In the study of folktales, both in Britain and internationally, the privileged genre has always been the fairytale, the märchen or ‘Wonder Tale’. These complex, picturesque stories, such as ‘Snow White’ or ‘Cinderella’, have attracted innumerable scholarly collectors and interpreters. There is, however, another kind of oral folk narrative, equally widespread but less glamorous, which has far more to offer to the student of popular rural culture. I refer to the kind of story technically known to English-speaking folklorists as a ‘legend’ (German Sage). This centres upon some specific place, person or object which really exists or has existed within the knowledge of those telling and hearing the story. It reflects the beliefs, moral judgements and everyday preoccupations of the social group, and is in many cases, though not invariably, told ‘as true’. Its aim is to hand on accounts of significant events alleged to have occurred in a particular community or area and it has no truck with ‘once.upon a time’ and the ‘never-never land’. While the fairytale is long and is told for its entertainment value, the legend is almost always brief, for its normal context is casual conversation, where it is recounted in order to inform, explain, warn or educate. Its style is sober and realistic, for though it may contain supernatural and fantastic elements, these are given maximum plausibility by being brought into close association with the physical localisation of the tale.