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Tales from the Forest

Forests play a role in legends and spirituality all over the world. Mark Tully explores their importance and tells woodland tales inspired variously by awe, affection and divinity.

Why do forests inspire such strong emotions? To many, they are dark, dangerous and wild, to some they are places of refuge and to others they are a source of life. Mark Tully considers these conflicting responses to the forest in a range of musical and literary tales from all over the world.

From the forests of Scandinavia to the jungles of India, and from British woodlands to South American rain forests, Mark collects tales of trees that talk to each other, forest gods and places of ultimate meditation in an investigation of our ancient relationship with the woods.

The readers are Claire Vousden, Francis Cadder and Vincent Ebrahim.

Presenter: Mark Tully
Producer: Frank Stirling

A Unique production for BBC Radio 4.

30 minutes

Music Played

  • Arnold Bax

    The Happy Forest (feat. Royal Scottish National Orchestra)

    • Naxos.
  • Jean Sibelius

    Tapiola (feat. Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan)

    • Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Duke Ellington

    Up and Down, Up and Down (feat. EMI Classics)

  • Shira Kammen

    The Birks of Aberfeldy (feat. Lismor)

  • Caetano Veloso

    I'm Alive

    • Content-OS.
  • Benjamin Britten

    A Midsummer Night's Dream (feat. Alfred Deller, Peter Pears, Etc.; Benjamin Britten: London Symphony Orchestra, Wandsworth School Boys' Choir)

    • London.


Title: Introduction to The Hidden Life of Trees 

Author: Pradip Krishen 

Published by Penguin Random House


Title: The Wind in the Willows 

Author: Kenneth Grahame

Published by Penguin Classics


Title: Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening 

Author: Robert Frost

Published by Henry Holt


Title: Poem XXXI in A Shropshire Lad (On Wenlock Edge) 

Author: A.E. Housman

Published by Dover Thrift Editions


Title: Letter from Bava Mahalia of Jalsindhi village in Jhabua district to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh in 1994

Author: Bava Mahalia 

Published in Frontline Magazine, Volume 16 - Issue 11, May. 22 - June 04, 1999


Title: The Hidden Life of Trees 

Author: Peter Wohlleben 

Published by Greystone