We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Hope & Healing…folktales around the world that beat back viruses. Each post highlights one or more balms to soothe and cure our struggles of today with oral tradition and lore of the past. At times, a post will make a connection to history.
You can guess what inspired this theme. Yes, the COVID-19. What better time to delve into tales where things can and do turn out “happily ever after”?
Apple of Alteration-
From the Norse-
Apples are symbols for many things around the world – goodness to fertility to sin. One of my favorite stories featuring this fruit would be the apples of youth and healing protected by the Norse goddess Idun.
Giant disguised as eagle to trick gods by not allowing meat to cook unless they promised to get healing apples from Idun. Loki told Idun that her apples were not as powerful as she thought. Kidnapped! Gods age without Idun/apples. Loki redeemed when saves her. Gods regain health.
Version of Idun and the Apples story: https://norse-mythology.org/tales/the-kidnapping-of-idun/
Compare to History:
The Vikings certainly have been known to plunder, and, of course, kidnapping. Many Viking men practiced polygamy to assert status. As a result, there were always a shortage of single women. This made the men always on edge and prone to violent behavior.
Now the hoarding of toilet paper seems harmless compared to what was done around the times of the Vikings of 750 to 1050 AD. Take comfort in the civility of today.
More on the History: https://www.sciencealert.com/vikings-might-have-raided-because-there-was-a-shortage-of-single-women
Rather than pulling from the Viking lore, this story focuses on a boy who wants to impress a princess. He discovers that apples-or at least a particular one-can cause horns to appear on one’s head or extend one’s nose. You could say that he found a way for this apple to cure him emotionally from a princess who rejected his marriage proposal. Yet, a different apple brought healing to the harm done by the first one.
Boy inherited bottomless purse, wishing hat, and horn that created soldiers. Proposed to princess. She stole magic objects. Ran away! Boy ate apple. Horns! Long nose! Found another apple that removed/restored. Found princess and offered first apple. Gave second apple once she returned magic items.
Finding the Story: Hodne, Ørnulf. The Types of the Norwegian Folktale. Bergen: Universitetsforlaget, 1984. https://www.amazon.com/Types-Norwegian-Folktale-Serie-B-Skrifter/dp/8200068498/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?keywords=Hodne%2C+%C3%98rnulf.+The+Types+of+the+Norwegian+Folktale.+Bergen%3A+Universitetsforlaget%2C+1984.&qid=1585810014&sr=8-1-fkmr0
Compare to History:
If you think about the story where the apples could bring harm or healing, think of how the doctor’s white coat can either bring the patient peace of mind or anxiety. However, back in the 1800s, doctors tended to wear black as the medicinal practice was sometimes questionable and a visit would represent a formal affair and often death. You can find paintings depicting doctors during that time period dressed in black. By the end of the 19th century, the practice of medicine was more scientific–and one could say “pure” and sense of cleanliness–and thus the change to white coats. Some of this came from Roman influence with the white togas. Today, Norwegian doctors wear white coats like their Finnish and Swedish counterparts. Though neighboring doctors in England and Denmark still wear the black coats.
Interestingly, the young tend to prefer doctors in black while older people feel more confident with doctors in white coats. So keep that in mind when you have a crying baby!
More on the History: https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/doctors-white-coat-historical-perspective/2007-04
Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.
While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings in process of being adapted due to COVID-19.
Our 2020 Festival has been transformed into Story Crossroads Spectacular, a virtual experience. See here: http://www.storycrossroads.org/spectacular on May 13, 2020 starting at 9am MDT with events all day.
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5 thoughts on “A is for Apples of Alteration–A to Z Blog Challenge”
Apples, such a versatile fruit! From Idun’s to the boy with the shape changing apples. Best of luck with the AtoZ
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Really really loved this post full of history and myths.
Can’t wait to read more 🙂
The Old Shelter – Living the Twenties
I love this theme 🙂 And I love the Norwegian tale, it’s one of my favorite tale types. There is a pretty awesome Hungarian Roman version that I like to tell. 🙂
Happy A to Z!
Great post! Very interesting – looking forward to reading more of your posts.
Do you typically enjoy folktales? I always find folktales to be fascinating!