Tales for Troubled Times

Traditional tales, fairytales and folklore online


~ A gift to you from Tom and Rhonda ~


(Tales especially for the bairns are here.)

~ Tales for everyone ~


Vasilisa the Fair

A Russian tale of courage and faith, even in the face of the fearsome, iron-toothed Baba Yaga!


The Man From Nowhere

There's something weird about the stranger ... a tale from the Orkney Island of Stronsay

Illustration by our friend, Bryce Wilson


The Crop-Haired Freckled Lass

How a clever young woman from Scotland's Western Isles outwits the laird


Sigurd and the Raven Banner

Njal's Saga tells of the  Orkney Islands' Earl Sigurd and his magic raven banner.

Please note: this tale is not for bairns or the faint of heart.

Artwork by Sheila Faichney


Eithne's Lament

A haunting and beautiful song about Sigurd and the Battle of Clontarf. It was written by our friend, singer/historian/archaeologist/folklorist Dr Sarah Jane Gibbon and recently recorded at home.

Thank you, Sarah Jane.


Lady Odivere

An Orkney Islands selkie story about the dangers of swearing the Odin Oath

Illustration by our friend, Bryce Wilson


The Selkie of Sule Skerry

Enjoy a traditional selkie tale in song, recorded at home by the talented Sarah Jane Gibbon.

Thank you, Sarah Jane.


The Wicked Laird
or
The Cottar's Curse

A wicked laird in Scotland's Orkney Islands beats the devil but falls foul of a cottar's curse.

Please note: this tale is not for bairns or the faint of heart ... which is why Tom is dedicating it to our mighty friend, Áine King.

Artwork by another friend, Sheila Faichney


London Again

A well-known folktale, this version is from the Shetland Islands


The Baby of Langalour

The story of an unusual birth in the Orkney Islands parish of Firth


Sati

An old Orkney tale about a spaeman who has to discover the identity of a thief by the cunning use of a pot and a black cockerel


The Broonie of Copinsay

A folktale from the Orkney Islands about an unusual servant

Illustration by our friend, Bryce Wilson


Tam Lin

A tale from the old Scottish Borders ballad Tam Lin

Dedicated to Tom's peedie Slovenian sister, Katarina Juvančič


Two Selkie Tales from Orkney

The Selkie Wife of Westness and The Selkie's Revenge

Illustration by our friend, Kate Leiper


How I Became a Storyteller ~
the (almost) true tale

Tom's own story of his storytelling origins

Not entirely suitable for wee bairns ... or the very easily offended


Annie Norn and the Finfolk

A classic Orkney tale about a magical island

Illustration by our friend Bryce Wilson


Then the Merman Laughed

A classic Icelandic tale passed down from the family of Hjorleifur Helgi Stefánsson.

This story is dedicated to Tom's pet Viking, Hjorleifur.

Illustration by Anna Anglemark.


The Broonie

Can a kindly guardian spirit defeat a witch?

A Scottish folktale


The Death of the Fin King

How the Fin King's spell was broken at Orkney's Bay of Skaill

Illustration by Bryce Wilson


Two Wee Fairy Stories

The Fairy's Fishing Trip from Orkney and The Trow's Brandy from Shetland


The Piper and the Frozen Boots

A Scottish Travellers' tale best enjoyed with a dram (says Tom)



The Fin Folk and the Mill of Skaill

An Orkney folk tale from the parish of Sandwick

Illustration by our friend, Bryce Wilson


The Angel of Death

A Scottish Travellers' tale about a young boy's ride home in a very strange carriage

May not be appropriate for all ages

Some of these folktales of also available in Tom's folklore books.

~ Tales especially for the bairns ~


The Mouse Princess

A French tale proving that faithfulness has its rewards


Peerie Fool

A traditional tale from the Orkney island of Rousay

Illustration by our friend, Bryce Wilson


Stone Soup

How an old beggar tricks a miser into a meal and - just maybe - teaches him a lesson


Auld (Old) Croovie

An old Scottish Traveller tale about greed and dancing trees


The Queen Bee

Why it's better to be simple and kind than clever and cruel~

A German folktale gathered by the Grimm brothers


The Story of Persephone

The classic Greek myth of the changing of seasons


The Hogboon of Hellihowe

A cautionary Orkney tale showing why you must always take good care of your hogboon

Illustration by our friend, Bryce Wilson


To the One You Love the Most

  A man learns who within his household really loves him


King of the Cats

An English folktale showing that a cat is not always what it seems to be


The Elf Maiden

A northern folktale of a magical bride

Illustration by Anna Anglemark as seen in Tom's Tales from Viking Lands


The Wee Bannock

A Scottish version of The Gingerbread Man


The Swan Princes

The beloved tale by Hans Christian Andersen


The Princess on the Glass Mountain

A classic Norwegian folk tale of how the Ash Lad won a princess's love


The Three Gifts

A traditional Scottish folktale that Tom first heard from the great storyteller Bob Pegg.


The Baron's Ring

An English folktale showing that you can't resist fate


Toller and His Good Neighbors

A tale from Denmark ~ How Toller and his family prosper due to their fairy neighbours

Illustration by Anna Angelmark

Dedicated to Kitty at Encounters with the Good People podcast


King Midas

The classic Greek myth


The Golden Bird

A lovely Slovenian folktale


The Eating Contest with a Troll

A Norwegian folktale


The Goat that Told Lies

How a woodcutter and his wife are taken in by a talking goat who tells lies



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Tom Muir's Tales for Troubled Times. Listen free to fairytales, bedtime stories and folklore online at home. Let the soothing voice of the storyteller soothe and inspire with ancient lore.


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Mermaid image (Rhonda's pages) and storyteller image (Tom's pages), and all other illustrations except where noted are here by the courtesy of our dear friend - Stromness author, artist and historian, Bryce Wilson MBE, who owns all copyrights. Thanks, Bryce!