Friday, April 28, 2023

X is for the Xiphoid process (Body Folktales)

 This year, my A to Z Challenge theme is Body Folktales. Enjoy! 

The xiphoid process is a small projection on the bottom of your sternum. It's not exactly a popular folktale topic, but I did rustle up some stories featuring breastbones in general.

The singing breastbone (Scotland)

A princess' lover is seduced by her younger sister, so she drowns the girl out of jealousy. A harper finds the body of the drowned princess, and he makes a harp out of her breastbone, strung with her golden hair. At a banquet at the royal court he plays the harp, and it sings the true story of the murder.

The Old Man of the Cliff (Iceland)

A king is sailing on his ship with his men when an old man calls to them from a cliff. The king asks how many men he has in his household, to which the stranger answers with a riddle. While the king is trying to work out the riddle, the old man's troll magic is pulling the ship dangerously close to the cliff. A sailor named Thorgeir sees this, and braces the ship's sailyard pole against the rocks and against his own chest. He pushes against the magic, snapping his breastbone and his ribs with the effort, but manages to heroically save the ship from the enchantment.


  1. What a fabulous X choice - kudos on that alone! But a breastbone harp strung with golden hair - now that's something I will remember for a very long time.

  2. Jamie (
    Another interesting choice.

  3. Those darn tattle tale body part harps!

  4. I'll never think of harps in the same way again.

  5. Okay, but now I want to know what the riddle was!