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Folklore of Europe

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Folktales include all forms of narrative - - written or oral - - handed down through the years and reflecting the lives and imaginations of the people. According to Aarne-Thompson, the three types of tales are: Animal * Tales, Ordinary * Folktales, and Jokes and * Anecdotes. They categorized the tales using motifs. *.
Folklore from Europe

United Kingdom and Ireland | Germany | Austria | Czech Republic | Poland | Hungary
France and Monaco | Italy | Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal)

former Soviet Union: Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine
Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbarjian
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan [Kurdistan]

Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland)
Netherlands | Belgium | Switzerland
Greece | Balkan Peninsula | Yugoslavia | Romania | Aegean Islands

United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales) and Ireland

Germany (Central Europe)

Austria (Central Europe)

Czech Republic (Central Europe)

Poland (Central Europe)

Hungary and Slovakia (Central Europe)

France and Monaco (Central Europe)


Iberian Peninsula: Spain and Portugal

Former Soviet Union

(Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbarjian, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan [Kurdistan])

Scandinavia: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland


    • Carpenter, Stephen. The Three Billy Goats Gruff. NY: HarperCollins, 1998. [NORWAY] (Three Billy Goats Gruff variant)
    • Finch, Mary. The Three Billy Goats Gruff. [NORWAY] (Three Billy Goats Gruff variant)
    • Hodges, Margaret. Baldur and the Mistletoe Boston: Little, Brown, 1974. (30 ps.) [NORSE; Vikings]
    • Hooks, William H. The Gruff Brothers. NY: Bantam Books, 19990. (32 ps.) [NORWAY] (Three Billy Goats Gruff variant)
    • Kimmel, Eric. Easy Work: An Old Tale. NY: Holiday House, 1998. (unp.) [OREGON - NORWAY] (man and wife switch jobs variant)
    • Littledale, Freya. The Farmer in the Soup. NY: Scholastic, 1987. (30 ps.)[NORWAY] (man and wife switch jobs variant)
    • Littledale, Freya. Peter and the North Wind. NY: Scholastic, 1988. (32 ps.) [NORWAY]
    • Lunge-Larsen, Lise. The Race of the Birkebeiners. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001. (unp.) [NORWAY] (legend of Haakon IV of Norway, 1204-1263)
    • Lunge-Larsen, Lise. The Troll with no Heart in His Body and Other Tales of Trolls from Norway. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999. (92 ps.) [NORWAY] (Asbkprmsen and Moe's folktales featuring trolls)
    • Mayer, Marianna. Iduna and the Magic Apples. NY: Macmillan, 1988. (40 ps.) [NORSE] (giant, Valhalla)
    • Shepard, Aaron. Master Maid: A Tale of Norway. NY: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1997. [NORWAY] (prince, troll, captive maiden)
    • Wisniewski, David. Elfwyn's Saga. NY: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1990. (28 ps.) [VIKING] (curse, Hidden Folk, blindness)


    • Hickox, Rebecca. Per and the Dala Horse. NY: Doubleday Book for Young Readers, 1995. (unp.) [SWEDEN] (young boy and his toy horse outwits the trolls after his two older brothers have tried and failed)
    • Lobel, Anita. The Pancake. NY: Greenwillow Books, 1978. (48 ps.) [SWEDEN] (Gingerbread variant - - rolling pancake gets away from all pursuers but the clever pig)
    • Rydberg, Viktor. The Christmas Tomtem. NY: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1981. (32 ps.) [SWEDEN] (On Christmas Eve, Vigg is invited to accompany the Christmas tomtem on his rounds which include a stop at the Hall of the Mountain King)


    • Allen, Linda. The Mouse Bride. [FINLAND]
    • De Gerez, Toni. Louhi, Witch of North Farm: A Story from Finland's Epic Poem, the Kalevala. NY: Viking Kestrel, 1986. (32 ps.) [FINLAND] (Louhi's plan to steal the sun and the moon backfires when the gods learn of his scheme)
    • Shepard, Aaron. The Maiden of Northland: A Hero Tale of Finland. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1996. (40 ps.) [FINLAND] (Finnish myth telling of Vainamoinen and Ilmarinen courting Aila, the maiden of Northland)


    • Hans Christian Andersen, collector * [1805-1875] [images *]

      Andersen's Fairy * Tales and Stories include:

      The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Emperor's New Clothes, The Fir Tree, Ice Maiden, Thumbelina, Clumsy Hans, Little Match Girl, The Nightingale, Princess and the *Pea, The Red Shoes, The Snow Queen, The Swineherd, The Tinderbox, The Ugly Duckling, The Wild Swans

    • Perlman, Janet. The Emperor Penguin's New Clothes. NY: Viking, 1995. (30 ps.) ["Emperor's New Clothes" variant]

    • Bason, Lillian. Those Foolish Molboes!. [DENMARK]
    • Brande, Marlie. Sleepy Nicholas. [DENMARK]
    • Conover, Chris. The Wizard's Daughter. [DENMARK]
    • Coombs, Patricia. The Magic Pot. [DENMARK]
    • Haviland, Virginia. The Talking Pot. [DENMARK]
    • Kent, Jack. Hoddy Doddy. [DENMARK]
    • Lobel, Anita. King Rooster, Queen Hen. [DENMARK]

Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland

  • De Leeuw, Adele. Legends and Folk Tales of Holland. NY: T. Nelson, 1963. (157 ps.) [NETHERLANDS] (28 stories from Netherlands folklore)
  • Storr, Catherine. The Flying Dutchman. Milwaukee: Raintree Childrens Books, 1985. (32 ps.) [NETHERLANDS] (legend of the Dutch sea captain destined to sail forever over the seven seas unless he finds the love of a faithful girl)

  • Early, Margaret. William Tell. NY: Harry N. Abrams, 1991. (29 ps.) [SWITZERLAND] (legend of William Tell)
  • Fisher, Leonard Everett. William Tell. NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1996. [SWITZERLAND] (how the tyrannical Austrian governor, Gessler, forced William Tell to shoot an apple from his son's head)
  • Small, Terry. The Legend of William Tell. NY: Bantam Books, 1991. [SWITZERLAND] (rhyming version of the legendary Swiss folk hero)
  • Stone, Marti. The Singing Fir Tree: A Swiss Folktale. NY: Putnam, 1992. (unp.) [SWITZERLAND] (a woodcarver tries to cut down the town's singing fir tree to use the perfect wood for his masterpiece)

Greece, Balkan Peninsula


    • Dewey, Ariane. Dorin and the Dragon. NY: Greenwillow Books, 1982. (30 ps.) [GREECE] (a young prince who is disinherited by his father wanders from country to country until he meets a friendly blind dragon in a castle)
    • Evslin, Bernard. Medusa. NY: Chelsea House Pub., 1987. (81 ps.) [GREECE] (Medusa overcome by Perseus)
    • Evslin, Bernard. The Minotaur. NY: Chelsea House, 1987. (85 ps.) [GREECE] (monster with the head of a bull and the body of a man who lived in the Labyrinth in Crete sought by and killed by Theseus)
    • Fisher, Leonard Everett. Jason and the Golden Fleece. NY: Holiday House, 1990. (32 ps.) [GREECE] (Jason and his Argonauts on his ship Argo search for the golden fleece)
    • Fisher, Leonard Everett. Theseus and the Minotaur: A Greek Myth. NY: Holiday House, 1988. [GREECE] (Theseus battles the bull-headed monster, Minotaur)
    • Hutton, Warwick. Perseus. NY: M.K. McElderry Books, 1993) [GREECE] (Perseus beheads Medusa, the most horrible of the Gorgons)
    • Hutton, Warwick. Theseus and the Minotaur. NY: M.K. McElderry Books, 1989. (32 ps.) [GREECE] (How Theseus killed the Minotaur with the help of Aridane)
    • Manna, Anthony. Mr. Semolina-Semolinus: A Greek Folktale. NY: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1997. (unp.) [GREECE] (Princess Areti makes a man for herself to love from almonds, sugar, and semolina, but he is stolen away by a jealous queen; search)
    • Marshall, Laura. The Girl Who Changed Her Fate. NY: Atheneum, 1992. (unp.) [GREECE] (Eleni battles the Fates to change her life)
    • McDermott, Gerald. Sun Flight. NY: Four Winds Press, 1980. (36 ps.) [GREECE] (Daedalus designs wax wings for Icarus and himself to escape from the Labyrinth of King Monos of Crete, but Icarus flies too close to the sun and drowns)
    • Naden, C.J. Pegasus the Winged Horse. Mahwah, N.J.: Troll, 1981. (32 ps.) [GREECE]
    • Naden, C.J.Perseus and Medusa. Mahwah, N.J.: Troll, 1981. (32 ps.) [GREECE]
    • Osborne, Will. Jason and the Argonauts. NY: Scholastic, 1988. (84 ps.) [GREECE] (Jason on the Argo to get fleece guarded by a serpent dragon)
    • Richardson, I. M. Prometheus and the Story of Fire. Mahwah, NJ: Troll Associates, 1983. (31 ps.) [GREECE] (How the Titan, Prometheus, created people, gave them fire that he stole from the gods and was punished by Zeus)
    • Seth, Vikram. Arion and the Dolphin. NY: Dutton Children's Books, 1995. (unp.) [GREECE] (contest; gold; sailing crew; legend of a young musician who swims with a dolphin)
    • Spinner, Stephanie. Snake Hair: The Story of Medusa. NY: Grosset & Dunlap, 1999. (48 ps.) [GREECE] (Perseus overcomes Medusa, the serpent-haired monster who turns people to stone)
    • Storr, Catherine. Theseus and the Minotaur. Milwaukee: Raintree Children's Books, 1986. (32 ps.) [GREECE] (Theseus confronts the Minotaur on the island of Crete)
    • Yolen, Jane. Pegasus, the Flying Horse. NY: Dutton, 1998. [GREECE] (Overly proud Bellerophon tames the winged horse Pegasus, with the help of the goddess Athena, and conquers the monstrous Chimaera.)

Yugoslavia, Romania, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Aegean Islands (Crete)

    • Olson, Arielle North. Noah's Cats and the Devil's Fire. NY: Orchard Books, 1991. [ROMANIA] (devil on Noah's ark)
    • Philip, Neil. Noah and the Devil: A Legend of Noah's Ark from Romania. NY: Clarion Books, 2001. (unp.) [ROMANIA] (devil, snakes on board)
    • Spariosu, Mihai. Ghosts, vampires, and werewolves: Eerie Tales from Transylvania. NY: Orchard Books, 1994. [ROMANIA] (16 tales from Transylvania)
    • Van Woerkom, Dorothy. Alexandra the Rock Eater: An Old Rumanian Tale. NY: Knopf, 1978. (31 ps.)[ROMANIA] (dragons, outwitting)

  • YUGOSLAVIA (Serbia)
    • Scott, Sally. The Three Wonderful Beggars. NY: Greenwillow Books, 1987. (32 ps.) [SERBIA] (three beggars save a young boy from the attempts to kill him by a hard-hearted rich man)

Educator is the recipient of the Miss Rumphius Award *

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For a broadened view of folklore, refer to The Folktale by Stith Thompson for tale types and motifs.

For your reading enjoyment, peruse "Folk Tales of the North American Indians" by Stith Thompson. It includes tales categorized by culture group and motif.