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The King of Ireland's Son


For reading aloud, one of my favorites is The King of Ireland's Son by Padraic Colum.

Free version at Gutenberg

It's very clearly a transcription of a story with a long oral history to it. The structure of the story telling itself was interesting to me. There are many characters who appear as the central character or a supporting character in different sections, there are many places where digressions into other stories happen or could be made to happen, if you wanted to tell it in a different order. It has many of the standard tropes of fairy tales and also some amusing consequences of that. "Red Riding Hood" isn't a name, it's a decription. The title character, and overall central figure of this book, doesn't have a name, he is merely the eldest (of three, natch) sons of the King of Ireland.

There are a couple of places where a story obviously could have been tied in, to give more background on a character or thing, that have not been used. It gives you the opportunity to spin your own yarns into this or prompt your kids to do so.

For example, from whence comes the Little Sage of the Mountain? And where did the great wing for his house come from?

Final thought: "how you get from A to B is to travel while sharing stories".

Returning to fabliaux


Several years later I've gotten around to reading Liaisons Dangereuses, and like the fabliaux mentioned elsewhere in this thread, it doesn't meet modern definitions of "erotic" but it was not a waste of time. It seems a lot of the erotic reputation it has comes from the illustrations that were in many versions. There's a collection of them on Wikimedia's Commons, six of eight from a 1796 edition of the book:

Les Liaisons Dangereuses at wikimedia

A typical description of a night's intrigues is summarized as "And then she yielded everything to me." One of the subplots in Liaisons reminds me strongly of the fabliaux format.

Since my post three years ago, I've read some more fabliaux, and come up with a list of non-fabliaux titles for further reading:

  • Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles (1462 or earlier)
    An English translation at Gutenberg that I've looked at, but not read fully:
    One Hundred Merrie And Delightsome Stories, an 1899 English translation: at Gutenberg
    Like fabliaux, and like the inspiration for the original request, it seems to have stories of monks, etc, behaving badly.
  • Heptam√©ron (published 1558, ~20ish years after author's death)
  • Satyricon (Latin novel)
    A link, for which I have not read anything: at Gutenberg
  • The Golden Ass (Latin novel)
  • The Country Wife by Wycherley (1675 play)
  • Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (aka Fanny Hill, 1748)

(I found Satyricon today looking for Norman Lindsay books.)