Welcome to the A to Z Challenge! My theme this year is Representation and Diversity in Traditional Stories. I am looking for rare and interesting motifs in folktales, fairy tales, and legends that add variety to the well-known canon.
One of the Internet's favorite bits of fairy tale trivia: Rapunzel does not get rescued from the tower by the prince. She gets visited by the prince, and then gets kicked out by the witch when she becomes pregnant. With twins. And then she goes to live in the woods, and that's where the prince finds her again.
Pregnancy actually figures twice into this tale - in many versions Rapunzel is taken by the witch in the first place because her mother had cravings for parsley, and sneaked into the witch's garden. Go figure. (This part actually symbolically features into Disney's Tangled)
(For the uncut, uncensored first edition of Grimm tales, including pregnant Rapunzel, read Jack Zipes' new translation)
The Irish legend of the Curse of Macha features a mysterious woman that marries a mortal man, and warns him never to brag about her. When he does so anyway (claiming she runs faster than anyone), the King orders Macha, who is nine months pregnant, to run a race with his horses. Macha does not only win the race (and gives birth to twins right after), but she also curses the men of Ulster who did not protect her, to have labor pains for three days whenever their land is in danger.
(Read the story here)
In this Zhuang (Chinese minority) legend, a pregnant woman named Malei sets out to save the world by bringing back the sun that had disappeared. She takes on the quest saying that if she can't fulfill it, her child will.
(I wrote about this story in detail here)
This Scottish ballad is most well known as a love story - but not many people realize that Janet, the girl that saves Tamlin from the spell of the Fairy Queen is pregnant while doing so.
(Read about the ballad here)
In the love story of Eros and Psyche, Psyche is given tasks to fulfill by her jealous mother-in-law, Aphrodite. Since she is already carrying Eros' child, she fulfills the tasks while pregnant, before she is reunited with her husband and they can live happily ever after.
(Read the story here)
What other stories should I add to the list? Do you have a favorite portrayal of pregnancy?