Treasury of Folklore: Seas and Rivers


Title: Treasury of Folklore: Seas & Rivers

Writer: Dee Dee Chainey & Willow Winsham

Publishing House: Pavillion Books

Date of Publication: March 2nd 2021

Rating: 5 stars

‘’As people stare off into the curved horizon, disappearing as a watery pathway to the unknown, they dream of far-off shores and distant lands.’’

Water is life. The seas, the rivers, the lakes have always been crucial for the survival of all species. It is only natural that humans have been attracted to the mysteries of water, creating myths and legends to understand the cast universe that lies underwater. Even today, the sea is our main choice for care-free moments and the rivers retain a unique, almost mystical, fascination in our minds with their special – and sometimes eerie – atmosphere. From creatures and deities to sacred landmarks and mysterious incidents, the Folklore of seas, rivers and lakes is an endless source of excitement. Dee Dee Chainey and Willow Winsham are here to guide us on this journey.

‘’We have looked upon the face of the spirits of our waters, and while they might look different – from Mami Wata to Poseidon, from the fossegrim to the naiads – their role in our lives is the same. They aid us when we are lost. They offer us healing. We plead and bargain with them for their gifts and blessings. Humans everywhere look to the water and see the possibilities it holds in its depths. It is cathartic, cleansing and majestic, with a power to consume all; a regenerative, a force that ebbs and flows like time, with the power to give life or take it away.’’

From Coleridge’s haunting The Rime of the Ancient Mariner to the myth of Atargatis. The most beautiful, moving narration of Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. The Sirens of Homer, the Selkies of the Northern Seas, and the African Mami Wata. Learn how to summon a Selkie lover (brilliant!) and find out about the frightening results of the steel factory in Taranto. Comfort the priestess Io, persecuted by Hera. Meet the Mesopotamian Tiamat, the Leviathan of the Jewish tradition, the Nordic Jörmungandr and the Kraken, Scylla and Charybdis from The Odyssey.

Travel to underwater realms and legendary kingdoms. Read about the Breton kingdom of Ys, the moving tale of Urashima and the Palace of the Dragon King. Encounter powerful deities of the sea. Sedna, the Inuit Mother of the Sea, Arnaguagsaq from Greenland, Iemanjua whose origins can be found in the Yoruba tradition. Learn about mysteries and superstitions. Uncover the legends of The Flying Dutchman, the Mary Celeste, the Caleuche and the Bermuda Triangle. Read the tales of smugglers and their crimes that inspired Du Maurier’s masterpiece Jamaica Inn. 

Wander by the banks of sacred rivers and mysterious lakes, with the deities, the spirits, the mythical creatures. The Acheron and the Styx, the gates of Hades. The moving legend of St Christopher who carried the Saviour on his shoulders. The Arthurian myth of the Lady of the Lake and Excalibur. Maria Enganxa, the water hag of Majorca, Lorelei of the Rhine, the legends of Father Thames, the myth of Oba. Melusine, the Naiads, the Anguane of Italy, the Fenettes of France, the Fossegrim of Norway, the Bean – Nighe of Scotland. 

Kelpies and water horses, the Loch Ness monster, the swamps of New Orleans and their secrets, the bog lights pointing the way. Sacred and frightening wells, from the terrifying myths of Malta to the Clootie wells of Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and naturally, the Legend of the Fountain of Youth,

Perfection! Dee Dee Chainey and #FolkloreThrusday, you make our days brighter!

‘’Dare you delve further, reach tentatively beneath the dark swell, to see what you might find? Pirate treasures await you, yet take care when your fingers dip into the deep blackness that their tips don’t brush against steely scales lurking under the surface. And don’t forget: when you do dare to peer below the dancing waves, always listen well for the siren’s call…’’

Many thanks to Pavillion Books, Dee Dee Chainey and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.