Hope & Glory
Updated: Dec 14, 2019
English folklore is based in the folk traditions which have evolved over many centuries and through a melting pot of cultural and ethnic change. Some stories can be traced back to their ancient roots, while the origin of others is uncertain or disputed. England is a land full of folklore and fairy legend, covering so many forms, including Robin Hood tales, Arthurian legend, and a myriad menagerie of beasts, elves, fairies and witches.
Pretty well every region in England has its own way of expressing ideas through traditional storytelling. Morris dancing and Mumming preserve many an old English folk tradition, and even some pub names preserve folk traditions.
Many parts of English and British folklore still contain evidence of Europe’s pre-Christian past, and in common with most other regions of Europe, some aspects of past Pagan religions survive in English Folklore. Examples of this include the Wild Hunt and Herne the Hunter which relate to the Germanic deity Woden. May Day celebrations such as the Maypole survive across much of England and Northern Europe.
In most cultures, there are blurred lines when we come to try and separate myth from folk or fairy tale. Together these blurred lines and long-served traditions combine to form the literature of our preliterate societies. The wonder of such storytelling is in the ritual. We have been sharing our stories, adult and child, for millennia. Before the advent of pen and parchment people relied on stories being passed through the generations as both history and as caution or adventure or excitement. Stories were and remain an essential element in the cultural and spiritual life of communities throughout England and the world over.
Listening to a story is like going on a journey. Only you can see the pictures in your mind. Only you can conjure the demons and the dragons and the heroes with such vivacity. As we travel through our story landscapes we are marked with wisdom and imagination. These are just some of the ingredients that simply are the wonder of storytelling.
Tales from the Land of Hope and Glory covers the English tradition in folk and fairy tale, in fable and saga. In compiling this collection from the works of just a few of my more illustrious forebears, I have been very warmly surprised at the breadth of subject matter. I’ve also come across stories that I had never read before, so the journey has been a delight.
Once again, I hope that you are as delighted with these wonderful tales as I have been in putting this collection together.