I first caught the perfume of my wild twin by walking with muddy boots through wet grasses to my scrubby woodland den as a six-year-old. As the trees swirled I caught a scent and started to cry without understanding. I wove a pheasant feather in my hair. I hear it now in the owl court who hoot across the frost grass and moon-touched lawns of my cottage. There’s more than book smarts in that chill delirium. These are not domestic tones, not corralled sounds, but loose as Dartmoor ponies on the hill. They give me ecstasy. Not safety, not contentment, certainly not ease, not peace, but ecstasy. It’s almost painful. Makes me restless.
The Norwegian folktale, “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” in which a white bear comes to take a poor girl away, is loved by people the world over. It is also part of a huge cycle of folklore and myth that has spanned Eurasia in the last 2500 years.
Everyone’s experience with cancer (and other life-threatening issues) is different but there are commonalities too, so to that end, here’s my home-spun, Fairy Tale Survival Kit. I hope you find it useful.
#FolkloreThursday’s Willow Winsham interviews storyteller Jean Edmiston and her daughter Amanda on their family storytelling tradition, and Jean’s new story, “The King’s Table”.
In the Victorian tradition, every Australian native flower has a meaning and, as she settles into her new life, Alice uses this language of flowers to say the things that are too hard to speak.