Traditions and Hearthside Stories of West Cornwall, Vol. 1
by William Bottrell
In the 19th century William Bottrell compiled three volumes of Cornish folklore, legends and historical tales. This is the first book in that series. Bottrell tells stories of giants, mermaids, and a gallery of Cornish fairies including the spriggan, bucca, and the knackers, the earth elementals who live in the tin-mines. He also describes Cornish folk magic, and folklore about witches. The style is idiomatic, and the episodic stories are told with touches of dialect and localized in specific places in Cornwall. Attentive readers will notice an incredibly politically incorrect passage where he uses language about Muslims and Africans which will leave most shaking their heads. As per our policy the book is presented uncut and unedited. However, the bulk of the stories here are great fun to read and dimensionalize this little-known Celtic byway.
PRODUCTION NOTES: Because a first edition was unavailable at this time, I used the reset Frank Graham edition of 1970. I quote the preface to that edition: 'We have not reproduced Bottrell's book in facsimile, although it would have been considerably less expensive...but we have included the whole work, except the List of Subscribers.' The pagination matches this edition, not the original. There were numerous typographic errors. It is unknown whether they were in the first edition, or introduced in the modern typesetting. Bottrell used creative spelling to reproduce Cornish dialect, including multiple variants of the apostrophe (ca'nt, can't etc.); these I have left intact. I hope to obtain a first edition at some point and redo the pagination. --John Bruno Hare, 11/6/2008.
The Piskey-Led Commercial Traveller's Ride over the Hills
Annual Visit of the West-Country Folks to the Pellar of Helston, to have their Protection Renewed
Bosava: The Demon Mason; and Lenine the Cobbler