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Ancient and Epic Tales

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents Introduction Gilgamesh Seeks Immortal Life- from Gilgamesh (Mesopotamia - Sumerian) Telepinu- (Anatolia - Hittite) The Bee and the Queen of Sheba- A King Solomon Story (Ancient Israel) The Theft of Thor's Hammer (Norse Mythology) The Tragedy of Sigurd and Brynhild- from the Volsunga Saga (Norse - Viking) Beowulf and the Dragon- from Beowulf (Northern Europe) The Apple of Discord- Prelude to the Trojan War (Greek Mythology) The Cyclops- from The Odyssey (Greece) Penelope's Test- from The Odyssey (Greece) Daphne and Apollo- from Metamorphoses (Roman) Savitri and Satyavan- from The Mahabharata (India) The Capture of Sita- from The Ramayana (India) The Monkey and the Crocodile- from The Panchatantra (India) Four Fables- from Aesop (Greece) Gassire's Lute- from The Dausi (West Africa-Soninke) The Hero Twins- from The Popol Vuh (Mesoamerica - Mayan) Amaterasu and Susano (Japanese Mythology) Mulan (China- Northern Wei) Finn MacCoul, Oonagh, and the Giant - from the Fenian Cycle (Irish) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight- a Chivalric Romance (England) The Tale of the Hunchback- from One Thousand and One Nights (Persia)

About the Author

Heather Forest is an award-winning author of folktale anthologies and picture books including the best selling, Stone Soup. Heather combines her unique blend of elegance and wit along with a poet's touch to bring classic stories to life from the world's folklore tradition. She is also a popular performer and she has been featured at festivals, theaters and conferences internationally. When Heather originally begins working on a story, like the bards from the oral tradition, she likes to sing the story until the rhythm, tone and words work together in harmony to capture the exact feeling she is looking to create. Heather lives on a working organic farm with her husband just outside of Huntington, New York on Long Island.


If you have stopped by my blog before, you may have noticed that I am a sucker for folktales and fables--plus that cover. That cover will suck you in picking it up. I am extremely fascinated with the stories of other cultures. It is amazing how many of the mythological explanations for the universe around us are similar. Almost every single culture I have come across has a flood story. While I initially fell in love with folktales learning about my English roots, I found an increasing similarity of stories around the world. Then, I started researching biblical stories and tying them together with oral stories of isolated cultures. I began to have a strong feeling that what I had always dismissed as a child must have some foundation in truth.Heather Forest also has an interest in folktales and fables of the world. She has spent years researching these tales. Many have begun as oral histories passed from teacher to disciple for generations before ever being recorded on hard medium. As any person who has played telephone as a child, you will realize how distorted this has made many of the tales. What Ms. Forest is attempting to accomplish with this collection is a middle ground for the stories. She has taken all the renditions she has uncovered over the years and seen where the picture overlaps and trimmed away the strands that have diverged.She also included a little narrative to flesh out the protagonists like any disciple of folktales would to make the rendition her own. This doesn't bother me in the way alternative history gives narrative to Einstein or others because, while I have begun to believe these ancient historical figures may have indeed been a factual part of our history, many stories were created by the people to explain life and the gods to children. Their narrative started out as fiction; so it can remain fiction.These collected stories are a quick read and well worth it. All the cultures are represented and would make an excellent beginning collection for children. They will be able to get a sense for the vastness of the world in just one book. Hopefully collections like this can keep the integrity of folktales alive for many generations to come. Star Bookworm This a beautifully written book of epic tales from around the world. Some, including Aesop's Fables, or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight were familiar to me, but there were several that were new to me, such as Mwindo's journey, an African tale. It is a pleasure reread the familiar tales as well as the new. The tales are timeless in the sense that they are still relevant today, touching on life's lessons in an engaging and vibrant way. The stories are evocatively retold in an accessible style, equally enjoyable for adult or older child. I like to collect tales of wisdom and this is certainly one worth having on the shelf. -- Janey Colbourne Heartseer There's a reason why old tales continue to be told: old tales are amazing. This is a collection of what might be said to be the best stories in the world. Lots of them I knew because I've read them in full, like The Odyssey and Beowulf and Aesop's Fables, but many of them were stories I've heard of but never read, like One Thousand and One Nights and Gilgamesh, and still more were stories I've never even heard of, like The Kojiki from Japan and The Ramayana from India.Still, every story was excellent, well told and resonant.Don't buy this book for its cover. Don't buy this book for its illustrations. Buy this book for the stories. -- Deb Nance Readerbuzz

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