The Coming of the Unicorn

Scottish Folk Tales for Children

Duncan Williamson



Duncan Williamson came from a family of Traveling People. They told stories around the campfire for entertainment and for teaching, and as a child Duncan learned the ways of the world through those stories. “My father’s knowledge told us how to live in this world as natural human beings—not to be greedy, not to be foolish, not to be daft or selfish—by stories.”

In this collection, Duncan passes on some of those wonderful folk and fairy tales for children. For more than sixty years, Duncan traveled around Scotland—on foot, then in a horse and cart, and later in an old van—collecting tales that come not only from the Traveling People but also from the crofters, farmers, and shepherds he met along the way.

The Coming of the Unicorn includes tales of cunning foxes and storytelling cats, hunchbacked ogres and beautiful unicorns, helpful broonies and mysterious fairies, rich kings and fearsome warriors, as well as stories about ordinary folks trying to make their way in the world. These stories have been written down to reflect as faithfully as possible Duncan’s unique storytelling voice, full of color, humor, and life.

Ages 8-12


Duncan Williamson was born in 1928 on the shores of Loch Fyne, the seventh of sixteen children.  He left home at the age of fifteen and spent the next forty years traveling, continuing the traditional trades of his people, and collecting tales from travelers, crofters, farmers and shepherds he met along the way.  Duncan died in 2007, leaving behind a worldwide reputation.

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