These wonderful collections of stories, beautifully translated from Danish by Stephen Badman, should be in every school library, and English classroom throughout the land.
Stephen Badman and fellow storyteller John Herbert have sensitively reworked each tale so that each appears fresh and captures the reader, young and old, transporting the reader back to a time where a common European cultural heritage seems to meet in this literature collected from the oral tradition and fortunately now translated for a 21st century audience to enjoy. A time of villages and villagers, robbers and bandits, rich and poor, - universal archetypes and an abundance of excitement and danger (and some unhappy endings!)
Stephen Badman's career as a storyteller pays off in spades as the translations also work brilliantly read aloud, by teacher and student, bringing this heritage magically to life. Parallels and similarities with the folk tales of Wales, England and Scotland can be drawn, and each collection has the potential to be dramatised for students of Drama and English. Oracy, Reading and Writing objectives can all be fulfilled using this collection as a resource.
This collection represents an exciting opportunity for teachers, especially at Key Stages 2 and 3 to develop a new approach to reading folk tales with their students extending their understanding of the genre in a European context, and represents fantastic value at the price.
The accompanying CD provides plenty of ideas for busy teachers to adapt for their own classrooms.
(J. Clarke, Teacher English/Performing Arts,
"I can heartily recommend these books of folktales as a gift to English speaking family members and friends - they may not be interested in folk tales beforehand, but they certainly will after reading these."
Editor of the Dictionary of the Dialects of Jutland
Aarhus University, Denmark.
"Look for Tales from Denmark and most booksellers will steer you towards Hans Andersen, the man who gave me more nightmares than the Bros. Grimm. So it was a delight to discover this growing collection of folktale books translated by Stephen Badman. Some of the material collected by Sven Grundtvig (five stories out of one hundred and seventy) had been translated into English in the late 1800s, whereas the collected tales of Nikolaj Christensen and Niels Levinsen, two of his favourite collectors, appear in translation for the first time. Evald Tang Kristensen and Jens Nielsen Kamp published their collections independently.
In these collections you will find variations on familiar European folktales and a wealth of stories specific to Denmark. The background of the collectors and notes on their stories, along with a glossary, are there for those who want them and make fascinating reading.
Though the books are designed for the use in school the stories are strong and equally suitable for adult audiences. in the two months I Have had these books I have only been able to skim through them, but I have already told several of the tales at our local storytelling group and I am looking forward to dipping into them further. I would thoroughly recommend them to anyone looking for new tales to enrich their repertoire."
Editor of Storylines,
the journal of the Society for Storytelling.
Odds and Sods – stories taken from the collections of Evald Tang Kristensen
Retold by Stephen Badman
ISBN 978 1 291 51114 7
Available from www.talltales.me.uk
This is the sixth book of Danish Folktales translated by Stephen Badman. The earlier books were an excellent source of stories for use in schools, in this volume he delights in retelling tales that are a little earthier in nature. In the preface Stephen provides an excellent outline of the collectors of Danish folklore and the way each recorded the tales they collected in a particular style. Tang Kristensen resisted the trend of the time and recorded the tales as accurately as he could; preserving the speech patterns and dialect of the storytellers he was collecting from. These tales were given no literary gloss and provide a window into the lives of the working people of Jutland during the 1880s. Even the wonder tales hold a fairground mirror to the familiar problems of leaving home and making your way in the world, a situation as relevant to today’s youth as that of just over a century ago.
For the storyteller looking for something a little different to tell to an adult audience there is plenty of variety here. Variants of familiar tales, that can be found all over Europe, rub shoulders with strange and uniquely Danish stories. The Danish version of Mr. Fox has the villain as the leader of a band of robbers and the fate of his brides is even worse than their English counterparts. I had not come across any stories of Fanny Gilding before, and yes it is as rude as it sounds. The other thing that I like about this collection is that it provides stories of differing lengths. There are short pieces that would go down well in a folksong club, or at a story slam, where brevity is important and longer tales that could be developed into well rounded performance pieces or linked together into a longer programme. If you have a rude sense of humour and a love of fine stories, simply told, then this is a must for your bookshelf.
Review by Tina Bilbé
Editor of `Storylines` – Society for Storytelling