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!

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!

L is for Loving Laughter—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”?

Loving Laughter

From Norway-

There really is the phrase “clergyman’s throat” and I am positive it came from this story. Now you will have to look it up.

50-word-or-less summary:

Clergyman taught student certain healing through magic. Clergyman has sore throat. Dying!Despite his wisdom, he cannot save himself. Student attempted magical means and looked like fool. Clergyman laughed and fishbone dislodged. Saved by laughter!

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:

“Laughing gas” could be considered a type of magic. Nitrous oxide was discovered in 1772 by Joseph Priestly though wasn’t used for anaesthesia until 1844. Yet, we need to thank Stephen Hales in the early 1700s to create some kind of device to even contain the future “laughing gas.”

More on the History: https://edu.rsc.org/feature/nitrous-oxide-are-you-having-a-laugh/2020202.article

From England-

This story is a Jack tale—as in “the” Jack and the beanstalk—and his stories have travelled to America. There are tons of versions and variants of this one.

50-word-or-less summary:

Mother sent Jack to get job. At end of day, Jack was paid. Each time was random item from butter to ham to kitten. Jack carried items back wrong. Always promised to remember previous way to future way…led to carrying donkey. Princess cannot laugh/depressed. Sees Jack/donkey. Laughed! Cured!

Finding the Story: https://books.google.com/books?id=hI8C15_nFNIC&pg=PA33&lpg=PA33&dq=jack+laughing+princess&source=bl&ots=N29_8yG7hT&sig=ACfU3U0Aoi3MipwPYstA8kjCRIzevrVuYA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwirtOL_3unoAhXPGM0KHX6zBlIQ6AEwDnoECAcQAQ#v=onepage&q=jack%20laughing%20princess&f=false

Compare to History:

Laughter is truly the best medicine. I did a research paper in high school on it. You increase endorphins when you swallow saliva after laughing. Ten seconds of rigorous laughter equals ten minutes of rowing. The article linked below shares 11 benefits.

More on the History: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/539632/scientific-benefits-having-laugh

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!

J is for Joyful Journeys—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”?

Joyful Journeys-

From Portugal-

Princess Gilda journeyed from her home of Norway to marry Prince Ibn in Portugal. Now, a story is passed along of how this marriage brought about the almond trees that grow everywhere in the Algarve (used to be Al Gharb). When people travel to Portugal today in the spring, it will feel like winter with the millions of almond blossoms. Perhaps you will feel at peace.

50-word-or-less summary:

Princess from Norway thrilled to marry Prince from Portugal. Journeyed with joy. After marriage, Princess became ill/pale. Doctors sought. Homesick! Missed snow! One doctor said to plant thousands of almond trees. White almond blossoms looked like snow. Princess recovered. Mental journey to Norway.

Versions of Gilda and the Almond Trees story: https://www.aportugueseaffair.com/algarve-almond-trees/ as well as podcast https://www.theguardian.com/books/audio/2017/jun/09/the-legend-of-the-almond-trees-read-by-andrew-scott-travel-folktales-for-kids-podcast

Compare to History:

Usually homesickness is considered nothing to worry about. Yet, at one time, it was labeled “hypochondria of the heart.” From Swiss soldiers in the 17th century to Greek soldiers during the Trojan War, homesickness could have them waste away with some as serious as dying. Philosopher Tiffany Watt Smith reported that these soldiers experienced “lesions heart palpitations and from there a ‘stupidity of mind..’” We can take mental journeys when we are unable to physically journey. We can connect to those memories until we are sick of them…and can move forward.

More on the History: https://www.thecut.com/2016/02/homesickness-was-once-considered-a-medical-diagnosis.html

From India-

This is more a cautionary tale, yet the result brought over 7,000 years of wisdom. Thus, the humans fare better than the tortoise. This story is part of the Jataka Tales that involves previous births of Gautama Buddha. Now we can ponder the importance of home as well as the ability to move so anywhere could be home.

50-word-or-less summary:

Tortoise refused to leave lake for river despite drought. Declared lake as birthplace, where parents born. Sun dried tortoise’s spot until became clay. Bodhisatta hit tortoise’s with spade accidentally. Thought tortoise was lump of clay. Died. Bodhisatta showed tortoise to warn people of extreme fondness of home. Journey and do good.

Finding the Story: https://www.pitt.edu/~dash/traveltales.html#tortoiserefused

Compare to History:

No matter our feelings for home, many are staying at home during COVID-19 to protect others. We can still mentally journey and do good though online chats, telephone calls, or drop-off service. Meanwhile, there can be patients who refuse to leave the hospital. What then? Malingering is more commonly known for psychiatric patients than general hospital patients. Reasons are varied and countless though could be from attention of being sick; “secondary gain” or food, shelter; psychological stress, or seasonal depression. Let us reach out to each other so—whether at home or the hospital—we are free to go where we need to be and not where we think we must be.

More on the History: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3067985/

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 plans that can be seen here: https://storycrossroads.org/contingency-plans-covid-19/ and http://www.storycrossroads.org/virtual.

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!

B is for Blindness Banishment-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”?

From China-

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.”

50-word-or-less summary:

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/

From Norway-

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.”

50-word-or-less summary:

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/ and http://www.storycrossroads.org/virtual.

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!