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1001 Stories Collection

The Shepherd's Dream

1001 theshepherdsdream
Added on 08th July 2020

Oral tradition Irish folktale

UK and Ireland Environment and nature
1001 , Audio , Text

A mysterious and puzzling story about dreams.

Story

Two shepherds lay down to rest. One falls asleep and out of his mouth flies a butterfly. The second follows the butterfly and when his companion awakes is able to show him his dream. But what does it mean?

Why we chose it

The Shepherd’s Dream was part of The Story Museum’s original audio stories collection. These stories are particularly suitable for learning to retell.

Where it came from

The story is told in Twenty Years A-Growing by Maurice O’Sullivan (1933). O’Sullivan grew up in the Blasket Isles off the coast of Kerry and he tells the stories that he grew up with. The Blasket Islands had changed little for hundreds of years and had a strong tradition of oral storytelling and keeping local folklore alive.

Where it went next

The story, called The Soul as a Butterfly, can be found in Folktales of Ireland edited by Sean O’Sullivan (1966). It is included in Tales of Wonder and Wisdom (1998) by Hugh Lupton and Niamh Sharkey and, called Butterfly Soul, in Between Worlds (2018) by Kevin Crossley-Holland. It is one of the stories in Chris Smiths’s 147 Traditional Stories for Primary School Children to Retell.

Added on 08th July 2020

Oral tradition Irish folktale

UK and Ireland Environment and nature
1001 , Audio , Text

Story Resources

  • The Shepherd's Dream story text PDF (227.22 KB)
    Download