U is for Unusual & Useful—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”?

Unusual & Useful-

From Australia (Aboriginal)-

Many Aboriginal names are long and hard to pronounce like the man Byamee and his two wives, Birrahgnooloo and Cunnunbeillee. He searched for honey while his wives go to bathe but come upon the kurreahs, dragon-like creatures that dwell in lakes.

50-word-or-less summary:

Husband placed feather on bee to follow to hive/honey. Two wives bathed at spring. Kurreahs/dragons swallowed them. Kurreahs took underground waterway to Narran River. Dried up spring. Husband searched for wives. Speared kurreahs. Recovered wives. Placed on flying ant hills. Ant bites revived/healed wives. Holes from kurreahs formed Nassan Lake.

Finding the Story: https://www.worldoftales.com/Australian_folktales/Australian_folktale_4.html

Compare to History:

What appears to be strange or “unusual” could be the trick to ease your pains and sores. Fifteen interesting remedies could range from covering yourself in crystals (vibrational energy) to improve memory to eating local honey within 25 miles from your home to potentially swallow pollens to fight allergies. Perhaps that husband wanted to fight allergies and had to fight dragons instead. These ideas have been around for over a century…sometimes longer.

More on the History: https://www.thehealthy.com/home-remedies/15-harmless-folk-remedies-worth-a-try/

From Ireland-

The most famous hunchback would be the hunchback of Notre Dame thanks to Victor Hugo. Yet, Lusmore of Knockgrafton feels like the second most famous one to me. Now Jack Madden also was a hunchback and had the opposite experience of Lusmore. So be kind and useful for healing to come.

50-word-or-less summary:

Lusmore suffered from weight of hump on back. Still kind. One day, has to rest due to hump. Near fairies singing. Added to song. Fairies loved it! Lusmore fetched underground. Took hump! Story spread. Jack Madden-hunchback-attempted same feat. Jack-grump. Fairies felt he spoiled tune. Gained Lusmore’s hump.

Finding the Story: https://folkli.com/lusmore-the-hunchback-local-legend-of-knockgrafton

Compare to History:

In January 2004, a book was published entitled “The Strange Case of the Walking Corpse: a chronicle of medical mysteries, curious remedies, and bizarre but true healing folklore” by Nancy Butcher. Frog eggs were used in the past to heal and even urine. Though, a raw potato can relieve burns while bananas cure warts.

More on the History: https://www.amazon.com/Strange-Case-Walking-Corpse-Chronicle/dp/1583331603

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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