Traditional tales and myths from the different regions of Switzerland.
In this collection, originally published in German, not all the stories are stories in the traditional sense, involving conflict and resolution. Many are simple folk explanations of natural phenomena that typically involve some mythical being, such as the existence of “two gigantic perpendicular rocks linked together by a stone roof” in a forest of the Aargau region, which was once “the entrance to an underground cave. In this cave lived the goblins.” In another, a devil gets the credit for a rock that sits near a bridge over the River Reuss. In the different accounts, goblins, ghosts, devils, fairies, dwarfs, and other mythical beings interact with humans, usually to the detriment of one or the other. And all have a delightful folksy edge. There are 23 stories in all, representing most of the Swiss cantons, but more importantly, they cover the four language regions of Switzerland, thus capturing the diverse perspectives of the country. Nineteen different illustrators were tasked with illustrating the tales, and their aesthetic sensibilities and approaches are as varied as the stories themselves. Nevertheless, the book maintains a satisfying and attractive cohesiveness.
A welcome addition to the folklore bookshelf. (epilogue, artist bios) (Folklore. 5-9)