So, this is yet another weird little story brought to us by the Brothers Grimm that has managed to hang on and come back through every printed version of Grimm's fairytales. It seems to be very popular but there's an element of this story that has me asking a really important question and it doesn't seem that anyone has really answered it, as yet. But first... the story!
#FolkloreThursday: Woman Wept
The purpose of the women's existence also varies, depending on the combination of elements that are driving their legend and the time and place in which the story is being told. Some are looking to rescue or replace the children that have been lost to them. Some appear to herald the deaths of others. And some find themselves stuck in a recursive loop, repeating their deaths over and over again, never resting and affecting nothing.
#FairytaleTuesday: The Sparrow and His Four Children
The sons tell their father where they went on their unplanned journeys and what they ate. After each son answers the father will admonish him, telling him of the dangers he could have faced. Each of these dangers centers around men and boys, which is unsurprising given that the nest was damaged by bad boys simply for the sake of causing trouble.
#FolkloreThursday: Demons in the Night
Before we understood the nature of sleep, and how our brain and body interact while we're sleeping, it was believed that this paralysis was caused by a literal demon, or night hag, sitting on the sleeper's chest. These night hags, or night mares, would ride the sleeper, leaving them terrified and exhausted come morning.
#FolkloreThursday: The Sacrificial Gods
The sacrifice of gods and sacred kings was a sacred rite meant to bring life back to the land and ensure a bountiful harvest in the fall. It was a rite of renewal and hope.
#FolkloreThursday: The Poisoned Dress
As you can imagine, the idea is relatively simple. An item of clothing has been coated with poison on the inside so that when it touches the flesh of the victim, the poison is absorbed into their skin and they die a horrific and painful death. It's not fun but it's apparently pretty popular.
#FairytaleTuesday: The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs
This is not a story that I was super-familiar with but apparently the rest of everyone is VERY familiar with it! It's really long for a Grimm tale, it has multiple tale types, multiple variants in multiple countries, and it MAY have influenced Tolkien. It's like a little hidden folklore bomb!
#FolkloreThursday: What Do You Do When Everyone Wants To Set Fire To Your Workplace?
There are several stories that attempt to explain the loss of the Library of Alexandria. Some stories are very romantic and would have us believe that the library is intact but hidden beneath the sands, waiting for an intrepid librarian/explorer to find it and reveal its knowledge to the modern world.
#FairytaleTuesday: Death and the Goose Boy
In reading the story, it's wildly obvious that this is a Christian allegory. And while I immediately understood the reference to "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," I was a little thrown as to who the Goose Boy actually was. I mean, I may know an absurd amount when it comes to mythology and folklore but the Bible has never been an area of focus for me. So my first thought was that it was about King David, of "David and Goliath" fame.
#FolkloreThursday: The Many Layers of Santa Claus
As I noted at the top, this post in no way covers the entirety of Santa-related mythology. This is a big story and it has more branches than I could ever hope to cover. But I wanted to give y'all an idea of just how expansive and old this legend is.