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Annotated Fairy Tale: Hog Bridegroom

Well, gang, it’s the middle of the night, I’ve got insomnia, and that can only mean that it’s time for another Annotated Fairytale!

There’s a whole class of stories about hog and hedgehog bridegrooms, some of which are weirder and grimmer than others. The hedgehog ones tend to be variations on a theme, and rather cute—the hedgehog demands that a rooster be taken to the blacksmith and shod, and then rides him around playing the bagpipes, which is possibly the greatest thing ever—and the pig ones tend to be pretty standard transformed-fiancee fare, except that they usually kill a couple of wives before they find the one who isn’t put off by their appearance.  (In a few versions, they’re all from the same family, and you have to assume that the parents are being held at swordpoint by the time sister number three gets her turn in the bridal bed.)

This particular version is Romanian, and is pretty obviously a version of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, but with some peculiar twists along the way.

The Story of the PigCollapse )


I also have to wonder at this little pig prince hearing about the King's highly specific request, and being like "golly gosh! I happen to have an identical bridge at my palace in the monastery of incense!" Like, what a coincidence! Here's one I prepared earlier! I bet he and the king were in cahoots. The King was just using his daughter as bait to figure out where the prince had gone, because he didn't realise he'd been transformed into a pig.

PS I kind of want to hear the one about the hedgehog and the bagpipes!!! That reminds me, my dad recently told me a Russian story involving hedgehogs which is kind of like a modern folk tale despite just being an anecdote out of a "funny shit that happens to doctors" collection.

I can't help wondering if some of these phrases got lost in the translation. I boggled at the 24 headed otter too!

Must have been good Incense at the Monastery.

St Wednesday =
Well it's St Joseph in the Roman Catholic Church, but as the other two are female and labelled as "sisters" there must be another female saint out there who fits better.

St Friday = St Paraskevi

St Sunday= St Kyriaki


How would that even work?? I sorta see them as really tiny and assembled in a prism, like a fly's eye.

Pig Charming is kind of an ass. He can make his parents' hovel into a palace-- no princess required!-- and he doesn't. Come on, were you really that desperate to get laid?

So, how does one shod a rooster? Is the shoe articulated so the poor thing can walk? Is it like a metal flip-flop?

I have questions!

You make it just like horse-shoes, only teeny-tiny, and put a little "U" horseshoe on each rooster toe. So they can tap-dance.

Well, I don't know the customs of Romania, but in Ukraine several days of the week had a personification.From the top of my head:

St. Monday - he's a very old man who holds keys from heaven and guides souls of dead over the fiery river in otherworld.

St. Friday - she helped women in labor, but forbade any kind of weaving work on Friday, because it harmed her, and so she greatly punished women who would weave or spin thread on Fridays. In some regions it was said that she also forbade combing hair.

St. Sunday - she greatly punished those who work on Sundays, again, because people doing any kind of work on Sundays caused her harm.

Oh, that's marvelous! Thank you--that makes me just unbearably happy. Is there an English webpage with full descriptions somewhere? Do you know of any?

Brilliant annotations to a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing!

As for the comment at the very end, "And if it hasn't ended yet, it must still be going on." Well, of COURSE it's ended! The festival was only three days, wasn't it? Can't this narrator count?

(Seriously, though, I like that ending much better than the traditional English, "and they all lived happily ever after." It just doesn't work out right to say "and being happy, they were suddenly immortal." Whatever! No, this ending is much closer to that traditional Grimm Bros. ending, "and if they haven't died, they're living still to this day." Much more sensical, that.)

Yogi Berra was apparently Romanian.

I only wish I could be so coherent with insomnia!

Also... electric fence! O_O

And you are very much right -- looking for trouble with a candle in daylight! I've got to get that saying in my vocabulary.

Proof I have a dirty mind: I got to the belt of iron part and immediately thought "yay! mythology bondage!"

okay, major plot element flaw here... She goes to see Saint Wednesday, when then directs her to "her eldest sister" Saint Friday. Saint Friday then directs her to "her eldest sister" Saint Saturday. Wouldn't Saint Saturday also be Saint Wednesday's eldest sister? Shit like this keeps me up at night, backing up the DVR when I see a continuity error.

Saint Sunday I mean. Obviously Saint Saturday is the bastard middle child, destined to a life of low expectations.

Marvelous, thank you. I was sharing it with someone, and realized I hadn't recced Digger to them, so have just been posting to do that. And looking at it again. And I am left with a question to you. HOW did you draw Digger? It looks ... like you were drawing in white on a black background. Is that how? Does that even work? Did you draw it all 'normally' and invert it on the computer??

I was indeed drawing in white on a black background for large parts of it. Digger's entirely digital, so that may clear things up a bit. *grin*

I. Love. You. Soi. Very. Much. These fairytale retellings are gems.

assuming the otter heads were capable of independent thought, the entire industry of the region has to be in otter training. 24 heads, you need at least 6 trainers per otter, because I imagine the most anyone could do at a time is 4 otter heads

i ♥ both the story and the commentary...

(and the sideline on the 1/2 gos pigs and the gos boar, as i'm very fond of gos pigs; i learnt about them from a fan club in the mid 90s who sponsored one, and when the farm she was at decided she wasn't good enough, i found her a new home. gos ftw! ♥ )

I'm tired, so the entire folktale is TL:DR, but I feel th need to tell you that there's a lovely Latvian folktale that starts out the same way, with the old man and the old woman wanting a child and finding a hedgehog. The version my grandmother told me started out with "A long time ago, when pretzels still fell from the sky..."