G is for Guts that Give Life—A to Z Blog Challenge

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”?

Guts that Give Life

From Russia-

Some stories are absurd though you are willing to suspend disbelief. “Little Lost Son” would normally take a while to tell so summarizing in 50 words or less is…difficult. There are the chopping of guts involved towards the middle and end of the story. Lost Son is the 12th of 12 brothers born at the same time when transformed from hen’s eggs that an old man and woman gathered. Many rich people became godparents. The boys guard the farm as hay goes missing each night. Lost Son discovers the culprit: a mare and 12 colts. Lost Son gets the mare to give her colts to he and his brothers. Lost Son gets the most pathetic one. Time passes. The boys ask around if there are 12 unwed sisters available. Lost Son’s horse tells the boy to ride a day after his brothers. His horse flies in the sky and discovers witch’s home with 12 daughters. Yes, this was a summary, but the 50-word one will focus on the guts. No, these will not be brides. They are killed instead of Lost Son because he discovered the witch’s plan. He escapes and catches up with his brothers.

50-word-or-less summary:

Brothers tell king that Lost Son can get anything. King wants witch’s 13th daughter as wife. Boy cuts horses’s guts. Bury. Horse revives stronger. Cuts guts again, thrown to sea, leads to healing waters, horse revived! Girl found. Girl falls for boy. King kills boy. She boils boy’s guts. Alive!

Version of Little Lost Son story: https://books.google.com/books?id=g7oVNqn0OoUC&pg=SL15-PA86&dq=300.+little+lost+son&hl=en&ppis=_c&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjH-J_EmdroAhWQZM0KHQ4BCDwQ6AEwAHoECAYQAg#v=onepage&q=lost%20son&f=false

Compare to History:

With all the cutting of guts, I thought of the history of surgical procedures. Anesthesia hasn’t always been around. Alcohol, opium, or mesmerism were used while strong men held the patient down. Cleanliness was not a standard while more protections were made for the doctor than the patient. A skull was found that was dated about 3000 BC with trephining (making hole in skull). The reason was unknown except perhaps to rid the body of spirits.

More on the History: https://www.hartfordstage.org/stagenotes/ether-dome/history-of-surgery

Also From Russia-

Nikolai the Wondermaker is also known as Saint Nicolas. Yes, this is the same Saint Nicolas as Santa Claus. As the priest in this story has many failings, Nikolai teaches a lesson or two in traveling with him.

50-word-or-less summary:

Priest hired laborer. Daughter snuck cream to laborer. Priest suspected and hid cream at church. Laborer trucked priest to think statue/icon ate it. Priest destroyed statue. Ran away to avoid defrocking. Priest joined Nikolai. Witnessed Nikolai cut guts/lesions and heal several times. Priest claimed to be doctor. Cut patient’s guts. Nothing! Nikolai revived patient. Nikolai revealed truth with laborer. Priest must marry daughter to laborer.

Finding The Priest and Nikolai the Wonderworker story: https://books.google.com/books?id=sn0YDQAAQBAJ&pg=PT100&dq=the+priest+and+Nikolai+the+wonderworker&hl=en&ppis=_c&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj0lYL_mNroAhWLKs0KHfu6A1gQ6AEwAHoECAYQAg#v=onepage&q=the%20priest%20and%20Nikolai%20the%20wonderworker&f=false

Compare to History:

People of all ages have claimed to be a doctor whether a teenager in Florida last year to Medicine Man Traveling Shows with “miracle cures.” Those shows were most popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s and started out in England and came out to America. Cocaine drops were hailed as toothache relief…and later inspired Coca-Cola.

More on the History: http://curioushistorian.com/traveling-medicine-shows-of-the-old-west

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 postponed Festival is now scheduled for May 12, 2021 with other plans that can be seen here: https://storycrossroads.org/contingency-plans-covid-19/ and http://www.storycrossroads.org/virtual.

We thank our funders such as National Endowment for the Arts, Utah Division of Arts and Museums, Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, Zoo, Arts & the Parks of Salt Lake County (ZAP), City of Murray, Salt Lake City Arts Council, and many other businesses and individuals. Join us in the support by donating today!

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