Legends, Charms and Superstitions of Ireland
By Lady Wilde
Nowhere in the nineteenth century did interest in folklore and mythology have a more thorough revival than in Ireland. There, in 1887, Lady Francesca Speranza Wilde, Oscar Wilde's mother and a well-known author in her own right, compiled this collection of charming, authentic folk tales. Collected from among the peasantry and retaining their original simplicity, the myths and legends reveal delightfully the Irish people's relationship with a spiritual and invisible world populated by fairies, elves, and evil beings. Included in Lady Wilde's collection, among others, are eerie tales of "The Horned Women," "The Holy Well and the Murderer," and "The Bride's Death-Song," as well as beguiling accounts of superstitions concerning the dead, celebrations and rites, animal legends, and ancient charms. The first book to link Irish folklore with nationalism, Legends illustrates the mythic underpinnings of the Irish character and signals the country's cultural reemergence. It remains, said the Evening Mail, "an important contribution to the literature of Ireland and the world's stock of folklore."