Book: By the Fire: Sami Folktales and Legends

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by Emilie Demant Hatt, translated by Barbara Sjoholm

The first English publication of Sami folktales from Scandinavia collected and illustrated in the early twentieth century

By the Fire: Sami Folktales and Legends is a collection of Sami folktales and legends collected by the Danish artist and ethnographer Emilie Demant Hatt (1873–1958) during her travels in the early twentieth century among the nomadic Sami in Swedish Sápmi. This first English publication of the collection, translated by Barbara Sjoholm, is a significant contribution to the canon of world literature and a unique glimpse into Sami culture.

The stories in By the Fire are a fascinating blend of wonder and peril, nature imbued with spirits, and strangers to be outwitted with gumption and craft. Demant Hatt recorded tales of magic animals, otherworldly girls who marry Sami men, and cannibalistic ogres or Stallos. Many of her storytellers were women, and the memorable tales in this collection tell of plucky girls and women who outfox their attackers (whether Russian bandits, mysterious Dog-Turks, or Swedish farmers) and save their people.

By the Fire also includes tales of ghosts and pestilent spirits, murdered babies who come back to haunt their parents, and legends in which the Sami are both persecuted by their enemies and cleverly resistant. Demant Hatt's original linoleum prints, influenced by the northern European Expressionists after World War I, complement the stories and incorporate and transform her visual memories of Sápmi.

With Demant Hatt's field notes and commentary and translator Barbara Sjoholm's Afterword (accompanied by photographs), this first English publication of By the Fire is a must-read for anyone interested in Sami culture, folktales, or the enduring art of storytelling.

Here are some additional details about the book that you may find interesting:

  • The Sami are an indigenous people of northern Europe who live in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia.
  • Sami folktales and legends have been passed down orally for generations.
  • The stories in By the Fire reflect the Sami people's close relationship with nature and their unique worldview.
  • The book is a valuable resource for learning about Sami culture and history.
  • It is also a simply enjoyable read, with stories that are both heartwarming and humorous.

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Univ Of Minnesota Press (April 16, 2019)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 208 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1517904579
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1517904579
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 13.5 ounces
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 1 x 8 inches

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