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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: duckling, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Irish Jack the Cat

What a wonderful little video clip! If you’ve read Catherine Friend’s The Perfect Nest, you’ll enjoy watching this Perfect Nest in Ireland

babies.model jack.model

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2. A folklore and fairy tales reading list from Oxford World’s Classics

By Jessica Harris

This month our Oxford World’s Classics reading list is on folk and fairy tales. Many of these stories pre-date the printing press, and most will no doubt continue to be told for hundreds of years to come. How many of these have you heard of, and have we missed out your favourite? Let us know in the comments.


No list on folklore would be complete without Beowulf: probably the most famous English folk tale and a great story. This half-historical, half-legendary epic poem written by an unknown poet between the 8th and 11th century tells the story of the majestic hero Beowulf, who saves Hrothgar, the Danish king, from monstrous and terrifying enemies before eventually being slain. Through this tale of swashbuckling adventure we also see the power struggles and brutality of medieval politics.

Selected Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

In 1812 the Brothers Grimm took contemporary German folk tales and shaped them in their own bloodthirsty way, and in doing so captivated and horrified children for years to come. There are no morals here; no happy endings – the antagonists such as the evil stepmother won’t just steal your sweets but would kill you without a second thought. Here we have, for example, the original Snow White, with the Witch forced to dance in red-hot shoes until her death.

Le Morte Darthur by Thomas Malory

This text, written by Sir Thomas Malory in 1470, provides us with the definitive version of many of the King Arthur stories: the Knights of the Round Table, Sir Lancelot’s betrayal, and the Quest for the Holy Grail. Here we see the Round Table full of warring factions; we see Arthur the King discredited by Lancelot, who begins an affair with his wife, Guinevere, and we see Arthur’s supporters’ revenge that Arthur is powerless to prevent. The book shows how Arthur and his court lived and felt – and it’s no wonder the legend is such a fundamental part of British culture.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

When the mysterious Green Knight turns up at King Arthur’s court and challenges anyone to strike him with his axe and accept a return blow in a year and a day, Sir Gawain, the youngest Knight in Sir Arthur’s court, decides to prove his mettle by accepting the challenge. However, when he strikes the Green Knight and beheads him, the man laughs, picks up his head and tells Gawain he has a year and a day to live. Despite being written in the fourteenth century, this poem’s main theme – proving yourself – makes it instantly relatable and compelling.

Statue of Hans Christian Andersen reading The Ugly Duckling, in Central Park, New York City

Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen

This collection of fairy tales is a world away from Grimm’s violent and sinister collection – this Danish author was the creator of charming, accessible stories such as The Ugly Duckling and the Emperor’s New Clothes. Despite being poorly received when they were first published in 1936 because of their informality and focus on being amusing rather than educational, these stories have entertained generations of children. Christian Andersen invented the “fairy tale” as we know it today – simple, timeless stories that explore universal themes and end happily.

Eirik the Red and Other Icelandic Sagas

This saga was originally told orally around 1000 CE and was written down in the thirteenth or fourteenth century and is a major landmark in Icelandic folk literature. It tells the story of Eirik’s exile for murder, the same fate as his father, and his discovery and settlement in “Vinland”, a lush, plentiful country. It is believed to describe one of the first discoveries of North America, five hundred years before Captain Cook.

The Nibelungenlied

This epic comes from Medieval Germany and is a masterpiece of fantasy storytelling. Written in 1200 but rediscovered in the 1700s, it has since become the German national epic – on a par with the Iliad or the Ramayana. This story has it all: dragons, invisibility cloaks, fortune telling, and hoards of treasure guarded by dwarves and giants. We see love, jealousy and conflict, and the story ends with awful slaughter. The story has inspired a number of adaptations, including Wagner’s Ring cycle.

The Mabinogion

The Mabinogion is a collection of eleven medieval Welsh stories which combine Arthurian legend, Celtic myth and social narrative to create an epic series – its importance as a record of the history of culture and mythology in Wales is enormous. The stories are fantastical: the Four Branches of the Mabinogi are tales about British pagan gods recreated as human heroes, and sociological: The Dream of Macsen Wledig is an exaggerated story about the Roman Emperor Magnus Maximus.

Jessica Harris graduated from Warwick University with a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics and has been working as an intern in the Online Product Marketing department in the Oxford office of Oxford University Press.

For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more. You can follow Oxford World’s Classics on Twitter, Facebook, or here on the OUPblog.

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Image credit: Statue of Hans Christian Andersen reading The Ugly Duckling, in Central Park, New York City. By Dismas (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The post A folklore and fairy tales reading list from Oxford World’s Classics appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Ducklings on the Move

In anticipation of yet another upcoming move (just a short, local move this time), I started designing a postcard to send out once we're settled at our new address:
I think I'm setting myself up for a serious challenge with all the ripples in the water those little ducklings can't help but generate. But for the opportunity to illustrate ducklings in all their irresistable cuteness, hopefully the challenge will be worth it!

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4. On the Move

Our final moving date is just a little over a week away and there's still a lot to do. I need to put in change of addresses with various places, set up phone and internet service at our new home, and gather up a bunch more book boxes for our substantial library. But, I do, at least, have my painting all finished and ready to be made into postcards:
I think I'm probably going to post this one for sale on my Etsy shop, but I think it might be best to hang on to it until my postcards are finalized. So, if you're interested, check my shop in maybe three or four weeks. I'll update here with a direct link too when it's available.

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5. Meet Miller the Mallard

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you might have already seen this photo but as we're heading into the 4th of July I thought it would be fun to post the story behind this picture here on the blog.

Meet Miller the Mallard. We were driving up the Ogden Canyon and suddenly, my husband and I both saw this little guy waddling alongside the 2-lane highway all by his lonesome. On one side of him was the highway and the other a cement barrier to keep cars from falling into the Ogden River, which is at a record high thanks to all our snowfall this past winter. This is a very dangerous, narrow, winding canyon and biking and walking along it is frowned upon. But I couldn't let my husband, Matt, just drive by so I talked him into stopping. Matt found a place to pull over (wide enough spots are few and far between) and he drove up and down to try and protect me when I was on the narrowest of stretches. (I was wearing very high heels because we'd just come home from a party and I still have a blister but it was worth it.) When I found the duckling, who my husband later told me was on his back with his little legs and huge feet up in the air on one of his drive-bys), he was soaking wet. I thought about just putting him on the other side of the cement barrier but there was a huge drop to the river. So I decided I'd take him to the truck, where my husband and three sons were eagerly waiting to see him. While we were debating what to do with him, Miller, my oldest, mentioned that his friends in the near-by town of Huntsville live right on the lake and have a bunch of ducks that they feed and take care of. So we thought it would be worth a try. The dad and his sons were all out on the front lawn playing football when we pulled up. We could tell right away they knew what to do with the little guy; they had a place for him, food he could eat, and a wonderful yard in which to grow stronger. They named him Miller, after my son, and invited us to come and visit anytime.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July, American friends!

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6. Poetry Friday: Distractions


Here I am.
Left behind
yet again.

I turned to watch the shadow of a cloud
pass over the riverbank
and when I turned back
the breadcrumbs had already been tossed.

Yesterday, I was noticing
the way a seed
swirled in the current
and suddenly my siblings were nowhere to be seen.

There's an ant
climbing the crest
of that bending blade of grass.

© Mary Lee Hahn, 2012

Katya has today's Poetry Friday roundup at Write. Sketch. Repeat.

22 Comments on Poetry Friday: Distractions, last added: 5/21/2012
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