Western Folklore

Vol. 75 No. 2 – Spring, 2016


Introduction: Folklore, Western Folklore, and the Passage of Time
Tok Thompson and Paul Jordan-Smith

From the Introduction: Folklore always flows from the past, via the transmission of knowledge and practices from person to person, people to people, and generation to generation.
The discipline of Folklore flowed from the past as well: Popular Antiquities was a pre-disciplinary progenitor of both Archaeology and Folkore, In England, George Laurence Gomme was one of the main formative figures of Folklore Society (founded in 1878), and he argued passionately for Folklore to be considered along-side Archaeology, utilizing the same methods, as opposed to the neighboring discipline of Anthropology. His commanding 1908 work, Folklore as an Historical Science, drew this line forcefully.

Hawks, Horses, and Huns:The Impact of Peoples of the Steppe on the Folk Cultures of Northern Europe
John D. Niles

ABSTRACT: As archaeological evidence confirms, the Germanic groups who established kingdoms in northwest Europe during the Age of Migrations were participants in a broad cultural zone extending well into Eurasia. Elements of Anglo-Saxon culture in particular have precedents among the semi-nomadic peoples of the steppes. This paper explores these connections with an eye to the Huns as a catalyst of change. KEYWORDS: Myths of origin, funerary archaeology, animal style art, epic song, personal adornment.

What of the Siren Who Has No Song? Lessons from the Basque Lamina
Begoña Echeverria

ABSTRACT: This article examines Basque folktales about laminak (sirens) culled from compilations published between 1875 and 1931. If all goes well, sirens make gold and silver, grant wishes, and construct edifices for humans; human midwives deliver lamina babies. I argue that these tales can be seen as “auzolan” (neighborhood work), as possible remnants of an indigenous matriarchal religion, and/or acknowledgments of the important role Basque women have played in rural and ritual life. KEYWORDS: Basque folktales; sirens; humans; reciprocity

The Old Man with the Iron-Nosed Mask:Caddo Oral Tradition and the De Soto Expedition, 1541-42
Mark van de Logt

ABSTRACT: Although historicizing American Indian oral traditions remains controversial, this article argues that a Caddo tradition of a cannibal man wearing an iron-nosed mask refers to the traumatic encounter between the Caddo Indians and members of the De Soto expedition in 1541. Although it concerns itself mostly with linking two Caddo traditions to the De Soto entrada, this article concludes that the image of a monstrous cannibal invader mirrors early European images depicting American Indians as man-eaters. KEYWORDS: Caddo Indians, Hernando De Soto, American Indian Oral Traditions, Cannibalism, Historicizing American Indian Myths


Sadhana Naithani, Folklore Theory in Postwar Germany
Reviewed by Peter Tokofsky

Ann Schmiesing, Disability, Deformity, and Disease in the Grimms' Fairy Tales
Reviewed by JoAnn Conrad

Qinna Shen, The Politics of Magic: DEFA Fairy-Tale Films
Reviewed by Anjeana K. Hans

Fumihiko Kobayashi, Japanese Animal-Wife Tales: Narrating Gender Reality in Japanese Folktale Tradition
Reviewed by Noriko T. Reider

Michael Dylan Foster, The Book of Yokai: Mysterious Creatures of Japanese Folklore
Reviewed by Noriko T. Reider

Brian Swann, Sky Loom: Native American Myth, Story, and Song
Reviewed by Paul Apodaka

Ian Brodie, A Vulgar Art: A New Approach to Stand-Up Comedy
Reviewed by Liisi Laineste

Moira Marsh, Practically Joking
Reviewed by Anastasiya Astapova

Wolfgang Mieder, Behold the Proverbs of a People: Proverbial Wisdom in Culture, Literature, and Politics
Reviewed by Erik Aasland

Don J. Usner, Chasing Dichos through Chimayó
Reviewed by Nasario García

Joseph Sciorra, Built With Faith: Italian American Imagination and Catholic Material Culture in New York City
Reviewed by Jeffrey G. Howard