Wednesday, April 10, 2013
I is for the Invincible Princess
She is from Mongolia.
Khutulun was the niece of Kublai Khan, and famous for her skills in wrestling. Apparently she was quite big and strong for a woman, and accompanied her father into war. Besides wrestling she was also skilled in other aspects of a warrior's training, including horseback riding and archery (let's note that this is Medieval Mongolia here, if you can't ride and shoot you don't live, so her own family probably did not see it was impressive as we do). She refused to marry anyone unless they could defeat her in wrestling - but no one ever did. All her suitors went home beaten and she remained unwed, even when her parents begged her to fake a fall for a particularly qualified man.
(This is very folktale-y; there are many stories where suitors can't marry the princess unless they can outrun/outwit her, see the Hawkeye Princess yesterday)
Khutulun remained unbeaten all her life - when she finally married, it was by her own choice, to a man she did not wrestle at all. Guess who wore the pants in that household...
I have read plenty of stories about strong and independent women in my career as a storyteller, but surprisingly enough Khutulun's story is not as well known as it should be. So. Here.
Full story in the link above, Wiki wisdom here.