Welsh Legends and Folk-Tales Analysis

Gwyn Jones

Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Gwyn Jones’s Welsh Legends and Folk-Tales is a collection of traditional legends and tales deriving from the distinctly Celtic people of Western Britain known as the Welsh. Many of the stories within the book parallel those found in The Mabinogion, a nineteenth century collection of Welsh legends and tales that Lady Charlotte Guest extracted from two medieval Welsh manuscripts. Jones recounts these stories from a third-person perspective in modern English prose while still preserving many of the Welsh names for people and places. The book deals with legendary Welsh leaders and folk heroes, focusing especially on their lineage, their heroic exploits, and their contributions to the legendary past. While Welsh tales are more obscure than their more popular counterparts in Irish, Scottish, and English folklore, well-read young adults may be familiar with some of the names and events, especially those pertaining to the Arthurian legends, which are still shared by most cultures throughout the British Isles and France.

The book contains three major sections—“The Four Branches of Story,” “The British Arthur,” and “Tales Old and New”—each of which is composed of subsections. For readers who may find some of the names difficult to read and pronounce, Jones includes at the end of the book a guide to pronouncing Welsh names. Other aspects of the book include a genealogical page, a map of Wales, and frequent illustrations by Joan Kiddell-Monroe.

The first section of the book, “The Four Branches of Story,” introduces the great Welsh heroes...

(The entire section is 649 words.)