1 9 8 1 – 1 9 8 5 (UK)
65 x 25 minute episodes
Premiering on 30 July 1981, this ITV series from Harlech TV consisted of traditional folk tales from all over the world – stories handed down from one generation to the next.
As far as possible, episodes were filmed in the original countries with local people playing the parts they had known since childhood. In one case in the South Sea Islands, an entire village took part.
The HTV crew travelled as far afield as Turkey, Arabia (where they filmed a shrine said to be the place where Moses was buried), India, Romania, Germany, Scotland and France. In New Zealand, they encountered unexpected problems when the Maoris appearing in the episode believed one of the canoes being used in the story was haunted and wouldn’t proceed until a senior member of the tribe came and drove out the evil spirits.
Stories were narrated by Claire Neilson, Isla Blair, and June Barrie. The theme song was by Larry Grossman.
Simpleton Peter (England) | The Soldier Who Did Not Wash (Russia) | Hinemoa (Maori) | The Foolish Brother (Turkey) | Cap O’Rushes (England) | The Island of Drums (Samoa) | The Priest Know-All (Norway) | The Pedlar’s Dream (England) | The Russian and the Tartar (Russia) | Pi-Kari (Maori) | The Straw Hat (Germany) | The Well of the World’s End (Scotland) | Moses and the Lime-Kiln (Middle East) | Haunted Pastures (Bavaria) | The Widow’s Lazy Daughter (Ireland) | The Twelve Months (Hungary) | Nikorima (Maori) | Riches or Happiness (India) | Morwen of the Woodlands (Wales) | Clever Manka (Czechoslovakia) | The Forbidden Door (Arabia) | The Emperor and the Abbot (Austria) | Rich Man, Poor Man (Africa) | The Bar of Gold (Eastern Europe) | The Blacksmith (Africa) | The Clever Thief (China) | The Foolish Lad (Eastern Europe) | The Robber Chief (Scandinavia) | The Squire’s Bride (Scandinavia) | The Three Coins (Spain) | The Perfect Prince (India) | Sorrow (Hungary) | The Five Loaves (Rumania) | The Hired Help (Eastern Europe) | 100 Cattle (Africa) | The Black Cape (Spain) | Minu (Africa) | The Basket of Flowers (Scandinavia) | The Talking Pony (Spain) | The Spoiled Son (Rumania) | The King’s Secret (China) | The Miraculous Doctor (France) | The Woodcutter and the Devil (Eastern Europe) | The Mysterious Woodcutter (Korea) | The Surprise Gift (India) | The Enchanted King (Rumania) | The Lost Ruby (India) | The Blind Beauty (Philippines) | The Wise Merchant (Arabia) | Two For One (Arabia) | The Little Beggar (Arabia) | Great Heart (North American Indian) | The Old Kitbag (Canada) | The Strange Guest (Canada) | The Clever Trapper (Canada) | Myself (Canada) | The Magic Stone (Serbia) | Bags of Silver (Croatia) | The Ambitious Cobbler (Slovenia) | The Stubborn Princess (Eastern Europe) | The Great Slayer (Eastern Europe) | The Princess Who Never Laughed (Slovenia) | The Three Helpers (Turkey) | Secret Soup (Wales) | The Discontented Daughter (Wales)