Tag Archives: folklore

Robin Hood, To Tell the Truth

Host: Would the real Robin Hood, outlaw of Sherwood Forest, Duke of Lockesley, please stand up? Psst, one of you should stand. Who’s the original?

(All three subjects stand.)

Host: Ha, ha! They’re still playing with us, folks. Okay, that’s swell. Now, two of you sit down and the genuine Robin Hood remain standing. Come on, now. We’re running out of air time.

Shout from audience: Let ’em shoot it out with arrows!

Blackthorn and Stone has written about the changing character of Robin Hood and how the original stories aren’t the most important thing about him. Was Robin an actual person who lived over 650 years ago? No, he appears to be have been a commonly beloved folk hero.

Interesting to note about the early Robin Hood-esque character is that Hereford’s noble status and inheritance problems don’t feature in the country pageant version of Robin Hood—however, they do turn up again in the Tudor period and have stuck with us ever since.

Did the Tudor era reinvent a Robin Hood for their purposes, or were they actually harkening back to the original conception of the rogue? Evidence for the interpretation of Robin Hood as an archetype, rather than a person, is found when looking at where the vast majority of Robin Hood pre-1600 source material comes from: plays and festivals.

Blackstone and Stone, “An Outlaw Hero for Every Age

A Blessing on Mother

In one of our old books, which was handed down from four generations ago, I found several newspaper clippings–a couple obituaries, an announcement of new officers to a Presbyterian organization, an ad for hearing aids, and a curious poetic blessing on mothers. The only credit is to Harper’s Magazine.

It looks like the kind of folklore people would pass around and think nothing of preserving, because that would be a kin to preserving grass. We assume such things will be around forever. A generation goes by, and maybe someone asks, “Do you remember that thing we used to say? It was so good.” But no one remembers. And maybe it wasn’t actually good.

They were words of their time, spoken like all words with dissipating breath.

I found it on a page scanned from a March 1877 issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine with a bit of explanation not included in my paper clipping.

The following was recently written and sent by a distinguished clergyman to his mother. It was sent on a postal card:

    Dear Mother —
    From sweet Isaiah’s sacred song, chapter 9 and verse 6
    First 13 words please take and then the following affix;
    From Genesis the 35th, verse 17, no more.
    Then add verse 26 of Kings, book 2nd, chapter 4.
    The last two verses, chapter 1, 1st book of Samuel
    And you will learn what on this day your loving son befell.

Deciphering this from the King James, we read this.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given”

“And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also.”

“Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well:”

“For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him:  Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshipped the Lord there.”


Here’s a nice list by Rebecca Winther-Sørensen over at Listverse—10 Creatures in Scandinavian Folklore.

It intrigued me, aside from its intrinsic interest, because out of the ten creatures listed, fully five are found in my e-novel, Troll Valley. Miss Margit, the fairy godmother, is a huldra. Nisser are referenced in connection with Christmas (though I personalize the Santa Claus-like julenisse more than this list does). There’s a troll in the title, if not in the actual story (and I’ll count it because this is my list). A Nøk (Norwegian spelling) makes an appearance, and Bestefar recalls seeing a draug.

All this is just proof that if you haven’t read it, you must buy it now. If you don’t own an e-reader, buy one of those and then get Troll Valley. If you read the Amazon reviews, you’ll see that one of my many intelligent, good-looking fans recently did just that.