Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Children's Stories (and the Little People)

Of Irish descent on my mother’s side and having lived for a time in Ireland, I can tell you that the inhabitants of the Emerald Isle don’t at all care for the impression left by the movie “Darby O’Gill and the Little People”--or advertisements for the cereal Lucky Charms–that they are a “fairy” people: a somehow daffy and inebriated race surrounded by green-clad leprechauns. Nonetheless, there is, in fact, something special about Irish storytelling in the way it readily embraces folkloric materials and its more matter-of-fact inclusion of fairies, Little People, and their kind. In that regard, scholar Declan Kiberd mentions the story of an American anthropologist who asked a Galway woman whether she believed in fairies and had this reply: “I do not, sir–but they’re there anyway” . . . .

Jerry Griswold on "Ireland and Irish Children's Stories."
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