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1001 Stories Collection

Molly Whuppie

Added on 15th June 2020

Oral tradition British folk story


A British folk story about a girl who defeats a giant.


Three young girls are left to fend for themselves in the woods. After travelling and travelling they come across a house. The lady at the door takes them in with the warning that her husband, a giant, will soon be home. The giant plans to kill them, but the youngest daughter, Mollie Whuppie, has other plans…

Why we chose it

A great story that shows that girls can be giant killers too.

Where it came from

Two Scottish versions of ‘Molly Whuppie’ exist in the form of ‘Mally Whuppie’ and ‘Maol a Chilobain’, the latter of which was first collected by John Francis Campbell in Popular Tales of the West Highlands (1862). Joseph Jacobs concluded that the tale is likely to be Celtic in origin. The plot of the earlier Scottish and later English versions are remarkably similar.

Although Molly Whuppie is often described as a rare example of a tale in which a female character outwits a giant, similar are found outside of England both before and after Molly Whuppie.

Where it went next

Joseph Jacob includes the story in his English Fairy Tales (1890)

Associated stories

Stories of children overcoming giants are common in Britain and Ireland, among them Jack and the Beanstalk, Boots and the Troll, and Hop O’ my Thumb.

Added on 15th June 2020

Oral tradition British folk story