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Tales from the Lands of Nuts and Grapes: Spanish and Portuguese Folklore

by Charles Sellers

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I firmly believe that the following tales have never seen the light of publicity. They are the folklore of Spain and Portugal.Since the day when Hernando del Castillo, in 1511, published some of the romances of Spanish chivalry collected from the people, various works have appeared at different times, adding to the already rich store from that inexhaustible mine of song and story.But, unfortunately for those who appreciate originality in a people, it was discovered that Boccaccio had been most unceremoniously plagiarized, and, what was still worse, that his defects had not been avoided.The "Decameron" has, in fact, been the foundation of the majority of the romances attributed to the natives of the Peninsula when, as has too often been the case, they have in their songs of chivalry overstepped the limits imposed by decorum.But this does not argue that the Spaniards and Portuguese have no poetry and no folklore of their own, but rather that the latter have been ignored by the compilers of such literature, in order to satisfy the cravings of the unfortunately too many admirers, even in this day, of that which would have been of advantage to the world at large had it never been imagined.In England the tale of "Jack the Giant Killer" is read with avidity by all young people, for it is a purely national ta≤ but in Spain and Portugal such simple tales very seldom find a publisher, and children, and even their elders have to content themselves with hearing them recited by those who enliven the long wintry nights with such lore as I have attempted to reproduce from my memory, told me in my youth in the bosom of those two sister lands which produced the Cid Campeador and the Gran Vasco da Gama.And, before closing this preface, I would remark that the North of Portugal, where I was born and bred, is richer in folklore than the rest of the kingdom, especially in tales about enchanted Moors and warlocks, of whom I, in common with the Portuguese, say, "Abernuncio." (Preface)… (more)
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The Wise King of Leon

Characters: King Leon, King Castille, Princess, Page, Butter, and barber
Setting: Kingdom of Leon, Kingdom of Castille, and forest
Theme: trickster
Genre: Romanic Folktale
Summary: The story begins with the king daughter falling in love with his barber. The King wanting to put a stop to the romance, tells his daughter she must stop seeing his barber or he will kill her. The Princess asks for a day to make her decision. She then secretly packs up her clothes and runs into the forest. The King then tells his barber he must find his daughter within a year or he will be killed. As the barber searchers for his lover he says aloud why did he have to fall in love with her even though there were many beautiful women in the kingdom. She disguises her voice as says the reverse. He falls asleep beneath the tree she was hiding in and exchanges her clothing for his. She goes to the kingdom of Castille as a barber offering her services and soon after he goes as the Princess of Leon. The king after falling in love with the princess (barber) and finding out of this declares the two married so that they could not trick him again.
Audience: Beginners and youth
Curriculum ties: Romanic folktales, tie to other folktales in other countries
Personal Response: I thought the folktale was interesting. I had never heard this tale before. I don’t know if I would share it with young children simply because I don’t think they could follow the concept. ( )
  MarieCasillas | Feb 27, 2013 |
London, Field & Tuer [etc.], 1888. 1st Edition. Good copy in the original decorated cloth. Remains quite well-preserved overall; tight, bright, clean and strong. 178 pp.
  Czrbr | Jun 7, 2010 |
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I firmly believe that the following tales have never seen the light of publicity. They are the folklore of Spain and Portugal.Since the day when Hernando del Castillo, in 1511, published some of the romances of Spanish chivalry collected from the people, various works have appeared at different times, adding to the already rich store from that inexhaustible mine of song and story.But, unfortunately for those who appreciate originality in a people, it was discovered that Boccaccio had been most unceremoniously plagiarized, and, what was still worse, that his defects had not been avoided.The "Decameron" has, in fact, been the foundation of the majority of the romances attributed to the natives of the Peninsula when, as has too often been the case, they have in their songs of chivalry overstepped the limits imposed by decorum.But this does not argue that the Spaniards and Portuguese have no poetry and no folklore of their own, but rather that the latter have been ignored by the compilers of such literature, in order to satisfy the cravings of the unfortunately too many admirers, even in this day, of that which would have been of advantage to the world at large had it never been imagined.In England the tale of "Jack the Giant Killer" is read with avidity by all young people, for it is a purely national ta≤ but in Spain and Portugal such simple tales very seldom find a publisher, and children, and even their elders have to content themselves with hearing them recited by those who enliven the long wintry nights with such lore as I have attempted to reproduce from my memory, told me in my youth in the bosom of those two sister lands which produced the Cid Campeador and the Gran Vasco da Gama.And, before closing this preface, I would remark that the North of Portugal, where I was born and bred, is richer in folklore than the rest of the kingdom, especially in tales about enchanted Moors and warlocks, of whom I, in common with the Portuguese, say, "Abernuncio." (Preface)

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