Questions tagged [folklore]

For questions on the traditional beliefs, customs and stories of a community or culture.

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2 votes
1 answer
59 views

Is there any folklore reference to fairies being divided into Summer and Winter Courts?

Modern fiction about fairies often describes them as being divided into Seelie and Unseelie Courts or Summer and Winter Courts, sometimes Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter Courts. A lot of people seem ...
1 vote
1 answer
130 views

Are (or have been) goblins ever associated with anti-semitic characteristics?

Some characteristics used to describe goblins are also depicted in anti-semitic propaganda (they are usually described as greedy, hook nosed creatures). Were goblins ever been associated with ...
11 votes
3 answers
1k views

Cows adapted to life on a steep hillside

I'm trying to remember the details of a legend I read years ago - and I don't even remember which body of folklore it came from - about a hero with a herd of cows, all of whom had legs on one side ...
0 votes
1 answer
41 views

how/when Jotunheim was created precisely?

I can’t find anything on the origin of Jotunheim. If it was linked, like Muspellheim, to Nilfheim in any way… and I’m not sure how did Ymir arrived in it… I guess it could be unknown like many other ...
4 votes
3 answers
122 views

Are there myths, folklore, tales, or other traditions/tales about monsters regaining their humanity permanently?

Maybe I should have slept on this question for a little bit, but here I go. I am working on a TRPG and a setting that would accompany the TRPG. In my setting all monsters are or were humans, so rather ...
4 votes
1 answer
77 views

What are the earliest and latest reference of black dog apparitions in folklore?

I'd like to know what is the earliest reference for Black Dogs such as Black Shuck, Hairy Jack, Barghest, etc. Is there anything before the 1577 Black Shuck of Blythburgh in worldwide folklore? And ...
4 votes
1 answer
147 views

Is there a folklore belief that the spirit of a wolf comes back to avenge its death?

Isidoros Zourgos in his novel "Στην σκιά της πεταλούδας" mentions that if you kill a wolf, the animal's spirit will come back and kill you after forty days. The origin of the belief is assumed to be ...
2 votes
1 answer
838 views

What's the secret behind the infamous 'Backrooms' creepypasta?

DISCLAIMER: I did not create this creepypasta, nor do I claim it to be true. I'm not quite sure if this is the right place to ask about creepypastas, but there isn't a specific site on the SE network ...
7 votes
2 answers
268 views

The unreadable book: Voynich manuscript?

What are, if any, the most plausible mythical origins and legends surrounding the unreadable book also known as the Voynich manuscript? What do legends, folklore or myths have to say as to what is ...
0 votes
0 answers
39 views

Myths about creatures/items/beings that talked with people or took away their problems?

Are there any myths about beings/items/creatures that talked with people in a friendly way? Almost as if the being was a therapist to the human or something? I can think of the caladrius that ...
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

What creatures eat a humans life force?

Are there any creatures that eat, or drain a human's life force? Have tried googling but am not sure which creatures do.
2 votes
0 answers
77 views

What is the origin of the 'Light' as a ghost?

As a ghost (or after death), it is popularly believed that you will see a light and that light will take you to the afterlife. Where, and/or when, does this 'light' emerge in folklore's history?
2 votes
1 answer
127 views

What was the area of Koschei's sleeping/petrification spell?

In the Russian folk tale of “Ivan Sosnovich”, it says that the evil Koschei the Deathless put an entire kingdom to sleep (or petrified) via a spell after killing two of the three beauties he heard ...
6 votes
1 answer
167 views

What are the "nine fearful curses that plague mankind" of Orcadian folklore, besides the 'Stoor Worm'?

The 'Stoor Worm' of Orcadian folklore is described as one of the nine fearful curses that plague mankind, what are the other curses if there are any? Islanders were terrified of the serpent; it was ...
9 votes
1 answer
249 views

Zombies and ways of stopping them?

I know that there’s a wide variety of zombies. Now my question is what are the versions of them & how are they stopped from attacking the living? Zombies are (now these days) considered mindless ...
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the earliest known instance of "When Shepherds Washed their Socks by Night", the children's version of the Christmas carol?

A popular Christmas carol runs While shepherds watch'd their flocks by night, All seated on the ground, The angel of the Lord came down, And glory shone around in its first verse. It was ...
23 votes
2 answers
1k views

Do Welsh fairies marry human women?

The Welsh Tylwyth Teg, or fairies, is said to take human mates. This website mentions how: There are many tales of intermarriage between faeries and humans, and advice on how to make sure you ...
2 votes
0 answers
90 views

What is the origin of fortune-telling cards with faces divided into four triangles, which were known in Russia in 1850?

In her book Reading Russian Fortunes (Cambridge University Press, 1998), Faith Wigzell refers (p.33) to a type of fortune-telling card deck that reached Russia in 1850, ascribed to Marie Anne ...
2 votes
1 answer
121 views

Prior to the 1800s are there any examples of a (preferably mortal) being described as possessing telekinetic abilities in the modern sense?

For the purposes of this question, by telekinesis I mean the generalized ability to pick up and move most objects at will, not the ability to move a particular object under specific circumstances (...
5 votes
2 answers
141 views

Are there any accounts of English folklore concerning walking willow trees?

"In English folklore, a willow tree is believed to be quite sinister, capable of uprooting itself and stalking travellers." On the Wikipedia page for willow it has this single sentence ...
2 votes
2 answers
168 views

Are there any references in mythology/folklore to a concept similar to teleportation?

The earliest mention of teleportation that I can find is a mention of "matter transfer" in 1877, but I'm wondering if there's a concept similar to it in folklore. I found something about ...
2 votes
0 answers
58 views

Ancient prophecies involving alcohol?

Are there any ancient prophecies involving alcohol? I asked this question on Beer, Wine & Spirits SE some two years ago and have not received an answer: Prophecies involving alcohol? When we read ...
9 votes
2 answers
541 views

Are there any ancient unicorn myths that originated from Tibet or its bordering regions?

I remember reading some years back how missionaries in Tibet were told stories of how prevalent in the 1800's the belief that there were unicorns living in the mountains of Tibet! Do any ancient ...
5 votes
2 answers
316 views

The Origin of Werewolf: Deities Cursing People into Animals?

I read some years back, about some ancient mythology where people believed the gods would rather commonly curse mortals into animal forms. There may've even been terms specific to this process. I ...
5 votes
0 answers
55 views

Crooked/uncrooked arm as sign of truth-telling. Has anyone come across this in any folklore? My example is from a Cornish folktale

I came across this in a Cornish folktale. Girl appears to be telling wild stories (about fairies). Wise woman tests to see if it is true: she has to crook her arm and repeat the story. If it is untrue ...
2 votes
1 answer
49 views

Are there any folklore references to the following elements found in Xianxia i.e. modern Chinese High Fantasy fiction?

Xianxia stories often contain the following elements: 1> Cultivation of Qi: Qi is a humor-esque substance which is generally absorbed from the environment and stored in the Dan Tian which in these ...
4 votes
1 answer
100 views

Are there any myths of Gods or Goddesses giving up their divinity permanently of their own free will?

The type of story I'm curious about is one where a God or Goddess is so enamoured with the human experience, that they willingly give up their divinity to mingle among humanity and live+die as they do....
3 votes
0 answers
51 views

A "Brigadoon" But in the Appalachian Mountains?

The other day I was speaking to a friend, about Brigadoon. I seem to faintly remember there is folklore, about a town in Appalachia that did the same thing. It would disappear and reappear. But I've ...
7 votes
3 answers
3k views

What is the specific term for those creatures that exist because people believe in them?

So recently i have seen in films and series about this oddities that exist in our reality because people believe in them. Something that exist because of the collective imagination from people that ...
8 votes
0 answers
233 views

Is there any folklore in non-European culture that may be an attempt to "explain" similar to changeling myths in Western Europe and Scandinavia?

It has been suggested by some authors that stories of changelings in Scandinavia and western Europe are an attempt by ancient peoples used to try and explain developmental abnormalities in children, ...
4 votes
2 answers
233 views

Are there any evil dog gods in folklore?

I know there are dog gods like the Inugami but are there any evil dog gods? By this I mean a god that is clearly evil but still represented as a dog. Cerberus would fit the bil if it where a god and ...
7 votes
2 answers
74 views

What are the origins of April Fools' Day?

On April Fools' Day, 1 April, it's the custom in several cultures to play practical jokes and to spread hoax stories. Where and when did this custom originate?
2 votes
0 answers
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Is there a Celtic folklore or mythology story associated with the Hill of Mael in Ireland?

Does anyone have any record of a story associated with the trivallate settlement complex on the Hill of Mael in Co. Westmeath, Ireland? I am looking for earlier Celtic stories under Irish mythology.
2 votes
3 answers
124 views

Greco-Roman stories of a mother losing her daughter?

I am looking for Greco-Roman stories of a mother losing her young daughter and the grief that takes place as a consequence of such. I am writing a play where a similar thing occurs and would like to ...
9 votes
1 answer
455 views

Why did Unkulunkulu send the lizard after the chameleon?

In Chapter II: Where Man Came From, and How Death Came of Alice Werner's Myths and Legends of the Bantu we find the chameleon legend of the Bantu people. The legend explains how death came into the ...
5 votes
1 answer
48 views

Is it sound to academically analyze myth in translation?

I am working on my dissertation on An Táin Bó Culaigne. I (sadly) can't work from the Old Irish text but am relying on using translation to explore a point I am making about Early Irish society. Is ...
5 votes
4 answers
748 views

Do European folklore creatures, like ogres, brownies, fairies,goblins etc. have characteristics attributed to anti-semitism?

These creatures mentioned in the title have characteristics (any, such as traits, costumes, behavior, etc.) attributed to anti-semitism by antisemitic people (or have their origins rooted in this)?
3 votes
1 answer
217 views

Why are there different names and appearances for household spirits in Estonian folklore?

In the Estonian folklore Pisuhand, Kratt and Puuk are all household spirits who steal grain and milk for whomever’s house they dwell in. They are described as a goblin or dragon and are an old ...
1 vote
1 answer
77 views

Mythologies or folktales regarding dormouse/mouse?

I’m trying to create a character based on a powerful and immortal god, but I kind of want a mouse to represent that as it would fit into my story of how the character is portrayed. I was thinking of ...
5 votes
2 answers
149 views

What is the origin of a common Christmas tree quotation concerning an old Babylonish fable about an evergreen tree?

Searching for "evergreen tree which sprang out of a dead tree stump" gets nearly 3000 hits. The Seed of the Woman and the Power of Darkness - Donbor Syiemlieh - Google Books is an example: &...
6 votes
4 answers
13k views

Why did Rumpelstiltskin want the baby?

The story of Rumpelstiltskin is quite well known, but I can't recall what his motivation for wanting the human child. The question can be extended to Goblins in general. (Although in the case of the ...
6 votes
3 answers
12k views

What is the difference between a phantom and a ghost?

These are compared as such: a phantom is a ghost, but a ghost is not a phantom. The meaning of that is every phantom is a ghost, but phantoms have characteristics that prevents every ghost from being ...
2 votes
1 answer
279 views

How are domovye (domestic spirits) experienced in Russian flats (apartments)?

In Russian culture, the domovoy (домовой) is a domestic house spirit. Traditionally he lives under the stove or threshold, in the cattle shed or in the stable. He is the home's guardian and if kept ...
3 votes
0 answers
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Giant guarding Wada's Keep, other sources for the legend

Eric Knight's short story “Strong In The Arms” (1942 or earlier, I've mostly read it in Hungarian translation from the volume [1]) talks about the legend of a giant guarding Wada's Keep. Let me ...
2 votes
1 answer
200 views

Were there any gods Floridian Tribes recognized?

I am researching the pre-Columbian-colonization Americas for a poem and am currently focused on Florida. Thus I am intriguing myself to the cultures of the major "Indian" tribes, especially ...
3 votes
1 answer
66 views

Way to measure the probability a story evolving in a given culture

I am wondering if there exists a way to get a numerical estimate of the probability of whether or not a given society will evolve a story with certain characteristics within a certain amount of time. ...
2 votes
1 answer
499 views

What is the origin of legend of Alderley Edge?

What is the legend of Alderley Edge, in northern England? Are there other legends, folk tales, from this area?
2 votes
0 answers
352 views

What connects the Welsh and English Gogmagog with the Hebrew Gog and Magog?

The guardian statues outside London's Guildhall, the building that houses the administration of the Corporation of the City of London, are known as Gog and Magog. Originally they were understood to be ...
3 votes
0 answers
127 views

What is the oldest known story from the Paleolithic or Mesolithic, if any are known?

What is the oldest story known to have been told by people living a Palaeolithic or Mesolithic way of life, in other words who have not used metals such as copper, bronze or iron and who do not engage ...
7 votes
1 answer
298 views

How did Princess Argyro lose her breast?

Princess Argyro is the legendary founder of Gjirokastër, in Albanian and Greek folklore. According to Nikolaos Politis1, in Greek tales she is sometimes referred to as "Μονοβύζα", the single-breasted. ...