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Some of Norfolk’s strangest stories

PUBLISHED: 13:49 06 September 2018

Norfolk Folk Tales For Children by Dave Tonge. Picture: The History Press

Norfolk Folk Tales For Children by Dave Tonge. Picture: The History Press

The History Press

Some of Norfolk’s most exciting stories - fact and fiction - are being retold for children

The Yarnsmith of Norwich Dave Tonge  Picture: Denise BradleyThe Yarnsmith of Norwich Dave Tonge Picture: Denise Bradley

From dark and dangerous dogs to monstrous man-eating giants, and from battling brothers to devilish dragons, Norfolk is alive with stories.

Some of the oldest, strangest and most haunting are told by Dave Tonge, a storyteller known as the Yarnsmith of Norwich. He has mixed myths, folktales, dialect and real people and places from the long history of Norfolk into an engaging new collection for children.

“Norfolk is steeped in stories. Some had their beginnings here, growing in the telling until they were as big as Norfolk’s skies. Others were brought here by travellers from far away,” said Dave.

He has reworked and rewritten stories, introducing each one with fascinating facts from history – so that Will Kemp and Jack Valentine appear alongside each other, as do Oliver Cromwell and the dragon of Ludham. Meet Viking kings and village heroes, Norfolk saints and pilgrims – and even Dave’s mum who grew up, one of 12 children, sleeping four to a mattress, in a terraced house in Norwich.

Dave is an author, historian and storyteller who travels the country, telling stories at museums, heritage sites, festivals, fairs and schools.

Norfolk Folk Tales for Children, by Dave Tonge, is illustrated by Jim Kavanagh and published by The History Press for £9.99 as part of a new series of folk tales for children from some of Britain’s finest storytellers.

Hear Dave Tonge’s stories at the Forum Gallery, Norwich on Saturday, September 8. Dave will be telling some of Norfolk’s weirdest folk tales as part of an exhibition staged by Archant’s Weird Norfolk team for Heritage Open Days.

Weird Folk Tales of Old Norfolk, with Dave Tonge, will include meddling sprites, perilous pits and other spellbinding tales – drop-in 12-1pm.

Dave will also be telling Norfolk folk tales with links to other lands at the Forum on Saturday, September 15, and will be at the Museum of Norwich at the on September 29 and 30, Lynn Museum on October 6 and the Ancient House Museum, Thetford, on October 13.

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