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Myths and Legends

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By: Matthew Arnold

Balder Dead by Matthew Arnold Balder Dead

“Balder Dead” is a beautiful epic poem by Matthew Arnold. It draws from Norse mythology to retell the story of the the death of Odin’s son, Balder, instigated by the treacherous jealousy of Loki.

Tristram and Iseult & Sohrab and Rustum by Matthew Arnold Tristram and Iseult & Sohrab and Rustum

Tristram & Iseult is a narrative poem containing strong romantic and tragic themes: and was first published in 1852 by Matthew Arnold. This poem draws upon the Tristram and Iseult legends: which were popular with contemporary readers.The poem opens with Tristram upon his deathbed. The monologue of the dying man is shot through with sharp pangs of regret: centering upon his induced passion for Iseult of Ireland - inflamed by his unwittingly imbibing an irresistible love-potion.Before his decease, Tristram's lawful wife - Iseult of Ireland - arrives in time to share his deathbed...

By: Maude L. Radford (1875-1934)

King Arthur and His Knights by Maude L. Radford King Arthur and His Knights

Published in 1903, King Arthur and His Knights by Maude L. Radford is an easy to read version of the Arthurian legends, made simple and interesting for children. Maude Lavinia Radford Warren was a Canadian born American who taught literature and composition at the University of Chicago between 1893-1907. Following the success of some of her books, she left teaching to take up writing as a full time career. She also served as a war correspondent for the New York Times magazine during WWI and contributed several remarkable features on the role of women in the conflict...

By: Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)

Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne Tanglewood Tales

A sequel to Nathaniel Hawthorne's earlier volume of Greek mythology interpreted and retold for young people, Tanglewood Tales includes more legends and tales of ancient heroes and monsters. In his earlier book, A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys, Hawthorne had designed the book to be a book within a book. A young college student keeps a group of young children entertained by retelling Greek myths in a way in which they can easily understand. Nathaniel Hawthorne also wrote a brief introduction to Tanglewood Tales, entitled The Wayside...

By: Nennius

History of the Britons (Historia Brittonum) by Nennius History of the Britons (Historia Brittonum)

Although the origin of this book is much debated it remains, perhaps, one of the earliest recorded histories of Britain. It was believed that Nennius wrote the book around 796AD. If indeed he wrote this record, Nennius is recognised as being a teller, and embellisher, of historic characters and events.This book remains notable however, as one of the earliest that mention Arthur (The King of Arthurian legend).

By: Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

The Happy Prince and Other Tales by Oscar Wilde The Happy Prince and Other Tales

The Happy Prince and Other Tales (also sometimes called The Happy Prince and Other Stories) is an 1888 collection of stories for children by Oscar Wilde. It is most famous for The Happy Prince, the short tale of a metal statue who befriends a migratory bird. Together, they bring happiness to others, in life as well as in death. The stories included in this collection are:The Happy PrinceThe Nightingale and the RoseThe Selfish GiantThe Devoted FriendThe Remarkable RocketThe stories convey an appreciation for the exotic, the sensual and for masculine beauty.

By: Owen Wister (1860-1938)

The Dragon of Wantley by Owen Wister The Dragon of Wantley

A novel, The Dragon of Wantley, was written by Owen Wister (best known as the author of The Virginian) in 1892. Published by Lipincott Press, the story is a comic "burlesque" (in the author's words), concerning the "true" story of the Dragon. It is a romantic story set at Christmastime in the early 13th century. The book was a surprise success, going through four editions over the next ten years. This is the 1895 edition.

By: P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975)

William Tell Told Again by P. G. Wodehouse William Tell Told Again

This is the classic story of William Tell - Swiss patriot and great apple-shooter - as seen through the eyes of English humorist P.G. Wodehouse. No Swiss were (permanently) injured in the telling of this story; however, results differed for Austrian tyrants. The original volume also included a humorous poem encapsulating the whole Tell legend, written by John W. Houghton to accompany the sixteen color illustrations. For this audiobook, the stanzas have been collected and read as a single poem. (Introduction by Mark F. Smith)

By: Padraic Colum (1881-1972)

The Children of Odin by Padraic Colum The Children of Odin

Master storyteller Padraic Colum's rich, musical voice captures all the magic and majesty of the Norse sagas in his retellings of the adventures of the gods and goddesses who lived in the Northern paradise of Asgard before the dawn of history. Here are the matchless tales of All-Father Odin, who crosses the Rainbow Bridge to walk among men in Midgard and sacrifices his right eye to drink from the Well of Wisdom; of Thor, whose mighty hammer defends Asgard; of Loki, whose mischievous cunning leads him to treachery against the gods; of giants, dragons, dwarfs and Valkyries; and of the terrible last battle that destroyed their world.

The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy by Padraic Colum The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy

Also known as “The Children’s Homer,” this is Irish writer Padraic Colum’s retelling of the events of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey for young people. Colum’s rich, evocative prose narrates the travails of Odysseus, King of Ithaca: his experiences fighting the Trojan War, and his ten years’ journey home to his faithful wife Penelope and his son Telemachus.

The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles by Padraic Colum The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles

This is Irish folklorist Padraic Colum's masterful retelling of many Greek myths, focusing on Jason and the Argonauts' quest to find the Golden Fleece. He also includes the stories of Atalanta, Heracles, Perseus, Theseus, and others.

The King of Ireland's Son by Padraic Colum The King of Ireland's Son

The King of Ireland's Son is a children's novel published in Ireland in 1916 written by Padraic Colum, and illustrated by Willy Pogany. It is the story of the eldest of the King of Ireland's sons, and his adventures winning and then finding Fedelma, the Enchanter's Daughter, who after being won is kidnapped from him by the King of the Land of Mist. It is solidly based in Irish folklore, itself being originally a folktale. (Introduction by Wikipedia)

By: Paul Creswick (1866-1947)

Robin Hood by Paul Creswick Robin Hood

"Well, Robin, on what folly do you employ yourself? Do you cut sticks for our fire o' mornings?" Thus spoke Master Hugh Fitzooth, King's Ranger of the Forest at Locksley, as he entered his house.Robin flushed a little. "These are arrows, sir," he announced, holding one up for inspection.Dame Fitzooth smiled upon the boy as she rose to meet her lord. "What fortune do you bring us to-day, father?" asked she, cheerily.Fitzooth's face was a mask of discontent. "I bring myself, dame," answered he, "neither more nor less...

By: Peter Christen Asbjørnsen (1812-1885)

East of the Sun and West of the Moon by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen East of the Sun and West of the Moon

Once on a time there was a poor husbandman who had so many children that he hadn’t much of either food or clothing to give them. Pretty children they all were, but the prettiest was the youngest daughter, who was so lovely there was no end to her loveliness.So one day, ’twas on a Thursday evening late at the fall of the year, the weather was so wild and rough outside, and it was so cruelly dark, and rain fell and wind blew, till the walls of the cottage shook again. There they all sat round the fire, busy with this thing and that...

By: Publius Ovidius Naso

Book cover Metamorphoses

The Metamorphoses of Ovid is probably one of the best known, certainly one of the most influential works of the Ancient world. It consists of a narrative poem in fifteen books that describes the creation and history of the world through mythological tales, starting with a cosmogony and finishing with the deification of Julius Caesar. Published around 8 AD, the Metamorphoses are a source, sometimes the only source, for many of the most famous ancient myths, such as the stories of Daedalus and Icarus, Arachne or Narcisus...

By: Publius Vergilius Maro (70 BC - 19 AD)

The Aeneid by Publius Vergilius Maro The Aeneid

The Aeneid is a Latin epic written by Virgil in the 1st century BC that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who traveled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. The first six of the poem’s twelve books tell the story of Aeneas’ wanderings from Troy to Italy, and the poem’s second half treats the Trojans’ ultimately victorious war upon the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are destined to be subsumed. The poem was commissioned from Vergil by the Emperor Augustus to glorify Rome...

By: Richard Harris Barham (1788-1845)

The Ingoldsby Legends, 1st Series by Richard Harris Barham The Ingoldsby Legends, 1st Series

The Ingoldsby Legends are a collection of myths, legends, ghost stories and poetry supposedly written by Thomas Ingoldsby of Tappington Manor, actually a pen-name of Richard Harris Barham.The legends were first printed in 1837 as a regular series in Bentley's Miscellany and later in New Monthly Magazine. The legends were illustrated by John Leech and George Cruikshank. They proved immensely popular and were compiled into books published in 1840, 1842 and 1847 by Richard Bentley. They remained popular through the Victorian era but have since fallen out of fame. An omnibus edition appeared in 1879: The Ingoldsby Legends; or Mirth and marvels.

By: Robert E. Howard (1906-1936)

Red Nails by Robert E. Howard Red Nails

Conan the Cimmerian pursues the beautiful and deadly pirate Valeria after she kills a Stygian only to find himself cornered by a dragon. Apparently this dragon doesn’t know who he’s messing with. The pair then encounters the city of Xuchotl with its warring factions and ancient secrets. Swordplay and sorcery ensue. – Red Nails is Howard’s final Conan story and was published in the July, August, September and October 1936 issues of Weird Tales magazine

By: Ruth Edna Kelley

The Book of Hallowe'en by Ruth Edna Kelley The Book of Hallowe'en

This book is intended to give the reader an account of the origin and history of Hallowe’en, how it absorbed some customs belonging to other days in the year,—such as May Day, Midsummer, and Christmas. The context is illustrated by selections from ancient and modern poetry and prose, related to Hallowe’en ideas.

By: Ruth Plumly Thompson (1891-1976)

Book cover Kabumpo in Oz

Dear children: Do you like Elephants? Do you believe in Giants? And do you love all the jolly people of the Wonderful Land of Oz? Well then you'll want to hear about the latest happenings in that delightful Kingdom. All are set forth in true Oz fashion in "Kabumpo in Oz," the sixteenth Oz book. Kabumpo is an Elegant Elephant. He is very old and wise, and has a kindly heart, as have all the Oz folks. In the new book you'll meet Prince Pompa, and Peg Amy, a charming Wooden Doll. There are new countries, strange adventures and the most surprising Box of Magic you have ever heard of...

By: S. Baring-Gould (1834-1924)

The Book of Werewolves: Being an Account of a Terrible Superstition by S. Baring-Gould The Book of Werewolves: Being an Account of a Terrible Superstition

A survey of the myths and legends concerning lycanthropy from ancient times to the Victorian Era.

By: Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch (1863-1944)

Book cover Sleeping Beauty and other fairy tales From the Old French

What began as a translation project became a retelling of four classic fairy tales from the Cabinet des Fees, the French collection of over forty volumes. "Certainly the translations, when finished, did not satisfy me, and so I turned back to the beginning and have rewritten the stories in my own way, which (as you may say with the Irish butler) “may not be the best claret, but ’tis the best ye’ve got.” —Preface

By: Sir Edwin Arnold (1832-1904)

Book cover Book of Good Counsels - From the Sanskrit of the "Hitopadesa"

The term ‘Hitopadesha’ is a combination of two Sanskrit terms, ‘Hita’ (welfare/ benefit) and ‘Upadesha’ (counsel). As the term suggests, The Hitopadesha is a collection of tales that gives good counsel. Hitopadesa was presumably written by Narayan Pandit and is an independent treatment of the Vishnu Sarman's Panchatantra (3rd century BC) which it resembles in form. In Hitopadesha, Vishnu Sarman is depicted as a Sage who undertakes to give good counsel to the sons of Sudarsana, the king of Pataliputra, through stories within stories involving talking animals...

By: Sir George Webbe Dasent (1817-1896)

Popular Tales from the Norse by Sir George Webbe Dasent Popular Tales from the Norse

The most careless reader can hardly fail to see that many of the Tales in this volume have the same groundwork as those with which he has been familiar from his earliest youth. They are Nursery Tales, in fact, of the days when there were tales in nurseries–old wives’ fables, which have faded away before the light of gas and the power of steam. (Excerpt from Popular Tales from the Norse.)

By: Sir Thomas Malory

Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory Le Morte d'Arthur

Le Morte d’Arthur (spelled Le Morte Darthur in the first printing and also in some modern editions, Middle French for la mort d’Arthur, “the death of Arthur”) is Sir Thomas Malory’s compilation of some French and English Arthurian romances. The book contains some of Malory’s own original material (the Gareth story) and retells the older stories in light of Malory’s own views and interpretations. First published in 1485 by William Caxton, Le Morte d’Arthur is perhaps the best-known work of English-language Arthurian literature today. Many modern Arthurian writers have used Malory as their source, including T. H. White for his popular The Once and Future King.

By: Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott The Lady of the Lake

The scene of the following Poem is laid chiefly in the vicinity of Loch Katrine, in the Western Highlands of Perthshire. The time of Action includes Six Days, and the transactions of each Day occupy a Canto.

By: Sophocles (c. 497 BC - c. 406 BC)

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles Oedipus Rex

Oedipus the King (often known by the Latin title Oedipus Rex) is an Athenian tragedy by Sophocles that was first performed c. 429 BC. It was the second of Sophocles's three Theban plays to be produced, but it comes first in the internal chronology, followed by Oedipus at Colonus and then Antigone. Over the centuries, it has come to be regarded by many as the Greek tragedy par excellence.

Antigone by Sophocles Antigone

This is the final installment in Sophocles's Theban Plays, following Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus. Oedipus's daughter Antigone deliberately breaks the laws of Thebes when she buries her brother's body and is sentenced to death. She clashes with Creon, the King of Thebes, over what constitutes justice and morality: the laws of the state or the laws of the individual.

By: T. F. Thiselton Dyer (1848-1923)

Strange Pages from Family Papers by T. F. Thiselton Dyer Strange Pages from Family Papers

“Among other qualities which have been supposed to belong to a dead man’s hand, are its medicinal virtues, in connection with which may be mentioned the famous ‘dead hand,’ which was, in years past, kept at Bryn Hall, Lancashire… Thus the case is related of a woman who, attacked with the smallpox, had this dead hand in bed with her every night for six weeks, and of a poor lad living near Manchester who was touched with it for the cure of scrofulous sores.” Though not all chapters have such gruesome subjects as The Dead Hand, all are full of a curious mixture of superstition and local history that will delight and amuse the modern listener.

By: Thomas Bulfinch (1796-1867)

Bulfinch's Mythology: The Age of Fable by Thomas Bulfinch Bulfinch's Mythology: The Age of Fable

Bulfinch’s Mythology, first published in 1855, is one of the most popular collections of mythology of all time. It consists of three volumes: The Age of Fable, The Age of Chivalry, and Legends of Charlemagne. This is a recording of the tenth edition of the first volume, The Age of Fable. It contains many Greek and Roman myths, including simplified versions of The Iliad and The Odyssey, as well as a selection of Norse and “eastern” myths. Thomas Bulfinch’s goal was to make the ancient myths accessible to a wide audience, and so it is suitable for children.

The Age of Chivalry, or Legends of King Arthur by Thomas Bulfinch The Age of Chivalry, or Legends of King Arthur

Thomas Bulfinch (July 15, 1796 – May 27, 1867) explains the his work is “an attempt tell the stories of mythology in such a manner as to make them a source of amusement. We have endeavored to tell them correctly, according to the ancient authorities, so that when the reader finds them referred to he may not be at a loss to recognize the reference. Thus we hope to teach mythology not as a study, but as a relaxation from study; to give our work the charm of a story-book, yet by means of it to impart a knowledge of an important branch of education...

Book cover The Legends of Charlemagne

Bulfinch (July 15, 1796 - May 27, 1867) explains the his work is "an attempt tell the stories of mythology in such a manner as to make them a source of amusement. We have endeavored to tell them correctly, according to the ancient authorities, so that when the reader finds them referred to he may not be at a loss to recognize the reference. Thus we hope to teach mythology not as a study, but as a relaxation from study; to give our work the charm of a story-book, yet by means of it to impart a knowledge of an important branch of education...


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