Mythology is like other traditional tales but exceptionally important to a culture. In addition, it would be the primary focus of modern pagan practitioners. The study and interpretation of myth is called mythography. No matter where mythology originates the stories seems to have fundamental similarities. This aroused the attention of the groundbreaking psychologist Carl Jung to theorize and popularize the concept of the
collective unconscious, a telepathic network connecting all of humanity. This leads to phenomena such as simultaneous invention, which happened hundreds of times in history with a particularly famous example being the simultaneous development of calculus by Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, as well as the crossword puzzle challenge factor phenomenon, where crossword puzzles seem to be easier once they have been published for awhile. Jung's work was elaborated upon by a mythographer named Joseph Campbell who described a system called The Hero's Journey in his magnum opus The Hero with a Thousand Faces. This could be described as a spiritual
operating system that we are all attracted to and work with even in our everyday lives. This system is used by those in media to structure a story which will garner interest. In virtually every case the more faithful a story is to The Hero's Journey the more popular and impactful it is. This formula is widely used, but series that follow this formula particularly strictly include Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and The Matrix. Such stories can become ubiquitously known and highly treasured, and in a way serve as modern mythology.
- Le Mort d'Arthur , by Sir Thomas Mallory (1485): Some see this as a sort of fairy holy scripture. If you resonate with that I recommend checking out the scholar John Matthews. Historia regum Britanniae by Geoffrey of Monmouth is a few centuries older, from around 1136, and helped popularize the legends. However, Y Gododdin is a medieval Welsh poem which is the oldest regarded mention of King Arthur according to academia. It is still in dispute regarding its time of writing between the 7th and early 11th century, but this would decisively place it as before the Norman conquest. Arthurian fantasy is a genre unto itself.
- Lebor na hUidre (Book of the Dun Cow), The Book of Leinster, The Book of Glendalough, the Lecan books, the Book of Ballymote and Táin Bó Cúailnge: These primary manuscripts of Irish folklore contain the adventures of heroes such as Cú Chulainn, Ossian and Finn MacCool, and can be categorized into the Mythological, Fenian and Ulster cycles.
- Poems of Ossian, compiled by James MacPherson (1773): This is a highly controversial work as to its veracity but is at least based on real oral tales, ostensibly from the Scottish Dark Ages. This collection made a stir in the Romantic age. Napoleon himself carried a copy of it into battle.
- The Mabinogion: The main body of Welsh mythological stories. Contains The Four Branches of the Mabinogi (Pedair Cainc Y Mabinogi), the earliest attested prose stories in Britain.
- The Poetic Eddas and Prose Eddas (Assumed to be written or at least compiled by Snorri Sturluson) of Norse mythology: This body of myth which seems to grow in popularity over time includes the ljósálfar ("light elves"), dökkálfar ("dark elves") and dwarves. This mythology was a huge influence on Tolkien, who in turn made a modern epic and had a lasting impact on fantasy ever since. Norse Mythology (2017) is a layman's resource on the subject, written by the prolific author and suspected incarnate fae Neil Gaiman. There is an audiobook version with Gaiman himself as the narrator.
- Theogony by Hesiod and The Odyssey by Homer: Describes nymphs.
- The Metamorphoses, by Ovid (Augustan Rome): Contains over 250 myths based on transformation, many of them involving nymphs.
- The Vietnamese Origin Myth: The love story of Lạc Long Quân the dragon lord and Âu Cơ the mountain fairy which gave birth to the Vietnamese people (out of a sack of eggs). There are dragons similarly incarnated here as humans; the uniting of the two is marvelous to see.
- Yaksha Prashna: Part of the Hindu epic The Mahabharata.
Traditional Folklore, Fairy Tales and Reports
Traditional folklore and tales are legends told by witnesses or from bards, parents, elders, etc. which tell a tale, often to entertain but which can also hold truth. In many cases they involve local legend but they may be made up whole cloth, and this can be difficult to ascertain; they may be made up to simply scare children from straying too far from their parents a great deal of the time. However, many of them are no doubt honest reports of sightings and interactions. Crude and irreverant stories are common but tend to have been recorded less; tales may be bowdlerized in attempting to suit a certain audience and may become more moralistic as a result. Traditional tales may come off as strikingly in line with old ideals and tropes which have long since been deconstructed and toyed with.
Usually collected from oral tradition, there are many thousands of tales recorded in writing. They were transcribed and published between the 15th-18th centuries when printing became more affordable in what are called chapbooks, which were usually paper-bound and less than 40 pages. An even earlier type of publication was the broadside ballad, a single sheet of paper with a ballad, rhyme and/or news which was highly affordable as entertainment. These remained popular alongside the chapbook. Folklore continues today with urban legends, ghost stories, encounter stories and cryptozoology, much of it unrecorded and remaining between friends and family like the old days but sometimes posted on message boards or recorded in blogs.
Sometimes tales can be recorded by the media or government institutions such as courts of law. These may be classified as reports since they fall out of typical oral tradition. This is a thin but noticeable divergence from traditional folklore.
Collections of strictly fictional tales originating from professional writers such as Hans Christian Anderson will not be included, and are in on the media section instead. Many recorders are also authors, but the entries will be sorted by what constitutes the majority of their work for convenience.
- Histoires ou contes du temps passé, avec des moralités a.k.a Mother Goose Tales, compiled by Charles Perrault (1697): An early compilation of written tales which clearly defines a moral at the end of every story. Famous tales include
Little Red Riding Hood,
Puss in Boots,
Hop o' my Thumb and
Riquet with a Tuft. Maurice Ravel created a piano duet based on some of the tales in 1910 (Ma mère l'Oye) and orchestrated it in 1911.
- The Fairy Book series by Andrew Lang (798 tales): Andrew Lang is the focus of a long-running lecture series at the University of St. Andrews, the Andrew Lang Lectures, with an event in 1939 featuring J.R.R. Tolkien (On Fairy-Stories).
- English Fairy Tales (1890) and More English Fairy Tales (1893), by Joseph Jacobs: The compiler is considered a top expert of English folklore.
- Grimm's Fairy Tales (), collected by The Brothers Grimm (210 tales): Mostly German. Warning: often dark.
- Russian Fairy Tales, collected by Alexander Afanasyev (c. 600 tales)
- Russkie Skazki (Русские сказки), by Vladimir Dal (1832): Had others put into verse by Alexander Pushkin, which are very famous.
- Norwegian Folktales (Norske Folkeeventyr), collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe
- The work of Émile Souvestre encompasses collected and self-written Breton folklore.
- The work of Bernhard Baader (German fairytales)
- The Pentamarone (Lo cunto de li cunti overo lo trattenemiento de peccerille), collected by Giambattista Basile (1634, 1636): A collection of Neapolitan fairy tales which was highly praised and popularized by the Brothers Grimm.
- One Thousand and One Nights a.k.a. Arabian Nights (originally released in English between 1706-1721): A massive collection of mostly Middle-Eastern folk tales (Arabic, Persian, Indian, Greek, Jewish and Turkish), especially from the Abbasid and Mamluk eras. Was a major part of the orientalist craze during the Age of Romanticism. Notable for the genie in "Aladdin's Wonderful Lamp" and the magical creatures in Sinbad's adventures.
- Maoriland Fairy Tales, by Edith Howes (1913): Folktales from the land of the Maori a.k.a. New Zealand.
- Sur la Lune Fairytales: Go here for more fairy tales from around the globe, primarily European.
- Tian Xian Pei (usually called
Fairy Couple in English): A Chinese folktale. A Chinese television series was made in 2006 called The Little Fairy (天外飞仙)
- Bengal Fairy Tales, by F.B. Bradley Birt and Abindranath Tagore (1920): Abindranath Tagore is not to be confused with the famous polymath Rabindranath Tagore, who is from the same influential Bengali family.
Elfshot): A Danish ballad which could be older, perhaps from France or Brittany. There are analogues from other regions of Europe as well. The most common variation is the one published by Peter Syv in 1695, which is on Wikipedia. The story is found in an older manuscript, the Karen Brahes Folio, which dates to 1583. Dozens of variations are found across Scandinavia, with some of them in Sweden involving St. Olaf. There is a
happy ending version known as Elverhøj (Elves' Hill), which inspired a story by Hans Christian Anderson released in 1845, generally known in English as The Elf Mound. There is a Elverhøj was made into a patriotic comedy play by Johan Ludvig Heiberg in 1828, becoming the first Danish national play, with music by Friedrich Kudlau.
- The Nibelungenlied (c. 1200)
- Perceforest (Le Roman de Perceforest) (c. 1330-1345)
- Sleeping Beauty (French: La Belle au bois dormant) (German: Dornröschen) a.k.a. The Sleeping Beauty in the Woods, Little Briar Rose (Earliest known recording from c. 1330-1345): First found in Perceforest, which was created between 1330-1345, this tale has certainly taken a momentum independent of it. A princess is cursed with a century of sleep by an evil fairy after pricking herself and requires a handsome prince to wake her up. A good fairy gathers people and creatures around her for when she wakes up so she is not frightened. The story is very un-feminist. The evil fairy specifically characterized as Maleficent is found in Disney's renditions. A version was published in The Pentamarone in 1634 called Sun, Moon, and Talia (Sole, Luna, e Talia), by Charles Perrault in 1697 and then a version called Little Briar Rose was published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. An opera came out in 1825 a little over a decade later entitled La Belle au Bois Dormant, created by Michele Carafa based on a libretto by François-Antonine-Eugène de Planard; however, this is based on the Charles Perrault version. La belle au bois dormant was made into a ballet in four acts in 1829, with the book by Eugène Scribe, composing by Ferdinand Hérold and choreography by Jean-Louis Aumer. Alfred, Lord Tennyson created two poems based on the story, the first titled Sleeping Beauty (1830) and the second called The Day Dream (1842). A common nursery rhyme called There Was A Princess Long Ago tells a summarized version of the story. A ballet entitled The Sleeping Beauty was created by Tchaikovsky and released in 1890. Engelbert Humperdinck created an opera which premiered in 1902 entitled Dornröschen. One of Maurice Ravel's suites in the Ma mère l'Oye piano suite is based on Sleeping Beauty (Pavane de la Belle au bois dormant). Mary Carolyn Davies created a poem in 1919 (The Sleeping Beauty) where the hero fails to wake up the princess. A story from the horror comic anthology Tales from the Crypt featured a macabre Sleeping Beauty story in the December/January 1954 issue. The Sleeping Beauty from 1920 is a retelling by Charles Evans with illustrations by Arthur Rackam. Walter Lantz Productions created an animated short based on the story in 1939 (The Sleeping Princess). A Finnish film based off the story called Prinsessa Ruusunen was released in 1949, directed by Edwin Laine with incidental music by Erkki Malarkin which was produced in 1912. A film called Dornröschen directed by Fritz Genschow was released in 1955. Disney released an animated movie, Sleeping Beauty, in 1959 with voice acting by Mary Costa and Eleanor Audley; this is one of the story's most famous depictions, popularizing the name of the princess as Aurora and characterizing the evil fairy and giving her the name Maleficent. Yasunari Kawabata released a mostly unrelated work called The House of the Sleeping Beauties (眠れる美女)in 1961, which was adapted into a movie called Bellas durmientes (Sleeping Beauties) directed by Eloy Lozano in 2001. There is a poem about Sleeping Beauty in Anne Sexton's 1971 collection Transformations. A modern erotic story based on a short story by John Colier was released in a film called Some Call It Loving in 1973. Anne Rice had four erotic novels loosely based on the story written between 1983 and 2015 called The Sleeping Beauty Quartet. A direct-to-television musical film directed by David Irving was released in 1987. An episode of the Japanese anime fairy tale anthology Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics is called Sleeping Briar Rose. An episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks entitled The Legend of Sleeping Brittany was released in 1989. A novel called Beauty came out in 1992 and was written by Sheri S. Tepper. The same year Jane Yolen released a book entitled Briar Rose. Swedish band Tiamat released a song in 1992 called The Sleeping Beauty. A Japanese-American direct-to-video movie called Sleeping Beauty was released in 1995. An episode of Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child called Sleeping Beauty (1995) retells the story with a hispanic cast. Orson Scott Card had a book published in 1999 called Enchantment which is based on a Russian version of the tale. A novel called Spindle's End was written by Robert McKinley and published in 2000 featuring a princess who comes off as more masculine and possesses determination of her own. Sophie Masson released a novel called Clementine in 2001 which features a princess named Aurora. The second book in Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series is called The Gates of Sleep came out in 2002 and is based off Sleeping Beauty.Alex Flinn released a novel in 2009 called A Kiss in Time. Wendy Mass released a Sleeping Beauty book in her Twice Upon a Time series called Sleeping Beauty: The One Who Took the Really Long Nap in 2006. A movie called La belle endormie (The Sleeping Beauty) was created by the auteur Catherine Breillat in 2010. An album called Sleeping Beauty Wakes by GrooveLily was released in 2008. Another album released in 2010 loosely based on the story was created by Abby Dobson, entitled Sleeping Beauty: You Are the One You Have Been Waiting On. A movie called Sleeping Beauty directed by Julia Leigh and starring Emily Browning was released in 2011 and is sexual in nature. Sleeping Beauty features in the show Once Upon a Time. An entry in the Dark Parables computer game series is based on the story, Curse of Briar Rose, and was released in 2010. Neil Gaiman had a book called The Sleeper and the Spindle published in 2012. Maleficent is the main star in a wildly successful live-action Angelina Jolie movie titled Maleficent which was released in 2014 and received a sequel in 2019. A film by Rene Perez came out in 2014 as well as one by Casper Van Dien, both called Sleeping Beauty. Sleeping Beauty features in Ever After High, specifically in a 2015 episode called Briar Beauty in a Netflix show for the series. The Curse of Sleeping Beauty is an American horror film directed by Pearry Reginald Teo and released in 2016. Rajesh Talwar spinned a version of the story taking place in the Himalayas called The Sleepless Beauty, released in 2019. A point-and-click game called Little Briar Rose was released in 2019.
- Snow White