“How did you come to know about him? But maybe you are the lassie who ought to have had him? So, so, it’s you, is it? Well, all I know about him is, that he lives in the castle that lies East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and thither you’ll come, late or never.”

I keep reading posts about the ‘too passive role of women in fairy tales’. Apart from the fact that I don’t see what’s wrong with men and women playing different but equally valuable roles, especially if you consider the times in which these stories were written down, for many tales it simply isn’t true.
So, I challenge the authors of those articles to go and search for their lost and bewitched beloved with nothing but the clothes on their back, travel through the dark autumn forests for ages looking for a palace that lies East of the Sun and West of the Moon, manage to ellicit the help of three old hags plus the aid of the North Wind and his brothers, and then succeed in finding and freeing their beloved 🙂

From ‘East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Old Tales from the North’, this story is somewhat akin to the myth of Psyche and Cupid, and illustrated by the wonderful Kay Nielsen. You can download the book for free here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/30973

Eva Weggelaar

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