Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for the Invincible Princess

Okay so this princess actually existed, but her life is the stuff of legends. She is also not a princess in the European sense of the word. Whatever.
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.


  1. Interesting read. I had not heard of this woman before. Guess we do need more women like her now ...haha!

  2. Very interesting! It's rare that you see a strong, independent "princess" in folktales.

  3. Amen to that. Although I usually prefer tales about women who are strong in a more feminine way, I definitely lurv the Mongolian wrestler lady. Cheers!

  4. This is my favorite princess so far because she's the most unusual. I love the fact that she went undefeated... as a wrestler! LOL... She sounds like a big, hefty woman. What a unique idea for a princess, haha!

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog:

  5. I just read all of your Weird Princess posts - what a cool and unusual topic!

    I'm having a hard time picking a favorite so far. probably the Cat-eyed princess just because it is one of those stories that just makes you wonder....

    Random Ramblings
    The Life of Lisa
    Maple Grove Cemetery

  6. Interesting story and theme for the A to Z challenge.

  7. Hello! I love stories like this, when women refused to conform to society and made their own choices. Thanks for sharing this! One of my favorite heroines is Mulan. Disney did a good job adapting that story; it's one of my favorite animated films.

    Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

  8. I wonder why she didn't just say she'll marry who she wants at the start, instead of wrestling with so many!