Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Folklore of Discworld by Terry Pratchett and Jacqueline Simpson

Hello folks! I basically bought this book, read it, wrote my review... and then discovered that I've already reviewed it (four years ago)! So, this is now a re-read review XD And it's funny to see how much more gushing and fangirly I am. The heart grows fonder with time and all that. 

I basically found this book because I needed to read something Folklore-ish for the Once Upon a Time reading challenge. Since I didn't really know the difference between folklore and fairy tales, I just put "folklore" in the NLB ebook search engine and waited to see what came out. Once I saw Discworld, I knew what my choice would be.

The Folklore of Discworld is basically a mini-summary of all the folklore around the world, with a heavier emphasis on English and European folklore, using Discworld as a starting point. My verdict?

Terry Pratchett was insanely knowledgable.

I don't know how he does it, but he connects all sorts of folklore to that of his books. Either that or all folklore is somehow connected. But either way, this was a surprisingly educational book.

But, and this is a big but, I'm not sure how accurate it is. In the beginning of the book, they write:

"Chinese mythology also knows of an immense cosmic turtle, but with a difference. According to the Chinese, our world is not balanced upon the the creature's back (with or without elephants), but is sloshing about inside it."

I know about Pan Gu hatching from an egg and creating the world, with the four animals helping.

And because I'm not very good with Chinese mythology, I had to Google to find out about Nuwa cutting off a turtle's legs to prop up the sky.

But nowhere can I find that Chinese mythology says we're living in the giant turtle. Am I missing something here? Anyone more knowledgable than me able to fill in the blanks?

Everything else I read that I know about I've heard before, so I'm pretty sure about its accuracy, but this one thing has me doubting all the new (to me) information in the book.

Overall, though, this is a hugely entertaining and probably very educational book. Not to mention that my respect for Terry Pratchett just went up again. I just wish I had the chance to meet him once in real life.


  1. I have yet to read Terry Pratchett, but you definitely make me want to. :-)

    I am not sure about the Chinese myth of everyone living in a giant turtle. I haven't found any evident of that either--although I haven't looked all that deeply into it.

    1. You definitely should! He has a wonderful sense of humour(:

      Well... everyone I asked hasn't been able to find anything about living inside a turtle. It seems to be a mystery :p


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