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Myths and Legends

Jason Weiser tells stories from myths, legends, and folklore that have shaped cultures throughout history. Some, like the stories of Aladdin, King Arthur, and Hercules are stories you think you know, but with surprising origins. Others are stories you might not have heard, but really should. All the stories are sourced from world folklore, but retold for modern ears. These are stories of wizards, knights, Vikings, dragons, princesses, and kings from the time when the world beyond the map was a dangerous and wonderful place.
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Now displaying: Page 9
Aug 26, 2015
Wrapping up this current run of King Arthur episodes, we find a kingdom in shambles. We'll see the final(ish..for now at least) battle between the Saxons and the Britons, and then the rule of King Arthur's uncle and father. Uther then decides to risk this extremely tenuous peace to woo a woman who isn't into him at all. And by woo, I mean declare war against her and her husband and use your fancy magician friend's fancy magic to trick her into...well, you'll see. Then, the sword in the stone! Also, the definitely true origins of Stonehenge! The creature of the week carries an impractically large bowl of blood with him at all times - just sloshing around everywhere he goes - that he will dump on you if he catches you on the road at night. Talk to me on twitter Find the show on iTunes Music: "Reveries" by Eracilon "Gymnopedie" by Erik Satie "Taking Dark Matter Lightly" by Alan Singley "Love and Mystery" by Oursvince "Max Flashback" by Lee Rosevere "Something Elated" by Broke for Free "Wandering" by Steve Combs
Aug 19, 2015
This is where we meet Merlin, a son of a demon who uses his evil powers for good. But he's not yet the bearded sorcerer we all kind of know and love. No, he first enters our story as a serious seven year-old with power over magic, the ability to prophesy, and knowledge of the past, present, and future. The only problem? He's about to be executed by Vortigern's magicians. Luckily, his life will be saved by not one, but two dragons. Its the origin story of the world's most famous legendary wizard. Then, on the creature of the week, you'll hear me embarrass myself trying to pronounce the name of this big, stupid dog. Talk to me on twitter Find me on iTunes Music: "Let's Ride" by Alasdair Cooper "Cheap Suit" by Jason Staczek "You Know Who You Are" by Alan Singley "Rivers and Mountains" by The Losers "Something Elated" by Broke for Free "Wandering" by Steve Combs  
Aug 12, 2015
The King Arthur legends don't actually start with Arthur, but with several years of war, intrigue, and betrayal among the Britons, and a slippery earl by the name of Vortigern not-so-subtly engineering the deaths of two kings to become king himself. We'll start at the very beginning, with Arthur's grandfather being murdered and his father fleeing across the channel to protect himself from assassins working for a usurper king. We'll also meet Merlin as a child, as he's being hunted by the king's men in the Welsh highlands. On the creature of the week, if you're thinking about a career change into the medical field, forget all that annoying education and just become a Fairy Doctor. This somehow completely real profession from the middle ages doesn't involve any of that pesky schooling that a boring old MD requires, but allows you to heal people from this week's creature, an extremely dangerous and extremely adorable fairy from Gaelic folklore. Talk to me on Twitter Transcript (and pictures) for this episode Find this on iTunes
Aug 5, 2015
As it turns out, Koschei the Deathless is very, very hard to kill, a fact one could probably guess from his name. This episode explores his tragic origins, as well as the ludicrously complex way he's hidden his soul (a Russian nesting doll situation that's unpleasant for everyone involved). He'll prove his name incorrect as he finally meets his demise in what amounts to the most heart-wrenching egging of all time. In the creature this week, despite forests being kind of the only place where forest fires can take place, this sticky giant thinks nothing of tapping the ashes from his giant cigars into the dry leaves.
Jul 29, 2015
In this story of a dangerous magician from Russian folklore, you'll learn that you should maybe believe your spouse if she says you definitely don't want to know what's behind that door in the dungeon. It's the bizarre, sad, and kind of hilarious story of Koschei the Deathless, a man who seems like a much more serious and dangerous version of the Ice King from Adventure Time. Really, if you're horrible sorcerer who's a little lonely, maybe stop kidnapping princesses and just get a cat. Or a hobby. I hear podcasting is fun? Really, though, this is exactly the type of story I love doing on this podcast. I doubt you've heard it, but it is scary, ridiculous, and a little sad, and I hope you enjoy it. The creature of the week is the Boo Hag, a morning breath vampire, and she's a great reason for you to chew an onion before going to bed. (Link to iTunes) (Link to the website)
Jul 22, 2015
The story of Mulan, the woman who took her aging father's place in the army, does not mean what you think it means. The original character is almost completely awesome and very different from many retellings. Unfortunately, the inspiring central message of the story is a modern interpretation of something that was actually very insulting. Also, villain is less of a looming, hulking Hun, and more a bandit with a name of a spandex print. This is the story of Mulan as it was originally told. The creature of the week is why you'll want to make sure you're very drunk before going into the woods alone at night. Link to iTunes for reviews/subscriptions Link to the site
Jul 15, 2015
The final chapter of the Saga of the Volsungs follows Sigurd as he finds that navigating relationships with the in-laws is way, way more hazardous than fighting a dragon. He finds the famliy he never had, but generations of betrayal and murder finally catch up with what has been perhaps the most honorable of the Volsungs...you know, minus that one tiny murder he committed. Also, if someone with nothing to gain from it tells you a ring is cursed, you should absolutely believe them. In the creature of the week, you'll see why funeral homes should be surrounded by catnip and toy mice in order to keep this giant, spectral Celtic cat from stealing souls. (link to the website) (iTunes link for reviews/subscriptions)
Jul 1, 2015
Part four and the penultimate episode in the Saga of the Volsungs, the story of a legendary Norse family finds Sigurd riding with his Vikings in an attempt to reclaim his father's kingdom. Then, there's a fight with the dragon, Fafnir, who is in the possession of the cursed ring. Sigurd, our (so far) valiant hero, folds to the temptations of a magical ring way faster than Frodo, Bilbo, or even Boromir. In the creature of the week, you'll see why you need to treat your footwear will respect and kindness...oh and keep it from getting bored, or else it will come to life and annoy you.
Jun 24, 2015
You can clearly see J.R.R. Tolkien's inspiration in this episode, what with that cursed ring finally making an appearance, a legendary sword reforged, and a selfish psychopath of a dragon sitting atop a pile of gold. Loki casually says something when he walks out the door which tears a family apart, and Odin is not fooling anyone when he (seemingly constantly) pretends to be an old man wandering the wilderness. There are also more huge Viking battles as well as more people transforming into animals for no reason at all. The creature of the week is a relative of the leprechaun whose sole goal in life is to get drunk in your basement and harass dogs.
Jun 18, 2015
The Saga of the Volsungs continues, with a princess held captive by the man who killed her father, and her brother roaming the forest waging a covert guerrilla war...or just robbing people for the fun of it? There are berserker werewolves, magic swords, and a battle of really stupid insults between kings. Also, you'll see if a legendary Norse mustache is an effective filter for poisons. The creature of the week is the fossegrim, a nice guy who loves mutton and teaching people how to play the fiddle.
Jun 3, 2015
Swords, dragons, werewolves, Vikings, betrayal, and revenge are all hallmarks of the thrilling, yet little known, Saga of the Volsungs, the story of an ill-fated medieval Nordic family. One of J.R.R. Tolkien's first Nordic reads, it's a tale of honor, love, loss, and vengeance, as well as the numerous benefits of just letting it go. Also, I talk about the barbegazi, a helpful little frozen beard with huge feet. Here are the promised pictures! (go to the website for the pictures)  
May 27, 2015
In the conclusion of the original Aladdin story, there's the meteoric rise of Aladdin, who is definitely not using magic to do any of this. Really. Will people just stop asking him that, already? I mean, so what if he made the most magnificent palace in the world overnight, and that it randomly disappeared. Nothing at all suspicious about that. In the creature of the week, there's shapeshifting dolphin people. Here's the picture mentioned in the show...I could see it: And here's a link to what Mary Sue means.
May 20, 2015
The story of a poor man who finds a being of unlimited power, and not only uses it to put food on the table, but goes a little farther to take over the kingdom and become the richest man alive. It's the original story of Aladdin, but it's very different from the story you know. The jinni (actual spelling of genie, by the way), don't really grant wishes. Listen to this episode to hear the bizarre original story that led to inspired retellings.
May 13, 2015
In this episode, you'll see that you should definitely interfere if you see two apex predators fighting to the death in the wilderness. We'll finish the story of Yvain, a knight of King Arthur's court, as he (mostly) sees the error in his ways and (mostly) seeks atonement for his extreme selfishness. After you hear the creature of the week, you won't want to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night for fear of running into this greasy little red guy from Japanese mythology.
May 6, 2015
This week, we're continuing the story of Yvain, a knight of King Arthur's court who we left in a very bad spot. He'll find an ally within the castle walls, get a magic ring, and try to find a way to hold out, since it's only a matter of days until Arthur will be there with his knights. The picture linked above is the Mythological Creature of the Week: the sad, sad story of the changeling - a troll baby who's only crime was not being as stylish as a human baby.
Apr 30, 2015
This week on the Myths and Legends podcast, I’ll introduce the show and discuss what it’ll be about. Then, we’ll start right in on the story of Yvain, a knight of King Arthur's court who'll show that by being a huge jerk to nearly everyone you'll get everything you can ever want, throw it all away, and get it all again! Then, for the mythological creature of the week, the hidden folk of Iceland, cheerful little elves who might give you great gifts or rain rocks down on you.
Apr 27, 2015

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