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Harry Potter: Beedle the Bard

If You Like Beedle the Bard, Try...

If you liked the fairytale aspect to Beedle the Bard's stories you could read Andrew Lang or the Grimm Brothers's fairytales. If you liked the witchcraft aspect try Reginald Scot's The Discouerie of Witchcraft  If you liked the folklore aspect to the tales consult Ireland's National Folklore Collection

Andrew Lang's Fairy Books

Andrew Lang (1844 - 1912) was a Scottish collector of folk and fairytales. He's best known for his series of Colour Fairy Books: here are the Green and the Yellow Fairy Books with their beautiful bindings. 

Cover to the Green Fairy Book.

Credit: Lang, Andrew, ed. The Green Fairy Book. Illust. by H. J. Ford and Lancelot Speed. 2nd ed. London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1893.




Cover to the yellow fairy book.
Credit: Lang, Andrew, ed. The Yellow Fairy Book. Illust. by H. J. Ford. London; New York: Longmans, Green, 1894. 


Grimm Brothers Fairytales

Covers to four Irish language versions of Grimm fairytales.Jacob (1785–1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786–1859) were also collectors of folk and fairytales in Germany.Their first collection of folk tales, Children's and Household Tales (Kinder- und Hausmärchen), was published in 1812.

When the Irish Free State was established in 1922 there was a revival of the Irish language and 'An Gúm' or 'The Scheme' was established as the publishing division of the Dept. of Education in 1925.. It ensured the supply of text books and reading matter which the policy of reviving the Irish language required. Translations into Irish which formed an important part of the project.  The Dublin Metropolitan School trained a number of artists, including Victor Penney, GA Altendorf, Olive Cunningham and Austin Molloy, who created designs for the covers. Cunningham's signature is on the cover of Cochaillin Dearg: Sidhe-sgealta Ghrimm.
All titles by Jacob & Wilhem Grimm. Credits from top left: An Solus Gorm. Sídhe-sgéalta Ghrimm: An Seiseadh Leabhrán. Baile Atha Cliath: Oifig an tSoláthair, 1942. Scéalta ó Ghrimm. Trans. Máire Ní Chinnéide. Baile Átha Cliath: Chonnradh na Gaedhilge, 1923. Cochaillin Dearg: Sidhe-sgealta Ghrimm. Trans. Padraig O Moghrain. Baile Atha Cliath: Oifig an tSolathair, [19--?]. Sidhe-scéalta na mBráthar Grimm. Cuid a h-aon. Trans. Poinnseas Ó Súilleabháin. Baile Átha Cliath: Alec Tom agus a chuid., [19--?].

The Discovery of Witches

                Text showing the spell for invisibility.
Reginald Scot's (1538 - 1599) The discouerie of witchcraft: wherein the lewde dealing of witches and witchmongers is notablie detected (1584) was the first book in English on the topic of witchcraft. This is a rare copy as James I ordered all copies to be destroyed in 1603. Scot was unusual in that he believed witchcraft not to be demonically possessed. Instead he argued that a belief in witchcraft was "contrarie to reason, scripture and nature". "My greatest aduersaries" he wrote, "are young ignorance and old custome."

The page above shows the spell for invisibility. Harry Potter had to use his father's Cloak of Invisibility which was really one of the Deathly Hallows from Beedle the Bard's "Tale of the Three Brothers."

Image for how to give the illusion of magic.

This page shows how to give the illusion of magic - to make it seem as if one's head has been cut off! In Harry Potter conjuration is a type of transfiguration. Miranda Goshawk writes about the dangers of poor conjuration such as severed limbs and heads - not unlike the body in this image.

Selected images from The British Library's copy
Image showing Matthew Hopkins witchfinder.
In 1928 Montague Summers wrote The Discovery of Witches: A Study of Master Matthew Hopkins commonly call'd Witch finder generall. This was published together with a reprint of The Discovery of Witches by Matthew Hopkins.

Matthew Hopkins (1620 - 1647) was an English witch hunter during the English Civil War. The frontispiece of The Discovery of Witches shows him with witches and their familiar spirits. The year after the publication of The Discovery of Witches (1647) the first trials for witchcraft began in New England. Governor Winthrop used Hopkin's techniques of searching and watching to convict. Indeed Hopkins methods were still being used during the Salem Witch Trials from 1692 - 1693.

Credit: Summers, Montague. The Discovery of Witches: A Study of Master Matthew Hopkins commonly call'd Witch finder generall. together with a reprint of The Discovery of Witches by Matthew Hopkins. London: The Cayme Press, 1928.

Folklore Collection

Part of the National Folklore Collection and all of the Schools' Folklore Collection have been digitised by UCD. However Special Collections holds much material in relation to Folklore.

To learn more about the National and Schools' Folklore Collections consult the Special Collections' guides.