"Year of the Adopted Family" book release

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Grand Finale Story: At Last it is Found

Though I listed the Colombian story "The Three Sisters" in a previous post, today was when inspiration struck.

Sometimes stories need to be set aside so that the right paths to take can be found on the creativity map.

The original story starts with three sisters giggling and teasing about who they would want to marry. The oldest sister would like to be with the king's baker as then she can have sponge cake all day. The middle sister would like to be with the king's steward as then she can have anything in the pantry to eat. The youngest sister would like to be with the king himself as then there is quite a feast to eat for every meal.

This conversation is overhead and reported to the king, and the king has these idle wishes to come to pass. The oldest and middle sisters are jealous though they do marry their respective grooms. Eventually, the king and the youngest sister, now the queen, have a child. The two jealous sisters switch out the baby for a dog and then put the baby in a wooden coffin and send it down the river.

Then we meet a gardener and his wife who are unable to have children. The baby is found and they praise God for the blessing.

The king and queen have a second baby. The jealous sisters switch out the baby again, this time for a cat, and send the baby down the river. Again, the gardener and his wife are blessed.

A third time the king and queen have a baby. The jealous sisters switch out the baby for a piece of wood. The gardener and wife are joyous beyond measure as a third child comes down the river to them.

There is much more to this story, though I discovered that I had the most compassion on the gardener's wife. As my husband and I want children of our own and have started the adoption process, I could hear the sounds of joy that the gardener's wife must have shared when her husband walked through the door with a baby, and then a second one, and finally a third. The story came alive and it was at that moment I knew this story had to be part of the "Family Famine: Hunger for Love" narrative production.

For this reason, I will rename this story from "The Three Sisters" to "The Gardener's Wife".

I looked at the back of the Latin American Folktales: stories from Hispanic and Indian Traditions edited by John Bierhorst for any notes or hints of other versions and variants. As this was a book published by Pantheon Books, there was guidance.

I learned the following:
  • Aarne-Thompson Motif Index is type 707 of The Three Golden Sons
  • Versions with this type 707 could be found in California, Chile, Dominican Republic, Mexico, New Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Europe, India, and the Middle East
  • Colombian version found in this book is close to the one shared in Thousand and One Nights
Naturally, I will search out these other kinds as well as research the Colombian culture.

I have found the final destination with the "Family Famine: Hunger for Love" narrative production--this story!

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Professional Storyteller
Former Co-Chair of Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance (2005-2008)
Tel: (801) 870-5799
Email: info@rachelhedman.com
Performance Blog: http://familyfamine.blogspot.com
Other places to find me: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Professional Storyteller

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