O is for Obnoxious Ogre

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 Dual Natures in Folktales Around the World – opposites, contradictions & paradoxes.


From Kikuyu tribe, also called Gikuyu or Agikuyu tribe from Kenya

The Kikuyu usually had more than one wife. Each wife had their own hut. Several huts would be considered the family homestead. Several families then turn into a community called a mbari to number as many as an hundred or more people. Bigger than that? You eventually get nine clans with groups or subclans within that gathering.

As this story involves a man and his wife, it is interesting that no other wives are mentioned. Polygamy is still common in Kenya. In fact, the legislature passed a bill on the legality of marrying multiple wives in March 2014.

The ogre offers “leftovers” and then takes the food back again. Common foods of this tribe include: millet, peas, beans, sorghum, sweet potatoes, coffee, and corn.

What is so fascinating? What dualities have surfaced?

The Father-to-be, knowing that is wife is pregnant, is a confusing character. He does come swiftly at the end when Dove flies a message to him about the Ogre. Yes, he does take a spear and take care of that Ogre. But where was this devotion at the beginning?

The Ogre loved making it appear that he was offering food to the Woman though never intended to give that food. He called the food “leftovers” so it did not sound as appealing. Though, the Woman starving and withering due to the constant abuse, would accept any kind of food – leftovers or fresh. Any kind of tease, harmful or harmless, is a type of duality.

50-word-or-less summary:

Father-to-be away from Pregnant Wife. Ogre delivers baby. Man does not know that his Wife is being harassed by Ogre who offers food daily only to take away from her in a tease. Wife withers. Dove witnesses. Flies to father. Returns. Hides. Ogre does routine. Wife brave. Father spears Ogre.

Finding the Story: 

Story of “The Woman and the Ogre” – found here

Story found in “The Red Crimson Fairy Book” and can see illustration – found here

YouTube video animation of the story – found here

Article about the Kikuyu tribe and Polygamy today – found here

Please share thoughts in the comments. While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings. See quick list of programs here.

As for our past A to Z Challenges…

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has been “dual” in our offerings of our hybrid summit & festival on May 9-12, 2022 – yes, in-person and virtual – and would be honored for you to join us. Explore the schedule and register here: http://www.storycrossroads.org/Festival

Thanks to funding from National Endowment for the Arts; National Endowment for the Humanities; Western States Arts Federation; Utah Division of Arts and Museums/Utah Legislature; Utah Humanities; Youth, Educators, Storytellers (YES); City of Murray; Zoo, Arts & Parks (ZAP) of Salt Lake County; Salt Lake City Arts Council; Clever Octopus; High Desert Brain Trust; and people like you.

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