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Selected from Henri Pourrat's classic Le tresor des contes, one of the finest folktale collections in the world, these one-hundred-odd legends, fairy tales, devotional pieces, jokes, and animal stories from the rural provinces of France comprise a magical volume. Fairies, changelings, giants, demons, bumpkins, knaves, bewitched and bewitching princesses, bandits, and other Selected from Henri Pourrat's classic Le tresor des contes, one of the finest folktale collections in the world, these one-hundred-odd legends, fairy tales, devotional pieces, jokes, and animal stories from the rural provinces of France comprise a magical volume. Fairies, changelings, giants, demons, bumpkins, knaves, bewitched and bewitching princesses, bandits, and others enact stories of perilous tests of love, contests with the devil, the beneficence of saints, and more.Royall Tyler's translation deftly captures the vigor and resonance of the originals, and his cogent introduction illuminates for the reader the earthy, chilling, mischievous, and mystical realm these tales evoke. Contents: Fairy enchantments The devil Bandits Around the village The mad and the wise Bestiary Love and marriage


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Selected from Henri Pourrat's classic Le tresor des contes, one of the finest folktale collections in the world, these one-hundred-odd legends, fairy tales, devotional pieces, jokes, and animal stories from the rural provinces of France comprise a magical volume. Fairies, changelings, giants, demons, bumpkins, knaves, bewitched and bewitching princesses, bandits, and other Selected from Henri Pourrat's classic Le tresor des contes, one of the finest folktale collections in the world, these one-hundred-odd legends, fairy tales, devotional pieces, jokes, and animal stories from the rural provinces of France comprise a magical volume. Fairies, changelings, giants, demons, bumpkins, knaves, bewitched and bewitching princesses, bandits, and others enact stories of perilous tests of love, contests with the devil, the beneficence of saints, and more.Royall Tyler's translation deftly captures the vigor and resonance of the originals, and his cogent introduction illuminates for the reader the earthy, chilling, mischievous, and mystical realm these tales evoke. Contents: Fairy enchantments The devil Bandits Around the village The mad and the wise Bestiary Love and marriage

30 review for French Folktales

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth McDonald

    Thought I still prefer Italo Calvino's Italian Folktales, this collection of folktales is highly amusing. Not your toddler's bedtime stories, these are authentic and traditional, with enough raunchiness and violence to warrant at least a PG-13 rating. The stories are told with a light sense of humor and a masterful use of language. I could imagine sitting in some French inn a few centuries back, listening to the old men and women swapping these stories around the fire and a few flagons of wine. Thought I still prefer Italo Calvino's Italian Folktales, this collection of folktales is highly amusing. Not your toddler's bedtime stories, these are authentic and traditional, with enough raunchiness and violence to warrant at least a PG-13 rating. The stories are told with a light sense of humor and a masterful use of language. I could imagine sitting in some French inn a few centuries back, listening to the old men and women swapping these stories around the fire and a few flagons of wine. Or whatever they drank wine in, at these inns.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    A fun collection of French folktales collected by Henri Pourrat (1887-1959). Pourrat contracted tuberculosis (which killed his younger brother) when he was a teenager. Pourrat barely survived himself and found his choice of a career severely restricted by his delicate health. He turned to writing and then to gathering folktales. His novel, Gaspard des montagnes ("Gaspard from the Mountains,") which was based on folktales, won a national literary prize in 1922. He won another national literary pr A fun collection of French folktales collected by Henri Pourrat (1887-1959). Pourrat contracted tuberculosis (which killed his younger brother) when he was a teenager. Pourrat barely survived himself and found his choice of a career severely restricted by his delicate health. He turned to writing and then to gathering folktales. His novel, Gaspard des montagnes ("Gaspard from the Mountains,") which was based on folktales, won a national literary prize in 1922. He won another national literary prize in 1941 for his novel, "March Wind." Pourrat became one of the major regional writers of France in 20th century. His massive collection of French folktales was published in 13 volumes as Le Trésor des contes ("The Treasury of Tales.") This volume is drawn from a sampling of those stories. There is, however, something of a problem with these stories. Pourrat did not follow the usual guidelines and provide "the name, dwelling place and age of the teller; the date when the tale was recorded; and an appropriate citation when the tale was taken from a printed source." (Paul Delarue, quoted in the introduction of this book). Actually, Pourrat recorded this information meticulously - he just didn't share it. Pourrat claimed he didn't know why anyone would want to know this information. In reality, he knew quite well. "Source identification would only reduce a tale to an accident of time, place, and person, instead of restoring it to its rightful place as a timeless expression of the genius of a whole people, or even of humanity itself." (Introduction) In short, Pourrat did not want: "Here's the story. Make of it what you will." He wanted: "Here's the story. Isn't it wonderful?" Pourrat also rewrote the tales to make them sound better. There is a difference between orally transmitted tales and written ones. In his documentary, "In Search of the Trojan War," Michael Wood comments on the use of repetition in the oral tales. Think of the use of a chorus in a song. Obviously, this would not work in printed stories. Pourrat rewrote and polished the tales to make them more palatable to a reading audience. I strongly recommend reading the introduction to get a better understanding of Pourrat, the tales, and his writing of them. This volume is translated by Royall Tyler, who also translated and edited Japanese Tales, another volume of the Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library. The tales are divided into seven sections: "Fairy Enchantments," "The Devil," "Bandits," "Around the Village," "The Mad and the Wise," "Bestiary," and "Love and Marriage." There is a good selection of tales and the translation is very good and flowing. These are not necessarily for young children, mostly due to the language. However, older children might enjoy them. Don't automatically assume that volumes of folktales and fairy tales are suitable for children (Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination is decidedly not). Goodreads lists several of Pourrat's books. However, most of them are in French. I was not able to find "March Wind" on Goodreads, so there is no link to it. "French Folktales" is out of print, but is available used in hardback and paperback. In addition to this collection, Jack D. Zipes includes Pourrat's work in his Spells of Enchantment: The Wondrous Fairy Tales of Western Culture.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mary Catelli

    A collection of tales taken from the oral tradition -- and reworked, lightly. This is discussed in the foreword by the translator. Doesn't provide many notes, though. Some tales of fools and wise men, some religious, some animal tales, but mostly fairy tales. Some tales of bandits. A couple of them are Madame d'Aulnoy's tales, put through the paring down of a folk tale. A number of interesting variations. Maria Cendron goes to Mass, not a ball, and the prince isn't even there the first time; he co A collection of tales taken from the oral tradition -- and reworked, lightly. This is discussed in the foreword by the translator. Doesn't provide many notes, though. Some tales of fools and wise men, some religious, some animal tales, but mostly fairy tales. Some tales of bandits. A couple of them are Madame d'Aulnoy's tales, put through the paring down of a folk tale. A number of interesting variations. Maria Cendron goes to Mass, not a ball, and the prince isn't even there the first time; he comes because he's heard the tales. The Man With the Bean plants it, but when he climbs it, he finds himself in "The Donkey, the Table, and the Stick", not "Jack and the Beanstalk" (not to mention that he's an old man whose twelve grown children don't help support him). There are couple of tales where the hero, dealing with royal caprices, finally decides to go back to marry a commoner woman instead of the princess. Interesting collection

  4. 4 out of 5

    Danelle

    Henri Pourrat, a French Grimm Brother, if you will, collected French Folktales for nearly 50 years. These tales were published in 13 volumes between 1948 & 1964. Pourrat wanted his collection to be "the original mythology of the French people," seeing it as a "spiritual renewal through a return to peasant ideals." Pourrat censored the stories a bit, especially when the story reflected unfavorably on the Catholic church, as he had a deep respect for it and for the role it played in a peasant's li Henri Pourrat, a French Grimm Brother, if you will, collected French Folktales for nearly 50 years. These tales were published in 13 volumes between 1948 & 1964. Pourrat wanted his collection to be "the original mythology of the French people," seeing it as a "spiritual renewal through a return to peasant ideals." Pourrat censored the stories a bit, especially when the story reflected unfavorably on the Catholic church, as he had a deep respect for it and for the role it played in a peasant's life. I found it interesting that though he censored it re: the church, he let other parts, that were more suggestive in nature, by. This book, like other fairy and folktale collections is divided into sections. This volume consists of 7 sections: 1. Fairy Enchantments, 2. The Devil, 3. Bandits, 4. Around the Village, 5. The Mad and The Wise, 6. Bestiary, and 7. Love and Marriage. I own a number of fairy and folktale collections and am slowly working my way through them. This is the 6th or 7th I've read. As typical of this genre, there are commonalities across cultures. One that stands out is actually one of my favorites: Marie-Cendron, translated to "Mary-In-The-Ashes," basically, Ash-Girl, or as we know it, Cinderella. Like the well-known tale, a beautiful and kindhearted girl lives alone with her father. He remarries and gains 2 more daughters. The evil stepmother and stepsisters (described as "hussies") do whatever they can to make Ash-girl's life miserable. Instead of going to a grand ball, the family attends church for a "solemn high mass" (there's that religious bent Pourrat is so fond of). The stepmother (who it turns out is a sorceress - common across the French stories) spills a bag of peas and instructs Ash-girl to pick up every single one before she is able to attend. Unbeknownst to her, the peas are under a spell and multiply, making her task impossible. THEN the godmother shows up and the story continues as we are all familiar with. When the prince, who (of course!) was at the solemn high mass, saw Ash-girl, and instantly fell in love, arrives at their house with the glass slipper, the sorceress stepmother SHRINKS her daughers' feet so that they will fit into the shoe. (Not nearly as gory as the Grimm version where the stepmother chops off the toes of one daughter and heel of the other, shoe filling with blood...). But, the birds sing a song, telling the prince he has the wrong girl and it all works out. They immediately marry and within a week, the stepmother and stepsisters, have died because "spite ate at them until they got jaundice and died at week's end." There's also 'Beauty and the Beast,' titled: Lovely Rose, where Rose (Beauty) has two sisters and request elegant dresses from their widowed father who is headed to the fair. Rose asks for nothing and then requests a rose. Father gets lost, ends up at the enchanted castle (no singing dishes in this version, though) and cuts a rose from a rosebush making the Beast appear. According to the story, the beast, had jaws like a mastiff, legs like a lizard, and a body yellow and spotty...like a salamander. He tells the father to send his daughter in his place. The daughter is the epitome of kindness, is granted a 3 day leave to see her family after she stays in the palace. She returns late, her family doing everything they can to keep her from returning to the beast, who now it seems is even more beastly with bulging, bloodshot eyes, its skin pimply as a goose's but slimier than a toad's. Like the well-known story, she arrives just as he's dying, looks past his ugliness and breaks the spell and they live happily ever after. And there's goblins, fairies, as well as ogres and ogresses. There's a level of rauchiness in this book that I haven't come across in other collections, and I have to assume that it's the 'French-ness' of the stories. For example, a fox sings to a wolf in one story: "Your fur he'll make into a coat...And your arse into a flute." In another, a man-at-arms with "a backside as round as the full moon," lies on his back and "the wind from his behind was turning 9 mills on the hill." (Later, he clears an entire battlefield with his fart.) In another story, a donkey "lifts its tail and lets go a flood of gold coins." And in another story, a fox threatens to "pee" in a foe's "mouth." Other notable things about this collection: there were lots of instances of triplets - convenient for stories of kings who need to decide which son to give his kingdom to. Many instances of the Devil appearing in the stories and making deals with people - including a story that is basically the same as Rumpelstiltskin. Also common warnings. The sharper you get, the more you risk getting your point broken. Or this little ditty: Yes indeed, here comes a bat: He'll pee upon your little head and make you bald, so go to bed! Bravery was likened to that of a bee, time and time again. Overall, a good collection of stories. Easily read and enjoyable. One year in March, it snowed a whole week, with heavy flakes as big as leaves. (p. 219) Here's a place where we'll have good tomorrows. (p. 357)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mary Havens

    We've read a bit of folktales to the kids, mainly The Complete Grimm's. There were some similarities between Grimm's and French Folktales, mainly the Rule of 3 (which makes me think that most folktales, regardless of culture, has the Rule of 3??) but even some of the stories were the same. A French version of Cinderella, The Musicians of Bremen, Bluebeard, and, of course, Beauty and the Beast were included. Even our favorite new tale from Grimm's, and I don't remember the name, was included unde We've read a bit of folktales to the kids, mainly The Complete Grimm's. There were some similarities between Grimm's and French Folktales, mainly the Rule of 3 (which makes me think that most folktales, regardless of culture, has the Rule of 3??) but even some of the stories were the same. A French version of Cinderella, The Musicians of Bremen, Bluebeard, and, of course, Beauty and the Beast were included. Even our favorite new tale from Grimm's, and I don't remember the name, was included under the title The Stupid Wife. I learned a lot about French culture such as: the French were very Catholic! "Ringing the angelus" is a thing. French translations are hilarious such as Slop Girl and Princess Bootface but not cruel like the version of Cinderella where they called her Cinderslut. And lastly: I have no idea how to pronounce French names. This book was very long and I don't remember a lot of it but there was a great story near the end. The book was broken up by sections based on Pourrat's giant collection of volumes. These stories were the best of each volume. In the Love and Marriage section, there was a story of a nun who was tempted by a man. She left the convent to spend naughty time with the man who cast her out after a few weeks. She had prayed to the Virgin Mary before she left and begged forgiveness. When she returned to the convent, full of shame, she was told she never left and was indeed still praying at the altar. When she approached the altar, she saw the Virgin in her place. The Virgin took her place and did not need her forgiveness. It was a really sweet story.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    I didn't read every story, but did work through most of them. A nice collection of folktales, many that were new to me. I didn't read every story, but did work through most of them. A nice collection of folktales, many that were new to me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Beccadg

  8. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  9. 5 out of 5

    Zainy Marwat

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mirko

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

  13. 4 out of 5

    pani Katarzyna

  14. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  16. 5 out of 5

    L.r.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bruna

  19. 5 out of 5

    Paul Vittay

  20. 4 out of 5

    Elena

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ashaley Lenora

  22. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sam Thomas

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brycsyn Hampton

  25. 5 out of 5

    Paisley K

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mehul

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bob

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lilly

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