Encyclopedia of Folk Heroes
From Paul Bunyan to Stagolee, from Queen Mab to the Tooth Fairy, every culture has created folk heroes. But as often as not, these "heroes of the people" accomplish their goals with methods that are anything but heroic--like the American liar hero Davy Crockett, or Galloping Jones, the Australian drinker and bank robber. Then there's the Irishman Finn Mac Cumhal, whose heroism, like that of Rip Van Winkle, was based on oversleeping.
In this new collection, readers will enjoy a wildly colorful parade of nearly 400 thieves, tricksters, simpletons, and dragon slayers from around the world. Despite appearances, these "heroes" perform a crucial social function: they allow us to question what is right and what is wrong, to challenge what is legal and what is illegal, to deal with who has power and who does not, and to manage the contradictions and conflicts inherent in all cultures.