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BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales

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NINE GOLD MEDALS
WALKIN ON MY WHEELS
YOU WOULDN'T KNOW IT TO LOOK AT ME


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CapriUni 11 Apr 11 - 06:58 PM
gnu 12 Apr 11 - 05:38 AM
Jack Campin 12 Apr 11 - 06:23 AM
maeve 12 Apr 11 - 07:18 AM
GUEST,Eliza 12 Apr 11 - 08:05 AM
Penny S. 12 Apr 11 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,Eliza 12 Apr 11 - 08:12 AM
GUEST,Eliza 12 Apr 11 - 08:15 AM
CapriUni 12 Apr 11 - 12:46 PM
CapriUni 12 Apr 11 - 12:51 PM
Penny S. 12 Apr 11 - 02:07 PM
Jack Campin 12 Apr 11 - 02:17 PM
Penny S. 12 Apr 11 - 02:17 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 12 Apr 11 - 03:11 PM
CapriUni 12 Apr 11 - 03:15 PM
CapriUni 12 Apr 11 - 03:21 PM
Mysha 12 Apr 11 - 03:48 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Apr 11 - 03:24 PM
CapriUni 13 Apr 11 - 05:18 PM
CapriUni 13 Apr 11 - 05:35 PM
CapriUni 13 Apr 11 - 05:53 PM
Leadfingers 13 Apr 11 - 07:45 PM
CapriUni 13 Apr 11 - 08:03 PM
Jack Campin 13 Apr 11 - 08:05 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Apr 11 - 12:14 PM
Jim Carroll 14 Apr 11 - 01:03 PM
Penny S. 14 Apr 11 - 01:08 PM
CapriUni 14 Apr 11 - 02:14 PM
Penny S. 14 Apr 11 - 03:42 PM
Mysha 14 Apr 11 - 05:51 PM
CapriUni 14 Apr 11 - 06:37 PM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Apr 11 - 08:13 PM
CapriUni 14 Apr 11 - 09:09 PM
katlaughing 14 Apr 11 - 10:30 PM
CapriUni 15 Apr 11 - 12:57 AM
katlaughing 15 Apr 11 - 01:23 AM
CapriUni 15 Apr 11 - 02:01 AM
Penny S. 15 Apr 11 - 04:52 AM
GUEST,Patsy 15 Apr 11 - 06:25 AM
Jack Campin 15 Apr 11 - 06:34 AM
Mysha 15 Apr 11 - 11:48 AM
Jim Carroll 15 Apr 11 - 12:42 PM
Penny S. 15 Apr 11 - 12:52 PM
Penny S. 15 Apr 11 - 12:59 PM
Penny S. 15 Apr 11 - 01:14 PM
Penny S. 15 Apr 11 - 01:30 PM
Jack Campin 15 Apr 11 - 05:08 PM
Mysha 16 Apr 11 - 01:43 PM
CapriUni 16 Apr 11 - 07:28 PM
LadyJean 16 Apr 11 - 09:20 PM
Penny S. 17 Apr 11 - 07:16 AM
katlaughing 17 Apr 11 - 11:25 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Apr 11 - 01:30 PM
Mysha 18 Apr 11 - 08:39 AM
Penny S. 18 Apr 11 - 10:12 AM
Mysha 18 Apr 11 - 04:27 PM
Jack Campin 18 Apr 11 - 05:25 PM
CapriUni 19 Apr 11 - 04:24 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 19 Apr 11 - 04:48 PM
CapriUni 19 Apr 11 - 05:00 PM
katlaughing 19 Apr 11 - 05:53 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 19 Apr 11 - 06:11 PM
katlaughing 19 Apr 11 - 06:24 PM
CapriUni 19 Apr 11 - 06:52 PM
LadyJean 20 Apr 11 - 12:21 AM
CapriUni 20 Apr 11 - 12:38 AM
Penny S. 20 Apr 11 - 04:42 AM
Penny S. 20 Apr 11 - 05:06 AM
CapriUni 20 Apr 11 - 12:12 PM
katlaughing 20 Apr 11 - 03:22 PM
Penny S. 20 Apr 11 - 04:18 PM
Jim Carroll 20 Apr 11 - 04:56 PM
CapriUni 20 Apr 11 - 11:21 PM
Penny S. 23 Apr 11 - 12:11 PM
Jack Campin 23 Apr 11 - 01:15 PM
CapriUni 24 Apr 11 - 02:25 AM
CapriUni 24 Apr 11 - 01:53 PM
Jack Campin 26 Apr 11 - 12:22 PM
CapriUni 26 Apr 11 - 09:52 PM
CapriUni 01 May 11 - 09:12 PM
Penny S. 06 May 11 - 05:47 AM
CapriUni 08 May 11 - 01:51 AM
CapriUni 08 May 11 - 03:28 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 08 May 11 - 01:35 PM
CapriUni 09 May 11 - 02:40 AM
CapriUni 29 May 11 - 05:20 PM
katlaughing 29 May 11 - 08:00 PM
Jack Campin 29 May 11 - 08:13 PM
CapriUni 29 May 11 - 10:43 PM
CapriUni 25 Jun 11 - 04:31 PM
CapriUni 25 Jun 11 - 04:40 PM
Mrrzy 25 Jun 11 - 06:28 PM
CapriUni 25 Jun 11 - 07:41 PM
CapriUni 14 Jul 11 - 02:09 PM
katlaughing 15 Jul 11 - 12:13 AM
CapriUni 15 Jul 11 - 02:20 AM
CapriUni 15 Jul 11 - 07:53 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 16 Jul 11 - 07:53 PM
CapriUni 17 Jul 11 - 02:44 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 17 Jul 11 - 05:19 AM
CapriUni 18 Jul 11 - 01:26 AM
GUEST,SharonA 18 Jul 11 - 12:26 PM
CapriUni 18 Jul 11 - 01:34 PM
SharonA 20 Jul 11 - 07:08 PM
CapriUni 20 Jul 11 - 08:57 PM
CapriUni 05 Sep 11 - 12:05 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 08 Sep 11 - 02:53 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 08 Sep 11 - 03:37 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 08 Sep 11 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 09 Sep 11 - 07:10 AM
Crowhugger 09 Sep 11 - 10:35 AM
Mrrzy 09 Sep 11 - 11:34 AM
Mrrzy 09 Sep 11 - 11:46 AM
CapriUni 09 Sep 11 - 02:23 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 09 Sep 11 - 05:59 PM
CapriUni 09 Sep 11 - 07:08 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 10 Sep 11 - 03:40 AM
CapriUni 10 Sep 11 - 11:54 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 10 Sep 11 - 06:35 PM
CapriUni 10 Sep 11 - 10:00 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 10 Sep 11 - 11:37 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 11 Sep 11 - 12:07 AM
CapriUni 11 Sep 11 - 01:17 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 11 Sep 11 - 08:03 AM
CapriUni 11 Sep 11 - 03:00 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 11 Sep 11 - 05:38 PM
CapriUni 12 Sep 11 - 12:30 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 12 Sep 11 - 08:30 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 12 Sep 11 - 08:47 AM
CapriUni 12 Sep 11 - 03:08 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 12 Sep 11 - 05:18 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 12 Sep 11 - 05:21 PM
CapriUni 14 Sep 11 - 11:20 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 16 Sep 11 - 05:48 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 16 Sep 11 - 08:07 AM
CapriUni 16 Sep 11 - 01:32 PM
GUEST 16 Sep 11 - 03:55 PM
GUEST 16 Sep 11 - 03:59 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 16 Sep 11 - 06:18 PM
CapriUni 16 Sep 11 - 11:08 PM
Mrrzy 17 Sep 11 - 02:41 PM
Crowhugger 18 Sep 11 - 02:01 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 22 Sep 11 - 02:36 AM
CapriUni 22 Sep 11 - 01:45 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 23 Sep 11 - 08:26 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 28 Sep 11 - 02:53 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 28 Sep 11 - 02:55 AM
CapriUni 28 Sep 11 - 02:47 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 28 Sep 11 - 06:13 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 28 Sep 11 - 06:57 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 28 Sep 11 - 07:00 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 28 Sep 11 - 07:02 PM
CapriUni 29 Sep 11 - 02:53 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 29 Sep 11 - 04:39 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 29 Sep 11 - 05:46 AM
Mrrzy 29 Sep 11 - 11:26 AM
CapriUni 30 Sep 11 - 02:39 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 30 Sep 11 - 03:40 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 30 Sep 11 - 03:51 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 30 Sep 11 - 05:37 PM
CapriUni 30 Sep 11 - 06:19 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 30 Sep 11 - 07:08 PM
GUEST,livelylass 01 Oct 11 - 10:02 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 01 Oct 11 - 07:21 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 01 Oct 11 - 07:40 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 02 Oct 11 - 07:54 AM
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MorwenEdhelwen1 03 Oct 11 - 02:20 AM
GUEST,999 03 Oct 11 - 04:47 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 03 Oct 11 - 07:40 AM
Jeri 03 Oct 11 - 08:01 AM
CapriUni 03 Oct 11 - 02:29 PM
Mrrzy 03 Oct 11 - 02:38 PM
CapriUni 03 Oct 11 - 03:13 PM
CapriUni 09 Oct 11 - 04:36 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 09 Oct 11 - 07:07 AM
CapriUni 09 Oct 11 - 02:59 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 09 Oct 11 - 06:27 PM
CapriUni 09 Oct 11 - 07:31 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 09 Oct 11 - 10:18 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 10 Oct 11 - 05:30 PM
CapriUni 10 Oct 11 - 07:53 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 10 Oct 11 - 08:36 PM
CapriUni 10 Oct 11 - 08:49 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 11 Oct 11 - 12:14 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 11 Oct 11 - 05:04 PM
CapriUni 11 Oct 11 - 09:01 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 12 Oct 11 - 07:23 AM
CapriUni 23 Oct 11 - 07:22 PM
GUEST,Mrr at work 24 Oct 11 - 04:25 PM
CapriUni 24 Oct 11 - 06:44 PM
CapriUni 31 Oct 11 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 02 Nov 11 - 05:42 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 02 Nov 11 - 05:45 AM
CapriUni 02 Nov 11 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 03 Nov 11 - 10:20 AM
CapriUni 03 Nov 11 - 06:47 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 25 Nov 11 - 10:15 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 25 Nov 11 - 10:26 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 26 Nov 11 - 06:04 AM
CapriUni 01 Dec 11 - 12:59 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 01 Dec 11 - 06:15 PM
CapriUni 01 Dec 11 - 07:29 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 01 Dec 11 - 08:13 PM
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MorwenEdhelwen1 02 Dec 11 - 08:00 PM
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CapriUni 03 Dec 11 - 04:28 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 03 Dec 11 - 06:15 PM
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MorwenEdhelwen1 04 Dec 11 - 05:09 AM
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GUEST,999 04 Dec 11 - 06:53 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 04 Dec 11 - 08:33 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 04 Dec 11 - 08:42 PM
CapriUni 04 Dec 11 - 08:59 PM
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Melissa 08 Dec 11 - 06:22 PM
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CapriUni 09 Dec 11 - 05:59 PM
CapriUni 15 Dec 11 - 10:14 PM
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CapriUni 11 Mar 12 - 07:21 PM
CapriUni 18 May 12 - 05:59 PM
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Subject: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 11 Apr 11 - 06:58 PM

I've been lurking and/or "away" for a while now, I know. But I thought some folks here might be interested in a new blog I've started at blogspot.com: Plato's Nightmare / Aesop's Dream (Discovering images of disability in folklore and classics of literature)

There's just one entry up, so far, but I've got a few more in the brain attic, and will definitely be posting something for Blogging Against Disablism Day on May 1 (this is a link to last year's announcement).

Here's the first post of mine: Wherein I introduce myself and this blog


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: gnu
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 05:38 AM

Interesting. I don't know why this is in the BS section though.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 06:23 AM

It's common for shamans and other people acting as intermediaries to the spirit world to be disabled. Carlo Ginzburg's "Ecstasies" has something on this.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: maeve
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 07:18 AM

That's a promising first entry, CapriUni! I'll look forward to reading your future entries.

Maeve


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 08:05 AM

Daniel Quelp and Rumpelstiltskin. Also blind Bertha in The Cricket on the Hearth. What about Quasimodo? Captain Hook and Long John Silver? Are these the sort of things you mean CapriUni?


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Penny S.
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 08:09 AM

Interesting idea. And how often disability of the body is linked with a supposed disability of the mind in fiction - Eliza's ideas are mostly not folk. I wouldn't have thought of Rumpelstiltskin as disabled, but as a different sort of being, and, having found out that the name has a meaning, and what that meaning is, I wouldn't really want to enquire more about him.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 08:12 AM

It did say 'and classics of literature', but Penny, do do tell!! WHAT does Rumpelstiltskin's name mean??


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 08:15 AM

Okay, how about Seven Dwarfs?


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 12:46 PM

Gnu -- I stuck it in this section to be on the safe side; I imagine I'll be writing more about the political and social prejudices the stories reveal about their cultures of origin, and the continuing impact they have today than actually tracing motifs or themes the way a folklorist or ethnologist would.

Jack Campin -- Yes, indeed, shamans (and their counterparts in other cultures) are often disabled. There's also blind Homer,* and one of the women put forth as "The Real Mother Goose" is said, according to legend, to have gotten the nickname because of a deformed foot that looked like a goose's foot.

Maeve -- Thank you! I look forward to writing more. Right now, I'm trying to decide which of several ideas should I have for my second entry.

Eliza -- maybe in the future. I'm going to start out with folktales, the first ones that came to mind are:

(start list)
  • Hans my Hedgehog (parental response to a deformed baby)
  • Bearskin (allegory for PTSD)
  • The boy who left home to get the shivers (Asperger's)
  • One Eye, Two Eyes, Three Eyes
  • The Goose Girl at the Spring (for the elderly witch who looks after her)
  • Rapunsel (the long version of the story has the prince blinded)
  • The Girl without Hands
  • Tom Thumb (when you're an adult who's two inches tall, there's going to be accessibility issues)
  • The Two Travelers (blindness)
  • The Hunchback and the Fairies
  • Seven who Made their Way in the World (Seven traveling companions, each of whom is a physical "freak" in some way)

(end list)

The Dwarves in Snow White (In the original stories, their number varies) are actually supernatural beings -- Earth spirits, after which the human condition of dwarfism is named. But I will probably retell the Romance of Aesop who was said to be dwarfish. And I may write a bit about vampire legends from certain parts of Eastern Europe, that describe what a child born from a human/vampire union is like.

And then, there are the gods of mythology -- Hephaestos, the lame, Odin, with one eye, Tyr with one hand, et alia.
*(I thought about naming my blog "Plato's Nightmare / Homer's Dream," But Aesop is more associated with folktales, and is more likely to let folks interested in folklore find this blog than, say, high school student doing research for their Odessey report...


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 12:51 PM

Penny S. -- And in real life, too. Here's what it says on WebMd.com (a major site for medical information in the States) about Cerebral Palsy (just grabbed this today, so it's "up to date" information, according to the experts):

(begin quote) Between 35% and 50% of all children with CP will have an accompanying seizure disorder and some level of mental retardation. (end quote)


And I'm coming to the conclusion that this within a hair's breadth of an outright lie. Having CP myself, I've gotten a chance to get to know, through my life, many other folks with CP, since we often need the same sorts of treatments, and therapies. I was trying to work out how many, just this morning. And it's got to be somewhere around several dozen.

You'd think, if up to half of them are mentally retarded, at least one of those people I've met would be.

Nope. Not one. In fact, every single person with CP I've met has been exceptionally bright (not to boast about my own accutity). What I have seen, though, is: therapists, psychologists, teachers, (and the parents who accept their authority) treat folks with CP as if they're retarded, and not bother to educate, or even talk with, them to the full level of their ability. If my own mother had accepted the diagnosis of the doctor who did my first psychological evaluation, when I was two, I would have been labeled "Severely Mentally Retarded." Instead, that was crossed out, and my mother was put down as "Hostile and manipulative"

(wide, evil, grin).


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Penny S.
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 02:07 PM

I wasn't thinking about "retardation" but moral disability, which is pretty appalling. Have you seen the autism thread on changelings?

As for Rumpelstiltskin, I find I was wrong. And Eliza was right.


The hidden name

I was given duff information from a Freudian source.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 02:17 PM

I've no idea what the actual figure is, but that argument doesn't work.

The people you've met are those who can manage some sort of social life. The very severely retarded can't, so you won't have met them.

I am an opportunity for bad statistics myself. I have a cleft palate. That is strongly correlated with a whole lot of genetic disasters including mental retardation. BUT I have a cleft lip along with it. That combination is a distinct syndrome, a developmental error in the embryo, which has no links to anything much else at all. It's only cleft palate WITHOUT cleft lip that significantly increases your chance of being more generally physically and mentally fucked up.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Penny S.
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 02:17 PM

Like this.


More hidden...perhaps it should stay so

Because sometimes a cigar is only a cigar. Play with the ideas here a bit...


See how they did it

And here it is in clear


I really must be more sceptical.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 03:11 PM

After a memorable Storytelling gig at a venue that will remain nameless, I was accosted by the gig organiser as to why so many of my stories involved disabled characters. Did I do The Leeching of Kayn's Leg on that occasion? Maybe not but the intro as given by Jacob's is a classic in this respect! Anyway, as I was muttering on about my ideas as to why this should be (which I won't bore you with here) this very lovely lady proceeded to remove her lower leg and hand it to me, much to the general befuddlement of ther hapless storyteller and hilarity of the amputee.
'I don't give my leg to just anyone,' she said, as a mark of approval.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 03:15 PM

Jack -- Yes, I know, and that's why I've given the 35-50% statistic the benefit of the doubt for most of my life, and it certainly remains a significant statisitic filter for those people I've met in social and accademic settings.

But then I think about all those with cerebral palsy who shared space with me on children's hospitals wards (where we were grouped together according to which orthopedic surgery we needed, which was totally independent of mental capability), or at the summer camp I went to, which served both severely mentally and physically disabled people. And then, there are other clients of my aide who happen to have cerebral palsy, and with whom I have no other social interaction in common, and some of whom have been homeschooled because their level of physical disability is too severe for the public school to handle.

And then, there are news stories I come across that happen to feature someone with cerebral palsy -- stories of the sort where, if the person being written about were intellectually impaired, that would certainly be mentioned to heighten the "specialness" factor of the story.

And in all my 40 years of having a social life independent of my nuclear family, I have only heard of one person with CP who was, in fact, mentally handicapped.

And while I grant that there is a higher risk of cognitive impairment in all children born premature, or with other neonatal risk factors, and that includes people with CP, I do know that I've seen more people labeled as mentally retarded than actually are so I am skeptical that the corelation is as high as sites like the WebMD claim.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 03:21 PM

Suibhne --

But did she cry "Aha!" as she waved her leg aloft?


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Mysha
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 03:48 PM

Hi,

Well, Snow White, or at least the current version, is suspected to be the life of Margarete von Waldeck, who could well have encountered miners of small stature as children were employed in the town's mines. Not to say you're wrong regarding the fact, but maybe about being so certain about it.

Before you start with the gods, remember that the gods do not only have a mythical history, but also a human one. Their characteristics may be part of how they came to their status.

If the human mind is capable of overcoming problems, and overcoming problems does indeed train it: Lacking proof of a connection between a handicap and intelligence, what would one expect about the intelligence of the handicapped?

Bye,
                                                                Mysha


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Apr 11 - 03:24 PM

Blindness and hunchchbacked are probably the two most common forms of disability in formal folktales.
Scots travellers had 'The King's Scabby Heid (head)' where the palace offered a pot of gold to find a cure, which finally entailed cutting the head off, dipping it first in hot water, then in cold and finally scrubbing it with a scrubbing brush and lye soap.
Irish tale of the tailor with no legs taking a bet that he could sit all night on top of a tomb in a reputedly haunted graveyard. Is scared by two orchard robbers stealing and sharing apples ("One for you, one for me") which he believes to be two devils dividing out souls. He somehow makes it back home in record time, overtaking a hare on the way.
Probably most unusual (not really disability); Scots fisherman falls asleep in his boat and wakes up to find he has drifted to a remote island and has turned into a woman. Stays on island, marries a local man and raises a family.
Years later, is walking on the beach and finds his/her old boat; climbs in and falls asleep.
Is washed out to sea by the tide and wakes up to find the boat has drifted back to his original home and he has turned back into the original man.
One used by Chaucer but now solidly in tradition - blind man is told by unfaithful wife that he will find a cure for blindness by climbing to top of a tree and waiting until a cure comes along. Does so and hears wife and lover making love under the tree. Climbs down and is hit in face by branch, regaining his sight. Catching lovers at it he is told that what they are doing is a ritual to restore his sight.
Mermaid deliberately disabled by removal of tail which turns her into ordinary woman. Marries fisherman who caught her and raises family.
Cleaning the attic room one day she finds her tail, puts it back on and returns to sea, cursing the fisherman and everybody bearing his name.
Where do you stop.... hundreds of tales like this; three blind giant brothers sharing one eye; five adventurers each missing the use of one of his senses, so join forces to make up for the missing sense.
My own personal favourite.
Man is punished for having impure thoughts by waking up one morning to find his penis miraculously missing.
Goes to clergyman for help, but is told he deserves his punishment and is driven away by stick weilding minister.
Goes to local wise-woman for advice and is instructed to meet her under an oak tree on Midsummer's eve.
Is instructed by her to climb tree where he will find a rooks nest containng the missing artical. Finds a nest full of penises, so takes the largest and climbs down tree, only to be told to put it back where he found it as "That one belongs to the minister".
And there's more when they came from..... fascinating subject!
im C


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 13 Apr 11 - 05:18 PM

Mysha --

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "our current version." Do you mean the version as retold by Walt Disney in 1937? The story I'm referring to appeared in the first edition of the Grimms' Kinder- und Hausmärchen, and had several small changes to the story between that edition, and the final one in 1857.

I do know that dwarves, in general, are classified as type of elf of the Earthen element, protecting mountains and the treasures within (the folk tradition has many stories of human miners' encounters with them, and of the rituals and taboos involved in avoiding their wrath), and in the Grimms's version of the story, the dwarves are portrayed as guardians of their own particular mountain, which is why I interpreted them as primarily supernatural beings.

However, I am always eager to learn of historical links to fantastical tales, so if you could point me to a source about Margarete von Waldeck, I'd love to follow up.

Lacking proof of a connection between a handicap and intelligence, what would one expect about the intelligence of the handicapped?

Again, I'm not sure what it is you're asking. I do know that people tend to live up (or down) to expectations, and if someone has a physical difficulty in speaking, I have witnessed others assume that this someone has a mental difficulty in understanding.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 13 Apr 11 - 05:35 PM

Jim C -- Yes indeed. I was just thinking, last night, about how thick on the ground hunchbacks are in folktales, and how rarely they're encountered today. So I looked up the term on Wikipedia (a flimsy source on its own, but it's good for learning basic terminology, and potential search terms for later reference). Apparently, malnution during pregnancy and early childhood is one of the main causes. So it's easy to see how this would be a more common affliction in the Days of Yore, before refrigeration.

It is a fascinating subject. Though, if you are disabled, it is rarely encouraging, since the stories often go right to the root of all the bigotry and exclusion we face every day.

However, if the Brothers Grimm could fine-tune the stories to inspire political and social change in their own society, I have equal right to do so in my own time and place. And closely examining the knot may make it possible for me to undo it, without destroying it completely.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 13 Apr 11 - 05:53 PM

And now, my second entry is up: Monsters: a key motif, and a symbol of disability. I was originally planning on discussing The Romance of Aesop, but then I realized I needed to lay the foundation for why his monstrous looks (famous in legend) is significant.

So monsters came first.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Leadfingers
Date: 13 Apr 11 - 07:45 PM

Good Luck with all of that Anne - Dont think I can add to your blog though !


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 13 Apr 11 - 08:03 PM

Thanks, Terry!

(you know, I'd be just as tickled if you simply read along).


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Apr 11 - 08:05 PM

Another major cause of hunch back not seen so often these days is Potts' disease. Do a Google Images search and one of the pictures you get is an ancient Egyptian tomb drawing.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 12:14 PM

"However, if the Brothers Grimm could fine-tune the stories to inspire political and social change in their own society...."
We do have to be careful of distinguishing between the 'folktales' that have passed through the hands of collectors and anthologists and those that have come untouched straight from the communities that fostered them - while we have a large collection of the former, our experience over the last thirty years has been with live stortellers from rural area.
Details that appear insignificant have quite often been passed over and even omitted from published collections, while the tellers have often held these details as crucial to the plots - references to the weather or the terrain are an example of this.
I'm pretty certain the in communities that rely on people's abilities to move freely, with a full use of their faculties, disabilities would not just be a plot incidental, but a life-and-death issue to a narrator.
One teller gave us a whole load of tales which began "a man from my own quater (a specific measure of land) and then told us a traditional tale which had become totally localised to his area.
These tales, as fantastical as they are, were direct reflections of the lives of the people who used them.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 01:03 PM

"a man from my own quater"
That should read "quarter"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Penny S.
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 01:08 PM

Vulcan/Hephaestos/Wayland, th divine but lame smiths, may reflect reality. Wayland was supposed to have been deliberately lamed to keep him serving the king, but I have seen a suggestion that it was a side effect of the work.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 02:14 PM

Penny -- Yes, actually, I plan on writing about Hephaestus, himself, for B.A.D.D. (mentioned in the first post to this thread), and I've read that same suggestion about the side effects of being a smith in the olden days -- most notably, using mercury as a substitute in making bronze when copper wasn't available.

However, one of the Homeric poets (I think of "Homer" as a collective noun) actually gave Heph. the line of dialog: "I was born lame in both legs."

It's my own private notion (not evolved enough to be a theory) that living with a physical disability actually leads you into thinking up new technology, to help you get around your physical limitations. And so the gods of clever technology tend to reflect that reality.

Jim --

Re: reshaping stories. What you say is true. However, the Grimm brothers did collect "their" tales, and continually refined and edited their collection (between 1812 and 1858) in order to advance the political cause they believed in. They were not the nineteenth century German version of Alan Lomax and they didn't pretend to be. It's our own romantic revisionism that sticks them in the role of "authentic folklorists."

When I retell a story, I do my best to: a) note my source, and b) point out what changes I have made, and why (usually, it's because my experience causes me to notice details that the author/translator skims over, or seems to miss entirely -- the: "hm. If I were this character, here, I would've felt X instead of Y" reaction. Because, frankly, I believe my lived experience today is just as "valid" as that of a ploughman who lived 200 years ago.

Re: the "experts" missing the point entirely. Psychological interpreters are the worst of the bunch. Just last night, a friend of mine send me a link to this essay about women's heroic journeys: The Armless Maiden and the Hero's Journey. It's all very pretty and intellectual, but, as my friend pointed out, the author assumes that living without hands can only be a metaphor -- there's no way it could ever have been a lived experience of actual people.

*sigh*
*grumble*


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Penny S.
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 03:42 PM

The version I read was that standing with one side to the fire, and one towards the cold outdoors would have an effect - rheumatism, I suppose. Was mercury used in bronze? If it was, I would have thought it would be substituting for the tin, since the proportions are 9 parts copper, 1 part tin. Also, I would expect descriptions of madness in the smiths, as in hatters, because of the fumes, which would have ben much worse than for the milliners. Also, I think the source for mercury ore, cinnabar, is South Spain, where there was also cassiterite, for the tin. I'm going to look this one up...

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Mysha
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 05:51 PM

Hi Capri,

I don't see her make the direct assumption that one can not live without hands, but I expect the reason why Midori Snyder treats the maiden sans arms in the story as metaphorical would be that in real life people usually don't regrow arms.

I myself don't really like meta-interpretation of stories much, as such interpreters always seem to assume someone wrote the stories with that purpose. Maybe that writer would be related to that infamous 18th century songwright who created all that folk music? Still, they may have a point in that those stories and elements survive that carry a certain message. But somewhen, when this story much younger, I expect there really was a woman whose use of her hands was limited, and who eventually overcame that. Even more than with folksongs, the problem is that we don't know what the original events were, and how they were changed.


And that's basically the answer to your question about my mention of a current version of Snow White. Most likely, the life of Margarete von Waldeck did not involve talking mirrors, magic apples or glass coffins. So either these have all been separately introduced into her story, or it's she who has been overlain over an older story. That older story may well have had her live with other guardians; robbers for example are quite common providers of refuge in fairy tales, and have the same habit of leaving the camp unguarded but for the girl, the occasional woodsman will also leave his dwelling in her care. Yes, maybe Snow White's guardians were dwarfs even before 1500, and maybe they were nature spirits when they were introduced into the story. But in the version of the last centuries, they may be children miners. I guess that's a problem you have to find a solution for: Will you take the story at face value, in which case they are less-tall human-likes, without any supernatural powers, or will you interpret, in which case there will be layers of story all the way back past the unknown point where the story of the girl in the woods merged with the story of the girl who wasn't dead.

Don't have the literature handy, but searching on the two names will probably give internet results. (The "dwarves", BTW, are Tolkien's approach to a race of smaller stature, whereas the "dwarfs" of folklore can be so mighty that four of them carry the sky.)


And interpretation, but of our own lives, is also what lead us to your "living with a physical disability actually leads you into thinking up new technology, to help you get around your physical limitations." and my "If the human mind is capable of overcoming problems, and overcoming problems does indeed train it". Now, there probably are a few physical disabilities that by their nature are connected to a mental problem, which cause someone to be both severely less agile and less intelligent, but only a few. But generally, we are "Lacking proof of a connection between a handicap and intelligence". So, when there's no proof of any specific connection, all we have left is our approach that a handicap will challenge us to think our way around the problem. Based on that, "what would one expect about the intelligence of the handicapped? " Certainly not that it is generally less than that of less-handicapped, as diagnoses seem to suggest so often. Rather the opposite.


Mercury poisoning is what made hatters mad. I'm not sure it could cripple a grown-up, though it can cripple when it occurs at a very young age. But ignoring the smith's profession: Why would a Greek god ever have a marred body? The Iliad disagrees about how he came to be crippled, which suggests the explanations are a later addition. His birthright isn't certain either, but the stories seem to agree on the fact that he came to the Olympus as an adult. Could the reason the Greek writers accepted a marred god have to do with the fact that he was, to them, an outsider? I know, just speculation.

Come to think of it, Loki, also a god of fire, was an outsider too. Are we seeing two versions of the same pantheon, or two versions of the same development?

Bye,
                                                                Mysha


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 06:37 PM

Penny S -- I wonder if, 2,500 years from now, historians and mythologists will propose hypotheses for how singing the blues could cause blindness.

...just a thought. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 08:13 PM

QUOTE
if up to half of them are mentally retarded, at least one of those people I've met would be.

Nope. Not one. In fact, every single person with CP I've met has been exceptionally bright
UNQUOTE

I was constantly told how stupid I was. At age 40 I was then tested to be a SD+5 (3 in 100,000). I had been told I was stupid by those who were at best 'Average IQ'. I suspect that such claims as you mention are made for generations by those too stupid to understand those far more clever than they are themselves. The immediate response to my test result being revealed was that "I must have somehow faked the test to pretend that I was more clever than I really was"!!!! Don't think too long about that, you'll only hurt your head!

My tests also revealed that I have some serious micro-motor skills damage - this shows as bad handwriting etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 09:09 PM

(Quote) My tests also revealed that I have some serious micro-motor skills damage (unquote)

Interesting, Fooles... 'cause I've found that people, in general, tend to make the equation that "ease of Movement" = "quickness of Thought." After all, they just have a thought, and their follows, no problem. If someone's body doesn't follow, it must be because the thoughts are incomplete, or slow.

Not being inside their heads, I can only guess. But I think their logic is something like this: It takes me longer to walk down the hall from Room A to Room B than it takes them. Therefore, I must somehow not understand the concept of "hallway" as well as they do... Or something.

And then, of course, when something gets written down in medical textbooks as a statistical fact, all future generations of doctors will look for evidence of that, and then, their preconceived bias skews their perceptions, and it turns into a vicious cycle.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: katlaughing
Date: 14 Apr 11 - 10:30 PM

Reading along, finding this incredibly interesting. Thanks! I did leave a comment having been reminded of the opera Amahl and the Night Visitors. Having a "hidden" disablity can be quite interesting, too, in how people regard one parking in a handicapped space, and instant judgement that one must've been a smoker to have to be on O2 now.

I'll have a look through some of my dad's old books and refresh my memory about some of the stories.

CU, thank heavens for your mom and dad!! I've had to go to bat for each of my kids, at one time or another, in schools which wanted to label them. As in Fooles case, it was usually because the kids were more intelligent than the agents and completely bored with the slow curricula.

Are temporary disorders acceptable for inclusion at some point?

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 12:57 AM

Kat -- Yes, thanks for your comment!

(and sure, temporary disability is certainly included, at least in my mind).


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 01:23 AM

Thanks! At least in my mind, I like to think of the myriad of diagnoses as temporary!

I do have a little story I made up for my grandson about a snake with a sneezing disorder. It was solved, though, when he got brave and went over the mountain to new terrain.

There is also a neat story by the cowboy author and artist, Will James, about a rancher who was blind and rode a horse which was trained by his sons to walk the fenceline with him, stop for strays, etc. so he would still feel useful and not be depressed. He had a sudden fright one day in which the horse rightly refused to do what he asked. Supposedly he regained his sight from the shock. It's in Horses I Have Known. If you are interested, I'll dig it out and scan it in. James is quite dramatic in the written telling.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 02:01 AM

Kat -- I know one novel by James: Smokey the Cowhorse, and it was always one of my favorites.

Of course, James' work sprouts from a fork of the Narrative Tree than Folktales, Myths, and literary wondertales...


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Penny S.
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 04:52 AM

I think Loki is more related to Prometheus than Hephaestos. He opposes the leader of the pantheon, and ends up bound and tormented. He is quite interesting. Odin, by the way, who is cognate with Mercury/Hermes as god of the dying, and a trickster himself, shouldn't be the major god. Thor should be, and did survive in pagan belief much longer as the god of farmers, and I gather that the change was due to the relative power of the worshippers - the devotees of Odin having the weapons and the authority in society. One strand of evidence about Loki not being well regarded was that he had no temples, but I spotted that he was in all the temples, all having fires. I was then told by an Indian that Agni has no temples, because he is in all temples.
I found once on the internet that until quite recently, when the fire crackled, people would say that Loki was punishing his children, and offer the skin of the milk as a libation on the fire. The writer had the idea that this was a worthless offering, but I would have felt hard done by without the opportunity to have the stuff on my cereal as a child. We had no fridge, and Mum would scald the milk to ensure it lasted overnight. The skin was like clotted cream. You don't offer that to someone you don't respect.
Hephaestos was one of the few in the Greek pantheon who was concerned for humanity, and worked with Athena, Hermes and Prometheus for our good. All outsiders. Two concerned with crafts and two tricksters. Does Hermes son Pan count as disabled?
(Did you see Percy Jackson - where two characters were hiding their differentness as disability? Before I realised that was what was going on I thought it was pretty positive, but when they turned out not to be disabled at all, it was a bit of a let down.)
Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 06:25 AM

In nursery rhyme form 'Simple Simon met a pieman' written back in a time of ignorance about learning difficulties. Was it banned for children in schools or do children continue to recite it today? It has taken such a long time for Mental Health issues to be understood over the years that I wondered if rhymes and stories with characters like this still exist in schools now or discussed because of the content?


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 06:34 AM

My tests also revealed that I have some serious micro-motor skills damage - this shows as bad handwriting etc.

Yeah right. I had godawful handwriting when I was in primary schol. Their initial diagnosis/assumption was the same - they thought I had mild cerebral palsy (a conclusion probably motivated by the assumption that somebody with a cleft lip and palate has to have something else wrong). Then a different teacher suggested I try writing in a completely different way (an Arabic-looking style with each letter linked to the next by a long horizontal line). I didn't stick with it very long, but it made me think about what I was doing when I wrote, and solved the problem without any need for repetitive drills. I now have far more elegant handwriting than most and have used calligraphy as part of my job for years.

I'm sure the bozos who came up with the cerebral palsy idea would like to classify me a success story in overcoming a minor disability. I don't believe I ever had one. Trying to medicalize my bad handwriting did no good at all and could have been a disaster if I'd seriously believed it.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Mysha
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 11:48 AM

Hi Penny,

Loki is related to both, I guess. He gives the people warmth, like Prometheus gives them fire, but he doesn't really have pro-metheus, fore-thought, and as a result the warmth also heats up our summers. (I'm not even sure the fire-giving orignally belongs to Prometheus; forethought would reveal what will happen to you if you steal fire from the gods and give it to mankind.) And their punishment is similar as well. But Prometheus seeks no ties with the Olympians at all, which Loki and Hephaistos do. The combination of the stories is not the same, whatever the human history behind that.

Neither Odin nor Thor should be the leader of the Asen, BTW. Tyr should, and he probably was at some point before the distinction between warrior and farmer cults brought Odin and Thor to the fore. (I would really like to know more about the human history of Odin, to understand how that came to be, but I have difficulty finding out where that aspect is studied. As soon as someone finds out I'm not interested in the (final) mythological history, they at best tell me that's something their U doesn't research.) Tyr/Tywaz/Diva/Dieu/Zeus are all related; a natural deity.

I don't know what people thought of Loki, but to appear in several stories while not even having any temples to keep him in mind, he'd have to be fairly accepted.

Is Pan disabled? Two steps removed he is: Evil in disguise can be recognised by being either blind in one eye (Odin), or cripple, for not having human legs (Pan). Was he himself disabled? Well, it appears he is a demi-human. Whether those themselves stem from disabilities ...?

Bye,
                                                                                                                                 Mysha


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 12:42 PM

Hope I'm not going to tread on anybody's toes on what is an interesting thread, but as there seem to be a number of revival storytellers here....... deep breath,
Back in the eighties, as collectors we became involved to some degree with the then on the rise storytelling scene in London.
We brought a number of our traditional storytellers to the venues and on several occasions gave talks on our work.
The colleges and libraries were fine, received our storytellers enthusiastically and appeared to appreciate what we had to say - good times.
The storytelling venues were a different matter altogether; both we and our storytellers were like fish out of water.
The performers we witnessed were quite often second rate actors rather than traditional storytellers, adopting (often badly) techniques more akin to the stage than the domestic storytelling venues we had been told about.
The storytellers seemed incapable of letting the stories carry the audiences along, preferring rather to use gimmicks, fireworks, smoke producing bombs, gauzy backdrops and weird, often extremely distracting lighting.
They adopted funny voices and acted out their stories, using dynamics gestures and movements that we had never encountered among the older storytellers.
Not only were our storytellers totally out of their depth, but the revival storytellers seemed to have no point of contact with the older ones - the latter exuding an air of cloyey tweeness.
Our contact with the scene ended somewhat abruptly during an interview on the radio programme Woman's Hour when my wife Pat was told by a leading storyteller that "The public were not ready for straight storytelling and had to be given theatricals in order to keep their attention".
This was not our experience in the folk clubs where storytellers like Willie McPhee, The Stewarts, Duncan Williamson and many others received a tremendous welcome for their long and short stories told in a totally straight and uncompromising style.
A slight extention to all this - on a number of occasions we were contacted by people who wished to publish some of te stories we have collected, but wished to re-write them to make them suitable for children; or add (again very twee) illustrations, to what were often stark and extremely adult tales.
While we were happy to have our stories used, we refused to allow them to be tampered with, as we felt, and still feel that this would present an artificial impression of the art of storytelling.
I wonder if things have changed much?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Penny S.
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 12:52 PM

I had read that it was Tyr who should have led the pantheon, with the explanation you give. But, by comparison with all the other pantheons, and the links with the planets, it should be Thor, as he is the one with the thunderbolts, and is related to Jupiter, as was spotted by those who determined the days of the week. Thursday = Jeudi, Jove's day. The planet is definitely the major one visible. Tyr was matched up in ancient times with Mars, though I agree that the name itself links with the deus root. His rune was, I believe, used on swords, so that would tend to suggest a war bias. The Norse/Germanic gods do seem to have had a lot of alteration.
One thing I read way back - don't remember the author - was the way in which both Odin and Freya were regarded as untrustworthy because of their involvement with evil magic, seidr, (that's by their own culture, not later Christians.) This fits with the two planets they represent, which each have a light, morning apparition, and a dark, evening apparition. Mercury in the west is the guide of the dead, in Odin's case with his eight legged horse the four coffin bearers.

In the case of Prometheus foreseeing what would happen if he took fire from the gods, according to one version, Zeus had withheld fire, which men had already had, and Prometheus could see what would happen to us with no fire, and was prepared to put his life on the line. I think it's Aeschylus' play on the subject which presents Zeus in a rather negative light on the subject. (I was quite pleased to find this, because I had done a version of Pandora with a similar attitude, thinking it original!. It is odd how some people seem to think that the ancient pantheons deserve the sort of unquestioning respect expected in the monotheist religions, when they didn't get it back then.)

I hadn't thought of Odin's eye as being a disability. How blind can one be?

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Penny S.
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 12:59 PM

There's some interesting stuff on Odin's name in Wikipedia, involving "fury" and "mantic poetry". That would link with his berserker followers, I suppose.

The wild master of stirring strife at Things

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Penny S.
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 01:14 PM

Going back to Percy Jackson, the plot seemed to have been lifted from Norse myth rather than Greek, with the theft of the lightning being like the giants' theft of Thor's hammer. The name of Hermes' son, Luke is reminiscent of Loki, certainly in Diana Wynne Jones' book "Eight Days of Luke", and his behaviour in trying ot change the gods to have more concern for their children and their world is like Prometheus. Don't know why they had a daughter for Athens, though...Parthenongenesis?

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Penny S.
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 01:30 PM

Sorry for hijacking the thread, so here is a step back on stream. Tyr was onehanded because of Fenris Wolf, and Nuada of the Silver Hand was one handed, but I can't remember why. Both lose dominance because of it. Balor had only one eye, from birth, I assume, and had it put out by Lugh's spear. Was Polyphemus disabled as a Cyclops, before Odysseus blinded him? He obviously was afterwards. Thersites, who badmouthed the kings at Troy, was noted for being ugly. (Which obscured the fact that he was right.)

And don't these plots and characters get about.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Apr 11 - 05:08 PM

Egil Skallagrimsson probably had Paget's disease:

http://www.viking.ucla.edu/Scientific_American/Egils_Bones.htm

http://www.oocities.org/igdrasilas/egils-sa.txt


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Mysha
Date: 16 Apr 11 - 01:43 PM

Hi Penny,

The etymology was just about Tyr probably being the leader of the gods in the past. The reasons for considering him the right man for the job are that he is the god of single-handed combat, which is somewhat confusing but here means that only two people are fighting. Thus, he is the gods of the bravest, the champions, the leaders, judgement. He is not as strong as Thor, but stronger than any other (except for Thor's strength personified as his son.) He may not be as wise as Odin, though even that's not explicit, but is certainly held to be wiser than any of the others. He seems the only god willing to make a personal sacrifice for the good of all, by putting his hand between Fenrir's teeth, and in fact makes that sacrifice. I don't think there's a single story about Tyr, but from the stories about other gods, Tyr seems the worthiest of all.

Indeed, Zeus is the one hurling lightning bolts. He also was the god of the dead, until Hades (personified?) was introduced into the pantheon. So was Odin in one of his aspects. Such specifics on their own may not be enough to prove they have the same function. On the other hand, I'm not so sure that the translations from one pantheon to the other are all that trustworthy. They seem to stem from a time when the cultures met again, rather then from before the split of the cultures long before that. Thus, they connect gods that at that time have some common characteristic. This then combines Ares, god of Battle, with Mars, god of Agriculture, and with Tyr, god of Justice. Or Hermes, god of Cattle, with Mercury, god of Cereals, with Odin, god of Gods.

Nuada lost his original hand in battle. Because of his one-handedness he was dethroned. After his missing hand was replaced with a silver hand, he was acceptable to his people again (and for some reason he didn't tell them to go tell that to the Formoire).
He was eventually killed by Balor's evil eye. In some stories that seems to be Balor's only eye, in other it's an additional one, in the back of his head. Either way, that would mean he only had one eye in his forehead.

Bye
                                                                Mysha


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 16 Apr 11 - 07:28 PM

And then, there were three: The "Aesop Romance," the Blogger, and the Internet


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: LadyJean
Date: 16 Apr 11 - 09:20 PM

There is a French folk tale of a family in which one of the sons is only half a man. (It's not impossible for a child to be born that way.) The young man gets on the good side of the fairies, and attains magical powers, so he can change himself into various things, make his parents rich, and make the local princess pregnant without having sex with her. (So, of course, she has to marry him.)

A Breton story tells of Ugly Jan, who is also remarkably unintelligent, but can, by saying "By the grace of God, may such and such happen." Make anything happen. But he's so dumb he never uses his power until a load of wood gets too heavy, then he says, "By the grace of God, may the load of wood carry me." When the local princess sees him going by being carried by a load of wood and laughs he says, "By the Grace of God, may the princess get pregnant." They also wind up married. When she finds out about his gift, the princess suggests Jan wish himself intelligent and handsome, so he does.

There's a Japanese version of the hunchbak and the fairies, that involves the Japanese ogres, called Oni, and two old men with cysts on their cheeks.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Penny S.
Date: 17 Apr 11 - 07:16 AM

Did not the Romans open the door of the temple of Mars as a means of declaring war? (I know about the agriculture connection - its fascinating how when you go to modern Rome, the streets are full of markets selling fresh produce, and the balconies are full of plants, and how the market gardens in the Lea Valley east of London are all Italian, and how so many ancient Roman families have plant based names.)

It's such a shame when stories are lost that might have explained more about characters. There's such an abundance of stories from Greece and Rome, often conflicting, and so few elsewhere.

King Ethelbert of Kent insisted on meeting Augustine (later of Canterbury) in the open air under an oak, to be protected by his own deities - and that seems to indicate Thunor, rather than either Woden or Tiw (local placenames refer to Woden and Thunor, I don't think Tiw at all).

King Alfred refused to accept an oath from Viking sworn on Odin's armring, as he knew that such an oath was seen as breakable. He allowed the oath sworn on Thor's hammer. The particular Vikings then broke that oath, and their fleet was hit by a thunderstorm off Weymouth (I think). So it is recorded...

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Apr 11 - 11:25 AM

I don't know if there are any folk tales like this, but one of the main characters, and stars, in the indie film The Butterfly Circus is a young man who was born with no limbs.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Apr 11 - 01:30 PM

In the Welsh Gyspy story The Squirrel and the Fox collected by John Sampson (XXI Gyspy Folk Tales, 1933) there is an old woman without limbs. Whether she was born that way or was disabled in later life we are not told, just that she is seer of great wisdom.

I know a great one about a pig with a wooden leg...


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Mysha
Date: 18 Apr 11 - 08:39 AM

Hi Penny,

I think it was the temple of Jupiter, whose doors remained closed while the people were at peace. Same story, of course; rites may have been copied, functions may have been moved.

Thor? Well, shall we agree that Thor would have won the elections in the areas with Germanic faith during the Early Middle Ages? Whether that makes him the best man for the job is a different matter, though.

Bye,
                                                                Mysha


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Penny S.
Date: 18 Apr 11 - 10:12 AM

Hi, Mysha - I was wrong, it was Janus.

I can't get at any of my books at the moment as I haven't been able to set up all the shelves yet after moving.

As for Thor being the god for the job, I wonder if the stories which make him look not the brightest planet in the firmament were propaganda by the Odin devotees. No way to find out, though.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Mysha
Date: 18 Apr 11 - 04:27 PM

Hi,

Oh, I'm not saying Thor would be bad for the job. Just that Tyr is in fact the right man, whereas Odin and Thor both behave like rash youngsters in a way. Maybe a thorough analysis of the corpus might tell us more about which are earlier stories and which are later, and thus which might be from the time when the cults of Thor and Odin were in direct competition. But I didn't mean to imply Thor was "mentally challenged", or whatever the current euphemism.

BTW, as for the other meaning of "dumb" (that association in itself says quite enough, I guess): Den lille Havfru gets to be human, in Andersen's tale, but she's then unable to speak. To me, that has a somewhat artificial flavour. Are there any other examples of mermaids or .men that can't communicate? Similar cases? (Check the reaction of the people when they first judge Frankenstein's creation).


Bye,
                                                                Mysha


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Apr 11 - 05:25 PM

Another goddess with limbs missing: the Inuit goddess of the sea, Sedna, whose hands were chopped off by her father.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 19 Apr 11 - 04:24 PM

LadyJean --

Do you have a name for that French folktale, so that I may Google it? Also, in that Breton story, I recognise myself in Ugly Jan -- not that I see myself as ugly or stupid, but in that, even if I had the power to "fix" myself by wishing, I wouldn't use it. The princess wants a husband who is handsome and clever; Jan is just happy being Jan.

Mysha and Penny S --

This morning, I was gifted, via email, with this article from "Disability Studies Quarterly": Toward an Archtypal Psychology of Disability Based on the Hephaestus Myth, and it includes some interesting details not often recorded in mythology dictionaries.

Suibhne -- Thanks! I'll definitely keep an eye out for "The Squirrel and the Fox. Also, since mental illness is now considered a form of disability (now that we understand the brain's physical function in the process of thought), it occurs to me that your Internet namesake is another hero for me to explore at some point (and I have Seamus Heaney's translation of Suibhne Astray on my shelves. It may be time for a reread).

Jack Campin -- That detail sounds very similiar to the Grimms' tale The Girl Without Hands


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Apr 11 - 04:48 PM

Sweeney is very much a literary creation rather than a creature of folktale, though this discussion is faily wide ranging. In terms of psychosis as a breakdown of nature/nurture duality then Sweeney is hard to beat. Proto Gnostic horror? In any case as a literary device to explore the ambiguities of nature in verse it's a piece of genius - and very modern. Whilst the Heaney translation is beautiful, you'll find Suibhne at his most profound amongst the pages of Flann O' Brien's stunning debut At Swim Two Birds where he inspires the following:

When stags appear on the mountain high
with flanks the colour of bran,
when a badger bold can say good-bue,
A PINT OF PLAIN IS YOUR ONLY MAN


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 19 Apr 11 - 05:00 PM

Suibhne -- Well, if it's from the literary tradition "in the style of folk tales" and it was written before the Great War, it's still within the scope of my blog.

I'm still looking for "The Squirrel and the Fox." I've not found it online yet, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Apr 11 - 05:53 PM

I looked at some Gypsy/Welsh stories, but couldn't find that one. Have you seen this site: Sacred Texts? "Welcome to the largest freely available archive of online books about religion, mythology, folklore and the esoteric on the Internet." Looks pretty interesting!

Here's another which looks interesting. I didn't find that story, but only did a quick search: Story Lovers dot com.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 19 Apr 11 - 06:11 PM

Haven't found any of Sampson's XXI Gyspsy Folk Tales online - there's a later imprint here though which is worth checking out:

Gypsy Folk Tales

A very fine collection. Happy hunting!

*

I first read the story around 1984 and I remember telling it a lot it that summer whilst on the hoof. Not sure when the Squirrel and the Fox were replaced by the two hares, nor yet when these hares became Lamachree & Megrum, but that's the way of things. I still tell it now as Lamachree and Megrum as I have been doing now for 15 years at least. My favourite story? Very likely. It involves an episode of blindness when Jack is forced to pull out his eyes in payment for meagre foodstuffs. A cracking tale as they say!


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Apr 11 - 06:24 PM

That reminds me of Art Thieme's story Why Whitemen Can't See Clearly.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 19 Apr 11 - 06:52 PM

Kat -- thanks for these links!

That's the great thing about collecting stories: All you have to do is mention that you're undertaking it, and people come forth to trade with you (and you can trade stories of your own and still keep them. That's pretty magical).


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: LadyJean
Date: 20 Apr 11 - 12:21 AM

CaprUni, I think the French story is called The Half Son, but I'm not sure. I found it in a book that also had the original Little Red Riding Hood where the girl meets up with a werewolf, and deals with him on her own.

I just ordered that book of gypsy folktales.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 20 Apr 11 - 12:38 AM

Okay, thanks. I'll try Google for Half Son (the keywords "Ugly Jan" just led to news stories of horrible events that happened in January -- *bothered face*))


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Penny S.
Date: 20 Apr 11 - 04:42 AM

I've just remembered I have a book of Russian stories including a character called Emelya, who releases a pike and gets a supply of wishes from it. He is generally known as stupid, and is not a very nice character, but ends up with the Tsar's daughter.
It might be worth looking for.
He uses the phrase "By the will of the pike, do what I like.
Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Penny S.
Date: 20 Apr 11 - 05:06 AM

Thanks for posting that piece about Hephaestos. Interesting about the Trickster aspect - there are parallels with Loki, aren't there, in the things he does with the Olympians.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 20 Apr 11 - 12:12 PM

Penny -- That Russian tale (in synopsis) reminds me of the British folktale "The old woman who lived in a vinegar bottle" (actually the name for a certain-shaped cottage with a thatched roof), where she agrees to release a magic fish, and the fish promises to grant her wishes whenever she calls him.

But once she starts wishing, she always wants more and more, until she wishes herself to be God. and that's magic too far, and everything pops back to the way it was.

There's a version in the Grimms' tales, too.

As for Hephaestus, yes. Another parallel with Loki is how the medieval and Renaisance writers equated him with Satan; I actually got a bit teary-eyed when I read the passage about how anger is a good thing. When you grow up with a disability, you learn very early that the only emotion you're allowed to express is "happy," if you display anger, you're being greedy -- putting unfair demands on the "generous" caregivers around you. If you express sadness or depression, you're chided for being and burden, and reminded that no one will want you, unless you're cheerful (if not always in so many words, than in the subtext).

While deciding which stories to post next in my blog, I was reading the Grimms' "Tom Thumb" (actually, in the German, he's named Thumbthick). He's a trickster, too -- first convincing his father to sell him for money, and then tricking the people who bought him into letting him go; getting himself (accidentally) swallowed by a wolf, and then tricking the wolf into taking him home again.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Apr 11 - 03:22 PM

It is neat, CU, the way folks have so much to share when you open up such a great idea! I've got more books to search through, but one story which is sort of related is Why the Evergreens Keep Their Leaves in Winter...they are the only trees which will help care for a lame bird which cannot fly south. Are you familiar with it? There is a nice version in a book my grandma gave me which she used, How to Tell Stories to Children, which story is available about 2/3rds of the way down on THIS PAGE


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Penny S.
Date: 20 Apr 11 - 04:18 PM

I loved the story of the old woman as a child - in the version we had, it was a fairy, and the old woman "never thought to say thank you to the fairy".

The Emelya story starts like the fish story you mention, but ends up differently, as Emelya doesn't quite overstretch himself.

The Hephaestos/Satan parallel reminds me of some books that popped up at school. I'm not sure if the author was the graphic artist who did the pictures - they were graphic versions. The first I came across was Genesis, and it was literal in interpretation. The second was Prometheus, and it was told through the same eyes as Genesis, emphasising how wrong P was to oppose Zeus, totally regardless of how Zeus came to be king of the gods, or what sort of being he was. It was wrong to rebel against the king. I'm not sure if she did a Norse book with Loki, or if I have imagined how she would have done it.

After reading her on Prometheus, I could quite have turned sympathetic to Satan as well. I like your attitude to Hephaestos - despite all, he was one of the good guys.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 20 Apr 11 - 04:56 PM

As I got no response to my last posting, can I safely assume that nothing has changed?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 20 Apr 11 - 11:21 PM

Jim -- I honestly can't answer your question, as I have no idea.

The blog I've started (which is what this thread is about) is intended to share specific stories with specific themes and discuss them in a written format; it's more of a literary endeavor, with a bending toward social justice in the form of addressing the ills of Ableism / Disablism.

I do admire oral storytelling, though, and your question / concern is a valid one.

And I think it deserves a thread of its own.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Penny S.
Date: 23 Apr 11 - 12:11 PM

I have checked up the use of mercury in bronze. It wasn't and it isn't, though lead has been. The poisonous effects of mercury do not match the described problems of smiths.

One poster on the science site with some experience suggested that the work operating the bellows could account for the disability. I do recall that in one case in myth (Wayland?) the damage was deliberately caused by the employer cutting the hamstrings to prevent the smith going to work for another.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Apr 11 - 01:15 PM

That story of catching and releasing a fish is used symbolically in Chingiz Aitmatov's novel "The Day Lasts More Than A Thousand Years", written in the 1970s, I think. It's set near the Aral Sea - Aitmatov was from one of the Turkic peoples of Central Asia. So I'd guess the folktale got there too.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 24 Apr 11 - 02:25 AM

Penny -- *nod* I may have mis-remembered, and my brain put in mercury where lead should have been.

Though -- and this will be one of the points I will make in my B.A.D.D. entry, in a week -- the focus on how smithing causes lameness distracts from the point that, maybe, so many Smith gods were depicted as lame is because it is the sort of work a real lame person could do, with a little bit of adaptation. As contemporary paintings of Hephaestus show, the god often worked sitting down. And smiths' workshops were places where many people worked with divided labor, so if help was needed, helpers were there.

Hence, my comment up the thread that I wonder if 3,000 years from now archeologists and anthropologists will speculate how singing the blues "Causes" blindneess.

Jack -- or maybe the story of the wish-granting fist started in Asia. Many times, I've encountered the argument that "Cinderella" started in ancient China, and that the fascination with her small feet is an outgrowth of the practice of Foot binding.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 24 Apr 11 - 01:53 PM

It's taken longer than I expected to write, but my next entry is up in my blog -- the first full telling of a Grimms tale:

The tale of Thumbling: Making your way through a world that doesn't fit.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Apr 11 - 12:22 PM

It might be interesting to see how the same themes might NOT recur worldwide, to see if some of them are culturally specific. The smith-god Ilmarinen in Finnish mythology is not lame, unlike his Indo-European counterparts.

One of the largest bodies of coherently preserved myth from anywhere is the Nart legends of the Caucasus. There is a good collection of these:

http://www.circassianworld.com/nartsagas.html

They often parallel Greek or Norse legend, but at least linguistically, the Caucasian peoples have been separated from the Indo-Europeans (and anybody else) for more than 10,000 years. I don't recall which if any personas in them are disabled.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 26 Apr 11 - 09:52 PM

Thanks, Jack. I'm always looking for new sources of stories. And I'll check them out.

There is also a danger of projecting my own experiences into any story I encounter, but the positive side of that is that I might recognize a metaphor for disability that would sail right over the head of a three-time (non-Para-) Olympian. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 01 May 11 - 09:12 PM

I spent yesterday and today writing this piece for "Blogging Against Disablism Day;" It also happens to be about the (Greek) Smith God Hephaestus, so I figure it's doubly appropriate for Beltaine.

The Lame Smith God, and the Two Sides of "Myth."

I wrote (What I thought was) most of it last night. I almost published it right then, but decided to sleep on it, first.

Then, when I woke up, I realized I really did want to expand it in order to talk about how invention of technologies (Hephaestus's sphere) and physical disability really are connected. And so that meant hunting down more links (and almost getting caught up in reading them all, 'cause oh my frog, so interesting).


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Penny S.
Date: 06 May 11 - 05:47 AM

That's really interesting - and it shows that the Greeks did have wheelchairs - since if devising a mobile chair with wings for the god, wheels would not be necessary. The wings were added to an existing device for the disabled.

In the same way, though not helpful for knowing about disability, an Anglo-Saxon illustration shows the fixings for Wayland's wings (in a Daedalus parallel, not related to his disability). These are clearly no use at all for a flying device, but exactly like the means used by primary school teachers to fix angels' wings in Nativity plays - suggesting that the illustrator had seen a drama based on the Wayland story - or it does to me.

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 08 May 11 - 01:51 AM

Penny -- whether or not the ancient Greeks had wheelchairs as we recognize them, I'm not so sure. But as one of my fellow BADD bloggers pointed out, the ancients of many cultures did have chariots, and there's a good possibility (as far as I know, not backed up by "hard" evidence) that the mobility impaired could have used chariots as their "assistive tech" as needed. King Tut (who had weak bones thanks to family inbreeding and walked with canes) is certainly shown doing all his hunting from a chariot, in the tomb paintings.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 08 May 11 - 03:28 AM

I see that this thread is now mature enough to include links to songs in the DT -- yet I can think of several that are left out. What spurs a link? Is it automatic, based on keywords? Or some MudElf's manual imput?

Hm. In any case, if I mention a specific song, it's gotta help establish a top link, right?

So: It's not just what you're born with by Si Kahn (Great song, though personally, I think it's last verses are a weakness, and it's self-consciously modern, so outside the scope of the blog I'm working on)

Old woman from Wexford (Woman deliberately feeds her husband a meal to make him blind)

Mrs. McGrath (Son returns from war with two prosthetic legs).

Johnny, I hardly knew ye (Husband returns from war a "basket case")


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 08 May 11 - 01:35 PM

A rare piece of true Northumbriana:

I hear old Corby lies in his sleep; grave digging was his occupation
Or ringing the bell, the church to keep; or dusting the pews upon occasion

Aye lame of arm with but one leg; some charity Jack was deserving
But he was too bashful to gan oot an beg; and he'd rather prefer half starving

And his speech and manners, oh they were uncouth; but firm and staunch upon occasion
And he always bluntly told the truth; withoot the smallest deviation

But to hunt the fox was his delight; to get sly Reynard in his clutches
He stopped the fox holes up by night; and by day, he hunted on his crutches

Whenever the fox was in full view; no footman with Jack could keep stitches
As Jack away on his crutches flew; louping nimbly ower hedges and ditches

but now his hunting days are done; we hope he'll not be forgotten
it's hoped he will meet up at last; with the honest sportsmen in heaven


(Jack Corby was a sexton at Bedlington in Northumberland who lost a leg in his youth; the anonymous verses were published in The Blyth Gleaner on the occasion of his death in 1819)


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 09 May 11 - 02:40 AM

Thanks Suibhne! That line "..louping ower hedges and ditches" reminds me of how much I hate those "disability awareness" exercises where able-bodied people are encouraged to try getting around on crutches, or maneuver through a room blindfolded.

The truth is, the only thing this "teaches" is that life with a disability is HARD, and the Disabled are such heroes!!! And their lives are so tragic!!!

yadda yadda.

It takes a lot longer than an hour or a day to get comfortable with crutches or chair, but once you do (and Jack had nigh a whole lifetime), you can be as graceful and athletic as your natuaral bent allows (some of us, even some able-bodied people, are happiest as armchair jockeys).


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 29 May 11 - 05:20 PM

Well, I'm not so disciplined, yet, as to post on a regular schedule, but I seem to be posting an average of four entries a month. Here is:

The May archive for Plato's Nightmare / Aesop's Dream

The hardest part is deciding on which tales to post about when, so that there is a variety of cultures and types of disability and attitudes toward the same depicted...

Hm.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: katlaughing
Date: 29 May 11 - 08:00 PM

I was just wondering about you, today, CU. You are doing better than I at keeping to the blogging! Great stuff!


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 May 11 - 08:13 PM

re your last entry: the use of "lame" to mean "inadequate" is American. In other parts of the English-speaking world the literal meaning is much more common (though maybe more often applied to animals, like dogs or racehorses).

Over here, if I heard somebody using it to mean "failed" or whatever, I'd think they either were or or were impersonating a not very bright American college student.

I wonder if it has a similar background to "dumb"? (Which in American English is the result of a borrowing from German which has nothing to do with lack of speech).


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 29 May 11 - 10:43 PM

Thanks, Kat! I'm trying. Specifically, trying to avoid writing only about Grimms' tales, which is what I know best.

Thanks for the insight, Jack... By "over here" you mean in the U.K.? In the Disability Blogosphere, I've also seen the word noted as an insult among those from Canada and Australia as well....

It might be one of those "damned Colonials!" things.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 25 Jun 11 - 04:31 PM

Welsh Gyspy story The Squirrel and the Fox collected by John Sampson (XXI Gyspy Folk Tales, 1933) there is an old woman without limbs. Whether she was born that way or was disabled in later life we are not told

Hey, Suibhne -- That book just arrived in the mail, yesterday, and I read "The Squirrel and the Fox" before bed. It is, actually mentioned:

"The old woman had neither arms nor legs: thus she had been born."

It is, as you suggested, a very meaty story. I think I'll have to let it ferment in my mind for a bit, though, before I write a post about it.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 25 Jun 11 - 04:40 PM

The latest two entries are up:

The Girl Without Hands -- Physical Disability as a "Divine Mark": Monstrosity Versus Humanity (June 11)

The Lame Man, the Blind Man, and the Donkey, a Fable on the Birth of a Fable (June 21)

This second one may be of particular interest to Mudcatters. It turns out, I was an eyewitness to the Folk Process, without even realizing it.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Mrrzy
Date: 25 Jun 11 - 06:28 PM

I didn't think anything was wrong with Rumplestiltskin until he ripped himself in half, which I thought showed amazing strength.

GREAT thread, CU!


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 25 Jun 11 - 07:41 PM

Yes, you're right, Mrrzy. I think (maybe) Rumpelstilskin is referred to as a "dwarf" in some translations.

But -- that is a name for a specific type of supernatural being related to fairies and elves. The use of "Dwarf" to refer to humans with a genetic trait of disproportionally short limbs is borrowed from the folklore belief, if I am not mistaken.

And, Thanks, Mrrzy!


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 14 Jul 11 - 02:09 PM

Suibhne Astray -- I've got the paperback version of John Sampson's Gypsy Folk Tales in front of me right now, and I'm in the process of transcribing "The Squirrel and the Fox."

AIUI, since Sampson died in 1931, the stories are just recently in the Public Domain (Life of the author, plus 70 years).

But the blurb on the back only says:

"To collect these stories, Sampson lived at the end of the last century with Romany fiddlers, harpers, fishermen, and basket-makers in the Welsh mountains where the gypsies spoke one of the purest and richest Romany dialects of Europe."

And the foreword, dated May 1, 1933, is ascribed only to a D.E.Y., with no full name given. And neither does this piece give any specific information on when Sampson collected these stories (though it goes to great lengths to describe and romanticize the authentic gypsy tellers from which he heard the tales).

I was wondering if you or anyone else, had any more specific information.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 12:13 AM

CU, just read your posting about the Lame Man, Blind Man and Donkey AND your mother. Excellent and what a wonderful advocate your mom was. I love the story and the meanings which come from it. Thanks for sharing.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 02:20 AM

Thanks, Kat.

Yes, I truly believe that, of all the privileges bestowed upon me, growing up, the greatest privilege of all was having her as a mother.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 15 Jul 11 - 07:53 PM

I've just posted "The Squirrel and the Fox," with my reactions, here.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 16 Jul 11 - 07:53 PM

I've loved the Sampson tales all my life; many are clear analogues of other stories from the Indo-European tradition, like The King of the Herrings which reduces The Golden Bird to its consummate essence, and Frosty (which no matter where it crops up always features the uncommon boat motif either in part or in whole). But others are quite unique - an especial favourite is the rollicking bawdy domestic strife of Three Priests - & The Squirrel and the Fox is narrative perfection. Having been telling the latter in my work now for 20 years or more it always surprises me to read the Sampson text afresh. As for Jack being able to 'hear' the animals, the myth still persists that blind people have a more attuned sense of hearing. Whatever the case, as a narrative device it broadcasts the inevitable with delicious effectiveness.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 02:44 AM

Interesting point about the belief about blind people having super hearing. That may indeed be part of it, but then again, animals and humans often have the power to to understand each other, in folktales, so there's that, too.

Actually, that half of the story, where Jack is solving the town's problems, reminded me a good bit of the Grimms tale "The Devil's Three Golden Hairs," where, in order to get rid (he thinks) of an unworthy suitor, a king sends the hero on a mission to Hell to bring back the three hairs of the title. On his journey to Hell, the hero is asked three questions -- in the first town he comes to, there's a well which used to flow with wine, but is now completely dry -- the second has a tree which used to give golden apples, but is now won't bear any fruit at all, and, just before he gets to Hell, he meets a ferryman who can never rest. And he promises to tell each one the answer to their problems on the way back.

Jack, of course, comes to a single town afflicted all at once...


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 17 Jul 11 - 05:19 AM

Indeed - could be a simple case of anthropomorphism, but in living with the story all these years I've always felt The Blind Jack operates on a different level of initiation to his previous seeing-self. His willingness to blind himself is another fascinating piece of apparant idiocy in this respect. In emphasis of this I always make clear that the eyes Jack removes were bown, whereas the eyes he gets are blue (which of course makes him more desirable to the giant's daughter later on). Once, whilst on a particularly rollicking roll, I free-styled an entire sequence of self-mutilation in which Jack doesn't just remove his eyes, but pays for more food by removing teeth and limbs as well, and finally his very heart - but my young woodland audience were in a gruesome mood that night! How he got them back was by waiting for the autumn and for the various leaves, seeds, twigs, galls, mast, acorns, keys, etc etc. to fall from the various trees in the woodland, in further emphasis of death / ressurection / initiation I suppose, and even then he had to wait until the spring before the magic tood full effect. I only did this to flesh the bones of the story several members of that night's audience had heard me tell the night before. Listening back to a tape of the performance though I was amazed at how well it all fitted together (thus vindicating my ideas with respect of The Storyteller as Shamanic Medium). In this respect, the Sampson collection contains some potent tales, not least of them being The Squirrel and the Fox.

A wee aside: one time I told it as part of an afternoon festival session and a family had to leave (for whatever reason) half way through. In fact, they left at the point Jack falls beneath the tree, blind, and not caring if lives or dies, before the eponymous beasts put in their appearance. At this point I generally sing a brief but creepy ballad - The Witch Mother, The Twa Corbies, Long Lankin or Child Owlett. The next day, the family sought me out with their two young sons telling me they'd both had very troubled nights because they were worried about what would become of Jack in the story. This is what comes of only hearing only half a tale! So - after a brief story-so-far for the benefir of other passers-by* I gave them a full telling of the more comedic Part Two. We were in the Market Place of a Northumbrian Market Town so we picked up quite an audience, but my focus was on the two brothers (!). Afterwards an old woman stepped up to the mother of the boys and said: "You don't want to let your lads listen to stuff like that - they'll never get to sleep tonight."
"Oh no," quoth the Mum with a grin, "Quite the opposite - it'll help them sleep better!"

* In telling in a festival situation I always do a story-so-far for any latecomers - usually getting the kids to help me. It cements the audience, and brings the stories alive in the hearts of the community.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 01:26 AM

Suibhne -- Heh. "The Dangers of leaving a story before it's finished" could end up as a plot twist element in a story of its own...


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,SharonA
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 12:26 PM

Hi, CapriUni:

I've skimmed through this thread and I have not seen any mention of the tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin... so I thought I'd mention it. :-)

In the version of the tale with which I'm familiar, there was one lame boy who could not keep up with the other children who were led by the Piper through the "door" in the mountain, and could not reach the door before it closed. Looking it up today on Wikipedia, I find reference to the Brothers Grimm version in which there are two children (one lame, the other blind) left behind by the Piper; Wiki also alludes to an unidentified version in which there are three children (the first lame, the second deaf [but curious enough to follow the crowd], the third blind) shut out of the mountain.

As a child hearing this story, I always thought it was terribly cruel of the Piper to leave the lame boy behind, since I was being told that all the other kids ended up in some happy land on the other side of the closed door, away from the selfish and greedy adults of the town. Now, I wonder if that part of the story was a variation on the narrative of the story of Job ("I only am escaped alone to tell thee" [of the tragedy that has befallen thee]), since the lame boy of Hamelin was the one who told the townspeople what had happened to the kids while the adults were in church.

Of course, this particular folk tale is based on an actual event: the disappearance of the children of the town of Hamelin, Germany, circa 1284. Too bad no one knows the real reason why. But it's curious that a lame boy was inserted into the tale to be the messenger of bad news.

Segue to the chat about mercury (from posts in April 2011): Hatters (makers of hats) were indeed affected by mercury poisoning because mercury was used in the curing of pelts and the production of felt for hats (around the 18th to 19th centuries). The buildup of the toxin in their bodies resulted in vision problems, confused speech, excessive anxiety and timidity, dementia, and sometimes eventual death. I don't know how bronze got into the discussion of mercury (maybe it was in a blog entry?).

SharonA


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 18 Jul 11 - 01:34 PM

Sharon A -- Thanks for reminding me about the Pied Piper -- now that you mention it, I do remember that detail.

Also interesting is that it was linked to an historical event. I've often noted that the people who live with disabilities are actually stronger than others, who go from being able-bodied to dead. I, for example, was born 9 weeks premature, and without an incubator and antibiotics, would not have survived my first week; Christopher Reeve lived as a quadriplegic because he survived a "hangman's injury."

Perhaps an epidemic swept through Hamelin that killed many children, and left the survivors lame and/or blind (meningitis? polio?). And that later got romanticized into the story of a mysterious stranger...

The mention of mercury was originally my mistake -- there are some theories that so many Smith/Forge gods in Indo-European mythology are lame because they used lead as a cheap substitute for tin in making bronze. And in my faulty memory, I switched the two toxins around.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: SharonA
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 07:08 PM

Thanks for clearing up the mercury thing for me. It all makes sense now!

Theories about the disappearance of Hamelin's children abound: an epidemic; a catastrophe such as a landslide in the mountains; foul play and eventual execution of the children by the Piper; the luring of the children by some silver-tongued orator who convinced them to join the Children's Crusade.

There's even a theory that it might have been a case of simple emigration (assuming that the phrase "children of the town" could've referred to the residents of the town, second-generation and onward [minors and adults]), and that a large number of these residents moved away at around the same time, lured by recruiters as part of the drive by Germany to colonize new lands in eastern Europe that had been won in battle.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 20 Jul 11 - 08:57 PM

Yes, it's like when they say about modern movies or TV shows: "Based on a true story!" to give it an air of gravitas it wouldn't ordinarily have, but it could be that that one sliver of truth is simply that a guy named "Joe" really did walk around the corner that day ... and the whole, lurid murder Joe witnessed was totally made up.

Personally, I focused on the illness or meningitis angle first because the focus of my blog is on how depictions of disability in folktales are just as based on real-life experiences as any other depictions in the stories (such as ploughboys and scullery maids), and not simply (as they are often treated in folktale analysis) metaphors for psychological states.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 05 Sep 11 - 12:05 PM

I just realized that it's been a while since I updated this thread. Until I came back here, I didn't realize how long a while it's been.

So here's what I've been posting in the meantime:

I wish I could say more about this (some legends regarding the origins of Mother Goose).

The Squirrel and Fox: Awe and fear in the face of Disability

Mrs. Smith from Persuasion -- Physical Disability and illness as the Great Equalizer

Changelings: When parents fear the child they did not expect

Hans my Hedgehog: When disabled children are hidden for shame


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 08 Sep 11 - 02:53 AM

I can't believe no-one has mentioned "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". Not a folktale, but might as well be one since people think anything Disney has adapted is a fairy/folktale.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 08 Sep 11 - 03:37 AM

BTW, I've always wanted to see "Hunchback of Notre Dame" or "Notre Dame De Paris" redone in novel form as a story about disabled children who are raised in isolation and the effects of being raised in isolation from the world.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 08 Sep 11 - 07:45 AM

Oh, and by *people*, I mean "most of the people I know".


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 09 Sep 11 - 07:10 AM

Did I mention the Pig With the Wooden Leg? Or that classic about the deaf ferryman in Absjorsen and Moe (Axe Handle)? Check out the opening of Joseph Jacob's rendering of The Leeching of Kayn's Leg - how's that for a catalogue of disability & outsider cultural terror?


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Crowhugger
Date: 09 Sep 11 - 10:35 AM

Morwen--I have no problem considering 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' a folk tale. Who is to say that there is no room to add a recent story to the lore? I don't know folklore well enough to comment on whether HOND could/should be classified as retelling an archetypal story.

Also along the line of recent tellings of old stories, it's only a matter of time until Aesop's Fables or are retold according to the computer age, though I suspect it's already so for example in the gaming world and for Sci-Fi or Space specialty TV channels. Even mainstream: Does anyone remember Rocket Robin Hood? Not exactly classic folklore, but children of a certain generation got their steal-from-rich-give-to-poor stories there. It's not about disability in particular, I raise it just to illustrate that current authorship doesn't mean it can't serve the role(s) of folklore.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Sep 11 - 11:34 AM

Was the pig with the wooden leg the one who saved the family from the fire? (You don't eat a pig like that all at once!)

I actually didn't know till just now that the children of Hamelin had actually vanished, and I hadn't heard about the disabled child(ren) left behind. I shall have to do me some rereading.

In Greek mythology and reality, I believe, misshapen children were often exposed, to wit left to die in the wilderness.

In the part of Africa that I grew up in there were always interesting things about twins, and whether they were sacred, cursed, or birds (i remember the ones that thought twins were birds especially). But I was wondering, are there any folktales about *conjoined* twins?


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Sep 11 - 11:46 AM

(And, not to make it a music thread or anything...)

But...

Even the cripple forgets his humch
When he's snug outside of a jug of punch!


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 09 Sep 11 - 02:23 PM

Morwen -- Thanks for the reminder about Hunchback of Notre Dame. That is actually a good fit since I'm including all literature up to the start of World War 1 (which is the turning point I pick as the start of the "modern world"), and I've already included snippets from Shakespeare* and Jane Austen.

Mrrzy -- Regarding the treatment of infants with disabilities in Ancient Greece, another blogger wrote a very good critique & examination of that particular historical "Fact" in another piece for Blogging Against Disablism Day, this year (Which was the event which inspired me to start Plato's Nightmare). It's here: B.A.D.D.: Researching Disability in Ancient Greece.

Suibhne -- Yes, you mentioned the beginning of The Leeching of Kayn's Leg, above. And I mentioned it when a friend in Canada was complaining, this last election cycle, about how no politicians from any party was taking disability rights seriously, and maybe we disabled should start our own party. ...She agreed with me that "The Beggarly Brotherhood" would be the perfect name for such a party.

Thanks for the hint about Axe Handle; Absorjen and Moe have given me some of my favorite stories.

*I also plan on doing a piece on Caliban from The Tempest, and getting around to critiquing Freud's critique of Richard III.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 09 Sep 11 - 05:59 PM

Maybe *I* should write that HOND retelling!


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 09 Sep 11 - 07:08 PM

Morwen -- You should. Even if someone else does, too, only you could infuse it with what you've learned, from your own experience.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 10 Sep 11 - 03:40 AM

Well, to find out whether HOND retells a folktale/archetypal story or should or could be considered as doing that - are there any folklorists on this board who have read it and can tell us whether of not they can see any folktale motifs in it and/or name any traditional French or European folktales involving hunchbacks/ disabled people and isolation and confinement, the Catholic clergy, and the Romani people?


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 10 Sep 11 - 11:54 AM

Morwen -- I'm sure there are such 'Catters here (And I'd be interested to know other stories with the isolation archetype, as well).* But you have the right to tell any story you're drawn to.

*Of course, it may be harder to find scholarly categorization of the archetype, if the people sorting them don't recognize the themes because they haven't thought about it in their daily lives.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 10 Sep 11 - 06:35 PM

The only one I can think of right now is the very well-known "Rapunzel" and similar tales, which only has blinding at the end. There must be some traditional tales involving disability and isolation. BTW, CapriUni, I read your blog post on "Hans-My-Hedgehog'and the conclusions you came to from retelling it. And I have to ask, are you going to be drawing comparisons in themes between the tales and the classic literature you write about on the blog? BTW again, thanks for sharing those posts, you've made me think about folktales in a different way!


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 10 Sep 11 - 10:00 PM

Morwen -- I plan on drawing some comparisons between stories that I post on the blog, yes. But I also want to leave some space for readers to draw their own conclusions. And I want each post to stand mostly on its own, without making people feel like they have to read every post to understand each one. There was so much more I could say about Hans, for example, but the post was already six word-processor pages long, and I didn't want to talk the poor reader to death.* But I do welcome (and look forward to) continuing the exploration of these tales via discussions in comments. *hint-hint*

As for Rapunzel -- Yes, she's kept isolated, but not because of a disability (rather, an attempt to keep her chaste). And it's not her blindness, but the prince's. And that's another story I will post in the future (though I'm hoping to keep the Grimms tales spaced out a bit -- like raisins in raisin bread -- it's not as much fun if they're all clumped together in one spot).

But, you know Hans-my-Hedgehog could be seen as belonging to the isolation motif, since he's kept hidden behind the stove when he's home, and hides himself in the middle of the forest when he's on his own...

And -- you're welcome. My pleasure. :-)
*also, it brought up a lot of personal anger issues from things I'd witnessed in my own childhood, and I didn't want my discussion to slide into a full-blown rant).


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 10 Sep 11 - 11:37 PM

In fact, CapriUni, I think a way of adding a twist to retelling a story would be to combine it with another one. BTW, I never actually read an actual book of Grimms' tales when I was little (maybe I should ask for that as another birthday present)buy they might give me ideas!


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 12:07 AM

*But* as a correction to my 10 September post.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 01:17 AM

Morwen -- I've always loved fairy and folktales. But it wasn't until I was a freshmen in college, and took a survey course in the genre (going from Grimms at the "oral storytelling" end of the spectrum, to Michael Ende's The Neverending Story at the literary end of the spectrum), and was required to read them closely, and then discuss them in class, that I really realized there was so much meat there to chew on (or beans, if you're vegetarian ;-)).

And definitely: combining stories together is a fantastic way to twist a tale. Are you familiar with the musical Into the Woods? That combines four Grimms Tales into a single play.

This site has good translations of most of the Grimms' Tales as e-texts (and the translator has included the motif index number for each of them): The Grimm Brothers' Children's and Household Tales


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 08:03 AM

Yes. I've never seen it, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 03:00 PM

I recommend it. There was a version made for television back in the '90s; it might be available on DVD.

Last year, though, I saw a production put on by the local Evangelical Christian college. And they saw fit to change it, by framing it as a child's dream, rather than letting it stand on its own. I suspect, perhaps, that the second half, when the characters fight back against the Narrator, and take ahold of their own destinies, is too much for a culture that takes the Book as the ultimate, unquestionable Authority in All Things. At least they didn't fiddle with the central narrative.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 05:38 PM

BTW, how do you do italics on this board? Off-topic, but something I've been wondering for a long time.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 12:30 AM

Morwen -- to create italics, type an "i" between angle brackets (the "upper case" on the period and comma keys) before the section you want to italicize; at the end of the section, do the same, but put a / mark before the "i" like this:

< i > and < / i > ... but without the spaces. Use a "b" for bold text, a "u" for underlines, and an "s" for strike-through.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 08:30 AM

Thanks, CapriUni!


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 08:47 AM

BTW, I also remembered four other books- don't know if you've thought of these. "Jack and Jill", Louisa May Alcott. "What Katy Did", ","Pollyanna", and "Heidi" Three of the heroines of these books get mysterious paralysing spinal injuries and have to stay lying down for months.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 03:08 PM

Thank you for the reminder! I knew about Heidi and Pollyanna, but didn't know about the other two. And, to boot, I bet my local library will probably have "Heidi." at least. Of course these stories all say more about the condescending attitudes toward people (especially girls) with disabilities than what life with disability is actually like.

"The Secret Garden" has a boy who has an apparent disability (But it turns out he was just faking/was coddled). So ableism has interesting overlaps with sexism...


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 05:18 PM

(hijack).Talking about "Heidi", anyone have any ideas on what exactly Clara had?


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 05:21 PM

BTW, about my comment about my C.P. Yes, I *did* say it was mild.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 14 Sep 11 - 11:20 AM

Okay, thinking of doing Pied Piper of Hamelin, next. Question, though: Which version?

How many versions/translations are out there? And am I correct in thinking that the poem by Robert Browning is the one most people know?


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 05:48 AM

Well, I remember hearing that poem (Robert Browning one) read aloud class in Year 2.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 08:07 AM

CapriUni, have you got any ideas about what Clara in "Heidi" had that made her paralysed? Or was it like "The Secret Garden"- Thanks! I forgot that one- with Colin who wasn't paralysed but thought he was?


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 01:32 PM

Morwen -- It's been so long since I read Heidi, I had to go back and remind myself of the plot in Wikipedia. ... Now, I know why I put it out of my mind!

Ack! So much ableism! So much Fail (and not just paralysis, but blindness and epilepsy, too). I think Johanna Spryri just wanted to give Clara something tragic and heart wrenching that she could be cured from, so the parents would be grateful to the titular heroine, without any regard to what these conditions are really like.

(All she needed was to have her wheelchair thrown off a mountain, and be forced to walk! She could walk if only she tried hard enough! She was only an invalid because her parents were too soft on her!)

As I'm writing this post up, I'm coming to the realization that, in the late 19th Century, at least Disability in literature was like Sci-fiction or fantasy today -- actual people with actual disabilities were so secluded from society that they might as well have been elves, or little green men from Saturn. Writers could make stuff up and throw it into their stories as metaphors and plot points and there was no expectation to be factual in any way about it.

The problem is, these stories are still being read, today, and unfortunately, people still think these fantasies are realistic. And people still come up to me and insist I really could walk, if I just tried hard enough.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 03:55 PM

CapriUni - you might want to look into the history of mental illness for the backstory to some of these disability 'fantasies' in literature. Genuine mental illness has a peculiar history of manifesting in 'socially acceptable' ways depending on the period - so where 'hysterical paralysis' or 'hysterical blindness' for example would have been more commonplace in years gone by, it now is almost non existent. By way of contrast, we now have a lot of food related behavioural problems (and related dysmorphias) such as anorexia and bullimia, which in years past was as unknown as hysterical paralysis is now.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 03:59 PM

I'd like to rephrase 'socially acceptable' to read 'socially expected' (symptoms of mental illness)


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 06:18 PM

It's like those movies where the glasses-wearing heroine has her glasses taken off to make her look more beautiful, but you have to wonder how she can see after that. If you need glasses to see, you can't do well without them. It might be the same kind of thing.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 16 Sep 11 - 11:08 PM

Guest -- Good point! (I still don't think that throwing someone's wheelchair off a mountain is an acceptable way of confronting mental illness, either, but that's another rant)

There's also "selective mutism" as one of this age's relatively expected manifestations of mental illness.

Morwen -- I know, right? I think it's part of the spectrum where assistive technology = unsexy. Beautiful women are rendered plain, once they put on glasses, and totally asexual in a wheelchair. And prosthetics can either mark you as evil (Captain Hook, Long John Silver) or inhuman (the Borg).


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Mrrzy
Date: 17 Sep 11 - 02:41 PM

Loved The Secret Garden, where he could walk once he wasn't mollycoddled.

Hadn't thought of the parallel to Heidi, though.

The borg were also evil, from the human point of view.

I can't remember the movie where Cary Grant has the officious woman take her glasses off, but I do remember wondering how she managed through the rest of the movie.

True story: My 5'2 sister, when she first became a litigator (1m55 and barrister to you Brits), had to get glasses that she didn't need so she could take them off when she needed to say Your Honor in a very serious voice and be taken seriously. If she didn't have the glasses to take off she just looked 12. Is that disablism? Or ageism? Or heightism? It was definitely something-ism. Now she's a US Attorney who actually does wear glasses, so ça va. (Hope that html works.)

And I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Kevin from the Mists of Avalon version of the Arthur stories. Kevin was one of the Merlins of Britain, who had been terribly burned as a child and was kind of half-melted, and had a strong effect because of that, and a different one, each on Guenevere and Morgana le Fey.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Crowhugger
Date: 18 Sep 11 - 02:01 PM

I'd forgotten about The Secret Garden, thanks for that Mrrzy!


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 02:36 AM

Refresh. Actually, "girl gets spinal injury and learns to be more feminine"plots were once very common.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 01:45 PM

Oh, yes. Because being too active and athletic and independent is Dangerous in Girls. But a spinal chord injury will cure that, and make them all pretty and willing to accept help from gentlemen after...

There's a bit of that in Persuasion, by Jane Austen (I wrote about the character Mrs. Smith from that book, recently), when one of the pretty, superficial, girls falls and suffers a head injury and personality change, after (The only defense I can put up in Ms. Austen's defense is that they didn't understand how important the brain really was, to health, back in 1811).


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 23 Sep 11 - 08:26 AM

In "What Katy Did", Katy has a paralysed cousin who helps her learn to deal with it. i think it's significant in these stories that the protagonist nearly always gets permanent help while other characters don't.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 02:53 AM

RE: question I raised earlier about folklore archetypes in "Hunchback of Notre Dame", I suddenly remembered this from the last time I read an English translation of the book: spoilers for anyone who has not read . Near the end of the book, when Esmeralda, the Spanish Romani girl, is about to be sent to the gallows, Hugo reveals that Esmeralda is actually not Romani at all, but a French girl named Agnes, the illegitimate daughter of a woman who became an anchoress after losing her daughter that she had in an out-of-wedlock relationship with a soldier. Agnes was actually kidnapped by a band of Spanish Romani from Andalusia. Her name was changed to Esmeralda, and Quasimodo was exchanged for her,abandoned on the steps of Notre Dame when he was discovered to be deformed.

So basically, Victor Hugo portarays Romani in a similar way to "The Fair Folk" in British Isles stories. They kidnap beautiful mortal/White European children and replace them with their own deformed babies/changelings. It's the chnageling archetype.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 02:55 AM

*portrays* and HOND .


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 02:47 PM

Hey, wow. You're right, that is a changeling story... (I've never actually read Hunchback of Notre Dame -- only saw an early silent film version in a film appreciation course I took in high school).

And boy! isn't it full of Racism fail along with ableism fail? Esmerelda is seen as a monster, and worthy of the gallows, as long as she's believed to be one of the outcasts, and an inferior race. But as soon as it's proven that she's really born to a "proper" European race, and upper class, then all of a sudden, she's the worthy victim and heroine.

Tsk. *Shakes head.*


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 06:13 PM

Was the silent film version the one with Lon Chaney? BTW, every English teacher I've had tells me Charles Laughton is really good.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 06:57 PM

And the implication(probably fully intended by Hugo) is that Esmeralda, despite her flightiness amd superficiality, is a good person and should be treated in the same way as White French people because she is one of them, and not really Roma. i.e. "blood will tell", a person's ancestry, their racial origin, determines their personality and morality, not how they were raised and their own emotional reactions. So the other implication would be that Quasimodo, although he was raised by White people, will (as revealed by the plot twist that he is of Roma ancestry) have a bad streak because he is Roma.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 07:00 PM

*and*


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 28 Sep 11 - 07:02 PM

*And I should probably have said "despite her character flaws, she's still portrayed as basically a good person"


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 02:53 AM

Yes... That was what I meant by Racism Fail ("fail" is a slang way of mocking a person or artistic or literary work's "moral failing") -- Victor Hugo's ugly racist assumptions about race, and the quality of non-White European people's value as people.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 04:39 AM

Which silent version did you see? Incidentally, despite the racism and ableism, Hugo raises some issues that are still relevant even now.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 05:46 AM

*"although he was raised by White people" should be "although he was raised by White people, which as implied by the narrator would make him a good person." As someone of Chinese descent, it would sound self-hating if I (apparently) implied that non-White people are bad parents!


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Mrrzy
Date: 29 Sep 11 - 11:26 AM

What was that great movie, back during the time of the "message" movie (you can be raped even if you don't fight was one, Ted Danson played the molesting father in another), about the skier who broke her neck? I remember the scene when she's home from the hospital, and she manages after mashing most of them to pick up a potato chip, and she is SO proud of her achievement... and her boyfriend looks horrified and flees, leaving behind his gift of...

New ski boots. He'd had no idea what her injury actually *meant*.

I think this was a true story rather than a message movie, though, but it feels about that old to me. Mid-eighties?

And the above post reminds me of the true story where my radical rabid jewish nephew was getting married in Israel, and the rabbi was rabbiting on about how he (my nibling) was such a great person despite his handicapping upbringing, kind of like that scene in the new Star Trek movie. My sister said, and I quote, "that rabbi can bite me."


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 02:39 AM

Morwen -- I don't remember. The last time I saw it was over 30 years ago (I was younger than you are now).

And Mrrzy -- I hate to say it, but that sounds like the kind of movie that's made me cringe and want to throw things at the TV my entire life (and it might have been a message movie "based on a true story").


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 03:40 AM

I'll be 18 pretty soon- 2 October which is Sunday over here in Australia.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 03:51 AM

Mrrzy- I can't believe there's actually anyone who'd say stuff like that. BTW, (some Mudcatters can probably fill me in on this) but one of the issues raised in The Hunchback of Notre Dame even though there's the unfortunate twist about Esmeralda, is prejudice against Roma, which is still very strong in parts of Europe with a significant Roma population, and even in non-European countries with a low amount of people who identify as Roma.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 05:37 PM

*which is apparently,until it is discovered to be otherwise*


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 06:19 PM

Morwen -- Happy Birthday, then (even if it is a day or two early). I was still younger than you when I saw HOND (If I recall correctly, I was about 16 or 17 when I saw took that class. That would have been 1980 or '81).


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 Sep 11 - 07:08 PM

Thanks. I'm still 17 right now.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 01 Oct 11 - 10:02 AM

Umm, not trying to be horrid here, but is there any real need to repeatedly refresh a thread, if you've got nothing new to add to it? Just sayin' :)


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 01 Oct 11 - 07:21 PM

Well, I do have something to add. In HoND, Hugo addresses some issues that are still important, as in the way he seems to be addressing prejudices against the Roma, and(despite the condescending portrayal of Quasimodo, who is an object of pity) he explores social justice issues fairly well.
BTW, anyone have the same idea as I did, that Quasimodo's red hair and pale skin could be because of albinism?


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 01 Oct 11 - 07:40 PM

It just slipped my mind.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 07:54 AM

BTW, anyone want to discuss my idea about Quasimodo? Maybe you can use that theory in your HOND post, CapriUni! Another BTW, on "Pied Piper of Hamelin", I remember asking a teacher's aide about what happened to those kids after they went into the cave- the story was one of our readers- and being a bit disturbed when I heard they died. I don't remember hearing about the boy who couldn't catch up- but it might've been in the Browning poem, I don't know. actually think it might have been Year 6 that I heard it.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 02 Oct 11 - 05:38 PM

Refresh. Anyone else think Quasimodo(although there isn't any proof in the novel)could have been an albino? Or he could just have had a White parent or other White ancestor. But anyway (and I actually don't want to offend anyone by saying this, especially not anyone who actually has albinism and stumbles across this site ), so my apologies if I've offended anyone). in my opinion , the albinism theory is more intriguing.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 02:20 AM

The albinism idea comes from reading Azizi's blog post on "Black-on-Black Taunting: Burnt Rice" although Quasimodo was not Black, but Romani.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,999
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 04:47 AM

Real-life Quasimodo uncovered in Tate archives - Telegraph

The above is worth a google.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 07:40 AM

999, I copy-and pasted it into the that article is about a sculptor who , may have been the inspiration for the character of Quasimodo . and it's really interesting. Thanks. I actually read it before, but I haven't in a long time Not to cause another misunderstanding, but I was thinking more on the lines of the fictional character of

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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Jeri
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 08:01 AM

Morwen, as Quasimodo's possible albinism doesn't have much to do with CapriUni, her blog, folk tales, or even really, disability, and as you really want to talk about him, I think the topic is worth you starting a separate thread. At least people who search for "Quasimodo" will be able to find your posts.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 02:29 PM

My latest entry (inspired and informed by MudCat threads, btw-- and the first where I discuss a song*): The "False-parted" woman in comic ballads.

... I actually posted it Friday evening, but then lost my Internet connection over the weekend.

*I've been debating whether or not to write about "Mrs. McGrath" -- does that count as "folklore" or straight history? I might do a piece on "The Jovial Beggar," to contrast attitudes toward disability in men vs. women, & young vs. old...


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Mrrzy
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 02:38 PM

If Quasimodo had red hair, he wasn't albino, they have white hair.

Mrs McGrath, Road to Sweet Athay, are about the "mutiles de guerre" - war wounded, yes, that should count. I don't think you have to be disabled from birth to make it into folktales and -songs.

False-parted woman? LOL! That's a mondegreen I hadn't heard yet!

Morwen, that was the most printable of the things that got said - the bride's family also tried to get more money out of my sister... and happy bday!


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 03 Oct 11 - 03:13 PM

Mrzzy -- I'm not questioning whether or not Mrs. McGrath counts as disability, but as folklore -- an account of an actual war's aftermath isn't exactly the same animal as a fantastical/fictional story.

And "False-Parted" isn't a mondegreen so much as my gleeful indulgence in punning. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 09 Oct 11 - 04:36 AM

Here's a question I've been rolling around in my head for a while (just like Tigger, rolling around the thistles, when he's trying to learn what food he likes best):

Should I include depictions of the Elderly as depictions of Disability, if the symbols of Disability (walks with a crutch or cane, has palsy in the hands or head, etc.) are serving a greater purpose as a symbol for Advanced Age?

For example: in the opening scene of The Winter's Tale there are these lines:

CAMILLO:
I very well agree with you in the hopes of him: it
is a gallant child; one that indeed physics the
subject, makes old hearts fresh: they that went on
crutches ere he was born desire yet their life to
see him a man.

ARCHIDAMUS:
Would they else be content to die?

CAMILLO:
Yes; if there were no other excuse why they should
desire to live.

ARCHIDAMUS:
If the king had no son, they would desire to live
on crutches till he had one.
----

I've seen it argued that Shakespeare isn't really talking about the quality of life of "the Disabled," but is simply using "went on crutches" as a short-hand code for "very old," in the same way walkers (walking frames) are used as a gag reference to the elderly by modern comedians.

On the other hand, if part of the bias against the elderly (the reason to poke fun at them) is that they become disabled as they age, doesn't that count as depictions of the Big D "Disability" in folk tales?

And boy-howdy! if I included folktales that specifically mentioned an old woman's cane or crutch, the number of relevant stories would shoot through the roof (O Hai thar, nearly every depiction of fairy tale witches!).


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 09 Oct 11 - 07:07 AM

I'm curious-- what folktale/fairy tale witches use a cane or crutch? I don't know of any :(.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 09 Oct 11 - 02:59 PM

Morwen --

Admitedly, when the question first popped into my head I actually looking at a picture, rather than reading a story. In 1806, Thomas Dibdin wrote a Holiday Pantomime about Mother Goose that made her into a witch-figure, complete with magic wand, and raising ghosts. And This roughly contemporary illustration (at least, pre-modern) shows her carrying a cane/crutch (hard to tell from the picture how it's used when she's walking).

And That reminded me of witch at the beginning of The Goose-Girl at the Spring, from Grimms' Children's and Household Tales.

And while she doesn't use a crutch, the witch at the beginning of The Six Swans is identified as a witch because she's old, and has a "bobbing head," which could be a symptom of Parkinson's or some other palsy.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 09 Oct 11 - 06:27 PM

I *love* "The Goose-Girl At the Spring"! And "The Six Swans".


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 09 Oct 11 - 07:31 PM

Yes. ...Those are two of my favorites, and remembering that the witch (wise woman) at the beginning of "The Goose-Girl" uses her disability to test the character of the Prince/Hero made me so happy, because that gives me reason to share it and pontificate on it (And I've often wondered, in the back of my mind, if that Germanic-quasi-Goddess witch figure, who watches over the abused, and protects them by transforming them into geese is the root/origin of "Mother Goose").

I also love "The Six Swans" -- the imagery of the shirts woven from asters being thrown over the backs of flying swans is just so visually striking. And the chutzpah of the protagonist heroine when she realizes she cannot trust her father to protect her, so she strikes out on her own, makes me gleeful.

But I've been going back and forth on whether her six years of voluntary mutism counts as a "disability" or not. On the one hand, her situation mirrors the lives of many people who cannot speak (including children with more severe forms of cerebral palsy) who are at the mercy of others in authority who make all the decisions about their lives. But on the other hand, her muteness is imposed from the outside, and not any limit of her own abilities, and the whole story may be more a reflection of cultural sexism, rather than ableism.

So I haven't made my mind up on that, yet...


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 09 Oct 11 - 10:18 PM

I think it was intended to be a condition of the spell. Her brothers would be in danger if she broke it by speech. btw, I've always thought that combining this tale with swan maiden tales would make a great fantasy novel- something i'd love to read. But I've got too much on with HSC.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 05:30 PM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 07:53 PM

Well, just now, I finished my latest entry. It's here: "They that went on crutches" (the intersection of old age and disability) -- basically, I just expanded on the question I asked yesterday.

---
Morwen -- yes, her muteness is a condition of the witch's spell. But the practical consequences of that (that all the major developments in her life from that time on are decided for her by those around her, and her own desires and needs are ignored) are things that people living without the ability to speak have to deal with in real life.

(Looking at the story with a modern sensibility, I wonder how she could remain silent during childbirth ... but maybe the spell allowed her to "Arrrrgh!" as long as she didn't utter an actual word).


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 08:36 PM

Maybe she's so desperate to save her brothers that she endures pain to do it. Or maybe it's as you said. Or family loyalty. BTW, in some versions (most of them have the father be a king or wealthy lord), the father plans to have the brothers killed so that the heroine, his youngest child, can inherit all his property, because she's his favourite child.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 10 Oct 11 - 08:49 PM

Yes, I'm familiar with the motif of the "plot" to ensure that the youngest inherit the property -- just look at all the stories where it's the youngest child who's the only one moral enough, or lucky enough, to pass the "inheritance test."

I've also come across the theory (though I don't know how valid it is) that this element of the youngest, rather than the eldest, is the designated heir is a remnant of the ancient Indo-European culture that was matriarchal rather than patriarchal.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 11 Oct 11 - 12:14 AM

Why does only half of the last sentence show up?
When you started the second set of italics starting with "because", you typed <I. instead of <I>


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 11 Oct 11 - 05:04 PM

thanks. BTW, this is not a story but a song (Sorry, I can't give the lyrics!) Lord Executor, an old Trinidadian calypsonian (who died in 1950 so this song may not fit but his career began in the 1890s) slowly became blind in the final years of his life and wrote an extempo verse and a song called " How I Spent My Time In The Hospital."


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 11 Oct 11 - 09:01 PM

Well, songs are fair game -- my post on the "false-parted woman" was about the motif of prosthetics in comic ballads, dating back to the 1600s.

And I plan on doing a post on "The Jolly Beggar" sometime in the nearish future, to contrast the attitudes toward men and women with disabilities.... And then, there's also Teddy in "Mrs. McGrath."

But yeah, it sounds like "How I spent my time in Hospital" is a bit too recent for my scope. Maybe you could start a new discussion thread about the song, here on Mudcat?


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 12 Oct 11 - 07:23 AM

I just remembered that the song is on a box set called "Calypso: West Indian Rhythm 1938-1940".


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 23 Oct 11 - 07:22 PM

My latest blog entry is now up: Halfman -- navigating the barriers of mockery and hatred.

I actually found the story through Lady Jean's suggestion, in this thread, way back on April 16th. It's not exactly the same story (this one's from Greece, not France) but it has many of the same elements. I've only read one translation into English, so I just linked to that version, and summarized the points relating to the Disability Experience (rather than attempt my own retelling based on synthesis of many translations).


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,Mrr at work
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 04:25 PM

What about the Baba Yaga? Lived in a house on duck's feet that would turn around, went around in a mortar, driving it on with the pestle, and sweeping out the traces behind her with a broom... would that be a witch-y wheelchair?


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 24 Oct 11 - 06:44 PM

Ooh... that's an interesting idea, Mrr.

Also, when specific holidays come up, there is an expectation for specific stories to go with them. A week from now is Halloween (quickly becoming bigger than Christmas, here in the States), So maybe I could explore the story of Baba Yaga for that...

And this morning, I remembered a ghost story from a collection of Katherine Briggs' British Folktales anthology, called "Sammle's Ghost." Sammle dies, and he has to go meet with the king of the worms, And the king of the worms tells him that his spirit can't leave this earth and go on to the next dimension until after the worms have digested every last bit of his earthly body. And in the course of gathering up his body's ashes, it's revealed that, in life, he had to have an arm amputated, so he has to go fetch the preserved arm that the doctor kept in his office after the surgery.

And there's no big deal made of that fact... no notion that going about with only one arm was any great tragedy, but it just meant there was a bit of a complication in transitioning to the Afterlife. So I may post that story sometime this week, because it certainly does suggest that ghosts, like pirates, are often missing some parts (because if they managed to get through this life with all of their parts intact, they'd have moved on by now...).


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 05:32 PM

Happy Halloween! To celebrate, I posted one of my favorite ghost stories to "Plato's Nightmare..."

"Sammle's Ghost" -- A Tale for Halloween

It's not particularly gory (in the literal sense) or violent. But it does mention a lot of snails and slugs and bats, and things. And it's basically a dialog between a ghost and a giant (rather bureaucratic) Great Worm. So, if worms and things (or bureaucrats) disgust you, you may not want to read...


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 05:42 AM

Just had cause to mention Jacob's The Legend of Knockgrafton in another thread. I suppose it's already been mentioned here, but just in case in hasn't - well, what can I say? Poor old Jack Madden!


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 05:45 AM

I remember Taffy Thomas telling a golden arm story at a Twilight Tales two-hander we did in Northumberland a few years back. Did he say he got it off Norma Waterson? I dare say it's pretty well known if it's in Taffy's repertoire...


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 04:42 PM

Suibhne --

No, I do not remember The Legend of Knockgrafton here. I will have to look it up.

I have seen a couple of golden limb stories, though (a couple of Grimm-collected tales that did not get included in their Kinder- und Hausmarchen collection, which I almost chose for my Halloween selection -- until I remembered my affection for "Sammle"):

One about a little girl who was given a golden leg prosthesis, but subsequently died.... and a thief stole the golden leg from her coffin. So she comes back to haunt him.

And the other about a woman with a golden arm prosthesis, and a man who married her because he coveted that arm -- and then stole it from her coffin after she died, because he loved the arm more than he loved her, and so her ghost comes back to haunt him.

This last one is, I think, an interesting contrast to the "false-parted woman" ballads.

And speaking of ballads, I've "The Jovial Beggar" song lined up to post sometime soon, though first, I'd like to read 'The Jovial Crew' (the play by Richard Brome with which it is associated), since the company of beggars in that play are, apparently, representatives of the concerns of justice and charity in a changing social order.   And I suspect that the character of the (lame?) beggar in that play may have a lot of light to shed on the social role that the physically disabled play in the whole web of community contracts... Based on the lyrics of the song, I expect my conclusion to be: "The more things change, the more they stay the same."


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 10:20 AM

Taffy's was the second of your Golden Arm scenarios, though as I recall he sourced it to a story Norma Waterson's father (?) used to tell when she was a kid.

Here's a link for The Legend of Knockgrafton.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 06:47 PM

Ah. Yes, indeed. I did know that tale... But I knew it by a different name.

And I also have mixed feelings about it, as the whole thrust of the story is that happiness depends on cure.

On the other hand, being hunchbacked was, indeed, often painful, and often shortened a person's life, so...


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 25 Nov 11 - 10:15 PM

Interestingly, CapriUni, this is sort of related to the Breton story about Ugly Jan mentioned by LadyJean. I started a thread on the Breton werewolf legend of Cunmar the Accursed, said to be one of the real-life inspirations behind "Bluebeard". Maybe "Bluebeard" counts as a tale about disability? Or "Silvernose", a similar Italian tale? The devil's prosthetic nose was there for a reason.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 25 Nov 11 - 10:26 PM

Or maybe Cunmar the Accursed (or Conomor) would count; he was apparently always evil, if psychopathy counts as a disability. Here's a link to a telling of the legend;Conomor and Triphine


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 26 Nov 11 - 06:04 AM

There is a surlalune fairy tales page with an annotated version of the Bluebeard story as written by Perrault as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 01 Dec 11 - 12:59 PM

My latest post in this blog went up last night: A-Begging We Will Go: accusation of faking disability for ill-gotten "benefits"

(About the seventeenth century broadside ballad, attributed to Richard Brome)


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 01 Dec 11 - 06:15 PM

Interesting ideas and conclusion. BTW CapriUni, I left a suggestion of a tale you could cover- two.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 01 Dec 11 - 07:29 PM

Morwen--

I just saw those suggestions (I was away to New York State [from Virginia] from the 25th-28th).

Your link to the Conomar and Triphine story came back with a 404 error message, so I'll have to hunt down a different link, and read the story for myself before I make a judgement on it. But right now, I am leery of equating evil with disability-- or even the modern psychological diagnosis of psychopathy with evil, because that just reinforces the ancient bigotry against the disabled, without really shedding light on what the fear actually is.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 01 Dec 11 - 08:13 PM

OK, what about Perrault's Bluebeard? That could tie in with your post on Bertha Broadfoot. TV Tropes calls his famous beard a "Red Right Hand"- "deformity/distinctive physical feature as a sign of evil" like Captain Hook. I think psychopathy could count as a mental illness.Red Right Hand- TV Tropes . That's the definition of the term- a feature meant to tell a villain from a hero.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 01 Dec 11 - 08:25 PM

BTW, I don't know myself whether psychopathy could count as a disability as such. I mean I think it plausibly could count as a mental illness, but I don't know whether you have to be aware that you're disabled before you're seen by those around you as disabled. I think if I was a psychopath, would I be aware that I was? Probably not. But I definitely have cerebral palsy and problems with social skills that I'm aware of. And I personally think Bluebeard counts. This may seem bizarre, but if you're open to title suggestions and you want to do on a post on Bluebeard, you could call it: "Bluebeard: disability and fears about marriage" or something similar.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 01 Dec 11 - 08:54 PM

EDIT; that "on" shouldn't be there.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 02 Dec 11 - 08:00 PM

There's also the Grimms' "Our Lady's Child" where the titular character is a woodcutter's daughter raised by the Virgin Mary, and is made mute for looking inside a room where the Trinity is hidden. That could be another one about disability as a punishment for sin; in order to be "cured", the person must confess their sin, and muteness is a punishment for sin.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 02 Dec 11 - 08:14 PM

BTW, don't know if this helps, but in several tellings of "Conomor and Triphine", Conomor/Comor/Comorre/Cunmar the Accursed is depicted as a giant.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 03 Dec 11 - 04:28 PM

Morwen--

Thanks for the reminder about Mary's Child; now that we're getting into the winter months (here in my Northern Hemisphere), I'm thinking it's time to up the pace of my posting, since winter evenings tend to bring up feelings that we should be telling stories, and a tale centered on the Virgin would fit well for the "Christmas Season."

Speaking of which, today, I did my bit to participate in Ye Grand Olde Yuletide Tradition of invoking Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, here: Tiny Tim and the Role of the Disabled as Object Lessons.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 03 Dec 11 - 06:15 PM

BTW, CapriUni, I read that (very interesting) post and thought of this; as you know, Dickens' portrayal of Tiny Tim was considered very enlightened for its time, as most able-bodied people had rarely come across any positive portrayals of disabled people. So yes, he's a very sentimental and problematic character in the 21st century, but at the time, his portrayal was groundbreaking. Speaking of Dickens-- at the moment I'm working on a steampunk (gritty science fiction genre set in the Victorian period or a fictional version of it) reworking of Oliver Twist (I'm leaving aside the HOND one for a while), and have been wondering about the question; when writing something in a setting where social attitudes to the disabled are different and you're trying to portray those attitudes accurately, are you automatically reinforcing some people's attitudes?


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 03 Dec 11 - 06:55 PM

BTW, Mary's Child, or Our Lady's Child , always made me uncomfortable due to the fact that (and not to offend any Catholics; if you're offended I apologise) the Virgin Mary ties down the girl's tongue for looking inside a room where the Trinity is hidden . Why did she specifically forbid the girl to enter it? What is it about the Trinity that looking at it is forbidden? And the other thing; didn't she think for a minute that telling the girl to not look inside would ensure that she did look inside? Also, what's the purpose of this story?


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 04 Dec 11 - 05:09 AM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 04 Dec 11 - 06:43 PM

There's also an English (? Not sure of it. have to look that up) story called "The Seven Ravens"- similar to "The Six Swans". The father is a peasant, and the girl, as well as staying silent "for as many years as [she} has brothers', cuts off one off her fingers to open a door, paying it in blood. (Her seven brothers are hiding in a robber's den.)


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,999
Date: 04 Dec 11 - 06:53 PM

German: The Brothers Grimm.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 04 Dec 11 - 08:33 PM

Thanks 999! I thought it was English, because all the books that I've read which mention ravens are set in England.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 04 Dec 11 - 08:42 PM

Wiki on "Seven Ravens" says that the Grimms changed it to seven brothers/ravens. "In the original [German] oral version" (probably the one that the Grimms collected) "there were three ravens". So the Grimms made the heroine's silence period longer; the condition is always that the heroine stay silent for as many years as she has brothers. Probably this was done to create suspense? By lengthening the silence period, the reader can wait to see how long she will comply with it. Something like that. There is also a Greek version of the same story.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 04 Dec 11 - 08:59 PM

I remember that ravens tale (and yes, it's Grimms/German); as I recall, the heroine had to cut off one of her fingers in order to use it as a key to unlock the prison in which the ravens were being held.


As for Ravens in German / Norse mythology, Odin (ruler of the Norse Aesir gods) had two ravens, which flew around the Earth and reported back to him in the evenings. Their names were (via English translation): "Thought" and "Memory," and Odin was always afraid that they'd fly off one day and never return.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 04:03 PM

(This is a question that's been in my head the last couple of weeks, and I started posting about it in my personal journal-community last night. Then, I figured that some of the Mudcatters around here might have some experience, and ideas, about this.)


On Sunday, November 27th, I was having lunch with my long time friend and writing mentor, Irene O'Garden, who founded The Art Garden, and she asked me what writing, other than The Art Garden, that I've been doing. So I started talking about Plato's Nightmare / Aesop's Dream.

And another guest there, Scott Laughead (edited to add: Be advised-- his site has a bright, busy, high-contrast background), got really excited by the idea of what I was doing, and said that I should find a partner, and apply for a grant to support my work on this, because it's important (And that getting a partner would make it easier to get a grant, because it would show potential donors that this is more than just a pet peeve or private pipe dream or fantasy).

I agree that it's important; I truly believe that participating in storytelling (in whatever medium, and whether as teller or audience) is central to our humanity, and that the stories we tell have a profound impact on the realities we bring about. And yes, noticing that the Experience of Disability can be found in folklore (and literature) is one way to acknowledge that Disability is part of human experience. Period. And it's about time we got over the idea that the Disabled are always rare exceptions, and this whole, new "politically correct" thing that we have to change everything for, out of the blue, because some do-gooder got a bee in her bonnet...

And seriously? even the idea that someone might give me money to do something I've loved ever since I can remember loving stuff is a downright heady and intoxicating idea.

But --

Bwah?

Turning Plato's Nightmare / Aesop's Dream into something that would even make sense to use grant money would mean turning it into some form that engages the Capital P "Public," in some way (and that makes the idea very Scary [Capital S]). And right now, it's very much a private, editorial, thing: just my private opinions, based on my own experience (very real and valid, but also limited).

How do I change PNAD from a private noun into a public verb, so to speak?

I'm tickled by the idea, but I'm also stumped.

Any suggestions?


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: Melissa
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 06:22 PM

That's an exciting idea!


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 08 Dec 11 - 10:00 PM

CapriUni, do you consider The Seven Ravens to be a tale about disability? Losing a finger certainly counts to me


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 09 Dec 11 - 05:59 PM

Melissa -- yes, it is!

Morwen, I think so, too. I'll have to reread the story (haven't read it in many years) before I come to any conclusion about the sort of disability experience it reflects, though...


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 15 Dec 11 - 10:14 PM

My latest post is up:


Mary's Child: The Privilege of Speech and Human Identity

Okay, which story should I do next, right before Christmas -- The Steadfast Tin Soldier (The soldier is Special, 'cause he only has One Leg, and he's the Bravest of All), or The Ugly Duckling (because of how it frames Difference Within the Family, and how it's used to "comfort" children who are going through illness and/or disability: "But if you're brave, and soldier through, you will Grow Out Of It, and be handsome and admired." Also, I think it was the trope source for "Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer," but that latter one is outside the scope of my blog)?


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 08:51 PM

And now, I have, in fact, posted my piece on The Steadfast Tin Soldier (The disabled would be happiest 'with their own kind')


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 11 Mar 12 - 07:21 PM

Finally -- I've gotten a new post up: The Goose-Girl at the Well (Feelings of Distrust and Duty toward the Elderly and Disabled)

I meant for this to be a February post, but instead, February passed without a single blog entry. This is my failing.

I also wanted to write up my own retelling, because I love the story enough to want to get inside it like that. But every time I sat down to translate Google auto-'bot translation into Actual English, my energy and attention would flag every three sentences, or so. So I ended up just reposting translation from a Good Victorian Lady, instead.

If I had done that to start with, it would have been a February post.

BTW, my blog will be a year old on April 24...


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: CapriUni
Date: 18 May 12 - 05:59 PM

OOh! I forgot to update this thread with my latest postings.

Here's the entry for April: The Pied Piper of Hamlin -- the Children Left Behind

And May: "But these things are Monsters" -- The Etymologiae of Saint Isidore

(This second one is my annual contribution to Blogging Against Disablism Day)


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 18 May 12 - 10:07 PM

Great to see you updating your blog, Capri.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 09 Mar 13 - 06:54 PM

Another one I thought of was Tolkien's story, The Children of Hurin, which dates back to 1910, and is the source of my username. Turin has a close friend called Sador, who he nicknames Labadal ("Hopfoot") because Sador lost a foot while carving osmehting.

Also; the Norse god Odin has only one eye.


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Subject: RE: BS: CapriUni's blog: disability in folktales
From: GUEST,MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 09 Mar 13 - 06:56 PM

*something*.


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