O is for Omnipotent Ointment—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”?

Omnipotent Ointment

From Zimbabwe-

Princess Lebou is thrown into a strange situation. She was forced into a marriage with a prince…who is an egg. Talk about “scrambling” for a cure.

50-word-or-less summary:

King promised dying wife to care for egg as son. When egg/prince older, king created engagement. Princess lived in betrothed’s village and no one said prince was egg. When discovered, snuck home and asked advice. Father taught her charm and gave ointment. Egg/prince became human!

Find the Story: https://www.amazon.com/Starlight-Princess-Other-Stories/dp/0789426323

Compare to History:

That father had a special ointment, and he could have created a patent. Or he could have considered it “over-the-counter” as the father was not a doctor. Patent medicines (pre-packaged medicines) surged in the 1700s in England and then boosted in popularity in the American colonies. One patent was even named “Balm of America.”

More on the History: https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/object-groups/balm-of-america-patent-medicine-collection/history

From Norway-

This story has inspired animated features and movies. A youngest sister not only needs to heal her mother, but she also needs to revive her two sisters that have been turned to stone.

50-word-or-less summary:

Sick mother scared hen. Girls sought hen. Fell in troll’s lair. Troll proposed. First/second girls refused. Girls turned to stone. Youngest sister agreed to be troll’s sweetheart. Hid statues in bag. Asked troll to take “food” to mother. Troll does. Girl takes troll’s ointment. Escaped! Revived sisters, healed mother.

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:

Ancient medicine have used many strange techniques including can-do-anything-ointment such as animal dung…and human waste. The Egyptians valued the donkey, gazelle, dog, and fly dung. They all could keep away bad spirits. Though, how would you find fly dung exactly?

More on the History: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.history.com/.amp/news/7-unusual-ancient-medical-techniques

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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