The Sources


“Tale transcendents” broken down:

  • tale (tāl) – a story, an account, a rundown of events
  • transcendent (tran-send(ə)nt) – outside of time and space; beyond the scope of normal human life; often godlike in nature, representative of the whole but above the whole.
  • transcendents (tran-send(ə)nts) – experiences, thoughts, beliefs and ideas experienced on a higher level than ordinary human interaction/disassociation; the common and mundane raised to a higher plane of understanding and extance.

These* are the tale transcendents (or tale transcenders), sources from which all other stories flow. They rise above the others, yet even these are not absolute; their origins have been lost or tarnished, distance separates even them from the absolute truths of history in which they occurred. These are the tale transcendents, the first lies of humankind (for our memories fail us fast) and our greatest.

Whether telling of gods or mortals, beast or plant, these tales transcend all others; these are stories – some true, some false – that take the human spirit where no mere mortal can ever go. These are the sources from which all other stories flow.

Works By Region

In this section I list not only primary sources for each region or place, but also some secondary books deemed to do a good job at covering a place’s myths, fables, fairy tales, religious texts, etc… For now, some of the regions are overly broad while others are more specific. If you see any errors, please let me know.

African

  • A Dictionary of African Mythology: The Mythmaker as Storyteller

Akkadian

  • Atra-Hasis

American Indian

Babylonia

  • The Enuma Elish

British

  • The Nowell Codex (or The Beowulf Manuscript)
  • The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser
  • Historia Regum Britanniae by Geoffrey of Monmouth
  • Matter of Britain (this is more a collection of works than one specific)

Chinese

   Four Great Classical Novels

  • Water Margin by Shi Nai’an
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong
  • Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en
  • Dream of the Red Chamber Cao Xueqin

   Other

  • Fengshen Yanyi
  • The Plum in the Golden Vase (or The Golden Lotus)

Egyptian

  • Westcar Papyrus

Finnish

  • The Kalevala

French

   Matter of France (or Carolingian Cycle)

  • The Song of Roland
  • The Song of William
  • The Doon de Mayence cycle
  • Gormond and Isembart

   Other

  • The Song of the Cid (or The Poem of the Cid)

German

  • The Nibelungenlied
  • Muspilli
  • The Hildebrandslied
  • The Legend of William Tell
  • Urner Tellspiel
  • White Book of Sarnen by Hans Schriber
  • The Tellenlied
  • Kudrun (or Gudrunlied)
  • Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Greek/Roman

  • Theogony by Hesiod
  • Works and Days by Hesiod
  • The Iliad by Homer
  • The Odyssey by Homer
  • The Argonautica by Apollonius Rhodius
  • The Aeneid
  • Matter of Rome (this is more a collection of works than one specific)

Icelandic

  • The Volsunga Saga
  • Codex Regius

Indian

  • Mahabharata
  • Ramayana
  • Rigveda
  • Panchatantra by Vishnu Sharma
  • Hitopadesha
  • Baital Pachisi
  • Kathasaritsagara

Irish

Italian

  • The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
  • The Facetious Nights of Straparola by Givoanni Francesco Straparola
  • Pentamerone by Giambattista Basile

Japanese

  • Kojiki
  • Nihon Shoki (The Nihongi or The Chronicles of Japan)
  • The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

Malay

  • Hikayat Hang Tuah

Mesopotamia

  • The Epic of Gilgamesh

Norse

  • The Poetic Edda
  • The Prose Edda possibly by Snorri Sturlson
  • The Karlamagnus Saga
  • Norwegian Folktales by Peter Christen Asbjornsen
  • The Saga of Hervor and Heidrek
  • Heimskringla by Snorri Sturlson

Persian

  • Shahnameh or The Book of Kings by Ferdowsi

Russian

  • Russian Fairy Tales by Alexander Afanasyev

Spanish

  • Don Quixote
  • The Poem of the Cid

Sumerian

  • Kesh Temple Hymn (Liturgy to Nintud)

Turkish

  • Dede Korkut

Ugaritic

  • The Baal Cycle
  • Legend of Keret

Welsh

  • Mabinogion (from the Red Book of Hergest)
  • The Welsh Triads (Peniarth)

Of Unknown/Uncertain Origins (or I just don’t know where to place these)

  • The Bible (numerous versions; include the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha)
  • The Seven Wise Masters

 

 

These are some of the websites and less-specific sources I have found very useful in studying the different types of tales that exist throughout the world. As time goes on I will add more that I either discover or first forgot. If you know of any good ones, let me know!

Mythology

Fairy Tales

Legends
Tall Tales
Folklore
Fables
Religious
Smorgasbord of everything

Other/Unknown (i.e. I don’t know how to categorize these…yet)

Everywhere

  • The Mythology of All Races
  • Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
  • The Golden Bough by Sir James George Frazer
  • One Thousand and One Arabian Night

*This page is a permanent work in progress (seriously, if you’re willing to help with this, please contact me)