Myth-Folklore Unit: English Fairy Tales

Overview. The readings for this unit come from English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs, published in 1890, which he followed with More English Fairy Tales in 1894. In these two volumes, Jacobs set out to find folktales and fairy tales that could be considered "native" to England and the Lowlands of Scotland. He undertook the project in what he considered a patriotic spirit, hoping that English children would enjoy reading English fairy tales, in addition to French fairy tales told by Perrault or the German stories of the Brothers Grimm. Here in this first volume, you will meet Tom Tit Tot, who is the English equivalent of Rumpstiltskin, while Mr. Fox is something like an English Blue Beard. You will find familiar stories here, like The Three Pigs, along with some wonderful stories I would guess you have never heard before, such as The Laidly Worm of Spindleston Heugh, which is not about an earthworm; no, this "laidly worm" is a "loathesome dragon" ("laidly" being a Scottish dialect word).

Language. Jacobs tells the fairy tales in modern literary prose, so it is not difficult reading.

Story Length. The stories in this unit are all single-page stories.

Navigation. You will find the table of contents below, and you can also use this link to see the story posts displayed on two pages total: English Fairy Tales. Click "Older Posts" at the bottom of that page to see the second page.

  1. Tom Tit Tot
  2. The Rose-Tree
  3. The Old Woman and Her Pig
  4. Binnorie
  5. Mouse and Mouser
  6. Cap O' Rushes
  7. The Story of the Three Little Pigs
  8. The Master and His Pupil
  1. Henny-Penny
  2. Molly Whuppie
  3. Mr Fox
  4. Johnny-Cake
  5. Mr Miacca
  6. The Laidly Worm of Spindleston Heugh
  7. The Ass, The Table and the Stick
  8. Fairy Ointment