A World of Tricksters


My collection of 154 trickster tales from 29 countries and regions is now available from Amazon in print and ebook formats. The cover by Fiona Dowling depicts the Narrow-striped Kern, the hero of an Irish story widely told in the past but little known nowadays. The top image above is the coat of arms of the Republic of Adygea in the North Caucasus, where the rollicking 2000-year-old myth-ballad Sosruko Fetches Fire is set. The twin-peaked mountain is the inactive volcano Mount Elbrus, just inside the Russian border with Georgia, where in the Greek myth Prometheus stole fire from the gods and was chained by Zeus in punishment. The bird beneath the hind feet of the horse Thozhey (Little Dun) is Sosrukos helper eagle, who may be his shape-shifted mother, Setenay, who regularly extricated him from jams he bravely or foolhardily got himself into. Here is the first stanza of Sosruko Fetches Fire.

The Narts set off to make a raid, Sosruko left behind.
Then suddenly a blizzard struck. “Does anyone have fire?”
They asked. But no one had, and so they suffered, cold and shamed
For seven days and seven nights until Sosruko came.


Native American Trickster Gods




Raccoon and the Blind Men

How Coyote Stole Fire

Coyote Tricked by Mice

Why Mount Shasta Erupted

Caucasian Trickster Demi-gods: The Narts

Sosruko Fetches Fire

Shirdon and the Giants

Irish Trickster Gods

Gobán Saor and the King of Spain

The Narrow-striped Kern

Tricking the Devil

How the Devil Made the Lousberg

The Devil’s Wager

The Man with No Shadow

Sæmundr the Learned and the Devil

The Bridges at Soravilla and Oiartzun

Perurimá Saves the Holy Family


The Lion and the Hare

The Goat and the Lion

The Monkey’s Heart

The Monkey and the Turtle

Anansi and the Pot of Wisdom

The Eagle and the Dung Beetle


King of the Birds

The Caged Bird

How a Dog Brought Rice to Humans


Oh, my feet, oh, my feet!

You can’t trust anyone!


Ameen and the Ghoul

The Birds of Cirencester

The Black Pig’s Dyke


O Ciprianillo: The Book of San Cipriano

Daniel O’Connell

Curran and the Innkeeper

King Matthias the Just

Digging for Treasure

The Doctor and Death

The Fairy Fort Is on Fire

The Father of Farts

Five Eggs

Nasruddin Hodja and His Cousins

The Inconstant Widow

Irish Highwaymen, Tories and Rapparees

Latin American Tricksters

Charlie Meyers and the Barewalker

On the Scent of a Thief

The Pardoner’s Tale

The Bossy Woman

The Perfect Wife

The Postman from Purgatory

The Three Riddles of the King Who Went Mad

Saints and Sieges

Women Warriors Disguised as Men

San Martín Txiki and the Basajauns

Turning the Plaice

Two Pieces of Advice and an Empanada

White Pebble, Black Pebble

Who Owns the Bag of Silver?

Titanic Thompson

Dumb Kid

Miracle as a Trick of God

The Rebel and the Sergeant

A Bag of Irish Tricks


The One That Got Away (with It)

Twisting the Hay-rope

The Devil in the Dance Hall

He Was a Stranger




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