Flight

Once the heroine has “Seized the sword” and accomplished her goal, she often must leave in a great hurry. Vasilissa the Beautiful exemplifies this perfectly, dropping comb and mirror to deter pursuit. Likewise, Cinderella and Donkeyskin run away from their balls. In this tale, the flight and escape are the vehicle by which the heroine wins or saves the prince. Finding the prince is laudable, but only safely escaping with him can bring them happiness.

Oshkikwe and her twin sister Matchikwewis lay on a hill gazing at the stars.

"I want to marry that one" she said.

"Well, I would marry that one."

That night, the stars visited them and drew them up into the heavens. Up in the sky, each woman married her star man and Oshkikwe gave her husband a son. But the women were restless and longed to return. They went to see one of the grandmothers of the sky, and she sat in her round room, rolling twine on her thigh. She offered them tiny portions of food, but for every bite taken, the bowls refilled until the women had eaten all they desired. When the women told her they wanted to return home, she reached behind her and withdrew a very large ball of twine and a woven bag.

"Climb into the bag and don't look out until it reaches earth," she said. She lowered the bag through a hole in her floor, down toward the waiting earth.

Matchikwewis could stand the waiting no longer, and peeked her head out the bag. Immediately the bag gained speed, until it rammed itself into a tree. Matchikwewis broke her ankle getting down, but her sister cared for her and her own son until all was well.

(Algonquin) Retold from Grandmothers of the Light 147-149

 

   Read: Cinderella and other fairytales of type 510A