• Clive Gilson

Tales from the Land of the Brave

Updated: Dec 14, 2019

Tales from the Land of the Brave is book number two in the Fireside series of traditional folk and fairy tales collected from around the world. These tales are drawn from some of the great collectors of Celtic and Scottish storytelling, and as ever, these stories illustrate the beauty and the darkness inherent in our ancestral memories and in our “modern” interpretations of this confusing world.

These stories were, once upon a time, the fireside equivalent of a YouTube story, even to the extent that a theme is copied across race and geography and time and so becomes a slow moving meme. We might think of ourselves as advancing rapidly beyond boundaries, and in some ways that is true, but the fundamentals of storytelling remain much as they have ever been. The pace of the telling has shifted, but the methods of engaging the human imagination rely on some pretty long-served psychological hooks.

Our grandparents were “modern” back in the day. My daughter now looks at me askance if I mention certain bands and gigs and anything analogue. She will, of course, have to deal with her own seeming irrelevance in just a few short years. So the world turns and always has. I think that’s what I’m trying to hint at here – that these stories, as are all well told tales, are fundamentally timeless. These tales weave a magic in our heads and have done so for centuries. For millennia probably. Neither they nor we are ever irrelevant. We just move at different speeds through time and thought. Personally, I like the fact that I spend more time with my imagination as I grow older.

These myths and legends from Scotland have a distinctive local flavour, telling us about different ways of thinking and living, hooked back into dim and distant times. Scottish mythology consistently deals with so many varied aspects of nature and the supernatural. Donald Mackenzie, in his book Scottish Wonder Tales from Myth and Legend, states that the goddesses of the Scottish myths are not glorified, very much unlike the goddesses of ancient Greece. Their stories bring the smells and tastes and senses of a natural world right into our living rooms.

I hope you enjoy this small collection from a grand Scottish heritage. I’ve loved the process of reading and creating my own images from these wonderful stories.

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