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Were-Storks and the Origins of Storks’ Baby Carrying! October 26, 2013

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Were-Storks and the Origins of Storks' Baby Carrying!

There is the well established legends of the storks flying, in antiquity down below the Sahara to battle the pygmies. But what about this unusual medieval legend that appears in a fourteenth-century work in two parts. First our author is describing the well-established error, one that survived into the nineteenth century, that certain birds hibernate […]

African Pygmies and European Fairies September 5, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
African Pygmies and European Fairies

We have sometimes visited in the past the early modern and very popular late Victorian theory that fairies were nothing more than a pygmy people who dwelt on the fringes of society. By the early twentieth century Empire sorts were so keen on this theory that they were proving it with reference to the customs […]

Skraelings and Demons August 30, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
Skraelings and Demons

Here’s a nice example of how intelligent men and women were able to create beasts/demons from a compounded misinterpretation. First, in the early Middle Ages, some of the Viking dragon boats sailing out of Scandinavia missed the party to the south, where the pointy-headed ones were wrecking settlements in Britain, the Baltic, northern France, Spain […]

The Problem of Pygmy Fairies March 5, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval, Modern, Prehistoric
The Problem of Pygmy Fairies

Beachcombing has been having a bit of a fairy phase recently, played out in his evening readings after he’s put little Miss B to bed. And he has particularly been interested at the different explanations that our ancestors – distant and recent – offered to explain the fact that ‘little folk’ lived in the cairn […]