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The stories were translated into English by Sir George Webbe Dasent, whose interest in Scandinavian mythology and literature was sparked by a meeting with Jakob Grimm who, along with his brother Wilhelm, collected German folktales into some of the most popular collections of children’s stories ever. These stories similarly reflect a culture’s unique flavor while containing lessons, jokes, dreams, and fears that are universally relatable and enjoyable.
The introduction is exceptionally well written, and places various magical and other themes from the tales into the context of ancient Norse Pagan beliefs. It is a Victorian scholarly treatise, however (with the requisite rhetorical flourishes), and will mostly be appreciated by academic listeners. Once you get past the introduction however, the prose descends to the young adult level, and the delightful stories can be appreciated by listeners of all ages.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Amazon Customer on 02-14-15
What made the experience of listening to Popular Tales from the Norse the most enjoyable?
There are some great tales and they are well told. There are several that have several variations of the same story and I don't think they all needed to be in the book. It made the book long and it started getting boring.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Amazonian by default on 10-20-17
Nice and long smogasbord of weird stories
When traveling alone, these make great bedtime stories to fall asleep to. Yes, imagine that, fairy tales make good bedtime stories! These stories are really bizarre; sometimes a little disturbing, sometimes pretty silly, but always weird.
Someone here was complaining that these are "Christianized." Well, so was "Beowulf." Most of Norse mythology (the Sagas and Eddas) and Germanic mythology were written by Christians and are highly contaminated in many peoples' estimate. Unless you can go back in time about 1200 years or more and collect the stories yourself, you are stuck with this, so complaining here about Christian contamination is unproductive. Unfortunately, Germanic pagans wrote almost nothing of their religious and folk beliefs. The Christian references in this collection are very sparse, and with very few exceptions are completely incidental and inconsequential.
Someone claims these are "English" and therefore not authentically Norse. I do not believe this to be the case. Just because England is mentioned in a very few stories does not mean these are English. Also, no one has the authority to dismiss anything from England's Danish settlement period (such as Beowulf) as not qualifying as Norse. That is not the case, and so one questions the motive for suggesting this? Perhaps such a person needs to learn Norwegian and see if they can find a Norwegian folktale book, if England and English bothers them. At best, they would probably only find an uncredited modern translation of this vintage book.
When I am journeying in wild forested and rocky places, this book is excellent to turn to at night, as a sleep aid. It is long, and has numerous short stories. I can put this book down for months, and come back to it when I return to my wilderness vacations. It has stories of trolls, witches, magic, and other uniquely strange subjects presented in an odd fashion, by modern standards. I have been listening to this on and off for several years. This audio book never fails to hold my interest enough to eliminate stray thoughts, but is light enough that I will fall asleep before the timer stops the audio. I derive satisfaction from knowing that it has an almost pure ancestral aesthetic, and that it lacks the crudeness, political correctness, and smothering satire that permeates our modern anti-culture.
Tip: If you are alone, try a compact, $20 plug-in speaker for your phone, for bedtime listening. I find this works better than falling asleep with inserted earbuds, Bluetooth headband speakers, or a pillow speaker. I quietly use mine even when I am not alone. These also work great for two people sharing a bedtime audio book story, streaming radio drama, etc.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Mr. J. Ambler on 06-26-18
Call it something else!!!
This is not tales of the Norse. It is folk tales from Scandinavia. Mostly.
Apart from the tales about Anansi. Who is as far from being Norse as I am an African Spider God.
That sums up the book for me- marginally related (I bought this before they changed the description) to Northern European countries, but not Norse.
The stories were...ok. Abruptly dark in places, but some good ones.
The narrator did an amazing job under the circumstances. Although I was marginally confused by some of the accents, it was well read.