The Darkest Night of the Year

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flour mist

With the longest, darkest night of the year upon us, we wish you the joy of it. There’s a reason, I think, that so many cultures celebrate these nights—why such a cold, dark time is full of lights and laughter and merriment.


Two Ways of Reading “The Ugly Duckling”: A Guest Post by Li Xiaoheng

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uglyduckling

Almost everyone has heard The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen. In this tale, the duckling looks so ugly that he’s excluded by other animals and even his family. He leaves home and suffers a lot all the way, but finally he becomes a beautiful swan.


Winter is Not Coming: A Conversation with Kate Wolford

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FFT_cover

We sat down with Kate Wolford for a long-distance discussion about—well, about the weather, and how it shapes the stories we tell.


Folktales: Three Monsters

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http://www.sacu.org/pic25.html

It’s another grim and heartbreaking day in the world. We’ve had too many of these lately, and Friday 13 seems particularly bitter and bitterly pointless. Other, better, more eloquent writers can tell you what’s happening, and give some shape to the numb weariness that overtakes us. Today, we want to celebrate life as usual, the ordinary everyday, boring days when nothing remarkable happens and good days when something hilarious happens.


A Scots Halloween

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Scottish Halloween Image

In honour of the season, here for your reading enjoyment is an eerie Scots ballad by George MacDonald.


Scottish Halloween Matchmaking

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Scottish Halloween

All Hallows’ Eve has long cultivated folk rituals and folktales of all varieties.


A Week Away

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John is taking the week off. But don’t worry you can still get your weekly fix of Folklore goodness.


Mid-Autumn Folktale: Moon, Rabbit, and Fox

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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

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moon_rabbit_by_umber

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

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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.


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