ This offer is valid on print books only. Excludes eBooks and Audiobooks, Book Rentals and Amazon Gift Cards.
▪ The promotion is valid for a limited time, on orders placed between November 24, 2016 at 12:01am EST and November 28, 2016 at 02:59am EST. Amazon reserves the right to modify or cancel this offer at any time.
▪ Offer only applies to products sold and shipped by
▪ Limit one promotional code per customer and account.
▪ Each code may be used only once and may not be combined with other offers.
▪ The maximum benefit you may receive from this offer is $10.
▪ Offer good while supplies last.
▪ Offer is non-transferable and may not be resold.
▪ If any of the products or content related to this promotion are returned, the value of the offer will be subtracted from your return credit.
▪ This promotion may not be combined with other offers, including promotional certificates.
▪ Items must be purchased in a single order and shipped at the same speed to a single address.
▪ If you violate any of the Terms & Conditions, the promotion will be invalid.
▪ Void where prohibited.
▪ Shipping charges may apply to discounted and free promotional items.

Bargain Ebook: West of the Moon by Margi Preus

West of the Moon by Margi Preus is on sale for $3.72 in ebook format, down from its usual $7 price. This has been on my wishlist so I grabbed it at this price.

Book description:

In West of the Moon, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Margi Preus expertly weaves original fiction with myth and folktale to tell the story of Astri, a young Norwegian girl desperate to join her father in America. After being separated from her sister and sold to a cruel goat farmer, Astri makes a daring escape. She quickly retrieves her little sister, and, armed with a troll treasure, a book of spells and curses, and a possibly magic hairbrush, they set off for America. With a mysterious companion in tow and the malevolent "boatman" in pursuit, the girls head over the Norwegian mountains, through field and forest, and in and out of folktales and dreams as they steadily make their way east of the sun and west of the moon.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Cecelia and Kate Novels by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer for $1.99 (For all 3!)

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm taking a "sit break" real quick from my Thanksgiving hosting demands and sharing this treasure because it makes me smile just to think about it.

The Cecelia and Kate Novels: Sorcery & Cecelia, The Grand Tour, and The Mislaid Magician by Patricia C. Wrede (Author) and Caroline Stevermer (Author) is on sale for $1.99--it's usually $9.99 so that is a bargain. That's 3 books for two bucks and they are excellent books, too.

I've recommended these repeatedly over the years with about a 98% success rate of people loving them. Sorcery & Cecelia was a cult classic for years that was out of print with paperback editions selling for sometimes $100. Yes, that was years ago and I am old. But Wrede and Stevermer then wrote the two sequels and the first book got reprinted as a result. Now they never have to go out of print again with the digital age. Love that!

So if you haven't read these, they will make a nice escape once your six hours of Gilmore Girls watching has been completed this weekend. Because according to the media that is what everyone will be doing instead of shopping. And I will be one of them! I'm ready for a trip to Stars Hollow myself.

Book descriptions:

A trio of bewitching novels featuring devoted cousins who must juggle their magical powers with their duties as ladies in Regency-era England.

Enter Regency-era England—and a world in which magical mayhem and high society go hand in hand—with three novels featuring cousins Cecelia and Kate.

In Sorcery & Cecelia, the two cousins have been inseparable since girlhood. But in 1817, Kate goes to London to make her debut into English society, leaving Cecelia behind to fight boredom in her small country town. While visiting the Royal College of Wizards, Kate stumbles on a plot to destroy a beloved sorcerer—and only Cecelia can help her save him.

In The Grand Tour, Cecelia and Kate, along with their husbands, are inaugurating married life with a trip to the Continent. When a mysterious woman in Calais gives Cecelia a package intended for Kate’s mother-in-law, however, the two young wives realize they must spend their honeymoons preventing an emperor-in-exile named Napoleon from reclaiming the French crown.

In The Mislaid Magician, it is 1828 and the cousins are now society matrons. The steam engine is announcing its arrival and the shaking of the locomotives begins to disrupt England’s ancient, underground magical ley lines. When the disappearance of a foreign diplomat threatens to become an international incident, Cecelia departs to fight for the future of magic—leaving Kate to care for a gaggle of disobedient, spell-casting tots.

Blending history, romance, and magic, these charming novels from the author of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles will delight anyone who loves Harry Potter or Susannah Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

New Book: Beast by Brie Spangler

Beast by Brie Spangler was released last month. It's a Beauty and the Beast retelling so that's catnip for the majority of the readers here. It's on my own TBR list for that reason.

Book description:

A witty, wise, and heart-wrenching reimagining of Beauty and the Beast that will appeal to fans of Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan.

Tall, meaty, muscle-bound, and hairier than most throw rugs, Dylan doesn’t look like your average fifteen-year-old, so, naturally, high school has not been kind to him. To make matters worse, on the day his school bans hats (his preferred camouflage), Dylan goes up on his roof only to fall and wake up in the hospital with a broken leg—and a mandate to attend group therapy for self-harmers.

Dylan vows to say nothing and zones out at therapy—until he meets Jamie. She’s funny, smart, and so stunning, even his womanizing best friend, JP, would be jealous. She’s also the first person to ever call Dylan out on his self-pitying and superficiality. As Jamie’s humanity and wisdom begin to rub off on Dylan, they become more than just friends. But there is something Dylan doesn’t know about Jamie, something she shared with the group the day he wasn’t listening. Something that shouldn’t change a thing. She is who she’s always been—an amazing photographer and devoted friend, who also happens to be transgender. But will Dylan see it that way?

"Writing smartly in Dylan's voice, Spangler artfully represents both main characters: the boy who feels like a freak and the witty, imperfect, wise trans girl he loves. Very lightly borrowing on the classic fairy tale, she allows them to fail and succeed without resorting to paper villains or violent plot points to manipulate compassion. A believable and beautiful human story."--Kirkus, starred review

"Spangler’s captivating portrayals of Dylan and Jamie offer piercing insight into the long, painful battle to shatter stereotypes in order to win dignity, love, and acceptance."--Publishers Weekly, Starred review

Sunday, November 20, 2016

New Book: Elf Queens and Holy Friars: Fairy Beliefs and the Medieval Church (The Middle Ages Series) by Richard Firth Green

Elf Queens and Holy Friars: Fairy Beliefs and the Medieval Church (The Middle Ages Series) by Richard Firth Green was released a few months ago. I learned about it shortly after and have been stalking it ever since. Which is funny because it's not my top tier catnip but this topic and time period fascinate me.

Book description:

In Elf Queens and Holy Friars Richard Firth Green investigates an important aspect of medieval culture that has been largely ignored by modern literary scholarship: the omnipresent belief in fairyland.

Taking as his starting point the assumption that the major cultural gulf in the Middle Ages was less between the wealthy and the poor than between the learned and the lay, Green explores the church's systematic demonization of fairies and infernalization of fairyland. He argues that when medieval preachers inveighed against the demons that they portrayed as threatening their flocks, they were in reality often waging war against fairy beliefs. The recognition that medieval demonology, and indeed pastoral theology, were packed with coded references to popular lore opens up a whole new avenue for the investigation of medieval vernacular culture.

Elf Queens and Holy Friars offers a detailed account of the church's attempts to suppress or redirect belief in such things as fairy lovers, changelings, and alternative versions of the afterlife. That the church took these fairy beliefs so seriously suggests that they were ideologically loaded, and this fact makes a huge difference in the way we read medieval romance, the literary genre that treats them most explicitly. The war on fairy beliefs increased in intensity toward the end of the Middle Ages, becoming finally a significant factor in the witch-hunting of the Renaissance.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Believing in Fairies
Chapter 2. Policing Vernacular Belief
Chapter 3. Incubi Fairies
Chapter 4. Christ the Changeling
Chapter 5. Living in Fairyland


You can read an excerpt on the publisher's site.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Bargain Ebook: Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire

Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire is on sale in ebook format for $1.99. This book features Baba Yaga and Russian folklore. Maguire has written several fairy tale retellings for both young and old although he is of course most famous for his Wicked. This is the first time this has been on sale to my knowledge.

Book description:

In this tour de force, master storyteller Gregory Maguire offers a dazzling novel for fantasy lovers of all ages. Elena Rudina lives in the impoverished Russian countryside. Her father has been dead for years. One of her brothers has been conscripted into the Tsar’s army, the other taken as a servant in the house of the local landowner. Her mother is dying, slowly, in their tiny cabin. And there is no food. But then a train arrives in the village, a train carrying untold wealth, a cornucopia of food, and a noble family destined to visit the Tsar in Saint Petersburg—a family that includes Ekaterina, a girl of Elena’s age. When the two girls’ lives collide, an adventure is set in motion, an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and—in a starring role only Gregory Maguire could have conjured—Baba Yaga, witch of Russian folklore, in her ambulatory house perched on chicken legs.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Fairy Tale Christmas Tree Ornaments

(Small sample of my collection. You can click on the photo above to see it larger.)

This is an edited repost from previous years for the weekend:

Okay, so it's that time of year when we start thinking of pulling holiday decorations from their dark, almost forgotten storage areas. I have noticed that a few people are ordering the fairy tale themed ornaments on CafePress. They are finding them in the CafePress Marketplace for $14.99 each, sometimes able to use a coupon there to purchase.

But for you loyal readers here, I'll let you in on a secret. They are available for $7.99 in the SurLaLune CafePress shop. You can't use a coupon there but this price still beats any coupon promotion in the Marketplace. Many Golden Age illustrations are available in the Ornaments shop I created years ago. And, yes, SurLaLune gets more than double the commission on the sale, too, despite the much lower price. Everyone wins!

SurLaLune isn't getting rich but proceeds from CafePress help pay for the site maintenance and it's upcoming redesign in early 2017! After all, the SurLaLune main site will be 18 years old in December. The site has been part of my life for 41% of my life now. (Do the math and figure out my age!)

As seen in the photos here, I own a lot of these ornaments. I don't decorate with fairy tales much in my house--sometimes I need a separation of church and state--but these ornaments have been favorites for years. That's actually our tree in 2011 when I didn't pull out the other ornaments to fluff the tree more. We now have a bigger tree in a different house so I get to fill it with these ornaments even more.

Now that all the nephews and nieces are older, they really enjoy identifying the stories on the ornaments. Each year I catch one of them studying the ornaments and looking for favorites. This year I am thinking of figuring out everyone's favorites and buying some to save for when each of the kids start their own trees someday. My house is one of the holiday hubs so those ornaments are part of the subtle holiday memories for my beloved brood.

New Book: Ireland's Immortals: A History of the Gods of Irish Myth by Mark Williams

Ireland's Immortals: A History of the Gods of Irish Myth by Mark Williams is a new book released this week. If you are interested in Irish folklore, this is a must for you.

This is a hefty tome of nearly 600 pages. I received a review copy but haven't had the time to read it closely yet. However, I have read some passages and the first impression I have is, "Wow, I didn't know that about ____." Fill in the blank to whatever I was reading on the page.

The second impression is "This is surprisingly very readable for how scholarly and informational it is." Because, yes, I, too, struggle with twenty-five cent words in many academic texts. If I paused to consider a sentence while I was reading this, it wasn't to parse the meaning of the sentence but to contemplate that meaning. The tone is even conversational with first person perspective offered which may be off-putting to some but which I find refreshing since that is the way I approach much of what I write. Reading this book makes you think that Mark Williams would make a fascinating dinner companion.

I mean really, here is a paragraph from the first page of chapter 1:

The earliest written evidence for native gods comes from early Christian Ireland, not from the pagan period; this is a pivotal fact which must be emphasized. Christianity did not entirely consign the pagan gods to the scrapheap, but the consequences of its arrival were dramatic and affected Irish society on every level. Pagan cult and ritual were discontinued, and a process was set in motion that eventually saw a small number of former deities reincarnated as literary characters. Christianity—intrinsically a religion of the book—enabled the widespread writing of texts in the Roman alphabet. Some of these have been transmitted to the present, with the paradoxical upshot that we owe our ability to say anything at all about the ‘personalities’ of Ireland’s pre-Christian gods to the island’s conversion.

That's fascinating and highly readable stuff if this is the type of stuff you like to read. Which if you are here, you most likely do.

There is also an excellent index which is what I used to look up passages with names and concepts I am familiar with--Yeats is represented abundantly but I also found Lady Jane Wilde--some of who's Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland I have been reading recently, she was a folklorist of sorts and mother to Oscar Wilde--as well as other writers such as James Stephens and Walter Sharp.

So if this topic interests you at all, I'd consider this one to be a new important addition to your library. It's earned a place on my shelves.

Book description:

Ireland’s Immortals tells the story of one of the world’s great mythologies. The first account of the gods of Irish myth to take in the whole sweep of Irish literature in both the nation’s languages, the book describes how Ireland’s pagan divinities were transformed into literary characters in the medieval Christian era—and how they were recast again during the Celtic Revival of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A lively narrative of supernatural beings and their fascinating and sometimes bizarre stories, Mark Williams’s comprehensive history traces how these gods—known as the Túatha Dé Danann—have shifted shape across the centuries, from Iron Age cult to medieval saga to today’s young-adult fiction.

We meet the heroic Lug; the Morrígan, crow goddess of battle; the fire goddess Brigit, who moonlights as a Christian saint; the mist-cloaked sea god Manannán mac Lir; and the ageless fairies who inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s immortal elves. Medieval clerics speculated that the Irish divinities might be devils, angels, or enchanters. W. B. Yeats invoked them to reimagine the national condition, while his friend George Russell beheld them in visions and understood them to be local versions of Hindu deities. The book also tells how the Scots repackaged Ireland’s divine beings as the gods of the Gael on both sides of the sea—and how Irish mythology continues to influence popular culture far beyond Ireland.

An unmatched chronicle of the Irish gods, Ireland’s Immortals illuminates why these mythical beings have loomed so large in the world’s imagination for so long.

Mark Williams is the Simon and June Li Fellow in the Humanities and Tutor in English at Lincoln College, University of Oxford, where he teaches medieval Irish, Welsh, and English literature. He is the author of Fiery Shapes: Celestial Portents and Astrology in Ireland and Wales, 700–1700.


"Scholars and researchers will leap to add [Ireland’s Immortals] to their collections."--Publishers Weekly


"In 1896, George Russell wrote to W. B. Yeats announcing that ‘the Gods have returned’ to Celtic realms; Mark Williams’s brilliant and powerful book makes good the claim. Learned, discursive, masterfully organized, and often very funny, it illuminates the cults, characters, personalities, and uses of Irish divinities from their emergence in saga, pseudohistory, and folklore through to their exploitation in the Celtic Revival and the literature of fantasy, and their analysis in modern scholarship. This is an important contribution to the history of religion, nationalism, and Gaelic culture; it is also so well written as to be unputdownable."--R. F. Foster, University of Oxford

"With its huge range, constant new insights, colorful material, and sparkling style, this is a truly remarkable book. It should delight a very big readership."--Ronald E. Hutton, University of Bristol

"This magnificent book is a tour de force and a great leap forward in the study of Irish mythology. Mark Williams tells the whole story of the Irish gods, tracing their transformation from ancient times through today. His discussions of medieval sagas, early modern scholarship, Celtic Revival mysticism, and contemporary fiction are equally assured, original, and substantial. Lively and engaging, Ireland's Immortals will appeal to general readers as well as students and scholars."--Ralph O'Connor, University of Aberdeen

"This is an extremely important book. It not only brings together known texts in new and exciting ways but also introduces important new interpretations. Mark Williams is one of the very few people with the expertise and good sense to be able to write a volume like this."--Paul Russell, University of Cambridge


List of Illustrations ix
Abbreviations xi
Preface xiii
Guide to Pronunciation xxi


1 Hidden Beginnings: From Cult to Conversion 3
2 Earthly Gods: Pagan Deities, Christian Meanings 30
3 Divine Culture: Exemplary Gods and the Mythological Cycle 72
4 New Mythologies: Pseudohistory and the Lore of Poets 128
5 Vulnerability and Grace: The Finn Cycle 194
6 Damaged Gods: The Late Middle Ages 248


7 The Imagination of the Country: Towards a National Pantheon 277
8 Danaan Mysteries: Occult Nationalism and the Divine Forms 310
9 Highland Divinities: The Celtic Revival in Scotland 361
10 Coherence and Canon: The Fairy Faith and the East 406
11 Gods of the Gap: A World Mythology 434
12 Artgods 489

Acknowledgements 503
Glossary of Technical Terms 507
Conspectus of Medieval Sources 511
Works Cited 517
Index 557