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Sometimes Edel Wignell's interest in history, folklore and fantasy inspires her to compile collections. She is fascinated by tales that have been told for centuries, including folk tales, myths, legends, superstitions and folklore.

She also has collections of play scripts based on folk tales from around the world. To see three of these, click here.

Her first two collections, A Boggle of Bunyips and A Bluey of Swaggies are out of print, but you may find them in libraries. Both feature a variety of Australiana: stories, folklore, poetry, history, newspaper reports, anecdotes and humour.

ISBN numbers indicate books in print.

Tying the Knot: Folk Tales of Love and Marriage from Around the World

Tying the Knot: Folk Tales of Love and Marriage from Around the World (2006, Phoenix Education) - a collection of twelve entertaining tales for ages 10-14 years. ISBN 1 921085 21 5

A young husband outwits a stubborn wife. A despised young woman passes a test and marries a warrior. A young woman escapes marriage to an old man by hiding in a candelabra, then meets a prince. Four puppets give advice that affects a young man's future, including the finding of a wife. An orphan becomes the queen, then lies to the king, and lives in danger! A clever young woman interprets riddles, saves the country from a ghoul and marries the king. A poor young man with a remarkable sense of humour captures the hand of a princess. A lazy, lucky young man marries the king's niece who is happy to change her lifestyle. Six young women seek a mysterious young man. A clever young woman outwits a tsar, and marries him. A queen tricks a despotic king, and achieves immortality. A couple argue about sharing, and wager on the outcome.

Enjoy these folk tales of love and marriage from Finland, Indigenous Northern America, Serbia, Spain, China, Laos, Nigeria, Burma (now Myanmar), Turkistan, India, Persia (now Iran) and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

Also see Tying the Knot: Teacher Resource Book (2006, Phoenix Education) ISBN 1 921085 22 3


Rings are found in folklore and fiction all around the world, for they are symbols of everlasting love. The ring, being circular - having no ends - signifies the fact that mutual love will flow from one to the other - continually and forever. The ring is usually made of precious metal and given or exchanged at a special ceremony. Often the marriage vows or promises are made before God.

However, not everyone can afford to exchange rings, so, in the past, many brides and grooms knotted their clothes or linked hands. At an ancient marriage ceremony, the bride stood close to the altar with the lace of a shoe untied. During the ceremony, the groom tied the lace. This showed that the marriage was 'knotted' forever. In Thailand, a bride and a groom may be linked by a sacred thread.


The Fire Goddess and Other Myths from the Pacific Islands

The Fire Goddess and Other Myths from the Pacific Islands, illustrated by Susy Boyer, 'Chatterbox', (2005, Pearson Education) - for ages 10-12 years. ISBN 0 7339 7077 X

The three scary myths in this collection tell why the fishermen of Kadavu Island near Fiji aren't afraid of sharks, how the coconut tree arrived at the islands, and what happened to a boasting shark who said he was the greatest of all.


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Three Funny Tales

Three Funny Tales, illustrated by Sandra Cammell, Brent Putze and Claire de Zoete, 'Springboard' (2005, Macmillan Education) - for ages 6-8 years. ISBN 0 7329 9622 8

These three stories will give you a giggle: a French tale about a donkey's egg, an Indian tale about a king and a wrestler, and a Chinese tale about a stolen rope.


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The Spider Weaver: Three Magical Stories from Japan

The Spider Weaver: Three Magical Stories from Japan, illustrated by Pat Reynolds, 'Chatterbox', (2003, Pearson Education) - for ages 8-10 years. ISBN 0 7339 3860 4

A story in this collection explains why the word for 'spider' and the word for 'clouds' are the same in the Japanese language. Another tells about Shobei, a generous young man, and how he changes the lives of many people. The third describes the antics of two magical, long-nosed goblins.


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A Fishing Trip with Dad and Other Stories

A Fishing Trip with Dad and Other Stories (comp.), (1994, Rigby Heinemann) - for ages 8-10 years. ISBN 0 7312 1656 3

Four stories tell about courageous children. In Errol Broome's 'Not Pumpkin Again', Tim, confined to a wheelchair, finds that his wishes come true. Hazel Edwards' 'The Birthday Party' tells how Sarah's intellectually impaired brother finds someone who appreciates what he can do. In Allan Baillie's 'The Spectator', Dom rises to be a star footballer even though he becomes an amputee. Edel Wignell tells about Alice, who is blind, but saves her Dad from two criminals.


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A Bluey of Swaggies

A Bluey of Swaggies (1985, Edward Arnold) – for ages 10 years-adult.

In the 19th century, workmen walked the countryside looking for jobs. They carried a pack, or swag, on their backs, and were called 'swagmen', or 'swaggies' for short. This collection includes stories, newspaper reports, poems, songs and many jokes about swaggies. 'Sundowners' were the ones who arrived at sundown, in time for a food handout, and set off early next day without doing any work!


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Crutches are Nothing: A Collection of Twelve Stories About Disabled Children

Crutches are Nothing: A Collection of Twelve Stories About Disabled Children (1982, Greenhouse) - for ages 10-14 years.

Alan Marshall was a famous Australian writer. When he was a kid, living in the country, he contracted poliomyelitis and had to use crutches for walking. As a teenager, he won a scholarship to study accountancy in the city. His friend Joe said, 'How will you get on with your crutches down there?' Alan said, 'Crutches are nothing!'
This collection was compiled for the Year of Disabled Persons. The stories tell the adventures of children with various impairments. They aren't sorry for themselves. 'Crutches are nothing!' typifies their spirit.


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A Boggle of Bunyips

A Boggle of Bunyips (1981, Hodder & Stoughton, Australia, H&S, London) - for ages 10-16 years.

Bunyips from billabongs, bunyips from swamps, bunyips from long ago, modern bunyips… The bunyip is a water monster of Aboriginal origins. Pioneering white Australians believed that they would find it. The bunyips in this collection are in myths, newspaper reports, short stories, poetry and extracts from novels – enough bunyips to boggle your mind!


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Folk tales are part of the oral tradition - stories handed down for centuries by word-of-mouth within families and by storytellers in communities, such as palaces and castles. Myths, legends, epics, ballads, songs, folk tales and folklore are all part of the oral tradition..

Folk tales emerged from the lives and experiences of ordinary folk many centuries ago before the printing press had been invented. Many of our superstitions, sayings, customs and beliefs came from folklore, for much of the oral tradition was not written down until recent times.


Mythology is part of the oral tradition, stories that were passed on by word-of-mouth long before printing presses were invented. Most myths have an explanatory function. Some tell stories about gods, heroes and supernatural events. Others describe the creation of the world, or explain reasons for natural phenomena, such as, why the sea is salty, why the crow is black, and how the mosquito got its sound. The best-known myths are from the ancient cultures of: Greece and Rome, the Middle East, and Scandinavia (Norse myths). Australia has a rich store of mythology in the Dreamtime stories of the Indigenous People.


Legends are part of the oral tradition. They tell of historical events, people or animals, but, over the centuries, storytellers have changed facts and added details. Reading or hearing them now, we do not know which parts of the stories are true and which have been imagined. Well-known characters in legends are: King Arthur, William Tell and Robin Hood. In Australia, Ned Kelly, Don Bradman and Phar Lap have achieved legend status.

In recent years, the word 'legend' has been applied to a living person who has excited the imagination of the public – especially a sporting hero.