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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

April A-Z: Taliesin

From TreeCarving.co.uk 
Just a quick thought today!

I have always found the story of Taliesin fascinating. I'm referring here to the all-knowing bard created by magic (as related in the Mabinogion), rather than the historical bard. People of legend are often more exciting than those of history, aren't they?

What I find interesting now is the part of the story where Ceridwen is pursuing Taliesin, and they're turning into different creatures to escape from or catch each other. It's a motif found elsewhere in British folklore - in ballads like "The Two Magicians" (Child ballad 44), folktales like the Grimms' Foundling-Bird (Aarne-Thompson type 313a). It is also used later in children's books such as T. H. White's The Sword in the Stone and Julia Donaldson's The Princess and the Wizard, although in the latter the Princess is allowed to transform in order to hide from the Wizard, while the Wizard doesn't transform and chase her - he just has to find her.

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