Have you ever heard that an adult swan can break a person’s arm?
Disappointingly enough, that’s a myth.
But in the past few days, I’ve learned that swan-maidens are absolutely capable of breaking a mind. There are just so many variants, so many connections between stories, so many different directions to take.
But I used some restraint and included just a few of the variants I found, some main themes, and a good number of illustrations — a more pleasant version of my own journey in pursuit of the swan maidens.
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 […]