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Folktales of Spain and Portugal
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Introduction

Spanish and Portuguese folklore consists of such as legends, fairy tales, ghost stories and mythology. Different regions speak of their own folklore too, as Catalan folklore.

Spanish Folktales

The folklore collector Rachel H. Busk tells that Spanish folkltales "will seem to you at first very like other stories you have read, but if you follow them attentively you will trace many singular national characteristics (Busk 1870:5)." A list of the types of folktales in Spain supports her view. (Boggs 1930)

Portuguese Folktales

The popular types of Portuguese tales have much in common with tales among other European peoples.

Professor Zófimo Consiglieri Pedroso (1851–1910) collected many Portuguese tales. The types of tales ar grouped according to what they are about. The biggest group consists of five tales. They are about having a supernatural spouse that is temporarily condemned to look unattractive. They are of the same type as "Beauty and the Beast", or "Cupid and Psyche". At last a spell may be brought to an end and victims of it may rise and shine.

"Cinderella" has its counterparts. In Pedroso's collection there are two or three of them, depending on how the tales are classified. The heroine may be protected and helped out of trouble by a friendly cow, and a fish she has rescued, as the case may be.

There is also a "Replaced Bride" in some tales. In such tales the real bride is done away with by cruel, envious impostors. At the close of such impostor tales a need to take care of the impostor is seen. She may be executed!

"The Calumniated Wife" may be an innocent mother that is accused of some serious crime, for example that of eating her children. Then she has to prove she is innocent, contary to good court manners that it is the accuser that is to provide proofs of guilt, and hearsay is not it.

Sometimes a confidant tells of plots ahead or past, and animals and birds may rise to the occasion and reveal many things, they too.

Enchantment is a leading feature of many folk stories. In one tale a vain queen tries to kill a girl who that is prettier than her, and how a swineherd's hut shines like a palace for housing a good girl.

A prince under some spell is also part of some tales.

A hag may kill or bewitch a lot of people, and a hero may then come to their rescue somehow.

In some tales there are ugly characters who say they came to look that way as a result of hard work for long, and the heroine is saved for such hard labour.

That fish may save lives, by getting fished, is another part of life by the coast. And those who spare a talking fish, may get greater gifts from it! How can it happen? By magic.

Likewise, grateful beasts appear in some tales too.

The daughter of a witch may or may not be as bad as her mother, if she falls in love. In such cases she may rise to defend her chosen man against her own mother, or rise to challenge her mother.

Contents


Spanish and Portuguese folktales and other tales, fairy tales and other tales of Portugal and Spain, Literature  

Boggs, Ralph Steele. Index of Spanish Folktales, Classified according to Antti Aarne's 'Types of the Folktale', Translated and Enlarged by Stith Thompson, in FF Communications No. 74: A Dissertation Submitted to the Graduate Faculty in Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Reprinted from Folklore Fellows Communications No. 90, 1930. Chicago: The University of Chicago, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, 1930.

Eells, Elsie Spicer. Tales of Enchantment from Spain. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1920.

Escaméz, José Muñoz. Fairy Tales from Spain. London: J. M. Dent, 1913.

Busk, Rachel Harriette. Patrañnas, or Spanish Stories, Legendary and Traditional. London: Griffith and Farran, 1870.

Lee, Frank Harold, ed. Folk Tales of All Nations. London: George G. Harrap, 1931. -- Eight stories are from Portugal.

Pedroso, Consiglieri Zophimo, coll. Portuguese Folk-Tales. Tr. Henriqueta Monteiro. London: The Folk Lore Society / Elliot Stock, 1882.

Sellers, Charles. Tales from the Lands of Nuts and Grapes: Spanish and Porguguese Folklore. London: Field and Tuer, The Leadenhall Press, E.C.; Simpkin, Marshall and Co.; Hamilton, Adams and Co., 1888.

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