Below are a list of some amazing and free legend books.
Washington Irving's timeless classic and haunting
legend. In a quiet valley surrounded by forest and divided by a flowing river
Sleepy Hollow stands quaint and tranquil among its setting. But only at first
glance. When night falls and the mist rolls in, the town and its people are
held captive by a darker legend. The pounding hooves of a hell horse that carries
forth a cruel captor, by name of the Headless Horseman.
Excerpt from the book:
The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback, without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannon-ball, in some nameless battle during the Revolutionary War, and who is ever and anon seen by the country folk hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind. His haunts are not confined to the valley, but extend at times to the adjacent roads, and especially to the vicinity of a church at no great distance. Indeed, certain of the most authentic historians of those parts, who have been careful in collecting and collating the floating facts concerning this spectre, allege that the body of the trooper having been buried in the churchyard, the ghost rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head, and that the rushing speed with which he sometimes passes along the Hollow, like a midnight blast, is owing to his being belated, and in a hurry to get back to the churchyard before daybreak.
Such is the general purport of this legendary superstition, which has furnished materials for many a wild story in that region of shadows; and the spectre is known at all the country firesides, by the name of the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow.
Excerpt from the book:
The Greeks believed that the mental qualifications of their gods were of a
much higher order than those of men, but nevertheless, as we shall see,
they were not considered to be exempt from human passions, and we
frequently behold them actuated by revenge, deceit, and jealousy. They,
however, always punish the evil-doer, and visit with dire calamities any
impious mortal who dares to neglect their worship or despise their rites.
Excerpt from the book:
A scholar, as famous for his literary skill as his facial deformities, had been admitted as first academician at the metropolitan examinations. It was the custom that the Emperor should give with his own hand a rose of gold to the fortunate candidate. This scholar, whose name was Chung K’uei, presented himself according to custom to receive the reward which by right was due to him. At the sight of his repulsive face the Emperor refused the golden rose. In despair the miserable rejected one went and threw himself into the sea. At the moment when he was being choked by the waters a mysterious fish or monster called ao raised him on its back and brought him to the surface. K’uei ascended to Heaven and became arbiter of the destinies of men of letters. His abode was said to be the star K’uei, a name given by the Chinese to the sixteen stars of the constellation or ‘mansion’ of Andromeda and Pisces. The scholars quite soon began to worship K’uei as the God of Literature, and to represent it on a column in the temples. Then sacrifices were offered to it. This star or constellation was regarded as the palace of the god. The legend gave rise to an expression frequently used in Chinese of one who comes out first in an examination, namely, tu chan ao Page 107t’ou, “to stand alone on the sea-monster’s head.” It is especially to be noted that though the two K’ueis have the same sound they are represented by different characters, and that the two constellations are not the same, but are situated in widely different parts of the heavens.
Excerpt from the book:When the king read this, he turned round to Sir Lancelot, and said, “Fair sir, this sword ought surely to be thine, for thou art the best knight in all the world.”
But Lancelot answered soberly, “Certainly, sir, it is not for me; nor will I have the hardihood to set my hand upon it. For he that toucheth it and faileth to achieve it shall one day be wounded by it mortally. But I doubt not, lord, this day will show the greatest marvels that we yet have seen, for now the time is fully come, as Merlin hath forewarned us, when all the prophecies about the Sangreal shall be fulfilled.”
Then stepped Sir Gawain forward and pulled at the sword, but could not move it, and after him Sir Percival, to keep him fellowship in any peril he might suffer. But no other knight durst be so hardy as to try.
“Now may ye go to your dinner,” said Sir Key, “for a marvellous adventure ye have had.”
Excerpt from the book:THE TASKS OF TREGEAGLE
His story, as the legend has it, is that he was a man who amassed great wealth by robbing his neighbours in the cruellest manner. As he approached the end of his most evil life remorse seized him. There was no sin he had not committed, and hoping to escape from the just reward of so wicked a life, in the hereafter, he lavished money upon the Church and the poor, trusting to obtain the help of the holy priests to save him from the clutches of the Evil One.
Excerpt from the book:
The facts at present known do not, I think, justify us in framing any
theory as to the actual historical relation of the dolmen-builders of
Western Europe with the people who created the wonderful religion and
civilisation of ancient Egypt. But when we consider all the lines of
evidence that converge in this direction it seems clear that there was
such a relation. Egypt was the classic land of religious symbolism. It
gave to Europe the most beautiful and most popular of all its religious
symbols, that of the divine mother and child(58). I believe that it also
gave to the primitive inhabitants of Western Europe the profound symbol of
the voyaging spirits guided to the world of the dead by the God of Light.
Gilgamesh is the great legend of Mesopotamia and one of the oldest written works in Western literature. A legendary king, Gilgamesh, is devastated by the death of his closest friend Enkidu, and sets out in search of a way to escape death. The only man known who holds the key to the secret, is the man who survived the Great Flood, will the Journey alone be the end of Gilgamesh?
Excerpt from the legend:
The punishment should always fit the crime.
Let him who has performed an evil act
be punished for that act. Let not the flood
be brought down on the heads of all for what
one man has done; and he who has transgressed,
show pity to him, lest he be cut off
from all his fellows. Better that a lion
should come into the village and prey upon it,
taking a few, than that the flood drown all.
Legends, Folk and Fairy Tales from the Azores
This is a collection of some amazing folk tales based around islands off
of the coast of Portugal. The legends cover the gambit of magic, saints,
forest and island creatures, and all sorts of mythological things in between.
An excerpt from on of the legends:
LINDA BRANCA AND HER MASK
The Story of the Girl Who Did
Not Like To Be Pretty
Long ago there lived a girl
who was so pretty she grew tired of being beautiful and longed to be ugly. She
was so attractive that all the young men in the whole city wanted to marry her.
Every night the street in front of her house was full of youths who came to
sing beneath her balcony.
Linda Branca, that was the
girl's name, grew tired of being kept awake nights. It is well enough for a
little while to hear songs about one's pearly teeth and snowy arms, one's
flashing eyes and waving hair, one's rosebud mouth and fairylike feet; but a
steady diet of it becomes decidedly wearing.
"I wish I were as homely
as that girl who is passing by," she remarked one day. "Then I could
sleep nights." "If I were as ugly looking as that I'd have a chance
to select a really good husband perhaps. With so many to choose from it is
terribly confusing. I'll never be able to make any choice at all as things are
now. I'm afraid I'll die unwedded," she added as she carefully surveyed
the girl's coarse hair, her large feet and hands, her ugly big mouth and ears
and small red-lidded eyes. "That girl has a much better chance of a
successful marriage than I have, with all this tiresome crowd of suitors to
drive me distracted!"
The Fight Between Bel and the
Told by Assyrian
Tablets From Nineveh
This legend is as amazing as
it is old. The story comes to us from around 668BC, recorded on clay
tablets, and discovered by A.H Layard, Mormuzd Rassam, and George Smith. They
were found, along with many other tablets between 1866 and 1870. Being
that these were recorded on clay tablets the brevity of the passages makes for
a quick read, but also a fascinating read in that it is from so long ago.
Many scholarly readers have found correlations between Genesis and these
An Excerpt from The Legends of the Creation:
Not content with Ummu-Khubur's
brood of devils, Tiâmat called the stars and powers of the air to her aid, for
she "set up" (1) the Viper, (2) the Snake, (3) the god Lakhamu, (4)
the Whirlwind, (5) the ravening Dog, (6) the Scorpion-man, (7) the mighty
Storm-wind, (8) the Fish-man, and (9) the Horned Beast. These bore (10) the
"merciless, invincible weapon," and were under the command of (11)
Kingu, whom Tiâmat calls "her husband." Thus Tiâmat had Eleven mighty
Helpers besides the devils spawned by Ummu-Khubur. We may note in passing that
some of the above-mentioned Helpers appear among the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac
which Marduk "set up" after his conquest of Tiâmat, e.g., the
Scorpion-man, the Horned Beast, etc. This fact suggests that the first Zodiac
was "set up" by Tiâmat, who with her Eleven Helpers formed the Twelve
Signs; the association of evil with certain stars may date from that period.
That the Babylonians regarded the primitive gods as powers of evil is clear
from the fact that Lakhamu, one of them, is enumerated among the allies of
By GUSTAVE FLAUBERT
3 amazing stories written by
Gustave Flaubert from the 1830's. The collection is quite interesting in
that the first story has conversations between Death, Nero, and Satan.
The second, The Legend, is about adventures of a man named Julian whose life
spanned many states and ended up trying to help as best he could.
The Legend of Saint-Julian the
An Excerpt from The Dance of Death:
Julian's father and mother
dwelt in a castle built on the slope of a hill, in the heart of the woods.
The towers at its four
corners had pointed roofs covered with leaden tiles, and the foundation rested
upon solid rocks, which descended abruptly to the bottom of the moat.
In the courtyard, the stone
flagging was as immaculate as the floor of a church. Long rain-spouts,
representing dragons with yawning jaws, directed the water towards the cistern,
and on each window-sill of the castle a basil or a heliotrope bush bloomed, in
A second enclosure,
surrounded by a fence, comprised a fruit-orchard, a garden decorated with
figures wrought in bright-hued flowers, an arbour with several bowers, and a
mall for the diversion of the pages. On the other side were the kennel, the
stables, the bakery, the wine-press and the barns. Around these spread a
pasture, also enclosed by a strong hedge.
Peace had reigned so long
that the portcullis was never lowered; the moats were filled with water;
swallows built their nests in the cracks of the battlements, and as soon as the
sun shone too strongly, the archer who all day long paced to and fro on the
curtain, withdrew to the watch-tower and slept soundly.
By Edward G. Flight
The story of how the horse
shoe became a charm against witchcraft and other devilry. This book is filled
with illustrations that are truly amazing.
An Excerpt from the Book:
IN days of yore, when saints
(For each one now, you'd then
In Glaston's fruitful vale
Saint Dunstan had his dwelling
Warm as that inmate of a rug
Named in no polished tale
The holy man, when not
At prayers or meals, to work
With anvil, forge, and sledge
These he provided in his cell
With saintly furniture as well;
So chroniclers allege
The peaceful mattock,
Sickle, and pruning-hook he made
Eschewing martial labours
Thus bees will rather honey
Than hurtfully employ their
In warfare for their neighbours