Mid-Autumn Folktale: Moon, Rabbit, and Fox

Chang-e 1

The Mid-autumn festival in China venerates 嫦娥 (Cháng’é), the moon goddess. Like the rituals in last week’s post, the folktales about her reflect the season’s liminality and uncertainties, as she moves from mortality to immortality, from living on earth to living on the moon.

Mid-autumn festivals


Autumn is a liminal season, and so we turn to festivals that celebrate limninal spaces: summer and winter, birth and death, wandering and belonging, time past and time future, heaven and hell.

Two Folktales

Walking by the Phoenix Photograph by Kenny Louie.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been pondering here about stories that speak from wounded, devastated earth—that come out of a place of suffering together with the world we inhabit.

Earth Friendly?


“The world is made of dirt. A rock doesn’t have feelings.” The flaccid man in the documentary glared out of …
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The Light-Giving Tree


As I was working on research for something else entirely, I stumbled upon a collection of Monguor folktales, collected from …
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A Land of Giants


Lately, my thoughts on folktale have been turning primarily around questions of space and landscape—the ways in which the places we live and how we treat those spaces shape the stories we tell. We draw our stories from the natural world, just as we perhaps draw our desire to create and imitate nature in our creations from a rarified instinct towards making things.

The Golden Goose


There may be as many kinds of storyteller are there are stories.

The Bones Sang

August 20, 2010 --- Dinosaur skeletons in the desert --- Image by © MARK GARLICK/Science Photo Library/Corbis

Every day at 5.30 p.m., just outside the university campus where I live, someone blows up a mountain.

Publication: ‘Why Would Anyone Enchant That?’ Volume II, Issue I


The new issue of Unsettling Wonder ‘Why Would Anyone Enchant That?’ is now available. A little girl accidentally turns the sky …
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R.I.P. Sir Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett

Some thoughts on the passing of Sir Terry Pratchett.

Unsettling Wonder

We craft and tell stories because we’ve stood on the uncertain edge between the waking world and our imagination, between enchantment and fear. And we remember other stories that help us build our own stories, scraps of lumber and fragments of narrative we gather together to make stories for ourselves.


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Artwork by Laura Rae