MYTHS FOR THE BRITISH MUSEUM



I have written three books for the British Museum.

The books of Celtic and Norse myths each contained two stories and were unusually illustrated by photographs of genuine archaeological objects.

The third book for children unfortunately never saw the light of day due to problems with finding an American co-publisher to share the expensive costs of colour printing. It was a collection of myths from all over the world, enhanced by factual notes that compared and contrasted the stories of many different cultures.

I have also written the glossaries for two scholarly works published by The British Museum:
THE LEGENDARY PAST: WORLD OF MYTHS, volumes 1 and 2


ENCHANTED KINGDOMS
LOOKING AT CELTIC MYTHS AND LEGENDS

(British Museum Press 1997)
(USA co-edition)


Chosen for the TES “101ofthebest” selection 1997

“Each story is filled with the magic of Celtic myth from enchanted fog to fairy hills...draws the reader into an ancient world that will intrigue and entertain them.” - www.childrenslit.com

“magical insights into the lives of people who lived 2,500 years ago’ - TES

An old, old man came hobbling slowly along the road. His hair and beard were like tangles of white, wispy cobwebs, hanging to his knees. His face was deeply etched with wrinkles, his back was bent almost double; he squinted through sunken, clouded eyes. He really was extraordinarily ancient - no wonder everyone stopped to stare at him!
Gasping for breath, he sat down to rest upon a large, grey stone. The people watching crept a little closer.
‘Come on then,’ he croaked, ‘don’t hang back! I know you’re all wondering about me. Well, I don’t mind telling my story, if there’s any of you curious enough to listen…

My name is Oisin; and my father was none other than that mighty hero, Finn mac Cumhaill! Oh, I can tell you all think I’m making that up: Finn’s been dead for hundreds of years, hasn’t he? But if you’ll just keep quiet while I explain what happened, you’ll soon understand the truth.
Yes, I reckon I must be more than 300 years old! Finn really was my father; and Finn was also my lord. For in my youth, when I was strong and handsome, I was a member of his famous warrior band, the Fianna; and wherever he led, I always followed, whether it was to fight or to play.’



THE GIANT KING
LOOKING AT NORSE MYTHS AND LEGENDS

(British Museum Press 1998)
(USA co-edition)




A man once met a giant walking across his farm-land, and they got talking. After chatting about this and that for a while, the conversation turned to gambling games.
When it comes to playing tables, there’s no one in all of Middle Earth who can beat me!’ the farmer boasted.
‘Is that so?’ replied the giant. ‘Well, in Jotunheim (where I come from), most of my friends would say that I was the chamption. It sounds to me that you and I would be pretty well matched, my little friend. I tell you what - why don’t we sit down now and play a game together?
Well, on the one hand, the farmer wasn’t at all keen: he knew that giants could be dangerous. On the other hand, it was years since he’d lost a game, and he was pretty sure he could always come out on top, no matter how skilled his opponent.
So, ‘All right,’ he said.
The giant waited while the farmer set up a gaming table in the yard. Then they both sat down.
‘What prize shall we have for the winner?’ the farmer wondered.
‘No prize,’ said the giant straightaway. ‘Instead, let’s have a penalty for the loser: whoever loses the game must also lose his life!