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Tales From The Land Of Hope And Glory

Western Europe



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Sir Gammer Vans








More Information...

This volume, Tales from the Land of Hope and Glory, is the English collection, part of a series covering the whole of the British and Irish islands.

These tales are drawn from some of the great collectors of traditional storytelling, and as ever, these stories illustrate the beauty and the darkness inherent in our ancestral memories and in our “modern” interpretations of this confusing world.

These titles will grow over coming years to tell lost and forgotten tales from every continent, and even then, I’ll just be scratching the surface of the world’s lore and love.

That’s the great gift in storytelling. Since the first of our ancestors sat around in a cave, contemplating an ape’s place in the world, we have, as a species, told each other stories of magic and cunning and caution and love.

When I began to read through tales from the Celts, tales from Indonesia, tales from Africa and the Far East, tales from everywhere, one of the things that struck me clearly was just how similar are our roots. We share characters and characteristics. The nature of these tales is so similar underneath the local camouflage. Human beings clearly share a storytelling heritage so much deeper than the world that we see superficially as always having been just as it is now.

These tales were originally told by firelight as a way of preserving histories and educating both adult and child.

These tales form part of our shared heritage, witches, warts, fantastic beasts, and all. They can be dark and violent. They can be sweet and loving. They are we and we are they in so many ways. I’ve loved reading and re-reading these stories. I hope you do too.


Master Of All Masters

A girl once went to the fair to hire herself for servant. At last a funny-looking old gentleman engaged her and took her home to his house. When she got there, he told her that he had something to teach her, for that in his house he had his own names for things.
He said to her, "What will you call me?"
"Master or mister, or whatever you please, sir," says she.
He said, "You must call me 'master of all masters.' And what would you call this?" pointing to his bed.
"Bed or couch, or whatever you please, sir."
"No, that's my 'barnacle'. And what do you call these?" said he, pointing to his pantaloons.
"Breeches or trousers, or whatever you please, sir."
"You must call them 'squibs and crackers.' And what would you call her?" pointing to the cat.
"Cat or kit, or whatever you please, sir.'
"You must call her 'white-faced simminy' And this now," showing the fire, "what would you call this?"
"Fire or flame, or whatever you please, sir."
"You must call it 'hot cockalorum'; and what’s this?" he went on, pointing to the water.
"Water or wet, or whatever you please, sir."
"No, 'pondalorum' is its name. And what do you call all this?" asked he, as he pointed to the house.
"House or cottage, or whatever you please, sir."
"You must call it 'high topper mountain.”
That very night the servant woke her master up in a fright and said, "Master of all masters, get out of your barnacle and put on your squibs and crackers. For white-faced simminy has got a spark of hot cockalorum on its tail, and unless you get some pondalorum high topper mountain will be all on hot cockalorum...."

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