Friday, February 20, 2009

Question from Cora - 16th century children's stories

Hi there

Love love love your site!

I'm on the search for Tudor Children's stories. I'm currently researching for a Renaissance Festival we're having here on the Isle of Wight, and our Fairy Godmother (Story teller) would like to read some traditional 16th Century chilrens stories.

Are there such things available? My search has taken me round the world and back, but I can't find any definitive story titles (stories that can be condensed into 15-20 minute slots would be perfect!)


Anonymous said...

Another one of those wonderful questions that make me enjoy this site so much.

I did a bit of searching around on some non-public databases that I have access to, but I did not find a single reference to stories intended for children that were published in print during the 16th century. That is probably because books were luxury items in the Tudor era, and all publishing was intended for "serious" adults.

But there are several books of religious sermons for children from the first half of the 1600s. Not exactly good material for a Renaissance Faire, however.

Children's stories were probably still part of oral culture ... passed on from parent to child through the telling rather than via printed books. One source that I consulted indicates that written fairy tales in book form were first published in 1634 in Italy, well after the Tudor period.

Most of our modern children's stories and fairy tales do have origins in the Middle Ages or beyond, so I would think any generic story could reasonably be argued to have existed in some form in the Tudor period: Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Hansel and Gretel (if you make the names English!), the Pied Piper of Hamlin, and many others.

Bearded Lady said...

Hi Cora, “Fairy tales” were not written down until the 17th century so I would not get too hung up on accuracy. I recommend the Caldecott winning book – Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges and Trina Schart Hyman. It’s a tale that translates well for kids.

You could also read a version of the Arthurian Legend, but I personally think Hodges and Hyman book will captivate any child.

Anonymous said...

There are some nursery rhymes about the Tudors themselves! "I have alittle nut tree" is about catherine of aragon, In "Sing a song of six pence" the Queen in the parlour is catherine of aragon, the king is henry, and the maid is anne boleyn

Anonymous said...

As for nursery rhymes, let's not forget the ever-popular "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary"

Anonymous said...

I have heard of the nursery ryme Mary Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow.It's a ryme about Mary queen of scots.And her maids.

Anonymous said...

Could you adapt and use some of Shakespears work?

Lara said...

Posting for Cora - She wants me to say "thanks!" to you all!