The two island groups of Orkney and Shetland have much in common. In each the grey stone houses and treeless landscapes are scoured in winter by stinging gales, and in summer lie under the endless days of the ‘simmer din’. Originally Norwegian, they have been part of Scotland for five hundred years, but their many and varied legends, folk tales and customs are still saturated with Norse influences. While this book tells tales and discusses beliefs that are known throughout the northern isles, it also outlines those elements which are unique to each island group.
The Folklore of Orkney and Shetland is the standard account of what to this day is one of the richest repositories of lore and custom in Britain. Ernest Marwick not only recounts countless tales which have been transmitted aurally and by writing, but also places these tales within geographical and historical contexts, thus enabling a deeper appreciation of this wonderful material. A bibliography is also included, together with an index of tale types and motifs.