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Poetry & Art

The Hayloft Stable


Young People

Novels and Tales

Espen Ash Lad - Folk Tales from Norway


About this book:

  • ISBN: 978 191 023 7045 (hardback)

  • Published 2014

  • Price £15.00 + postage

  • 160 pages

  • Illustrated with 24 original Norwegian line drawings

Also by Robert Gambles

Man in Lakeland (1975)
Exploring the Lakeland Fringe (1989)
The Spa Resorts and Mineral Springs of Cumbria (1993)
Walks on the Borders of Lakeland (1995)*
Yorkshire Dales Place-Names (1995)
Walks Round Windermere (1997)
Echoes of Old Lakeland (2010)

Reflections from the Lakes (2019)
Escape to the Lakes
Lake District Place-Names (2013)
Words from the Wildwood: Cumbria’s Ancient Place-Names (2017)
Lakeland Dales (2016)

* Lakeland Book of the Year Award winners


About the Book:

The stories in this book tell of the adventures of Espen Ash Lad who could have been Cinderella’s brother. They are tales of the derided little man who outwits angry trolls, slippery kings and magic spells to win the princess and half the kingdom when bigger men bite the dust.
Just over a century ago Norway gained its independence from Sweden and was recognised as a fully independent sovereign state. Before that time the feeling was that Norway did not have the attibutes of nationhood.
One of the strands which helped increase awareness of Norway’s separate national identity was the publication of over 100 Norwegian Folk Tales collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe from the remote valleys and mountain areas of southern Norway.
These stories were regarded throughout Europe and America as masterpieces of folk literature. The tales were passed down in an oral tradition for many centuries. The author of Grimm’s famous tales believed that they surpassed ‘nearly all others.’
This new translation of the fourteen Ash Lad tales includes 24 illustrations from Theodor Kittelsen, and Erik Werenskiold, well known and much admired Norwegian artists who illustrated the original fairytales.

About the Author:
ROBERT Gambles was born and grew up in Derbyshire. He was a scholar of St John’s College, Oxford, where he took an Honours degree in Modern History and a post-graduate Diploma in Education. He also has a Licentiate Diploma in Music. His professional career was spent in Education, mainly in Cambridge and Liverpool.
He acquired a love of the Lake District early in life and he has lived in Cumbria in his years of retirement during which he has explored the whole district and written a number of books and many articles on various aspects of its history.Through his Norwegian wife he acquired a special interest in the life and history of Norway.
A keen but pragmatic interest in conservation and the protection of the natural environment has always featured in his philosophy of life and he was for many years a Trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Friends of the Lake District.


"Messages keep arriving with the author complimenting on the Ash Lad book – all of them referring especially to the design of the book, the print and paper quality, and the illustrations, as well as the tales themselves... the main publisher in Oslo thought the book was beautiful and superb in every way..."

ROBERT Gambles... always loved the Lake District and has chosen to live here since his retirement. For many years he was a Trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Friends of the Lake District... To date he has published 12 books, mostly about Lakeland.
The stories in this book were regarded throughout Europe as masterpieces of folk literature. The author of Grimm's famous tales believed that they surpassed 'neary all others.' This new translation includes 24 illustrations from Theodore Kittelsen and Erik Werenskiold, well-known and much admired Norwegian artists who illustrated the original fairy tales.
These amusing, traditional stories champion the underdog against the unfairness of life – allowing honesty and natural intelligence to win through and gain well-deserved justice. These are very much 'once upon a time' tales which appeal to the child which lies deep within us all.
Joyce Wllson, Keswick Reminder, December 2014.

THESE tales are now regarded as masterpieces of folk literature... tales of trolls, fable, folklore and supernatural animals... reveal something of a lost innocence and time... The new book includes 24 original illustrations from Theodor Kittelsen and Erik Werenskiold – bringing to life the tales of ordinary Norwegians. Westmorland Gazette, December 2014

Also by Robert Gambles: Lake District Place Names


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