Collected Folk Tales – Alan Garner

Collected Folk Tales

Collected Folk Tales


A collection of folk tales or fairy stories compiled and edited by Alan Garner, including stories from around the world, along with a handful of Garner's own poetry.


I very much liked Alan Garner’s own books when I was young, and in the search for modern, e-versions, turned up this collection. Not Garner’s own work, of course (though that turns out to be only mostly true), but I still thought it would be interesting to see what stories he liked.

The result, unfortunately, is only mildly interesting. The stories are (with the exception of one taken from the Ramayana) generally short and easily digested, and they range fairly broadly around the world (though with a focus on Europe). Their brevity, unfortunately, works against them for adult or adolescent reading, but they might, especially with their frequent use of dialect, be fun reading for or to younger children.

A surprising inclusion is a number of speculative poems by Garner himself. I tend not to be a big fan of such poems, but these weren’t bad. I wouldn’t seek them out, but I thought they fit the collection well. According to the copyright page, the book itself draws heavily from the Garner-edited Hamish Hamilton Book of Goblins, taking roughly half the stories from there, along with new material.

If you’re looking for quick, lightly scary stories for young children, this book might suit you well. If you’re looking for stories more than bite-sized, look elsewhere.

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