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.
In America’s Dairyland, expressing one’s ethnic identity sometimes means not only participating in the revitalization of a folk art but transforming it into a fashion statement.
Despite a great many people knowing that Norway is awash with folklore, many would be hard-pressed to name a Norwegian folk narrative beyond the folk tales “The Three Billy-goats Gruff” and perhaps “East of the Sun and West of the Moon.”
Simon Hughes examines erotic folktales—a less well known, and often censored, area of folklore—and presents a self-translated example from his work.
Deep below the depths of the ocean, creatures from myth, legend, and lore, stalk our nightmares and give us chills, but we are always wanting more.