‘The Stone Axe from Way Back’: A Mutable Magical Object in Folklore and Fiction
Objects of ‘magic’ and folklore do not always begin their lives as such. Often, they are natural objects or mundane artefacts, crafted for utilitarian purposes, which become objects of magic through processes of re-utilization and redefinition. This is a process poignantly explored by fantasy writer Alan Garner in many of his works, but captured most overtly in his 1973 novel Red Shift. This article offers a commentary on this novel, exploring how Garner uses fiction and folklore to illustrate the mutability and multiple authorship of the magical object.