Tuesday, October 22, 2013

On Wishing For Children When Magic Is Around (& the Consequences Thereof)

Snow White's mother at the window by Charles Santore
Following on from last night's post on magically assisted conceptions and births (in which we discussed Frozen and Tatterhood) I wanted to share a page (available for viewing in preview mode online) from one of the books I've been coveting wishing I could afford for quite a while now.

This brief section covers Natal Mothers in fairy tales but also discusses the bargains these want-to-be-mothers make with whomever (or whatever) magical personage is about to hear their wishing (and sighing and pleading). Obviously, these women (usually it's a woman in fairy tales who wishes a child but there have ben want-to-be-fathers as well) are just too good a target for mischief by the magically enabled beings and the deal is rarely the sort of bargain the parent expected they'd agreed to. Unfortunately, the burden of the agreement - usually in the form of a curse or weird and/or inconvenient trait (from fast-growing hair to narcolepsy to being half-animal or extremely ugly or extremely stupid) - falls on, not the parent, but the child who is born under the effects (side effects?) of the "gift".* Poor kiddos! Makes for good stories though.

While the section isn't completely relevant to my post yesterday there's still so much interesting information, I thought anyone who was intrigued might like to read it for themselves.

Hans (my) hedgehog & his mother by Jessica Boehman
The book this excerpt is from is The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales, edited by Donald Haase. There are currently three volumes, each of which sells for over $100. The e-book volume of 3 is around $300 (!!!! choke !!!!) and I'll be wanting the paperback/hardcover... O.o

One of the days I'll win the lottery find a way to get myself a copy of the volumes and finally feel like I'm better on the way to having a decent tale type research library.... (Just as soon as I get my own Aarne-Thompson copy, complete with supplementals for the folkloric sections of the world that were kind of skipped over as well...  And NO! I did NOT say I would give up my first born for these! Just to be absolutely clear to any mischievously magical onlookers..!)

* I should note here, that sometimes that curse is the simplest but worst ever in that the mother doesn't get to be with her child at all, and, like Snow White, the offspring is left motherless which is a very hard curse to rise above indeed.

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