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The Lady of Shalott, John William Waterhouse [1888] (public domain image)

Hero-Myths and Legends of the British Race

by Maud Isabel Ebbutt


This entry in the G.G. Harrap "Myths and Legends" series is slotted as the "British" volume; however it covers a wide range of Northern European legends, including Beowulf, Roland, Cuchulain and Robin Hood. With legends from Iceland, Spain, Ireland and Constantinople, the common theme here is not 'British' legends per se, but heroic characters from the dark and middle ages. Notably, Ebbutt includes a number of memorable heroines as well, including the Irish Countess Cathleen, who bargained her soul to relieve a famine, the 'Loathly Lady,' redeemed by the love of Sir Gawain, and Rymenhild, who (uncharacteristically for the genre) seduces the Childe Horn, motivating his story arc towards knighthood.

This volume overlaps with Harrap's Myths and Legends of the Middle Ages, by Helene A. Guerber, (an etext of which is forthcoming). It is a bit shorter than the others in the series, and the sometimes muddy monochrome illustrations are not particularly compelling. However, Ebbutt turns in a very enjoyable volume of edifying tales.

Title Page
List of Illustrations
Chapter I. Beowulf
Chapter II. The Dream of Maxen Wledig
Chapter III. The Story of Constantine and Elene
Chapter IV: The Compassion of Constantine
Chapter V: Havelok the Dane
Chapter VI. Howard the Halt
Chapter VII. Roland, the Hero of Early France
Chapter VIII: The Countess Cathleen
Chapter IX: Cuchulain, the Champion of Ireland
Chapter X: The Tale of Gamelyn
Chapter XI. William of Cloudeslee
Chapter XII: Black Colin of Loch Awe
Chapter XIII. The Marriage of Sir Gawayne
Chapter XIV: King Horn
Chapter XV. Robin Hood
Chapter XVI. Hereward the Wake
Glossary and Index