Long, long ago, when I was a bright-eyed young co-ed at the University of Iowa, I played bagpipes with the Scottish Highlanders and performed various Highland dances with another group in Iowa City. I wasn't a great piper or dancer, but it was a lot fun, and the band got to do a fair bit of traveling.
I was studying English literature at the time, with a heavy class load in Medieval Studies and Folklore. And while at the library doing research for a paper on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, I let myself get distracted, as often happened, by the folklore and mythology section. On a whim, I began to search through the Celtic collections for any folktales that might relate to pipers. To my surprise, there were many, and not just in the Celtic texts. There were bagpipe-related folktales from Germany, and Poland, and several other European countries. I collected all those tales, tucked them away, and after graduation, when I wondered just what the heck I was going to do with an English degree, I assembled all the tales in a single volume.
That book's long been out of print, but this last year, as a way to de-stress from the stress of working on The Box House, I dusted off the old manuscript with the thought of revamping the collection. I ditched the tales I now thought were so-so, found a bunch more worthy of inclusion, and more or less came up with a collection that's more than twice as big as the original. So I present to y'all, in a moment of blatant self-promotion, The Piper Came to Our Town: Bagpipe Folklore, Legends, and Fairy Tales.