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”?
The power of healing blindness is contained—of all minerals—jade. This lovely green ornamental mineral is highly featured in Chinese art as well as surrounding countries. Jade symbolizes purity or purification. Thus, One must wonder if it’s the container and not the ointment inside that makes all the difference in the following folktale known simply as “The Jade Bottle.”
Shi Long shares bread with old man-really god of mountain. God rewards youth with jade bottle/healing ointment. Heal girl who is blind? Marry? Boy heals but father breaks promise to allow marriage. Youth run! Pursued! Youth marry. Father burns them. Old man/god takes jade bottle. Revived! Happy!
Find Version in the “Folktales of Love from China”: https://books.google.com/books?id=EAvADgAAQBAJ&pg=PA46&lpg=PA46&dq=cure+blindness+folktale&source=bl&ots=ohlOgB5S_L&sig=ACfU3U1ZdPDNWgjAOmVW3KbS7yPrvSE7-w&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjJo57uzsjoAhUIK80KHWnBCbAQ6AEwDXoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=cure%20blindness%20folktale&f=false
Compare to History:
There have been many ancient Chinese Civil Wars, and crazy enough, have affected eyesight for generations and centuries. Soldiers for these wars were recruited from the strongest man with great eyesight. Those who were weaker and could not see so good were left at home. Soldiers died. The man left behind and families and their children inherited their bad eyes. Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, can sometimes be as high as 90% in east Asia compared to only 12% of Americans and 23% of Australians.
While the folktale does not explain how the girl became blind, I now wonder if it could be nearsightedness.
More on History: http://newoptixoptometry.com/why-do-asians-have-bad-eyesight/
Brothers can be rough with each other. My Dad is a twin, and he got in plenty of trouble with him. Yet, the extreme found in this story called “The Two Travelers.”
Brothers named Truth and Untrue fought while traveling. Ow! Untrue blinded True. Blinded brother spent night in tree (safety from wild animals). He overheard animals talking and learned the king was going blind and his daughter was going deaf. Lime tree’s dew heals blindness. Crumb cures deafness. True heals all.
Version of Story: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0613.html#norway
Compare to History:
Scandinavians, which of course includes Norwegians, had a tradition during the Viking times of planting sacred trees. This was likely to reflect the world tree, Yggdrasil, that had roots connecting to the underworld, the land of the giants, and home of the gods.
More on History: https://norwegianjournaloffriluftsliv.com/doc/192010.pdf as well as https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/linden-tea#section10
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 postponed Festival is now scheduled for May 12, 2021 with other virtual plans that can be seen here: https://storycrossroads.org/contingency-plans-covid-19/.
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