A gathering of legendry, folktales, and song profiles such familiar characters of Irish myth as mischeivous fairies, the industrious leprechaun, the fearsome Pooka, and the eerie Banshee.
While I have given this anthology a five-star rating based on it's value as a source of information on Irish mythology, it would probably be worth only four stars for entertainment value alone. Some of the stories are very short and/or don't have much of a point, and are less interesting. These tend to serve more as testimony to the nature of a particular mythical being rather than being an actual story with a plot and message for the reader. Nevertheless, the book as a whole offers a very comprehensive look at just what defines Irish folk culture. The stories that do have a point sometimes take the form of "how things came to be this way" tales, or provide a moral lesson, etc.Read more ›
Yeats is listed as editor of this volume but I feel that probably underplays his importance. The stories are not his invention, but it seems his writing throughout. The stories are well chosen to cover a large part of Irish myth and are well written. This volume and "Mythologies" show Yeats abiding love for the Celtic heritage that surrounded him.
I always enjoy Yeat's writing, from his poetry all the wy to his essays. This volume shows that he can have a masterful touch for myths.
The only shortcoming is that to the modern reader the language may sometimes appear slightly archaic or stilted, though this is rare and somehow seems to fit for a collection of legends.