Thursday, November 5, 2015

Folklore Thursday: A magic battle done right

Today is Folklore Thursday on social media! If you want to find out more, follow this link, or click on the #FolkloreThursday hashtag on Twitter! Hosted by @FolkloreThursday.

You thought the Battle of Hogwarts was how a magic fight goes down.

Let me introduce you to yet another Hungarian folktale:
The Gooseherd Girl and the Magic Mare

It was collected in 1943 in Csíkszentdomonkos (Romania), and published in a collection of Hungarian folktales in 1960 by famous folklorist Gyula Ortutay.

The gist:
A little girl is baptized by the fairy queen Tündér Erzsébet. Said queen pretty much just swoops in one day, dunks the baby in a crystal vat of magic water, blesses her with seven kinds of beauty and seven kinds of magical arts, ages her up to seven years old, takes her mother, and leaves the newly christened Tündér Juliska by the side of the road.
Now there's a Fairy Godmother hit-and-run if you have ever seen one.
(In addition, the girl was born to a virgin mother, from a "warm wind" the fairy queen had sent her way. Ahem.)

Aaaaanyhow. Fast forward: Juliska learns to use her magical abilities and lives as a goose herd until she is eighteen. She has a magical, seven-legged mare (formerly also a goose). She falls in love with a prince - the only man to lay eyes on her and not turn blind, and also the only man who rides a magic horse that matches hers (because FEMINISM). However, said prince was raised by an evil witch who would much rather marry him to her evil daughter. She follows the prince on his way to Juliska, and that is where things get interesting.

The fight:
The witch picks up a handful of dust, blows on it, and it makes all of Juliska's geese fly up in a panic.
Juliska's magic horse transforms into a wasp and stings the witch all over.
The witch picks up another half handful of dirt, blows on it, and tries to send it Juliska's way.
The magic wasp transforms into a lion and lunges at the witch.
The dust hits the lion, and tames it so it can't attack the witch.
Juliska pulls out her copper snake wand (yup) and breaks the spell on the lion. The lion turns back into a mare and returns to her side.
The witch transforms into a storm cloud and rains down lightning at Juliska and the prince.
Juliska uses her snake copper wand to block the lightning.
The witch creates an earthquake.
Juliska uses the wand to create a magic circle that keeps the earth under them from crumbling.
The witch turns into a giant eagle and starts hunting the flying geese down.
Juliska uses the wand to gently float the geese to the ground (FEATHER FALL, witches.)

Seeing that she can't win, the witch makes a temporary retreat, allowing the couple to marry. Once they return to the palace, she manages to dust all the flowers in the garden with a sleeping spell. While Juliska is asleep, she takes her wand and her magic horse, and abandons her in a remote place.

Of course all is well in the end; Juliska and the prince find each other, the horse comes back to life, and tramples the witch to pieces. Ta-da.
There is, of course, a lot more to this story, including Juliska flying to the Morning Star to bathe in a silver whirlpool, and eventually giving birth to the Sun, the Moon, and various other celestial objects. The whole story is very mythical and shamanistic and colorful and confusing and fun.

I kinda want to see that magic duel in a D&D campaign setting, though.

1 comment: