Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for the Wind Princess

Again from Hungary.

Wind Princess is actually called Szelike, and is not translated "wind" because she is some kind of a weather fairy - she is translated "wind" because she is faster than the Flash on caffeine. Anyone who wants to marry her has to outrun her in a race, and of course the odds are stacked against them. I like this folktale because Szelike is not also a fast runner, but apparently she also has a childish, impatient and hasty personality that goes very well with her supernatural powers.

Did I just say powers?

Heck yeah, this story is also included in the upcoming book!

(I swear we are almost done)

I would like to take a moment here to muse about the many princesses in tradition who have to be outrun. There is Atalanta and the trick with the golden apples, then there is Camilla and her divine gift of speed (also included in the book), and then there is Szelike and her sisters, a whole array of folktale princesses who run as fast as the wind.
First things first: mind you, these princesses are not running to get caught. They have to be outrun, and a goal reached first, be it the water of life or just a shiny stone on a nearby mountain. It is not a tale of chasing the girl, it is a tale of keeping up with her.
There is a slight but important difference when the suitors have to complete some unrelated task to win the princess, and when they are pitted against the princess herself. Many people complain that folktales are "outdated" because women are given as nameless-colorless prizes for heroic deeds. While that is true in many cases, let's not skip over the fact that many times it is the princess herself who has to be outwitted, outrun, or wrestled down (we have seen all of those before through A to Z). Many times it is even stated in the tale that it was the princess' choice to set those challenges. To make sure whoever married her could hold his own.

Just something to think about.

No comments:

Post a Comment