3 out of 5 stars

Even in these days of 24/7 news, a world of knowledge at your fingertips and the ability to talk to almost anyone else on the planet, there are still things that we do and say that can trace their origins back hundreds of years. Some of the stranger ones have sadly vanished from the common vernacular, but thankfully we have people like Dee Dee Chainey who has scoured the legends, crept past the giants and kelpies and learnt about the customs and included them in this charming little book.

So if you want to know who the green man was, which tree it is rumoured to be safe to stand under in a thunderstorm and when in the farming year they would shout  ‘Hurrah! Hurrah for the neck. As you’d expect, there are hounds, white harts and fairies. You can discover which fairies like to help and which use blood to dye their caps. The supernatural gets a section to itself as well as the hatched, matched and despatched themes that still dominate life today.

It is a good overview of the weft and weave of folklore that permeates our lives even today. If it does lack a little depth, but it is a concise summation of all things folklore. That said, there is an extensive bibliography and references and more importantly a comprehensive list of places to find folklore for those that want to uncover much more about this fascinating subject. I loved the bold woodcut illustrations by Joe McLaren too, they are a certain gravitas to the book

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