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.