Sunday, March 8, 2020

International Women's Day: Folktales about women helping women

So I asked Twitter what I should blog about for International Women's Day this year (after last year's Badass Grandmas), and several people suggested "women helping women." This topic is near and dear to my heart, so here are some of my top favorites. Links in the titles!

Happy International Women's Day! 

I blogged about this one in Feminist Folktales. An abused queen is helped by a gardener woman who feels sorry for her, and they come up with a plan together to teach the king a lesson about power.

The pig (Denmark)
Also from Feminist Folktales, in this folktale type a girl rescues her sisters and various other women from a monster (occasionally also their husband, as this tale type is related to Bluebeard).

Swan Sisters (various)
This was a StorySpotting blog post I wrote about stories where women gang up on abusers. In one of them, a hunter shoots a swan maiden and drags her home as his wife, but when she is healed she turns back into an angry swan, and she and her sisters drown the dude in a pond.

In this tale a girl sets out to save her village from drought. With her singing she gains an unexpected friend: the daughter of a dragon king. The two girls together make a plan to steal the dragon king's key to open the flood gates of Wild Goose Lake. In the end, they even move in together.

Riina and her amazons (Solomon Islands)
When two women are kidnapped by spirits men try to rescue them, but they all fail. Eventually a blond woman named Riina appears with her amazon entourage, and volunteers to rescue the women. The amazons fight and kill the spirits, and free the kidnapped women, all in a good day's work.

Bujeba legends (Equatorial Guinea)
The book of Bujeba stories I read recently contained multiple stories where women helped women. In one, a man wanted to kill his child because it was a girl, but the mother spirited the baby away, and another woman raised her. In another, a girl saved her best friend from her own cannibal father. In a third, a girl was rescued from her abusive brother by an aunt.

Diirawic's brother wants to marry her, so she decides to run away into the wilderness. All the other girls in the village decide to go with her. They build a new home for themselves in the forest, they tame a lion, and Diirawic's little sister keeps watch over her when she sleeps. Eventually the girls return home as powerful women. With their own lion brother.

A girl is kidnapped by a monster, and he makes her mistress of his household. In secret, Ngomba teaches the other prisoners how to make a hot air balloon. The monster almost figures out the trick, but luckily one of the prisoner girls comes up with a clever way of saving Ngomba's life. All the prisoners escape in the hot air balloon.

A princess and a prince are set to be married, but the groom disappears before the wedding. The princess waits for him for years, but he never returns. In the same town there is a girl who everyone thinks is crazy because she wanders around the town and is curious about things. In the end, with her curiosity and wandering she helps the princess find her lost love.

The Dwarf (Spain)
A girl accidentally runs away with the wrong man. She finds a new home, however, and rescues a princess from the spell of an evil Dwarf through bravery and perseverance. Even the lost lover turns up in the end. 

No comments:

Post a Comment