P is for Purging the Physique—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”?

Purging the Physique

From Brothers Grimm-

This story feels more like science fiction than a folktale. Perhaps an edge of Frankenstein. Three army doctors, after experimenting, realize they can remove and put back particular body parts. This is an extreme purge. They were proud and never turned down a challenge. The ending is questionable as they became rich but yearned for how it was before. So happy ending? No, but they still were healed to a degree.

50-word-or-less summary:

Three doctors determined to impress innkeeper. They boasted they could remove eye, hand, and gut/heart and return the next day. Girl placed parts in cupboard. Cat discovered parts. Girl-afraid-replaced with cat’s eye, thief’s hand, and hog’s gut/heart. Doctors used salve. Took on abilities of cat, thief, and hog.

Version of Story: https://www.longlongtimeago.com/once-upon-a-time/fairytales/grimms-fairytales/the-three-army-surgeons-die-drei-feldscherer/

Compare to History:

The first known prosthesis was of a big toe for an Egyptian noblewoman between 950-710 B.C.E. The prosthesis throughout time had been “as much medical device as it is an emotional comfort.” As sandals were worn, the noblewoman needed her toe to feel like all was well.

More on the History: http://unyq.com/the-history-of-prosthetics/

From Norway-

This type of purging is more of an exorcism…kind-of. The imagination can be powerful enough to arise from certain death.

50-word-or-less summary:

Shoemaker fetched parson to pray over dying wife. Parson confused bit of shoemaker’s leather for wafer and a cup of powder for a cup of wine. Crazy circumstances and powder exploded. Wife sat up from explosion. Saw figures in smoke she thought were demons. Scared/purged the sickness from her!

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:

We all have probably experienced sensory perceptions and link it to hallucinations. Psychologist Philip Corlett and collaborator Albert Powers agreed that having hallucinations—of varying degrees of hearing voices to sensing a text before it comes—was something that was normal to experience rather than clinical.

More on the History: https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/571819/

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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