An excerpt from Helen Nde’s book “The Runaway Princess and Other Stories”, a collection of short stories recounting the deeds and misdeeds of memorable women from African history, legend, and folklore.
The story of William of Cloudesly is found in a 16th century ballad, Adam Bell, Clym of the Cloughe and Wyllyam of Cloudeslee, but may be older. It was included in the influential 19th century collection, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, as ballad 116, by Francis James Child. Although it is a male dominated, rip-roaring, all action story, three women play a significant part, emerging at points to influence events. Presented here is a short retelling followed by a brief discussion on the influence of the three females on the story.
The epic unfinished poem, The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser, published 1590-96, created a parallel of the medieval universe.
In the great wealth of witch-related lore, the image of the persecuted local midwife is one of the most enduringly popular.
The idea that the womb wandered about the female body was prevalent in antiquity, even after it was disproven by some ancient physicians.