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Old 03-23-2012, 01:12 AM
Kaio Kaio is offline
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in search of Celtic winter folktale

My google-fu has failed me over the last few weeks, so I'll pick the collective brains of the Dope...

I am looking for a Celtic (preferably Irish but not absolutely necessary) myth or folktale that deals with winter in some way -- winter holiday, the changing of the season to winter, a hero's journey that takes place in winter, or something similar. I've been finding bits and bobs about mythological characters related to winter (e.g. The Cailleach), but I'm looking for an actual narrative story. So while I know that The Cailleach brings about winter, what I actually need is the story of how, why, what, when she does, who else was there, and what happened. (Again, for example.)

It doesn't need to be about The Cailleach in particular, but any winter-themed narrative myth or folktale could work. We'd be adapting this for a theatre company that has more female members than male, so having a number of female characters along with a couple male characters would be ideal. Doubling roles is perfectly fine, too.

There ought to be tons of Faerie stories (hello, Ireland) so I don't know why I'm having such a hard time finding them.
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Old 03-23-2012, 02:46 AM
Dr. Drake Dr. Drake is offline
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A lot of the wording you use in your question (hero's journey, captial-F-Faerie, "The Cailleach") suggests you are looking at sources fairly far removed from the tradition. I've been doing Celtic Studies for a long time, and I don't know any character just called "The Cailleach," though Cailleach Bheara is the most famous. Irish & Scottish traditions have a number of characters known as cailleachs, but a lot of the online, New Age, and Neopagan material makes the assumption that they're all "really" representations of a single Celtic goddess.

I assume you're aware that in Celtic tradition, "winter" is the period from Nov. 1 (samain / samuin / samhain etc.) to Feb. 1. Do you mean this, or do you mean something that mentions cold and snow?

The Deirdre story at least mentions snow and winter (here) It's neither folktale nor legend, but it is traditional. That site is quite good for translations of the medieval literature, at any rate. Maybe you can find something like what you want.
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Old 03-23-2012, 08:56 AM
Ellen Cherry Ellen Cherry is offline
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  #4  
Old 03-25-2012, 03:33 AM
Kaio Kaio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Drake View Post
A lot of the wording you use in your question (hero's journey, captial-F-Faerie, "The Cailleach") suggests you are looking at sources fairly far removed from the tradition. I've been doing Celtic Studies for a long time, and I don't know any character just called "The Cailleach," though Cailleach Bheara is the most famous. Irish & Scottish traditions have a number of characters known as cailleachs, but a lot of the online, New Age, and Neopagan material makes the assumption that they're all "really" representations of a single Celtic goddess.
It's referred to as The Cailleach in Wikipedia, blame them. (One of many attempts to Google.)

I am looking for folktales. For example, the story we used last winter was based on a story by Hans Christian Anderson, which itself was based on Nordic folktales. I'm not too concerned about what the Neopagan interpretations are, I'm looking for the actual stories that come from the cultural tradition and are fun, engaging stories to tell. Point me to the Irish version of Hans Christian Anderson who writes stories based on traditional folktales and I'd be quite happy. A big part of how we tell stories as a theatre company incorporates telling fairy tales from the perspective of the fairies/faeries/however you personally prefer to spell it, so fairy tales are good.

Quote:
I assume you're aware that in Celtic tradition, "winter" is the period from Nov. 1 (samain / samuin / samhain etc.) to Feb. 1. Do you mean this, or do you mean something that mentions cold and snow?
It's for a winter benefit to be held in December to take advantage of the end-of-year charitable giving spree. "Winter" here means "whatever makes a good story." Seasonal changes into the cold and snowy part of the year would probably be more recognizable than a discussion of dates. However, holidays (e.g. centered around Yule, or an adventure that spans from Samhain to Imbolc) could also work.

I'm not sure why my question deserved such snark, I was pretty straightforward what I'm looking for and what I need it for. (And the hero's journey is a very well-known archetypical structure in storytelling since time immemorial, so why the weird implication that it doesn't apply to folktales?)

Quote:
The Deirdre story at least mentions snow and winter (here) It's neither folktale nor legend, but it is traditional. That site is quite good for translations of the medieval literature, at any rate. Maybe you can find something like what you want.
I'll run this past the writers, thanks. I welcome more suggestions, especially adventure stories and such that could be very vividly recreated on stage. I haven't gotten far trying to hunt through any of the stories of the Sidhe, mostly because I don't know where to start regarding finding any winter-themed ones.
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:56 AM
Súil Dubh Súil Dubh is offline
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I can't think of any specific stories offhand, but you might find something that matches your criteria here:

http://www.maryjones.us/ctexts/index_irish.html

Good luck with your search.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:25 AM
Dr. Drake Dr. Drake is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaio View Post
I'm not sure why my question deserved such snark, I was pretty straightforward what I'm looking for and what I need it for. (And the hero's journey is a very well-known archetypical structure in storytelling since time immemorial, so why the weird implication that it doesn't apply to folktales?)
I apologize for coming across as snarky—that was not my intention.

You might also have a look at Thomas Crofton Croker's collection of fairy tales, or Jeremiah Curtain's. These are searchable. I didn't find anything terribly appropriate (since Ireland's climate is so mild). I can't find them online, but the collections of Seamus Ó Duilearga, Seán Ó Suilleabháin (Sean O'Sullivan), and Henry Glassie are also fairly comprehensive.

PS: To answer the question about the "Hero's Journey" (and "archetype" for that matter), the terms are specific to Joseph Campbell and other Jungian and Campbellian writers on folktales. Their methodology doesn't require a lot of respect for individual cultural traditions, which means the texts they reproduce and / or discuss are often taken way out of context, though they are very, very popular and widely read. I suppose that's what made me come across the way I did. The other questions were because I genuinely wasn't sure what you meant. Anyway, I'm sorry about that.
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