Swedish Folk Tales

Illustrated by John Bauer; Translated by Holger Lundburgh

Out of print

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Classic stories from Elsa Beskow, Anna Wahlenberg and others, all brought to life by John Bauer's original, evocative illustrations.

292 x 216 mm
Floris Books
Story Books & Anthologies
colour illustrations
Age Range:
From 7 to 10 years
240 pages
Publication date:
26 Aug 2004


John Bauer's original, evocative illustrations bring these classic Swedish folk tales to life.

This collection comprises 29 stories, including Elsa Beskow's When Mother Troll Took in the King's Washing; The Magician's Cape by Anna Wahlenberg; The Seven Wishes by Alfred Smedberg; The Ring by Helena Nyblom; Stalo and Kauras by P. A. Lindholm; The Maiden in the Castle of Rosy Clouds by Harald Ostenson.

Table of Contents

When Mother Troll Took in the King's Washing by Elsa Beskow
The Magician's Cape by Anna Wahlenberg
The Barrel Bung by Anna Wahlenberg
The Seven Wishes by Alfred Smedberg
Leap the Elk and the Little Princess Cottongrass by Helge Kjellin
The King's Choice by Anna Wahlenberg
The Four Big Trolls and Little Peter Pastureman by Cyrus Graner
The Troll Ride by Anna Wahlenberg
The Trolls and the Youngest Tomte by Alfred Smedberg
The Ring by Helena Nyblom
The Old Troll of Big Mountain by Anna Wahlenberg
The Elf King's Ball by Anna Wahlenberg
The Boy Who Was Never Afraid by Alfred Smedberg
The Magpie with Salt on Her Tale by Anna Wahlenberg
The Changelings by Helena Nyblom
Stalo and Kauras by P. A. Lindholm
The Field of Jewels of Anna Wahlenberg
Dag and Daga, and the Flying Troll of Sky Mountain by Harald Ostenson
Linda-Gold and the Old King by Anna Wahlenberg
The Queen's Pearl Necklace by Anna Wahlenberg
The Crofters and the Gnomes by Anna Wahlenberg
The Prince Without a Shadow by Jeanna Oterdahl
The Boy and the Trolls, or The Adventure by Walter Stenstrom
The Maiden in the Castle of Rosy Clouds by Harald Ostenson
Agneta and the Sea King by Helena Nyblom
The Golden Key by W. E. Bjork
Bella's Glorious Adventure by Helena Nyblom
The Giant Who Slept for Ten Thousand Years by Einar Rosenborg
The Queen by Anna Wahlenberg


'Tales of trolls and kings, princesses, magicians and giants are illustrated by the acclaimed Swedish artist, John Bauer. His stylised images seem to suggest the universal ... they are extremely evocative. His use of muted tones means his rare flashes of colour -- bluebells, or a golden-haired princess -- seem to illuminate his dark forest scenes with a magical glow. His big-nosed, good-natured trolls are also a delight (fans of Brian Fround's Dark Crystal will adore them). Adults will enjoy these pictures just as much as children.'
-- Dawn Casey, Armadillo, Autumn 2004

'When John Bauer was tragically drowned at the age of only 36, he had already become Sweden's best-known illustrator of children's books. This handsome volume shows why. These stories are remarkably contemporary in their continuing appeal and their attractions were cleverly identified and enhanced by Bauer.'
-- Mary Medlicott, School Librarian, Spring 2005

'This is real storytelling. The stories represent a hitherto-neglected tradition of fairy tale, in bright readable English, which the added bonus of Bauer's pictures for those who respond to the strength of his compositions and the humour of his line.'
-- Books for Keeps, March 2005

'John Bauer is one of the world's greatest illustrators of fairy tales. His precise and beautiful work has been compared with that of Durer and Holbein. This book will appeal equally to both children and adults.'
-- Folk & Fairy Tales: A Book Guide, Booktrust, Winter 2004

'A delightful anthology brimming with trolls, giants, villains and heroines. The stories, which are full of humour, are stunningly illustrated. A book to treasure.'
-- Juno: A Natural Approach to Family Life, Autumn 2004

'This superb collection of traditional fairy tales from Sweden is fantastic value, and you'll treasure the book for the illustrations alone.
My kids can't get enough of it -- and it's very popular with mum and dad, too. It contains over fifty folk tales of varying length, and the breathtaking pictures are by John Bauer, a high acclaimed artist whose style is reminiscent of Carl Larsson.
'If it's possible, the quality of the stories even outdoes the pictures. Like most folk tales, they work on a number of levels: they are funny and exciting, full of adventure and magic, with clever and resourceful children outwitting cruel, ugly trolls. Having read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, my son considers himself an authority on the ways of trolls, and the current popularity of Tolkien helps make these stories very accessible.
'On a deeper level, the stories deal with psychological dilemmas and conundrums faced by humans since the beginning of time. I'll personally never forget the king who wouldn’t allow any other human within two arm’s lengths of him, because he believed them all to have vicious claws; until a tiny girl overcomes his fear by insisting on caressing him.
'Swedish Folk Tales would be a fantastic gift for any family. Because they are from Sweden, the stories have the added benefit of being completely new to most British parents -- and to children old enough to read the tales for themselves.'
-- Jo Rogers, Families Magazine (www.familiesonline.co.uk)

'These stories are entertaining, well told and have been translated into readable English. The illustrations are excellent, highly imaginative and reminiscent in style to the owrk of Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulak. Children between 7 and 11 will enjoy these stories.'
-- Peter Heathfield, New View, Spring 2005

'Bauer's characteristic world of lakes, mountains, caves and trees is dark and shadowy, but often broken by bright beams of light. Sometimes the light shines forth from a particular person -- a long-haired princess or a tiny innocent child. Sometimes it radiates from a flying horse or the moon in the sky. But never far away are the trolls, knobbly, clumsy-looking creatures with beady eyes and great fat noses. They are like embodiments of the land itself, knobbly and knotty and gnarled.'
-- Mary Medlicott, School Librarian, Spring 2005


John Bauer (1882-1918) was a highly acclaimed Swedish artist. Influenced by Anders Zorn and Carl Larsson, and by the fantasy work of Arnold Bocklin, he started illustrating fairy stories whilst still a student at the Swedish Royal Academy. His best-known illustrations were for an annual Christmas book for children, Bland Tomtar och Troll (Among Elves and Trolls), which delighted readers with their gentle humour and delicate detail. Bauer died at the age of just 35 when he, his wife and their three-year-old son were drowned when a ferry they were taking to Jonkoping sank in Lake Vättern.

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