Ceallaigh's Blog

Tuesday, September 3, 2019


What is a fable?


Hello, and welcome to the Folklore & Fiction newsletter. In this edition, I'm writing about the fable genre with help from scholars Patrick Olivelle, Christos A. Zafiropoulos, Harriet Spiegel, and others, helping you analyze a fable, and discussing ways to bring fables to your story craft.

Fables are a ubiquitous story form, found throughout the history of story transmission and in the folkloric traditions of people all over the world. Perhaps the oldest and most widespread of these are the Panchatantra and the collection of tales attributed to Aesop, who might or might not have been a real person. These two pillars of the fable genre will be the focus of my attention here, along with a brief foray into Harriet Spiegel's translation of Marie de France's Fables for contrast.

Folkloric Definition...

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Conducting Archival and Ethnographic Research

For those of you who asked, here are the notes and PowerPoint presentation for WWC "Conducting Archival and Ethnographic Research." 

Here are links to the Traditional Arts Indiana YouTube videos I mentioned as well:

Thanks for attending! See you next year.

Thursday, August 1, 2019


Hello, and welcome to the Folklore & Fiction newsletter. In this edition, I'm writing about the märchen genre with help from scholars Christine A. Jones, Jennifer Schacker, Jack Zipes, and others, helping you analyze a märchen, and discussing ways to bring märchen to your story craft.

Folkloric Definition of Märchen

The German word "märchen" and the phrases "fairy tale" and "wonder tale...

Wednesday, July 3, 2019


Hello, and welcome to the Folklore & Fiction newsletter. In this edition, I'm writing about the ballad genre with help from scholars Gordon Hall Gerould, David Buchan, Roger deV. Renwick and others, helping you analyse a ballad, and discussing ways to bring ballads to your story craft.

I would add before going on that there are many ballad traditions in the world, each of them rich and nuanced. It would be impossible to write about them all here, so I...

Sunday, June 16, 2019



Hello, and welcome to the Folklore & Fiction newsletter. At the summer and winter solstices, I mimic the sun and pause to reflect on my own creative work. In this edition, I'll be discussing folkloric elements in my new short story entitled "B is for Burned/Every Broken Creature," which was recently...

Sunday, June 2, 2019


ani-mism noun 1 the attribution of a living soul to plants, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena (Barber 2005, 51).

Folklorist Sabina Magliocco writes that most contemporary Pagans grew up in a dominant social system that rejects the existence of a spiritual realm but are, nevertheless, engaged in a re-enchantment of the world (Magliocco 2012, 17). Citing Starhawk, she argues that Pagans do not so much believe in the Goddess but connect...

Thursday, May 30, 2019


The When Words Collide festival has released its tentative final program, so I thought I'd share my itinerary:

Friday 3 PM - Canmore - Fairytales, Fables and Folklore Remade

C.S. MacCath, Carol Parchewsky, Jim Jackson, Ron Oswald [PM]

Fairytale remakes, historical reimaginings, using themes from the past to create a new story. What is being done in today's Young Adult fiction, and how can past inspiration be made new again?

... more
Thursday, May 30, 2019

I've written a short article for the #FolkloreThursday project covering a bit of folklore history, a bit of folklore theory, and a bit of contemporary folklore studies. It's live on the website now, and you can read it at: https://folklorethursday.com/folklore-folklorists/what-is-folklore

Wednesday, May 22, 2019



I'm seeing so much disappointment online over the Game of Thrones ending that I want to weigh in a bit more on the series finale than I already have on social media. So here goes:

On the Matter of Prophecy:

I'm seeing quite a bit of grumbling about partially-fulfilled prophecies (Melisandre's prophecies about the promised prince and Arya Stark in particular). While I realize readers and viewers who have seen the prophecy...

Wednesday, May 8, 2019


Happy book day to F is for Fairy, which contains my short story "B is for Burned/Every Broken Creature." Here's a bit of that story to entice you across the veil:

Among the humans, it was said that Óðinn once guided the mighty, eight-legged steed called Sleipnir too close to the Earth, and where his great hoof grazed the ground, Ásbyrgi Canyon came to be. The álfar were not the ancient gods of the North,...