Strong Fairytale Heroines: A Series

This is a series of links to weekly posts intended to illustrate the vitality and strength of heroines within the classic European fairy tale tradition. Most of the stories I’ve chosen have been been in print for well over a hundred years, available to everyone – yet most are unknown to the general public. Tatterhood, Lady Mary and the Mastermaid are hardly household names like the Sleeping Beauty and Snow-White, while ‘The Woman who Went to Hell’ and Margaret from ‘Simon and Margaret’ are likely to be new even to the most die-hard of fairy tale enthusiasts. At least I think so! I hope there’ll be surprises for everyone.

The first post is a general introduction in which I set out my passionate conviction that the heroines of fairy tales are people to be reckoned with. Whether princesses, poultry-maids or peasants, they succeed by all sorts of means: by their magical skills, sharp wits, courage, kindness and patience; by tenacity, dogged endurance, grit, determination - and occasionally even by fighting. (I’d also like to convince you that fairy tales are often funnier and bawdier than 19th century translations might lead you to suppose.)  Then I preface each fairy tale with a brief introduction of its own.

These are the links so far: there will be more to come. Read on! I hope you’ll enjoy them.

Strong Fairy Tale Heroines - an introduction 

#1: Simon and Margaret - Ireland, Co. Galway

#2: The Three Sisters - Welsh Romany

 #3: The Princess in Armour - Romania

#4: The Groac'h of the Isle of Lok - Brittany

#5: The Three Princesses - Hungary

#6: Gilla of the Enchantments - Ireland, Co. Mayo 

#7: The Mastermaid - Norway 

#8: Aschenputtel - Germany (Hesse) 

#9: Ederland the Poultry-Maid - Denmark

#10: Whuppitie Stoorie - Scotland 

#11: Fundevogel - Germany (Hesse)  

#12: The Woman Who Went to Hell - Ireland, Co Donegal 

#13: The Nettle Spinner - Belgium  

#14: Mr Fox - England 

#15: Tatterhood - Norway 

#16: The Well at the World's End - Scotland

#17: The Water King and Vasilissa the Wise - Russia

#18: Sanntraigh, or The Woman of Peace - Scotland

#19: The Little Seamstress - Armenia

#20: Maol a Chliobain - Scotland (Argyll) 

#21: Prince Lindworm - Denmark 

#22: The Flying Head - Russia