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Folklore, Fable & Fantasy

The Victorians loved folklore and fairy tales -- in fact one could fairly reasonably say that the modern fairy tale, as we know it, was "invented" in Victorian times. Before Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, there were the Victorian fantasists - who were, in turn, quite often inspired by folktales and folklore.


FOLKLORE FROM AROUND THE WORLD

About Gloves and Their Significance, by Henry Faith (GOP 1883)
From dainty hand-warmers to lethal gauntlets, gloves have a fascinating history.
As Easy as ABC, or, The Letters of the Alphabet (GOP 1885)
A brief history of writing.
Concerning Cats, by E.F. Bridell Fox (GOP 1895)
The folklore and history of cats.
Curious Marriage Customs (GOP 1884)
Fairy Tales of the World (GOP 1888)
The History of the Sunday (GOP 1885)
Rhymed Memory Aids, by Maud Morrison (GOP 1895)
Some classic memory poems, such as red sky at night, kings of England, and books of the Bible.
The Ring Finger (GOP 1880)
Why the fourth finger of the left hand is chosen for the wedding ring.
The Romance of Nature, by James Mason (GOP 1889)
The subtitle says it all: "Or, the Folklore of Animals, Plants, Earth, Air, Sea and Sky."
Some Objectionable Wedding Customs (GOP 1895)
This author deplores the customs of throwing the slipper, throwing rice, "boy-pages," and more...
Wedding Anniversaries, by the Rev. T.F. Thiselton Dyer (GOP 1888)
On the origins of the association of certain anniversaries with certain metals or gifts, such as the "golden anniversary" (50 years) or the "tin anniversary" (10 years).
Women Workers' Songs, by Laura Alex. Smith (GOP 1895)
An interesting collection of songs from around the world.

FOLKLORE OF THE BRITISH ISLES

An Old Hackney Ghost Story, by Mrs. G.L. Banks (GOP 1889)
The Ghost of the Hackney Churchyard.
Modern Slang, by Darley Dale (GOP 1898)
The Pronunciation of Proper Names (GOP 1890)
How a number of British names and place names are pronounced, when one can't possibly guess from the spelling...
The Stories of Famous Songs, by Isabella Fyvie Mayo (GOP 1888)
Auld Robin Gray, The Land 'o the Leal, The Marseillaise, There's Nae Luck About the House, John Brown, Home Sweet Home, Sally in Our Alley, The Village Blacksmith, Excelsior, The Old Clock on the Stairs, and more.

SEASONAL & HOLIDAY LORE

May-Day Customs, by Annie Kemp (GOP 1882)
History and folklore of May Day.
New Year's Eve, by Nora Chesson (GOP 1902)
Whatever you do, don't knit on New Year's Eve! (Or spin, or weave, or fish...) But if, before going to bed, you eat a hardboiled egg with the yolk replaced with salt, you should have interesting dreams...
St. John's Fires in France, by Georges de Dubor (GOP 1897)

THE LORE & MEANING OF NAMES

Fashions in Girls' Christian Names, by Dora de Blaquière (GOP 1895)
Girls' Christian Names (GOP 1883)
Definitions of girls' names, from Abigail to Zoe.

FLOWER & PLANT LORE

An Album of Bible Plants, by Emma Brewer (GOP 1899)
A short list of plants mentioned in the Bible, and their natures.
Flowers in History, by Sophia F.A. Caulfield (GOP 1889)
A fascinating overview of flower lore across the ages and in many countries.
The Flowers of May, by Elspeth Brooks (GOP 1888)
A somewhat florid account of May's flowers and their lore.
The Forget-Me-Not, by the Rev. T.F. Thiselton Dyer (GOP 1882)
The symbol of friendship, the guide to caverns of treasure, the death of a gallant knight -- this is a busy little flower!

RETOLD FOLKTALES

Cinderella's Ancestor, by Emma Brewer (GOP 1889)
A Cinderella-type tale dating to ancient Egypt.
The Girl Who Couldn't Hold Her Tongue (GOP 1896)
Retelling of a folktale about a maiden and a magical bear.
Meadow-Sweet, by James Mason (GOP 1891)
This starts as a bit of a folkloric tale, but sadly devolves into a morality lesson (which tends to be this author's specialty).
Mercy to Man and Beast (GOP 1896)
A charming folktale about a horse who gained a judgment for better treatment.
Rainbows: An Indian Legend (GOP 1881)
A retelling of an American Indian story.

Copyright © 2017 by
Moira Allen.
All rights reserved.

Magazine Abbreviations:
CFM = Cassell's Family Magazine GOP = Girl's Own Paper ILA = Illustrated London Almanack S = The Strand
AM = Atlantic Monthly C = Century Magazine D = Demorest's Monthly Magazine G = Godey's Lady's Book H = Harper's Monthly
Find out more about the magazines used on this site!
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