Myths and Legends

"    Myths and Legends " Podcast
Jason Weiser tells stories from myths, legends, and folklore that have shaped cultures throughout history. Some, like the stories of Aladdin, King Arthur, and Hercules are stories you think you know, but with surprising origins. Others are stories you might not have heard, but really should. All the stories are sourced from world folklore, but retold for modern ears. These are stories of wizards, knights, Vikings, dragons, princesses, and kings from the time when the world beyond the map was a dangerous and wonderful place.

2016 Jason Weiser

A little bit about what to expect when you listen to Myths and Legends.

This week on the Myths and Legends podcast, I’ll introduce the show and discuss what it’ll be about. Then, we’ll start right in on the story of Yvain, a knight of King Arthur's court who'll show that by being a huge jerk to nearly everyone you'll ge

This week, we're continuing the story of Yvain, a knight of King Arthur's court who we left in a very bad spot. He'll find an ally within the castle walls, get a magic ring, and try to find a way to hold out,

In this episode, you'll see that you should definitely interfere if you see two apex predators fighting to the death in the wilderness. We'll finish the story of Yvain, a knight of King Arthur's court, as he (mostly) sees the error in his ways and (mos...

The story of a poor man who finds a being of unlimited power, and not only uses it to put food on the table, but goes a little farther to take over the kingdom and become the richest man alive. It's the original story of Aladdin,

In the conclusion of the original Aladdin story, there's the meteoric rise of Aladdin, who is definitely not using magic to do any of this. Really. Will people just stop asking him that, already? I mean, so what if he made the most magnificent palace i..

Swords, dragons, werewolves, Vikings, betrayal, and revenge are all hallmarks of the thrilling, yet little known, Saga of the Volsungs, the story of an ill-fated medieval Nordic family. One of J.R.R. Tolkien's first Nordic reads, it's a tale of honor,

The Saga of the Volsungs continues, with a princess held captive by the man who killed her father, and her brother roaming the forest waging a covert guerrilla war...or just robbing people for the fun of it? There are berserker werewolves,

You can clearly see J.R.R. Tolkien's inspiration in this episode, what with that cursed ring finally making an appearance, a legendary sword reforged, and a selfish psychopath of a dragon sitting atop a pile of gold.

Part four and the penultimate episode in the Saga of the Volsungs, the story of a legendary Norse family finds Sigurd riding with his Vikings in an attempt to reclaim his father's kingdom. Then, there's a fight with the dragon, Fafnir,

The final chapter of the Saga of the Volsungs follows Sigurd as he finds that navigating relationships with the in-laws is way, way more hazardous than fighting a dragon. He finds the famliy he never had, but generations of betrayal and murder finally ..

The story of Mulan, the woman who took her aging father's place in the army, does not mean what you think it means. The original character is almost completely awesome and very different from many retellings. Unfortunately,

In this story of a dangerous magician from Russian folklore, you'll learn that you should maybe believe your spouse if she says you definitely don't want to know what's behind that door in the dungeon. It's the bizarre, sad,

As it turns out, Koschei the Deathless is very, very hard to kill, a fact one could probably guess from his name. This episode explores his tragic origins, as well as the ludicrously complex way he's hidden his soul (a Russian nesting doll situation th...

The King Arthur legends don't actually start with Arthur, but with several years of war, intrigue, and betrayal among the Britons, and a slippery earl by the name of Vortigern not-so-subtly engineering the deaths of two kings to become king himself.

This is where we meet Merlin, a son of a demon who uses his evil powers for good. But he's not yet the bearded sorcerer we all kind of know and love. No, he first enters our story as a serious seven year-old with power over magic,

Wrapping up this current run of King Arthur episodes, we find a kingdom in shambles. We'll see the final(ish..for now at least) battle between the Saxons and the Britons, and then the rule of King Arthur's uncle and father.

The real story of the Little Mermaid is way more violent and grim than the Disney version, and does not have a happy ending. It's the story of a teenage mermaid who falls in love with a human and makes a deal to get legs,

A short supplemental on one of the inspirations for Merlin, a man named Myrddin the Wyllt,  a Welsh warrior bard who went insane after seeing his friends die on the battlefield and ran off to a life in the forest.

Instead of one long story, this week I'm telling four stories about canines from folklore from all around the world. We'll go back to the Norse gods and goddesses where Loki will make more poor choices. Then I'll talk about the legend of the black dog ...

The origin and labors of Hercules

Labors 3-12 of Hercules

Two stories from Japanese folklore

The weird story of pig-faced ladies

The legendar Viking Ragnar Lodbrok

People throughout history, before they died, have seen something...strange. They have seen ghostly doubles haunting their steps, foretelling their doom. These things are called doppelgängers, and while they mean something different now - basically some..

The end of the saga of this legendary king has Viking battles, magic cows, and a long con to take over England. Ragnar's poor planning when it comes to cementing his legacy blows up in his face, and we catch up with Aslaug,

In this Russian Fairy Tale from the same collections as the stories of Koschei the Deathless, we find a prince who goes on a quest for the firebird. This leads us into a Russian nesting quest situation, where he ends up on a quest-within-a-quest-within...

The story of a young woman, her magic doll, and a witch who may be the most terrifying - or the most ridiculous - person you've ever seen. You'll also see that you should definitely not trust a gift from a witch.

Theseus and the Labyrinth Part 1

The story of Daedalus and Icarus

The final chapter in the story of Theseus, the Minotaur, and all the other people that have gotten swept up in this drama spanning decades. We'll learn exactly what the Delphic Oracle meant by her prophecy,

The story behind the transition from Saint Nicholas to Santa Claus is one that includes murder, priest-punching, and ominous, demonic-looking companions. This episode looks at the legends behind an austere bishop who has been transformed into a magical...

The first episode of much-requested Native American folklore has giants, ghosts, anthropomorphic coyotes, jilted lovers, and the reason for why the tick got so flat. Because you've always wondered how the wood tick got to be so flat.

The kumiho, from Korean folklore

It's the original story of the Snow Queen, more commonly known as the source material for the hyper-popular Disney movie named "Frozen". The original, though, is incredibly different, and contains much more violence, kidnapping,

Starting an epic string of legends from Celtic folkore. We're back in the time of kings, princesses, and intrigue. You'll see how you can steal a kingdom with fancy accounting, curse a nation because of a careless comment,

Queen Medb, King Ailil, and Fergus make their way into Ulster while the army is crippled by feeling as if they are going into labor. Only one man, barely out of childhood himself, can stand against the invaders and protect his people until they are abl...

A double-sized episode with the whole epic and slightly-ridiculous story of a cattle raid that ended up taking way longer than it should have. It involves a young man hulking out numerous times, several creative ways to kill your opponent in single com.

The odd love story of Cupid and Psyche

Norse mythology, like all mythology, is strange. Thor's hammer is gone. It was stolen...or he just left it somewhere and forgot about it. To get it back, though, he's going to have to do something more difficult than fighting legions of giants.

Two stories from Japanese folklore

King Arthur, from the sword in the stone to the Questing Beast

The King Arthur legend, from the Questing Beast to Balin

The Story of Balin and the Dolorous Stroke

Prometheus the Titan and the Titanomachy

Rapunzel and the Brave Little Tailor

The story of Crystal the Wise

The Saga of Arrow-Odd

The conclusion of the saga of Arrow-Odd

Coyote, Anansi, and Loki

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

Sisyphus and Bellerophon

The Original Beauty and the Beast

The story of John Smith and Pocahontas

Pocahontas and John Smith

The Death of Hercules

Hong Gildong Conclusion

The beginning of Norse mythology

Stories of a tricky turtle

Lancelot and the Lady of the Lake

Lancelot and the Quest for Guinevere

The Conclusion of the Lancelot story

The oldest Cinderella stories, from Chinese folklore

Ilya Muromets and Nightingale the Robber

Thor, Apollo, and Saint George

Stories of deals from Japanese and European folklore

Europa, Cadmus and the dragon, and, of course, Jason

The Quest for the Golden Fleece

Dragons, dangers at sea, and what happens when the make it back to Greece

The end of Jason and Medea

Some contemporary urban legends.

Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and Bluebeard

The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship

Vampires, Vlad the Impaler, and the fictional Dracula

Loki, Baldr, and uncomfortable games of tug-of-war

Narcissus, Echo, and Orpheus

Thakane the dragon slayer

The story of Gilgamesh and Enkidu

Gilgamesh & Enkidu fight Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven

The Great Flood

Donkey Cabbages from the Grimm Brothers

The story of the old nanny goat

The White Butterfly and the Lazy Monk

Monster Skunk farting everyone to death

Persephone, Tantalus, and the curse of the house of Atreus

Beowulf and Grendel

Beowulf v. Grendel's Mother

Beowulf and the Dragon

The Ring of Solomon and the Dragon of the North

Thor v. giants and Loki's stupidity

A cat wearing boots. Because why not?

The frog prince and the frog princess

Oedipus answers a riddle and some other stuff happens

Ridiculous stories are ridiculous.

A knight of the round table gets his start

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Morgan Le Fay, enchantress.

The conclusion of the Morgan le Fay series

The Midas touch, Dionysus, and Apollo

The surprisingly brutal original story of the ugly duckling

The first two adventures of Sinbad the Sailor

Adventures 2-4

The story of the Scottish sea horse

The story of Tokoyo

Sentaro the Millionaire

Pecos Bill rides the Tornado

Atalanta and the Calydonian Boar

Episode: 77
The story of the princess and the pig

Episode: 78
From Ra to Set v. Horus

Episode: 79
The Aesir-Vanir War and Odin and the Runes

Perseus starts on the quest to slay Medusa

Perseus v. Medusa and Perseus + Andromeda

Scandinavian folklore

The beginning of "1001 Nights"

Finishing the Beginning of Arabian Nights

Two fairly messed up fairy tales

The three bears, the three little pigs, and an especially deranged version of Cinderella

The Dwarf with the Long Beard

The conclusion of the dwarf with the long beard

Clever Hans is clever

Werewolves and La Llorona

The End of Norse Mythology

Maui, as depicted in Maori folklore

The story of Thorstein Mansion-Might

Helios and Phaethon & the giant brothers

The Gigantomachy - the war of the giants in Greek mythology

Zeus v. Typhon and the beginning of Theseus and the Amazons

The Amazons and Hippolytus

Grettir's worse/best Christmas ever

Since we're off this week, it's a bonus episode from our other podcast, Fictional

The story of Finn MacCool

Wrapping up the first part of the legend of Finn MacCool

The Snow Maiden and The Snow Child. A lot of snow this week.

Two Jacks that kill giants, but in very different ways

The true story of Gouyen

William Tell is so much more than an arrow and an Apple

Yvain and Gawain go on a road trip (i.e. forced exile)

Things get weird on Yvain and Gawain's quest...well, weirder than usual.

Money problems from Denmark and Vietnam

The Holy Roman Emperor is on a mission from steal a bunch of stuff from his neighbor

A story of witches, genies, male models, and angry cats

The battles of Horus and Set

The animal kingdom is a horrible, horrible place.

Reynard the fox continues to make terrible, or brilliant, choices

The story of Sundiata, the first ruler of the Mali empire

Djata's life continues being difficult while a new evil rises in the north

The conclusion of the story of Sundiata

The Golem of Prague

A bonus story this week from the southern United States

The golem of Prague and the Maharal's final blood libel

The story of a guy named Tom...who is as big as a thumb.

The royal family of Athens. Dragon kings, bird princesses, and everything in between.

Odin. Jotunheim. Shin Tinder. We're back in Norse mythology with the legendary story of Hadingus.

A fairy tale for children about a girl being born from a flower and trying to find love manages to contain kidnapping, death threats, crushing nihilism, and sleazy moles.

The amazingly brutal original story of Pinocchio

Pinocchio Part 2

The end of Pinocchio.

The story of the a prince whose life is too awesome

The lives of Jaya and Vijaya

The third and final lives of Jaya and Vijaya

The story of Meng Jiangnu and the Great Wall

The legend of Joaquin Murrieta

Joaquin Murrieta thinks he is unstoppable. He's not wrong.

A father makes a promise he can't keep. It's kind of not his fault, though. Being a new parent is super tiring.

The story of a king who really doesn't want to work...and an ancient secret that's been hidden away.

The original story of Sleeping Beauty.

The Holy Grail. This is where it all begins.

The Grail comes to Britain

A merchant makes a deal...and things take a dark turn.

A king really doesn't like a prophecy about his family, so he takes fate into his own hands. It goes about as well as you'd think

A game turns dark as a child disappears. Her brothers will need to follow her to the dark tower.

The Centauromachy and Theseus in the Underworld

There's trouble in Asgard, and Loki is on the case.

The legend of the wendigo from Native American folklore

We're in Finland for a very dark, very cold story.

A genre savvy queen, brave heroes, and very drunk giants

The story of Rostam from the Shahnameh

Rostam searches for his king in the land of demons

A child is rescued, and he changes the jungle forever

Mowgli and his friends fight for their lives

Mowgli is in hiding after the showdown at Council Rock, but Shere Khan is coming.

The origin stories of the Olympians

We continue the origin stories of the Olympians

The Trojan War started long before the Greeks sailed east.

Paris meets Helen, and the fates of thousands are sealed

The surprisingly brutal story of Monkey and Turtle

The story of the goose girl from the Grimm brothers

Dragon fights, love and betrayal, and wine on a boat: the story of Tristan and Isolde is here.

The love potion makes everyone's lives more complicated

Tristan and Isolde have been caught, and they now face the consequences of their actions

The conclusion of the Pecos Bill tall tales

Dionigi wants to be a wizard.

Gawain and Kay take a road trip together and stay with a guy named Carl

Cú Chulainn goes to fairyland to fight a demon horde.

Cú Chulainn confronts a lifetime of consequences

If you hear her weeping, it might already be too late.

The beginning of Robin Hood's epic tale

The hunter has become the hunted

Things are about as bad as they can get for Robin Hood and his band

The birth of Romulus and Remus and the mythical founding of Rome

Romulus and Remus strike off on their own with a lot of weapons and zero leadership experience

We learn some helpful life lessons from a monkey and a crab

A Viking guest, named Guest, has a story to tell.

The origin story of Achilles as we get closer to the Trojan War

The story of Tatterhood, her goat, and her spoon

Oedipus's family just found out it's way more related than they thought...and things are somehow about to get worse.

Antigone battles an authoritarian state in the form of her uncle, Creon.

A monkey becomes a king and challenges the gods themselves

The Handsome Monkey King is getting too powerful. There are beings in the universe who do not like that, and they're about to pay him a visit.

The stories of Momotaro and the Inch-high Samurai

Giants flying on eagles, warriors fighting sorcerers, and a young man in search of his destiny

From the end of the world to the underworld and Armageddon itself, Kalevipoeg does way too many things

Doctor Faust makes an ill-conceived deal with the devil. Hijinks ensue.

Faust takes his magical powers he got from his deal with the devil, and decides to really live it up for the time he has left. Unfortunately, that time is waning.

Things are going great for Arthur and the gang...until some guys from Rome show up and tell him the rent is due.

The lives of Odysseus, Agamemnon, Menelaus, Clytemnestra, and Penelope before the event that would make them all famous: the Trojan War.

Part one of the story of Hrolf Kraki, legendary Viking king, and his twelve berserkers

Hrolf Kraki, the Viking king of Denmark, sets out to avenge his father and fight way too many mythological creatures

Two stories of terrible parenting, one from Scandinavia, and the other from Naples

The stories of Costanza/Costanzo, the youngest daughter of the king of Thebes, who sets out to find her way in the world, and Molly Whuppie, the young orphan girl who battled giants.

Jack is back and ready to do what he does best, and who is along for the ride? King Arthur's teenage son.

We’re back on the boat to the Trojan War and Agamemnon has a problem. It's a problem he can solve, he just doesn't want to.

The story of the fictional protagonist you never knew you hated

On our annual Halloween special, it's a supposedly true story of a string of killings and something lurking in the dark forest

The stories of a lost dumpling and two young people finding love among the ashes.

47 warriors lead one of the greatest (true) revenge stories ever told.

The wonderfully ridiculous and surprisingly human original story of Hansel and Gretel

The story of Lady White Snake

The legend of Lady White Snake continues with a packed episode. There are magical (if not wholly unexpected) resurrections, crustacean armies, Doctor Strange ripoffs, and that's just in the first half.

The conclusion to the story of Lady White Snake and Xu Xian

Four stories from Greek mythology: Arachne and Athena, Pandora's box, the great flood of the ancient Greek world, and the love story of Idas and Marpessa.

Two (originally children's) tales that underscore the shocking brutality of the world in which these stories were told.

In a podcast full of problematic and wildly different original tellings of popular adaptations, this might be the most different and most problematic. It's the original tale of the nutcracker.

How to win friends and influence people and also get beat up a lot in the 12th century.

Evil Genies, automatons, and magical rings abound when we revisit the stories from 1001 Nights!

The Saga of Grettir the strong, a Viking who's his own worst enemy

The conclusion of the saga of Grettir, where he fights trolls, outlaws, bounty hunters, witches, and, most dangerously, his tendency to screw up his own life.

Three stories of love from India.

The story of the master thief.

Fortune favors the bold. Or people willing to put up with a decade of junk. Or the best liars.

The Legend of Sir Isumbras and the reason why you don't mess with unicorns

Thor’s daughter is getting married to a dwarf, and Thor is the last person to find out about it.

Three stories from the Danish fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen about people that are matchless

It begins: the Greek army marches on Troy

The biggest battle of the war so far has the gods themselves being drawn into the war, fighting over the fate of the sacred city of Troy

Achilles is back and the most epic battle of the Trojan War begins

The Greeks finally find a way into Troy

An episode about the Tanuki, the notorious raccoon-dog trickster from Japan with'll see.

A classic quest with princesses, dragons, wizards, dragons fighting wizards, and princesses fighting wizards fighting dragons.

The story from Azorean folklore about a sorcerer who turned his life around and became a priest...and then his old life came hunting for him.

The first branch of the Mabinogion, the epic collection of Welsh legends

The kings of Great Britain and Ireland just want to bro out. That isn't happening, and the people in their lives will start a war to ensure that.

Join Bulat the Brave Companion and Ivan Tsarevich (no, not that one) as they get a magical new horse, escape magical prison, and get in some magical fights.

The story of a king with a monkey friend who goes on a quest...and for some reason trusts a ghoul waiting for him in the cemetery.

Robin Hood and his merry men are throwing a dinner party! With food and wine! And robbery!

The story of Eglė the Queen of Serpents, from Lithuanian folklore, about a young woman who is faced with an impossible choice: witness the destruction of her family...or marry a snake.

A story from the Grimm brothers about three down-on-their-luck soldiers who get everything they could ever dream and then do their absolute best to lose it.

Agamemnon is coming home from the Trojan War. He has no idea what's waiting for him.

Two stories from the bawdy, funny, and oftentimes deeply unsettling 17th century fairytale author Giambattista Basile

The story starts out with one prince slaying a dragon and getting rich. It starts there.

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