Duncan Williamson came from a family of Traveling People. They told stories around the campfire for entertainment and for teaching, and as a child Duncan learned the ways of the world through those stories. “My father's knowledge told us how to live in this world as natural human beings—not to be greedy, not to be foolish, not to be daft or selfish—by stories.”
In this collection, Duncan passes on some of those wonderful folk and fairy tales for children. For more than sixty years, Duncan traveled around Scotland—on foot, then in a horse and cart, and later in an old van—collecting tales that come not only from the Traveling People but also from the crofters, farmers, and shepherds he met along the way.
The Coming of the Unicorn includes tales of cunning foxes and storytelling cats, hunchbacked ogres and beautiful unicorns, helpful broonies and mysterious fairies, rich kings and fearsome warriors, as well as stories about ordinary folks trying to make their way in the world. These stories have been written down to reflect as faithfully as possible Duncan's unique storytelling voice, full of color, humor, and life.
(Ages 8-12 years)
Duncan Williamson (1928-2007) was born on the shores of Loch Fyne. He was the seventh of sixteen children in a family of Travelers who set up camp in the same place every winter, wandering the Highlands in summer, hawking tin and natural willowwares. Duncan left home at fifteen and traveled for the next forty years, while continuing the traditional trades of his people. In 1980, he moved to a farm cottage in Fife with his second wife, Linda, who transcribed some of his vast repertoire of songs, stories, and family history. When Duncan died, he left behind a worldwide legacy. His reputation was extraordinary, and the impact of his storytelling continues in literary editions of his work, published by Canongate, Cambridge University Press, Penguin, Mondadori, and more recently by Birlinn, Luath Press, and Floris Books. Linda Williamson was born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1949. She has a PhD from Edinburgh University, and is an American folklorist, storyteller, and editor. She has three children and five grandchildren—on both sides of the Atlantic.