Dancing with Trees: Eco-tales of the British Isles, by Allison Galbraith and Alette J Willis. History Press, 2017

A collection of retold folk tales from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales that invite you to reconnect to the natural world around you.  This collection builds on centuries of wisdom from  ancient Celtic myths to twentieth century Scottish Traveller tales, all of which call on us today to live in harmony with the world around us.


Our world is in desperate need of stories that reconnect us to each other and to the plant, animal and mineral others we dwell alongside.  My passion is for bringing the stories of science together with the stories of imagination in service to a better, more livable world for us all.

On World Storytelling Day 2019, we launched our pilot Google Earth Tour of the places in Scotland associated with the stories in our book.  You can access the Google Earth Tour here: Tour Builder

Helpful hints: you’ll need to use Google Chrome to access Google Earth and you’ll need to actually choose to ‘Open in Earth’ from the drop-down menu top right corner.

Fairy Dell Castlebank Park, Lanark. Sculpture by Iain Chalmers

ALETTE J WILLIS is Storyteller in Residence to the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.  As part of this role, I am trying to find traditional tales for as many residents of the Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park as I possibly can.  You can find these stories under Animal Stories.  If you can contribute a story, please use the Contact form.

I am also a fiction writer and a leader of fiction writing workshops.  My first novel for children, How to Make a Golem (and Terrify People), was published by Floris Books in 2011.  It is set in Edinburgh and explores the theme of how fear holds us back from sharing our gifts with the World.  One of the chapters is set in Edinburgh zoo.  A couple of other chapters are set at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, where I also do storytelling as one of the Talking Trees.

How to Make a Golem builds on my academic research, which explores how the stories each of us tells about ourselves and that others tell about us both limit our possibilities for living and being and have the potential to change our lives and the lives of those we share this world with.  I’m a keen advocate for using creative writing, storytelling and allied skills and techniques in sharing academic research.  I teach on this through my role as lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and more broadly through workshops for the Beltane Public Engagement Network and bespoke sessions for research groups.

ALLISON GALBRAITH is a performer, educator and folklorist who has been storytelling professionally since 1992. She holds a Masters degree in Scottish Folklore from Glasgow University. Her work for such organisations as, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Wildlife Trusts, Forest Schools, Forestry Commission and the Woodlands Trust, combines environmentalism, outdoor education, storytelling and much laughter.