Ronel Janse van Vuuren The Folklore of “Once…”

Ronel Janse van Vuuren The Folklore of Once…

The Folklore of “Once…”

In the winter months, I am sure that the Cailleach causes the freezing winds that howl over the landscape. Small season fae sing life back into the earth in spring, painting flowers and taking care of the animals.

Well, at least in my stories.

According to folklore, the Cailleach takes care of the animals during all seasons in different forms even when she’s causing winter to rule in the months it should. I took this, along with the folklore of flower and animal faeries, to write a few short pieces about the changing of the seasons in the mortal realm.

I wanted to share the secrets of Faerie and how it changed.

The Galno play a large role in the changes that occur in Faerie. I created them from different folklore elements and history. To learn more about this warrior race, check out this post about them.

Faerie is the realm of the fae. The secrets of how it changed, why it changed and who the rulers truly are feature in this collection. I used some of the folklore about their realm, but I’ve created my own world from it. For more on Faerie, check out this post I wrote about it.

According to folklore, the fae have to pay a tithe to hell every seven years for their magic and to stay on earth. I changed this a little, making the fae living in the mortal realm pay a tithe to either the Dark Court or the Bright Court for protection and magic every seventh year on the autumnal equinox. I turned it into a complete story in this collection, explaining why it has to be so. “Tithe for the Autumn Flowers” won a competition in its Afrikaans edition before I completed this short story collection.

There are so many folklore creatures in this collection, I’m only going to mention those that play a big role.

The cù sìth (faery dogs) are green dogs the size of cows in folklore, but I changed them into Rottweilers because I know so much about the breed and I base most of my faery dog characters on my own dogs. Tony features in one of the stories in “Once…”.

The domovoi and brownies are house servants in their respective folklore. I kept as close to their origins as possible – like the domovoi turning nasty when neglected and starving.

A creature that seemed to pop up in a lot of the stories, is the caìt sìth (faery cat). It is a sly creature that loves havoc. There’s not much in folklore about it, so I created the race around what is known about all cats in folklore.

My favourite folklore creatures in this collection are the pixies. They are so tiny – the size of a human thumb – yet they are powerful. They play an important role in “The Ashiest Princess”.

I had a bit of fun with werewolves and witches in this collection, and even had a dragon go on a cruise. These stories probably don’t really stick to the original folklore, but they were fun to write.

Legends and folktales inspired a few stories.

I played around with Arthurian legends, trying to show another side to the story. I re-used the main character in one of the stories in “The Ashiest Princess”, showing a bit more about her and the things she had to do to survive.

I took a couple of liberties with the fairy tale retellings – changing characters, changing storylines, changing endings. I introduce faeries and werehyenas (keeping to the curse of the werehyena) and tied things to the Labyrinth I’ve created that runs beneath the earth.

I can go on and on about the folklore, myths and legends I used in this collection, but that will take a very long time. Feel free to check out the links to the folklore posts on my blog – there I share everything about the creatures and places.


Thanks for having me, Juneta.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren The Folklore of Once…


Damsels in distress, curses, echoes of faery tales and tragic love affairs swirl together in sixteen stories found in a dragon’s lair by a curious half-fae.

Unexpected changes to reality causes more than one damsel to turn into a strong, independent woman who takes charge of her own life.

A collection of short stories about Faerie and the fae that live in the human realm. A few of the stories had won competitions and all of them had enchanted readers.

Learn their secrets and enter the realm of the fae…


Mortals cannot perceive the veil unless they are invited to – or extremely gifted. For centuries, Man and Fae have been kept apart, for nothing good ever comes from them mixing. The collection of The Adventures of Saphira the Faery Dog is proof of this.

Still, there are magical creatures that side neither with Man nor Fae.

Dragons are such creatures. They hold the knowledge of both worlds. Some even collect it in the written word, keeping it safe in their lairs.

An inquisitive half-fae once broke into the lair of a dragon known to hoard books. The knowledge she found was too much to keep to herself…

Here are a few tales, myths and legends from Faerie. Some may sound remarkably similar to legends held by mortals, while others are…  well… as otherworldly as the fae themselves.

ISBN EPUB: 978-0-6399476-2-4

ISBN Paperback: 978-0-6399476-3-1

My Books Page 

Publication date: 23 May 2018

Available on most online retailers.

Also available in Afrikaans as “Eens…”.

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Ronel Janse van Vuuren The Folklore of Once… Ronel Janse van Vuuren is the author of New Adult, Young Adult and children’s fiction filled with mythology and folklore. Her dark fantasy stories can be read for free on Wattpad and on her blog Ronel the Mythmaker. She won Fiction Writer of the Year 2016 for her Afrikaans stories on INK: Skryf in Afrikaans. Her published works can be viewed on Goodreads.


Ronel can be found tweeting about writing and other things that interest her, arguing with her characters, researching folklore for her newest story or playing with her Rottweilers when she’s not actually writing.

All of her books are available for purchase on Amazon.


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