(3/5/01 8:19:14 pm)
|fairy tale motifs|
i was wondering which fairy tales contain these following motifs: Maiden without hands, The wonder-child, and The beautiful and the ugly twin.
(3/6/01 4:39:03 am)
The Girl Without Hands, The Maid Without Hands, and The Armless Maiden, are all names of a folktale and its variants. You can find it in various collections:
"Folktales of France" (ed. Genevieve Massignon)--Woman with her hands cut off
"Folktales of Japan" (ed K. Seki) Girl Without Arms
Hispanic Review: Vol x, 1942, p 314, The Girl Without Hands: Latin Amerian Variants
"Folktales Told around the World" (ed. Richard Dorson) The Falcons Daughter (a truly grisely version)
"Folktales of the Magyars" (ed W. Henry Jones,) The Girl Without Hands
"A Thousand Nights and A Night, Vol 3", The Tale of the woman whose Hands were Cut off for giving Alms to the poor
"Dictionary of British Folktale" (ed. Katherine Briggs) "The Cruel Stepmother"
Lastly, have a look at Terri Windlings wonderful anthology, "The Armless Maiden,And ptjher Tales for Tales of Childhood's Survivors". I worte a versionof the Armless Maiden myself, and there are numerous other wonderful tales.
As to the twin tales you mention I'm drawing a blank. Usually in Twin tales the trick works because they are identical, though one twin is often more fantastic than the other--more spiritually powerful and together they form a union between hero and god. So I am confused by this one.
"The Wonder Child" --it would help to have more information here--there are kinds of wonder children, from fantastic hero births, to fantastic children born out of snow or trees.
(3/6/01 5:33:08 am)
good lord, I am a disaster in the morning typing. That enigmatic word in the title of Terri Windling's Armless Maiden anthology should be "Other". Sorry Terri!
one other place you might find interesting for ideas is "The Women who Run With Wolves: Myths and Stories of Women Archetypes" by Clarissa Punkola Estes. It's much more of a feminist inspirational sort of book, but she ran a number of women's workshops based around the concept of finding wholeness and used the Armless Maiden narratives as a starting point. I think she talks about it in this book--it's been a while since I've read it!
(3/6/01 6:16:45 am)
There is also Getrud Meuller Nelson's look at the Armless Maiden in Here All Dwell Free: STories to Heal the Wounded Feminine. She looks at this tale and the one of Briar Rose in great detail. I don't necessarily agree with her but it makes an interesting read. Gail
(3/6/01 7:12:48 am)
|Re: fairy tale motifs|
As for the twin motif,
I can't come up with many twin fairy tales, specifically. In the stories I am familiar with, they are more often sisters or brothers, with no mention of twins. Snow White and Rose Red, for example, is a story of two girls very different from each other - "like night and day" - but neither are ugly, nor evil. Just different.
The ballad "Cruel Sister" comes to mind. In this, again, the two girls are "light and dark", with the fairer, younger of the two getting all the love and attention, while the older grows bitter. I don't think they were twins.
In the Mabinogion, two of Llyr's children are twins: and though identical, embody the good twin/bad twin motif. Nissyen was the good, the peacemaker - passive to a fault; and Evnissyen was angry, destructive and cruel.
Actually, I can't think of much that would be of help to you.
My father once told me (and my father had stories coming out the
wahoo which he treated as fact; it's a wonder I've made it this
far in life. that twins are two halves of the same person. That
in the womb one person was torn to two, and that each twin grew
up with half a personality. Good, bad; nice, cruel; outgoing, shy.
charlotte (who supposes that's what happens when four year olds listen to too much John Renbourn, and want to know what's going on in the stories)
(3/6/01 1:41:07 pm)
Weren't Tattercoat and her sister twins?
(3/6/01 9:02:50 pm)
Perhaps you are thinking of a different story--Tattercoats is an only child--like donkeyskin and sapsorrow and katie woodencloak (all sisters in that they share the same basic story)
(3/7/01 5:38:39 am)
Oh dear, you're probably right, Midori. I was thinking of the tale I mentioned on the Sisters thread (which, mysteriously, I now cannot locate on the board - probably my half-asleepness' fault) about the mother who is told to eat a flower in order to have a baby, but eats the whole plant and gives birth to two, one of whom is a witchy child who rides around on a donkey and has to save her sister several times. Wow, I am the Queen of Run-On Sentences this morning.
At any rate, that's the story, if not the correct name. Tatterhood? Maybe? Eeek. No brain before 9 am.
(3/7/01 6:51:55 am)
The Tatterhood I am familiar with rides about on a donkey and smacks
people around with a wooden spoon. I don't remember a sister, but
then, I don't remember many of the details...
(3/7/01 11:50:59 am)
|Back to that Maiden with no hands|
Also consider Shakespear's "Titus Andronicus," whose daughter is raped by the sons of the "barbarian" queen and has her hands cut off and tongue cut out to keep her from revealing their identities. With her close relationship to her father, there's something very similar to some armless maiden motifs in fairy tale, it seems to me. It's not the same as his insisting he has to cut off her hands to save himself from the devil, but she does lose her hands in the play because of him.