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Author
Comment
Alyson H
Registered User
(8/8/07 2:31 pm)


Old Women as Heroes
Hello, I'm new to the forum, so for my first post, I would like to pose a query-

Are there fairy tales where an old woman is in the role of the hero as opposed to being the stock character of donor, villainess, or hero's mentor/parental figure (though that in itself is heroic)?

I am familiar with "Howl's Moving Castle" and loved both the book and the Miyzaki film, but that does not count in this discussion.

vlronn
Registered User
(8/8/07 3:29 pm)


old women
Jane Yolen who often posts on this site has a great anthology of stories with older people as heroes called
Gray Heroes: Elder Tales from Around the World. You'll find many stories with male and female older characters.

Older women get short shrift in many stories. Marina Warner's From the Beast to the Blonde which I seem to constantly recommend has some interesting theories about why this happens.

Two other books about older women but not necessarily fairy tales are Barbara Walker's The Crone: Women of Age, Wisdom, and Power and Jean Bolen's Goddesses in Older Women: Archetypes in Women over Fifty.

You might also want to look at the Canterbury Tales which have several older female characters. Although technically not fairy tales, they contain several fairy tale elements.

Alyson H
Registered User
(8/8/07 4:59 pm)


Re: Old Women as Heroes
Yeah, I had read some of the Canterbury Tales in high school (my English teacher was a fan of the Wife of Bath). Good suggestions.

It could be that it's hard to pitch a story about old women beating up trolls and dark knights without it sounding like a sketch from "Monty Python". "Hell's Grannies", anybody? :lol

Then again, a lot of fairy tales seem riddiculous when you think about it.

janeyolen
Registered User
(8/9/07 5:39 am)


Re: Old Women as Heroes
Working on GRAY HEROES made me realize how few stories in the folk culture (besides wisdom stories) star older men and women. But I found quite a few, so enjoy.

Jane

Rosemary Lake
Registered User
(8/10/07 1:10 am)


Old Rinkrank
In an old edition of Grimm, there's a short tale "Old Rinkrank" in which a young princess is kidnapped and enslaved by a troll (Rinkrank). By the time she escapes she is old but still escapes in a clever, active way. (And finds her lover still waiting for her, and they marry and presumably live out their lives together happily.)

MaryCatelli
Registered User
(8/10/07 8:43 pm)


Japanese tales
Several Japanese fairy tales have an old couple as the main characters: The Tongue-Cut Sparrow, The Old Man Who Made Withered Trees to Flower, and The Fountain of Youth

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