Myth-Folklore Unit: Jewish Fairy Tales

Overview. This marvelous collection of stories — Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends by Gertrude Landa — covers a broad range of Jewish storytelling, touching on many different places in the world where the Jewish people have lived. There are legends about characters you will recognize from the Bible, such as Noah, David, Moses, Elijah, and Abraham's irresistibly beautiful wife Sarah. There are also legends from more recent times, such as the anecdote about Godfrey de Bouillon and Rashi, and also the famous legend of Rabbi Lion of Prague, the creator of the "Golem of Prague," a monstrous creature which is referred to here as a "bogey-man." There are some great animal legends too, such as the story of Noah and the unicorn, an explanation of why the cat and the dog are no longer friends, and a delightful fairy tale about a magical, shape-shifting frog.

Language. These stories are told in contemporary English; the language used should not pose any difficulties.

Navigation. You will find the table of contents below, and you can also use this link to see the story posts displayed on a single page: Jewish Fairy Tales.

Notes. This unit has notes from me on each page, but please feel free to ask questions, too! You can leave comments here just like at any other blog. You can also rate each page with the star ratings checkbox at the bottom of each post. Your feedback and questions are much appreciated!

Connecting Units. If you are interested in Biblical legends, I strongly recommend the Folklore of the Holy Land unit coming up in the Middle East module, which features Jewish, Christian and Islamic folklore, centered on the city of Jerusalem.

Read More. In this unit, you read only part of Landa's marvelous book. If you want to read the whole book, you can find it online in various formats: Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends. For a quick glance at the table of contents, see the online book presented at Sacred Texts Archive.

Additional Resources. Another wonderful resource for Jewish folklore online is Ginzberg's multivolume Legends of the Jews. Plus, Landa herself has another volume of stories you can find online: Jewish Fairy Tales and Fables.

  1. The Giant of the Flood
  2. The Beggar King
  3. The Quarrel of the Cat and Dog
  4. The Water-Babe
  5. From Shepherd-Boy to King
  6. The Magic Palace
  1. The Sleep of One Hundred Years
  2. King for Three Days
  3. The Higgeledy-Piggledy Palace
  4. The Rabbi's Bogey-Man
  5. The Fairy Frog