(7/21/00 5:30:28 pm)
Hi! I have been hired to tell stories as part of a non-traditional wedding ceremony this fall. I have been doing a lot of reading and researching for traditional tales that have something to say to a modern bride and groom. I have had some success: the Russian tale of "The Lute Player", the many versions of "Clever Manka" or "The Inn-keeper's Daughter", the Indian story of "Princess Sivatra", as well as quite a few more. But as searching for such tales is a delightful but rather random and circuitous journey, I'd thought I'd see if anyone else had some immediate ideas of favorite traditional tales dealing with marriage in a positive fashion beyond the "happy ever after" and in a manner that supports both genders. If you know of an actual source (book and/or country of origin), beyond the title or plot of the story, all the better. Thanks!
(7/22/00 4:28:56 am)
|Re: Wedding Tales|
Boy have you asked the wrong question of me! (j/k- I love researching topics!)
Here are some I've loved:
The True Bride- Grimms' Fairy Tales
Sapsorrow- not sure if this is traditional or one Jim Henson made up, but here's a quick description:
Upon fleeing her kingdom to escape an arranged marriage, the lovely Princess Sapsorrow toils in the kitchen of a faraway palace, disguised as an ugly hag. Her masquerade is no ball, as Sapsorrow has fallen in love with a Prince, who sees her only as a peasant!
Director: Steve Barron
King Thrushbeard- Grimms' again, I believe:
Polar Bear King- Norse fairytale- was made into a movie
Snow White and Rose Red-Grimms's yet again
Bearskin or Donkeyskin- can't remember- man isn't allowed to cut nails for 7 years or hair or shave-marries ayoung girl who loves him as he is
I can tell you more about these and others later, if you like, but I have to go out for dim sum and the Gardner Museum with my mom and sister- maybe I can get some ideas from them!
(7/22/00 9:01:06 am)
Let's see my few favorites"
"East of the Sun, West of the Moon" (there's a beautful Mayer version)
"Vassilisa the Wise" (from the Russian Afanas've collection)
"Molly Whuppie" (there is a nice picture book version by Walter de la Mare, I think)
"The Black Horse" (a celtic story, also done Marianna Meyer in a picture book form.)
I need a bit of time to think but you might also try the tales that involve married couples--usually husbands who get into tight spots, and their clever wives think of a way out for them--
I know there is a Finn MaCool (or maybe its Cuchulain facing the giant Finn MaCool) and the wife is something of a trickster, helping her husband to outwit the giant foe.
There is a fabulous South African tale about a husband who confronts baboons eating his corn and suggests to them, oh if they were only men, how they might share the corn. To which the baboon asks, (the existential question) "what is a man?" and the husband, "a boy who has been circumcised." The husband, tells the baboon that he, himsilf has not yet been circumcised, and that perhaps they should both prepare for the event and then help each other out. The baboon agrees and goes into seclusion--for the whole season the corn is unmolested. When the baboon comes out of seclusion he meets the husband and they agree, the baboon will be circumcised first, and then the baboon will circumcise the husband and they will be men together. The baboon goes first, amid a great deal of gnashing of teeth to say the least, then retires to heal. And then of course it's the man's turn. So the husband goes to his wife and tells her he's in a bit of spot. There's a baboon planning to circumcise him, unless she can think of something. So she comes up with a plan--she's dressed like her husband, smokes his pipe, wears his hat, talks with a low voice. She keeps her shirt on to hide her breasts. And when the baboon has her lie down, and removes her pants--he is so appalled by what he sees--"who has done this terrible thing to you?" he askes the wife. "You've been cut off, mutilated, you poor man." The baboon in a moment of sympathy and generosity, tells the man/wife to go home and the baboons will never bother their fields again--god knows the man has paid too much already!
maybe it won't quite work for a wedding--but it had me howling the first time I heard it.
(7/22/00 9:01:31 pm)
|Re: Wedding Tales|
There's also a Native American story called, I think, "the mouse couple" or something along those lines. Its very sweet and there's at least one picture book of the story (I think the publisher decided to have the one story come in various different versions with a different style of pictures in each). Also along the lines of Native American stories is "the rough-faced girl"
(8/5/00 7:23:43 am)
|Re: Wedding Tales|
I just remembered one more-
The Girl Who Married the Moon
Well, I'm off to a wedding myself! I'll keep thinking!
Hoping to catch the bouquet,
(8/9/00 5:43:58 pm)
Thank you for all of your wonderful
suggestions. I had been concentrating much of my research on stories
of already married couples and the various lessons to be learned
there. It was good to be reminded as well of the stories in which
marriage, though the end result (the happy ending) of the story
is also essentially viewing marriage as transformation. Your suggestions
helped round out my research nicely.
Thought you might enjoy a brief review of a few of my favorites
of the stories I found:
"Tongue Meat" (Swahili)
A sultan discovers that the secret to a happy marriage is "meat
of the tongue", in others words, stories and conversation
"The Weight Before the Door" (Arabia)
A young man is set a test to find out if the bride he is about
to marry is the right one. He must lift a weight in front of the
door where she sits. Two times he tries this and fails. The third
prospective bride sees him struggling and says if this man is
to be my husband, surely I must help him. They remove the weight
and it is clear as they work together that they are meant to be
"The Lute Player" (Russia)
A king and queen of middle years are happy together. But when
the king grows restless and is captured by an evil king, the queen
disobeys his message to sell everything and goes in disguise as
a lute player to rescue him.
First man and woman quarrel. To stop the woman's angry departure,
a spirit creates strawberries so that the man might catch up.
Discovering the first strawberries together, they are reunited
Well, anyway, there's just a few. Thanks again for all the help