Tale Transcendents

What are Tale Transcendents?

Let's look at “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.

Thus, 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.

*This is a permanent work in progress which I add to as I discover more. If you are willing to help, please contact me.

Works By Continent or Region

(In this section I list not only primary sources for each region or location, but also some secondary books deemed to do a good job at covering a place’s religions, myths, fables, fairy tales, etc… For now, some of the regions are overly broad while others are more specific.)

Africa Antartica  Asia  Australia Europe North America South America General Middle-East



  • A Dictionary of African Mythology: The Mythmaker as Storyteller


  • Westcar Papyrus


Could include the following countries/cultures (as well as any ancient/old ones not on here):

  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Benin
  • Botswana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cabo Verde
  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic (CAR)
  • Chad
  • Comoros
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Cote d'Ivoire
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Senegal
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Swaziland
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Tunisia
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe


Antartica is quite unique. It has no indigenous peoples. That doesn't stop it from having traditions, however, because people do come and go. On the other hand, written works? Anyone know of any?

Here are a couple articles of interest:



   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


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


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


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


  • Hikayat Hang Tuah


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  • The Nowell Codex (or The Beowulf Manuscript)
  • The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser
  • Historia Regum Britanniae by Geoffrey of Monmouth
  • Matter of Britain (this isn’t more a collection of works than one specific)


  • The Kalevala


  • The Song of Roland
  • Matter of France or Carolingian Cycle (this isn’t more a collection of works than one specific)


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

Greek/Roman (Is Greece really European?)

  • Theogony by Hesiod
  • The Iliad by Homer
  • The Odyssey by Homer
  • The Argonautica by Apollonius Rhodius
  • Matter of Rome (this isn’t more a collection of works than one specific)


  • The Volsunga Saga
  • Codex Regius



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


  • 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

Russian (This has an explanation of why I'm including it as European)

  • Russian Fairy Tales by Alexander Afanasyev


  • Don Quixote
  • The Poem of the Cid


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

North America

American Indian (aka "Native American")

South America

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Of Unknown/Uncertain Origins

The Seven Wise Masters


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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!


Fairy Tales

Tall Tales
Smorgasbord of everything

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


  • 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



  • The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • Atra-Hasis


  • Shahnameh or The Book of Kings by Ferdowsi


  • Dede Korkut

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