Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Ten Thousand Mile Walk

The Sore Feet SongOne of my favorite fairy tales when I was a kid was The Singing, Springing Lark (and its numerous variations as I ran into them).  If you're not familiar with it, it's like a cross between Beauty and The Beast, and Eros and Psyche.

The basic plot is about a girl who has to marry a mysterious/beastly suitor. Fortunately for her, he turns out to have an optional human form and they live happily together for some time.

Eventually she wants to go visit her family, and she wants her husband to come with her. He reluctantly agrees, but warns her that if candlelight/daylight touches him she will lose him. Sure enough, the worst happens; he is transformed into a bird and flies away. The only way she can get him back is to commit to a difficult journey, involving things like bleeding feet, iron shoes, and either a set distance (thousands of steps) or time (years and years of walking).

Without a second thought, the bride takes off to follow her husband, determined to win him back no matter what sacrifice might be required of her.

"I walked ten thousand miles, ten thousand miles to see you,
And every gasp of breath I grabbed at just to find you,
I climbed up every hill to get to you,
I wondered ancient lands to hold just you.

And every single step of the way, of pain,

Every single night and day,
I searched for you.
Through sandstorms and hazy dawns I reached for you."

The Sore Feet Song, Ally Kerr

Music: The Sore Feet Song, Ally Kerr


Jaleh D said...

I don't think I'd heard that variant before. Sounds like a story I should check out.

Jennifer said...

It gets misidentified as East of the Sun, West of the Moon a lot. There are some similarities, but it's a very different story.

Cannwin said...

How is it that I've never heard of this story?

My first thought is.... that's a nice bride, forcing her husband to put himself in danger.

Your description reminds me of Lady Hawk.

Hmm, I think I should watch that again.

Jennifer said...

Oh, but if everyone behaved rationally, there would be no stories, would there? :)

You could argue that she's rather immature at the beginning, but then learns to appreciate her husband by the time they're reunited.


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