Prince Charming: The World of Eros


Sleeping Beauty stories are all about the change from child to woman. Often the mother figure cannot accept this change, and so tries to frighten the girl, or initiate her too fast, to eliminate her as a rival and keep her trapped in childhood. Only when the princess is ready can she awaken to womanhood, ready to marry a prince who comes along just as she awakens.

In the game of love, the hero and heroine each view their partner as a shapeshifter. This “other half” they must cleave to like themselves has frightening mood swings and unpredictable desires. Physically, the two people are opposites, with contrasting desires and emotions. Hence, many tales appear about enticing swan maidens from the sea or taming beastly monsters into Prince Charmings.

In Southeastern Alaska, the Haida Wolf Clan tells of Rhpisunt, the Bear Mother. The human daughter of the clan chief, she began cursing the local bears for soiling the ground with their droppings. One day, she met a handsome young man in the woods, and he took her home to meet his family. All around the log house were bearskin cloaks. She married the young man, but the Haida were angry about her disappearance. When they found bear tracks beside hers, they started killing all the bears they could find. Her brother tracked Rhpisunt to the cave where she was hiding with her husband and twin sons.  Before her brother speared the Bear Prince, he taught his wife many formulas and spells. She returned to her clan with her twin sons, where she grew to great age, sharing her wisdom with the tribe.

--Patricia Monaghan, The Book of Goddesses and Heroines 254

•Shimchong, The Blindman's Daughter (Korea)
•The Brahman Girl who Married a Tiger (India)
•Bull-of-all-the-Land (Jamaica)
•Pretty Polly (Appalachian America)
•Egle, Queen of Serpents (Lithuania)
•Eros and Psyche (Greece)
•The Lizard Husband (Indonesia).
•Monkey Son-in-Law (Japan)
•The Princess and the Pig (Turkey)
•The Frog Prince (Germany)
•Bluebeard (France)
•The Green Serpent (Italy)
•The Frog Prince (Sri Lanka)

Read: Wagner's Ring of the Niblung

            Beauty and the Beast and other folktales of Aarne-Thompson type 425C

            Bluebeard and other folktales of Aarne-Thompson types 312