Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Hobyahs

For those of you who enjoy reading around and about the makings and movement of traditional tales.
The Hobyahs  is a poplar tale with many Australian trad tellers. One of our members, JB Rowley, sent through this article which some of you will find interesting. Even if you are not usually drawn to the old stories, have a read, this could change your mind.

The author suggests that the Hobyahs was collected in Australia in the 1800s by folklorist, Joseph Jacobs however it was first published in More English Fairy Tales (in the UK in 1894) (digital version HERE). So can it be said to be an Australian story or not?

JB is inclined to believe that the story has Scottish roots, as when Jacobs was working on More English Fairy Tales, he was living in the United Kingdom. He writes that he collected the story in Perth but doesn't specify whether he means the Perth in the UK or the Perth in Western Australia. JB is of the opinion that if Jacobs was meaning Perth in Australia, he would have said so.

If you wish to read more, there is an extensive piece about Jacobs written by Mabel Kaplan on the Australian Folklore Network page, published in 2003.

And while discussing traditional stories and antecedents, perhaps, if you are not already a member, you might be persuaded to join the Australian Fairy Tale Society. Founded in 2013, the AFTS focuses on '... collecting, preserving, discussing, sharing and creating Australian fairy tales'. The AFTS Conference (sometimes in Melbourne and sometimes in Sydney) is worth keeping an eye out for. This is a day of literary, visual and performance presentations. If you are in doubt that there is a fairy tale tradition in Australia, the AFTS may cause you to reconsider.

 JB was recorded in 2014 telling her preferred version of the Hobyahs.


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