The Old Stories – Kevin Crossley-Holland

The Old Stories Book CoverOn the Cover: These are the old stories told in that ancient part of England, East Anglia and the Fen Country. Stories of boggarts, marsh sprites and helpful ‘strangers’ who can turn quite nasty; seriously spooky stories like that of the Black Dog of Bungay; the haunting legends of a drowned village, and the Wildman who came from the sea; silly stories like that of the fool who tried to get some brains and found them in his wife’s head.

Earthy, quirky and written with a vitality and freshness that makes them a delight to read, these stories are interspersed with snippets of local lore and literature.

Why I chose it: I’ve always loved folk stories and fairy tales, so when I saw this book at a used book store I scooped it up to read!

The Review: Reading this book was fun for a lot of reasons. The most obvious of course is some of the funny little creatures that appear in all of these stories. I love stories about mischief from the “little people” wood sprites who like to spill drinks and put out lights, or little gnomes who spin riddles and tales to try and trap people in their control. There are also dragons, griffins and giants, and in one story the moon, who comes down to walk through a marshland. While this book isn’t big there is a wide variety of creatures and legends that surround them.

There’s so much in this book because many of the stories are quite short – which made it a really easy read! Some of the stories are only two or three pages long, but I loved this, because it meant if I had a few minutes I could pick up the book and read a quick story before having to put it down. It’s a great book for those moments while waiting for the bus or during your lunch hour to sneak in a couple of folk tales. But what’s even cooler about the book is that in between each story is a small verse or poem that is somehow related to each story. I loved some of these poems, and it was a nice way to introduce each of the tales.

Some of these stories definitely written in an older style, but because they’re so short it’s hard to get tired of reading them. It was really interesting because some stories were quite familiar – such as Tom Tit Tot, who spun flax for a woman until she guessed his name (ring any bells?). But other stories I have never heard before, and I loved that. I love reading new stories, especially when they’re older folk tales that are so entertaining! While I didn’t like all of the stories, I liked a lot of them – especially the dragon stories! :D  But most of all, I love how much variety there is in the book. Some stories end happy, some definitely don’t. Some were funny or creepy or just really interesting to read. There were castles and churches, swamps and bogs, farmers in fields and tinkers in towns. Overall, The Old Stories was a really fun read! If you love folk tales or short stories or funny little creatures who like to make mischief, then I would definitely recommend checking this one out :)

Rating: 4 / 5

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One comment on “The Old Stories – Kevin Crossley-Holland

  1. I always tell myself that I should read a collection of short stories but I haven’t since I was forced to in University. Maybe I should give it a try finally!

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