In looking for more versions of “The Singing Bone,” I came across a tale called “継子と笛” or “The Stepchild and the Flute.” I took a stab at translating it, since I found only one other Japanese variant in “Green Willow and Other Japanese Fairy Tales,” the source of the featured image.
In stories like “The Singing Bone,” we see sibling rivalry that turns to murder, a crime eventually revealed by the eerie song of an instrument made from the murder victim’s bones.
There’s a lot of messed-up stuff there, but of course the most important question is: Can you really make instruments from human bones?
While searching for art and images related to selkies, I came upon a series of 10 beautiful postage stamps from the Faroe Islands that deserve their own post. They were inspired by the story of Kópakonan, or the Seal Woman, and designed by Edward Fuglø.
In the process of writing the last few posts, I find my mind returning again and again to “The Story of Mr. Fox” and “The Sweetheart in the Wood,” unconsciously conflating some details, and wondering: What made her take that severed hand, when she herself was in mortal danger? What was it like, to walk home alone through the forest carrying that lump of flesh? Where was it kept between then and the dinner party? And this is what came of those wonderings.
Click here to read Part 2: “Stubborn Bloodstains and Magic Cats” My previous post introduced the “tell-tales” of guilt that appear in ATU tale types 311, 312 and 955. I focused on unwashable bloodstains that revealed wives’ trespasses in the forbidden bloody chamber. In contrast, the tell-tale object in “The Robber Bridegroom” is a severed hand […]
If we learn anything from tales like “Bluebeard” and “How the Devil Married Three Sisters,” it’s that the real crime is not disobedience or even murder–it’s lack of caution. After all, the only reason anyone in those stories got caught–both the women and their homicidal husbands–wasn’t stellar detective work, but their own carelessness in tracking blood around or giving people access to their murder-room.
As promised, I’m returning to the tales I introduced in my last post, starting with the story of Hermod and Hadvor. Specifically, the part where Hadvor gets buried alive, and the historical/cultural precedents for this.
In the category of “tales in which a wicked stepmother kills her stepchild and feeds it to the father, after which the child usually comes back as a bird for revenge,” we have several examples…