M is for Mother Magic & Motivation—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”?

Mother Magic & Motivation

From France-

Many of us go to great lengths to protect our mothers. Us staying at home can prove that today. Though, this story requires a boy to do the opposite. As for the fairy’s name, it means beneficent or bounteous. The “bien” by itself means “good.” The ending is open-ended on purpose. I am an optimist.

50-word-or-less summary:

Widow and 7-year-old son happy. Then sickness! Too poor for doctor. Son cared for mother. Cried out to Fairy Bienfaisante to save her. Fairy declared only the boy can save her. Promised anything! Need plant of life at top of mountain. Son begged Fairy to care for mother while away.

Version of Story: https://www.worldoftales.com/European_folktales/French_folktale_11.html

Compare to History:

More medical students are being recruited for COVID-19. Josie Fisher completed four years of medical school and even her retired mother, Nan Cochran, is considering going back in the field. Nan cried when she realized her daughter would face the frontlines of this pandemic. Josie admitted this is “an unprecedented moment in at least 100 years of history.” Meanwhile, the mother has not practiced medicine for 20 years and sought retraining. Both are willing to serve…together.

More on the History: https://www.npr.org/2020/04/12/832685160/a-mother-prepares-her-daughter-for-working-in-medicine-amid-coronavirus-pandemic

From Korea-

There are two sons though one is completely dedicated to having his mother recover from sickness. Interestingly, it is not the son who is a doctor.

50-word-or-less summary:

Bian Que was most famous doctor. Attempted to cure mother. Nothing. Brother carried mother to find cure faraway. Rested. Found skull with water and decaying worms. Gave to mother to drink. Healed! Bian Que said it was “Two Dragon Water Inside Thousand-Year Skull.” Knew cure, unwilling. Hurrah to brother.

Finding the Story: http://folkency.nfm.go.kr/en/topic/detail/5902

Compare to History:

A study from 2002 looked at the doctor-parent-child relationship. The adults, and especially the doctor, were hesitant to have the child participate in any way. The doctor attempted to involve the child in the beginning though hardly acknowledged the child at the end. Despite the younger brother being an adult in the folktale, Bian Que appeared to do this same thing. Ah, the innocence and faith of a child/younger brother!

More on the History: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12220745/

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.

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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