Folktales of Mexico

Horse Hooves And Chicken Feet: Traditional Mexican Stories

Book Description

Mexican folktales invite us into a magical world of enchantment and transformation, populated by cats and kings, priests and tricksters, ordinary people and supernatural beings, in this vibrant collection. Drawing from authentic sources, folklorist Neil Philip has created a rich and varied anthology of fifteen folktales that draw on the rich storytelling tradition of Mexico, where classic themes and fairytale elements are blended with magic and infused with Roman Catholic imagery to create a distinctly Mexican flavour and flare. The Virgin Mary plays the role of fairy godmother, devils gamble for souls, and witches dance at fiestas with horse hooves instead of feet. Read about a witch that turns seven brothers into seven blue oxen and how a young man, thrown overboard to drown, is rescued by a mysterious shadow. As in the tradition of other folktales from around the world, cats, dogs, fools, soldiers and princesses go on quests and have magical adventures. The vibrant, whimsical paintings by Jacqueline Mair are based on Mexican folk art and make these spirited tales just right for storytimes and a perfect introduction to this little known body of folk literature, ideal to read aloud or for older readers to enjoy discovering by themselves.

About the Authors

Neil Philip is a writer, folklorist and poet and loves the art of storytelling in all its forms. He has an M.A. in English Language and Literature from Oxford University and a Ph.D. from London University in Children’s Literature and Folklore. Among his many books are Poets of the Inuit, The Adventures of Odysseus, and The Tale of Sir Gawain. His work has won numerous awards, including the Aesop Award of the American Folklore Award and the Literary Criticism Book Award of the Children’s Literature Association.


Jacqueline Mair is an artist well-loved for her vivid and atmospheric work. She has held solo shows, including in Mexico City, the USA, India and Great Britain. Her many books include Folktales of America, and Indian Folk Tales, both published in new editions by Armadillo, as well as I Have a News: Rhymes from the Caribbean, and The Bottle Imp.