This week, it's two of the earliest Cinderella stories, one of which is the earliest written version of this type of story, pre-dating European versions by 1000 years. It has evil step-mothers, murderous step-sisters, and helpful cows who will vomit up your work and call you stupid.
Trying to grow a beard and keep your five-year-old from having dreadlocks? Then you do not want this week's creature hanging around your house.
It's the conclusion of the Lancelot story, and we'll immediately pick up after last week's fairly cheap cliffhanger ending. He'll finally see the end of his quest... Either by plummeting to the choppy waters below...or by the lions on the other side of the sword...or the castle full of people who want to kill him on the other side of the lions.
The creature is the Tannarak, who just wants to date you or steal your child. It really does not care, which is fairly problematic.
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Things get weird on Lancelot's journey to become a knight of the Round Table...if Merlin trying to pick up a twelve-year-old last week wasn't strange enough. This week has ancient prophecies, a dangerous quest, a father and son stalker duo, kind of too much hair-smelling, and a sleazy innkeeper. Arthur has a particularly bad month, where his two closest friends turn in their resignations.
The creature this week will protect your kids...by kidnapping them?
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We're back in the time of King Arthur, picking up right about where we stopped off last time (though you don't need to have heard last time to listen today). We'll be talking about the story of Lancelot - where this incredibly important character came from and why he's know as Lancelot of the Lake (spoiler alert, he grew up in a lake). Merlin gets weird, and we catch up with a certain lion-befriending knight that helped to kick off this whole podcast.
The creature is the bouncy bear who is basically a bullet-proof superhero...if all superheroes did was eat horses and sleep.
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Five stories of a very savvy, completely unscrupulous turtle from Nigeria. He's a trickster we've met before, but he has an entire episode of semi-murderous turtle hijinks. Even though turtles are cute and seemingly harmless, they should not be trusted under any circumstances ever. You should also avoid going into business with them, when possible.
The creature this week is the hyosube, from Japanese folklore. He's a crazy little guy who will give you fevers for just being polite.
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Born in ice and fire, Norse mythology starts violently...and strangely. There's a blood ocean, a giant primeval cow, and some light grandpa murder. Thor and Loki take two kids on a field trip to Jotunheim, where, like any family vacation, Thor gets in a drinking contest and wrestles an old lady. Then, Odin travels to the far reaches of the void for wisdom and learns that he must pay a terrible price only to learn that the end, when the universe will once again be bathed in ice and fire, is coming.
The creature of the week is the sandman and you shouldn't let your kids listen to it, especially if it's right before bedtime. Basically, growing up in the middle ages was terrible and I don't know how anyone made it out without some severe psychological trauma.
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"The Origination" by Nihilore
The Conclusion of the "Story of Hong Gildong" takes us from the household drama of last episode to a story that spans the entirety of the Korean peninsula, with Gildong earning his title of the Korean Robin Hood. It then moves beyond Korea to mythical lands, where Gildong battles demons and becomes a doctor. Or pretends to be a doctor. I mean, it's a frontier setting in the 1600s, let's not split hairs. It's basically the same thing.
The creature this time, is cactus cat. It's a cat who wants to get drunk and party like it's 1910.
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Hong Gildong has been called the Korean Robin Hood, but really oversimplifies the story. It is both an awesome adventure tale with dragons, magic, assassins, demons, bandits, and betrayal, and a complex human drama, where one young man must find and understand his place in the world. It's both action-packed, and heartbreaking. The titular character, Gildong, was born a second-class citizen, and he was determined to make a way for himself in a world that kept pushing him down, even if that meant living outside the law. This is his story.
The creature this time is the saalah, and they are what happens when a mommy genie and a daddy human (or the other way around) love each other very much.
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Hercules is as terrible as he is awesome. There are sea monsters, centaurs, people being thrown off of things, Hydra poison, and Hercules making ridiculous choices. Basically, it's everything you could want from a Hercules episode. Oh, and he dies, because apparently he can do that.
The creature this time is the Mamagwasewug, and he just wants to borrow a smoke off you...or he'll burn your house down.
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"Metamorphoses" by Ovid 9:1-282
"The Women of Trachis" by Sophocles
"The Library of Greek Mythology" by Apollodorus 2:6-8
"Library of History" by Diodorus Siculus 4:32
"The Greek Myths" by Robert Graves
An abbreviated history of Pocahontas and John Smith, this episode looks at the conflict largely from the Powhatan side. This isn't the Disney version. It is gritty, dark, violent, and, if Mattaponi oral history is to be trusted, fairly disturbing. Still, it tells the story of a clash of worlds, and one woman who stood in the middle to bring a brief peace.
The creature this week lives in lime trees and, in return for probably not paying rent, will hurt you if you're mean to the tree.
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The Disclaimer (and post):
The story of Pocahontas and John Smith has turned from compelling historical story of a brave woman who united two warring nations, to a melodramatic, oversimplified love story. In reality, Pocahontas likely never view Smith as more than a friend, since she was 11 when they first met. But they won't meet quite yet. We need to talk about the world they both inhabit, and the nations that will collide in the early 17th century.
Then, on the creature of the week, you'll see why you want to bring hair clippers when checking on your infant in the middle of the night.
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This is not the Beauty and the Beast you've heard. It's not even the story the one you've heard is based on. That one is a super-pared-down version of an 18th century French novella. The original contains way too much description about fairy politics and power structures, 18th century Pandora, and an idea for a "Downton Abbey" reboot...with monkeys.
The creature of the week is Papa Bois, from Trinidad and Tobago. He will show you why regular exercise and a balanced diet of strangers lost in the forest will keep you healthy well into old age.
Two stories from Greek Mythology: first, it's the story of Sisyphus, who you might know from his interminable, crushing labor, but who actually really deserved that punishment because of how horrible he was. The second story is of good-guy-Bellerophon, Sisyphus's grandson, who is constantly having that football pulled out from under him just as he is about to kick it.
The creature is an 80-foot-tall, sneaky Japanese skeleton who has a drinking problem...in that he has a difficult time drinking the blood spewing from his decapitated victims.
As you've probably come to expect, the story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, perhaps the second most famous story from One Thousand and One Nights, is much more violent than modern adaptations would have us believe. Medieval Persia was a dangerous place, and you needed to have your wits, a lot of luck, and apparently an extremely loyal, wily slave girl to survive.
The creature this week is the Nix, and it will give you yet another reason to shout at strangers in the grocery store.
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Three stories of tricksters. We have Coyote from Native American mythology giving great gifts and racing a turtle. There's also Anansi the spider-man from West African folklore, who is trying to buy the stories of the world. We also catch up with our old friend Loki from Norse mythology, who just wants to give Thor's wife an impromptu, un-asked-for haircut.
The creature of the week is an emaciated horse who will either play harmless pranks on you, or crush you to death in the street.
The conclusion of the Saga of Arrow-Odd, a man who is destined to live 300 years, yet cursed to be killed by his favorite horse. He's watched his friends and brothers die in his struggle with his adversary, the evil half-troll Ogmund, but this battle is destined to stretch over centuries, into a world that looks completely different to both of them.
The creatures this week hang out in pantries, and either tempt you with too much cake or destroy your ill-gotten, likely buttercat-acquired food.
The saga of the legendary Viking Arrow-Odd contains trolls, ogres, giants, magic arrows, and a sorceress getting smacked in the nose. The mistakes of one Viking's past...or just a Viking being a Viking, haunt him. There's a dangerous Viking teddy bear, and if an angry, famed warrior offers to show you his arrows up close, do not take him up on that offer.
On the creature of the week, you'll see that when you're at the supermarket, someone might just secretly be a giant purple blob that lives in the river.
A story from Chilean folklore about the smartest woman in the world, her talking shoe, and a prince that deserved a slap on the face.
The creatures this week are the abatwa, from South Africa, and you'll learn why ants are the best roommates ever.
Two stories from the Grimm brothers, both of which have people going up, but in different ways. The first is the story of Rapunzel, and the second is about a small tailor who uses one success to face giants, a rampaging boar, and a unicorn when seeking the hand of the princess. The only problem? His greatest achievement may be based on a lie, and he's either the world's smoothest con man or completely delusional. Or both.
The creature this week is a stack of old weasels. That catch things on fire.
The much-requested story of Prometheus, a Titan who was cursed by Zeus to have his liver pecked out every day for defying the Olympian and bringing fire to the earth. We'll also talk about the Titanomachy, the very literal clash of the Titans at the very beginning of Greek mythology, where Zeus comes to power and we all learn that any policy that involves crazy paranoia is basically the only one a Greek god considers.
The creature is the gooseberry wife, but unlike the name, and the berries she protects, she is not sweet, and might eat your child.
Old foes resurface as Balin, the fugitive knight, flees from King Arthur's court. He'll find himself on a perilous (and, at times, ridiculous) quest, where he'll inadvertently put the events in motion that will start the quest for the Holy Grail. Oh, and Arthur gets the Round Table and gets married.
The creature this week is the little naked person buried just below the ground who will scream horrendously if you try to pick him out. Also, he might just kill you.
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When we left king Arthur, the monstrous Questing Beast was lumbering toward him. We'll learn all about that beast and the line of kings cursed to hunt it. Then, Merlin shows up with a chilling plan to solve the problem of the child that is destined to grow up to destroy Arthur. We'll also meet Balin, a disgraced knight who just got out of jail and meets with an unexpected quest for redemption...that might just curse all of England.
On the creature of the week, you'll learn why you want to stock up on pineapples, especially if you are pregnant and don't want this mosquito-like vampire coming after you.
The story of the legendary King Arthur, from just after when he pulled the sword from the stone.Though he's in his late-teens or early-twenties, he is not at all taken seriously by his barons or petty kings, who revolt almost immediately. Less than one year into his reign, he is hiding behind the walls of a castle waiting for the best moment to escape, all while Merlin stands atop the wall shooting fire at the armies assembled out front.
The creature of the week is the Mahaha, and you'll see yet another reason why you shouldn't trust the blue shirtless man wanting to tickle you.
This week: two folktales from Japan. One is about a humble, happy stone cutter who becomes a power-mad, bitter stone cutter. The other is about, surprise surprise, supernatural occurrences at a Buddhist temple in a remote mountain region.
The creature of the week is...or are...the blue men of the Minch. They are blue, men, and very, very good at writing poetry.
The story of a famous dragon from the folklore of north east England is filled with knights, curses, and, of course, the need to kill your favorite childhood dog. The story of the Lambton Worm is a quest for redemption where many people die because of a young man who just wants to yell cuss words at children and throw his trash in a well.
The creature of the week is the butter cat. That should be enough to want to listen to the creature of the week.