Prince Hat under the Ground
A Swedish fairytale
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This recording, made at the Ljungby Storytelling Festival, Sweden, in June 2018, is the first time I have told the complete tale in performance. Given the constraints of where I usually perform, and of fitting a 40-minute story into a programme, I suspect it may also be the last time I ever have the opportunity to tell this magic-filled fairytale.
I met the story while translating The Magic Pisspot:Swedish Folk Tales by Per Gustavvson (published in autumn 2017).
The basic wonder tale is well known: the Greek version tells of Amor and Psyche, and Per notes there are over 3,000 versions throughout the world. But the Swedish tale has some unusual elements which move me profoundly.
And of course, I wish that a wonder will happen and I may have the opportunity to tell Prince Hat again.
A note on the name
Perhaps, as I was, you are puzzled by the prince being called “Hat under the Ground”. I was even more puzzled when I asked several Swedish storytellers and they all replied that they had no idea: this was simply his name!
At the Ljungby festival I put my inevitable question to one of Sweden’s leading folklore academics. He told me of an article written about the tale which suggested the name is probably a corruption of an earlier name – now lost in the mists of time.
Another mystery about this mysterious tale!
Thanks to Björn Gullander for recording this performance.
The video clips here are all amateur quality, shot in various theatres.
Their intention is just to show the range of my storytelling and give a flavour of a live performance.
Permission is granted for use in non-commercial educational contexts.
The videos are © Richard Martin.
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For those who are teachers: Telling stories in the classroom: basing language teaching on storytelling