I have always been fascinated by fairy tales and folktales. As a kid, these tales transported me away to different fantastical lands – so like our own but really not now.
Growing up in India, the Hindu mythology was the dominant source of stories. The stories of the pantheon of Hindu Gods, their supporting characters and enemies were fascinating. One of my uncles, a secular Indian-flavored communist, had a collection of Russian and Ukrainian folk tales, which I loved to read. Add to this, the stories from Greek, Roman and Norse mythology I got to read as a part of my lessons in school, made a heady mix. Between Krishna and Hanuman and Tenali Rama and Birbal and all the Ivans and Baba Yaga and Hercules and Perseus and Medusa and Athena – what you get is a fan of the fantastical, of adventure, of travel, of the bizarre and of the strengths hidden in common folk, of the hero’s journey.
Some childhood loves don’t go away. Spice, salt, climbing stuff, making stuff and reading fairy tales – are apparently my loves which are here to stay. And so imagine my delight when I came across The Myths and Legends Podcast by Jason Weiser. He described his podcast as:
“Did you know that fairy tales weren’t originally for children and are way more bizarre, ridiculous, and interesting than you ever thought possible?
Maybe you’ve heard of characters like Thor, Odin, and Hercules from modern movies- stories stretching back centuries. Well, the originals that inspired the adaptations are even better.”
He retells this stories in a funny, modern way, cutting to the heart of the matter. Did I mention how funny he is? For example, here is his introduction of Enkidu of the story of Gilgamesh:
“If you think your job is rough, hopefully you don’t have a hairy naked man leaping majestically through your office with his gazelle friends.”
At the end of each podcast, he highlights the creature of the week: like the Splinter Cat, the Saalah, the Habetrot…
This is a show I enjoy so much that it is one of those I subscribe (as in pay real-world money to support Jason’s great stuff). If this at all looks interesting, you should listen to the free version.