Wednesday, 17 June 2020

The Three Little Pigs: Huffing & Puffing

A very WARM Folklore Thursday this week – and the last of our weekly lockdown stories!

This all began because of the lovely feedback from home-schoolers about our second such tale – The Three Bears!

And so it only seems right to come full circle, with a British story of three other heroic beasts! We were only going to do one or two of these, but we’ve kept it up for the whole season of spring. And now as we hope to cautiously emerge and explore the big bad world outside our own homes again, we have reached the end of the road with the rather familiar faity tale of THE THREE LITTLE PIGS!

As we’ve blogged about before RIGHT HERE, folk don’t generally think of this as a British folk tale, but that’s because the famous version always leaves out the stuff about the turnips, and the apples, and SHANKLIN FAIR!

In fact, even the version in our book only summarises the lost section, and we may extend it a little if we ever bring out the planned DELUXE edition of Tales of Britain (even if that happens though it will be many year away – we have 8 or so extra stories written, with many still to come – so do buy a copy today!). But here Brother Bernard extends the narrative a little off the cuff…

We hope you’ve enjoyed these lockdown retellings, though of course we hope we never get such an opportunity ever again! We have a society to try and rebuild after all the huffing and puffing of the big bad wolves… Maybe, with a lot of luck and even more common sense, we might be able to arrange some ad hoc LIVE Tales of Britain shows after all, if things are calming down by August, so keep an eye out for news!

But time is the only thing which will tell… remember, bigger and badder wolves still remain at large, so be like the third pig – and be clever!

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

That Wizard of Alderley Edge

A glorious-as-possible Folklore Thursday to all! This week we’re going right back to one of the very first tales we ever retold – THE WIZARD OF ALDERLEY EDGE!

We have blogged about the Cheshire yarn a very long time ago HERE, and we even uploaded a video flicking through an illustrated version we made for a friend’s son’s Christening HERE!

These days, the Alderley Edge area is mainly populated with rich footballers, but it still looks like a glorious place to explore, even if you are hugely unlikely to ever find a door in the rock leading to sleeping knights – and it seems the same is true of Mount Badon in Bath! But we’ll keep on hoping… 

Next week – our final lockdown story! What will it be, one wonders…?

©Sylva Fae

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

The Lancashire King of Cats

No messing this week – one story, short, sharp, stupid: THE KING OF CATS!

We have blogged about this daftness before HERE and also HERE.

Stay safe, and relatively sane!

Thursday, 28 May 2020

BEER! The Laird O’Co…

The theme may be food, but we’re going with BEER! Brother Bernard retells a Scottish folktale which is NOT in the book – exclusively for Folklore Thursday today! 

We’ve blogged about the story before HERE, but this is the first time we’ve shared it. Oh, and we must stress – Bernard wasn’t drunk! It was VERY hot and he hadn’t slept well, but he only had a sip for the story, promise!

Chin chin!

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

EPIC TALE! Jack & The Beanstalk

As today’s Folklore Thursday them is storyelling itself, Brother Bernard sets himself a challenge – to tell the longest tale in the whole book! We’ve blogged before about our most famous legend, JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, both here and here, setting our version on the South Downs, with the Long Man of Wilmington an obvious murder scene from early Saxon times…

The panto fun was always much jollier with Sister Sal on board, but lockdown dictates a solo challenge. So join Brother Bernard now, in the beanstalk patch, as he risks neighbours’ annoyance and fights noisy machinery to get the far-too-long version of the English classic retold: FEE-FI-FO-FUM!

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Thomas The Rhymer Retold

Happy Folklore Thursday!
It may seem like a cursed day,
But then, it could be worse, eh?
You could be in a hearse, say.

That’s enough bad poetry for one day. Let’s have some AWESOME STORYTELLING instead!

We’ve covered the history of TRUE THOMAS THE RHYMER of Earlston, Berwickshire before both HERE and HERE

But now we present a fresh retelling of it, especially for you bored folktale lovers in lockdown!

Look after yourselves… and keep on playing!

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

The Verries of Pennard Castle


A very festive and gender neutral Folklore Thursday to you people, HAIL THE QUEEN OF THE MAY and all the other Wicker Man tropes…

Once again, a story we have covered in the past surfaces in fully-retold form! Lockdown had better not last much longer, or Brother Bernard will have performed the entire book… and we’re starting our audiobook recordings later this year! Viruses permitting.

Any which way but dull, this week we’re off to the quite grubby south coast of Wales, and crumbly old Pennard Castle, once the site of an incredible party, where some particularly groovy gatecrashers were sent away – spelling the ruin’s doom…

Full disclosure – we’ve yet to visit the place itself, but one day, when we’re allowed…

The tale teaches a lesson all must learn from – BE NICE TO FAIRIES! Even if they do spell ‘fairies’ in a very very silly way… Oh, and do try never to judge anyone – or yourself – based on a supposed position on any gender spectrum – only losers do that.

Keep safe and relatively sane! NAMASTE AND THAT!

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Brutus: LAND AHOY!

Happy and HEROIC Folklore Thursday, all!

It’s such an astonishingly long time since we wrote anything about Britain’s origin story (give or take the odd family of giants) that the theme of heroes gives us a perfect example to revisit the legend of PRINCE BRUTUS OF TROY, the mythical founder of BRITAIN!

We catch Brother Bernard in his kitchen for the weird (and in many ways rather Asterix-y) story of the Trojan Prince’s adventures, and eventual retirement in this green andf pleasant land. It’s a tale of tragedy, of romance, of hideous giants, and stones. Lots of stones, actually, from the place where brutus first set foot, visible above, in Totnes, to the London Stone itself, a fragment of Artemis’ Temple, visible today in a crypt embedded in the wall at 111, Cannon Street.

Our retelling even takes in the now lost giant chalk outlines on the front at Plymouth Hoe – said to be the site where Gogmagog (or Gog and Madgog) met their squelchy end at the hands of Corin. 

Make a cup of tea, and see what you think of this silly story, anyway. 

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Babes In The Wood: Norfolk & Bad

Yet another lockdown Folklore Thursday, and a by now almost traditional fresh retelling of an old English tale, out in the woods for this week’s theme of FOREST SPIRITS! We present the terribly sad Medieval news itme of… BABES IN THE WOOD!

As ever, we have covered the tragic (although the most tragic part is that it was turned into an adult sitcom by Jim Davidson) tale of the Babes In The Wood before on this blog – but never with the full retelling attached! You have to forgive Brother Bernard’s inability to do a Norfolk accent, he is over 7,777 years old.

Oh, and social distancing monitors – this woodland is round the back of the house, no non-essential journey was made to get here…

Enjoy, keep safe, and mind how you go…! (Especially following swarthy villagers into dark forests.)

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Kingdom of the Seals

Avast behind, and a braw Folklore Thursday to you all, my dears!

For this week’s theme of ANIMALS, here be a salty-sea-dog-type retelling of THE KINGDOM OF THE SEALS direct from Brother Bernard’s bathtub!

It would be a naughty falsehood to say this nasty wee tale was picked up at John O’Groats itself, it is very very far away. And I don’t like kippers.

But enjoy, and stay safe, seals and non-seals alike!

Wednesday, 8 April 2020


A very happy REBIRTH HOLIDAY OF YOUR CHOICE, dear folksters!

This week’s lockdown folktale is keeping with this Folklore Thursday’s theme, by telling the ancient Welsh story of the rebirth of ‘Little Gwion’ into the greatest bard of them all, TALIESIN! We’ve blogged abut this bright young thing before here.

Sheepishness is somewhat unavoidable in that this marks the third folktale retelling from one neighbourhood – LAKE BALA in Snowdonia, after the topical allegories of VENGEANCE WILL COME and the not-too-much-further-up-the-hill MERLIN & THE DRAGONS.

But join Brother Bernard in The Arguably Magical Forest to learn the tale of how Taliesin came to be the great bard that folk have celebrated down the millennia, in a very silly story of hare transformations and animal shapeshifting aplenty.

Enjoy your eggs, keep safe, and see you next week! 

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Conjuring Minterne’s Mushroom

While sending you the warmest lockdown be-well vibes this PLANT-based Folklore Thursday, we offer you a very short Dorset folktale – already covered once in these updates – CONJURING MINTERNE! Click HERE to enjoy!

Come on, surely fungi counts as plants and herbs for this week’s theme? Particularly as they form the basis of a magical herbal spell being cast by the Medieval magician in today’s retelling…

As outlined above, the real ‘Conjuring’ John Minterne was pretty much just someone educated to a standard that the country folk of Dorset could only behold as satanic in some way, but who’s to say he didn’t really forage for mushrooms on those Dorset hills? They say his horse’s hoof scorchmarks are visible there to this day, anyway. Well, they don’t always say that, sometimes you have to ask them to.

While we’re here, coincidentally last week’s FAB FOOLS FRIDAY update, the Tales of Britain author’s next book, happened to concern a friendly wizard who casts spells, delighting children everywhere, and it’s another wonderful tonic for these fraught times for Albion. So enjoy some Puddle Lane!

Until next time, POM POM, POM-POM-POM!

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Scrapefoot & The Three Bears

Happy Folklore Thursday from our own HOME AND HEARTH!

Having breakfasted on porridge, we turn to a famous homely story which we’ve blogged about before: THE THREE BEARS! Here’s Brother Bernard’s fireside retelling… SCRAPEFOOT AND THE THREE BEARS!

As mentioned above, and in the video, there’s no Goldilocks in this story – that was a misogynistic addition by Victorian storytellers! Instead, prepare to meet SCRAPEFOOT THE FOX!

Maybe one day, when all this isolation is out of the way, ee cn head up to Keiss in the Highlands, where we set this old yarn, and find the Three Bears’ house for ourselves! But until then, enjoy Brother Bernard’s latest retelling – and keep safe!

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Good Times Will Return: The Shillington Goblins!

Here’s a totally unplanned little virtual storytelling session for those who are going stir crazy, wondering whether the merry times of cake and ale will ever return to the folk of Britain!

They will. But now, be seinsible, be safe, be cosy, be warm… and enjoy some stories. Here’s one which even features (almost) a song, to fit in with today’s Folklore Thursday theme! We also blogged about it before, in SEE THE LITTLE GOBLINS…


Take care! Love, Brother Bernard x


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