so if there’s one single trope i’m always down to fight it’s the animal bride (folklore motif 402??) which a lot of you are probably familiar with as the selkie – the fisherman either falls in love, steals her skin to trap her on land/gain power over her, or they fall in love and THEN he steals her skin to keep her from leaving, and either way she spends a lot of time gazing sadly out to sea and then she or her child finds the skin and never returns again.
and that’s awful on a whole lot of levels – it’s not love, it’s control.
BUT. but the thing is. you how selkies/seal women was a pretty common variation of this? another really popular one was swans.
i just want you to think about that for a moment. swans. like…I get it, they’re pretty, graceful birds, certainly it’s easy to imagine them magically becoming pretty graceful ladies? but have you ever fought a swan. swans are awful. swans are the devil’s geese. imagine seeing a pretty magic lady and being absolutely enchanted by her, and stealing her magic feather cloak, and then you go up and say ‘hey i’m in love with you, let me make you my queen, it will be great, we’ll be so happy’ and she just looks at you for a moment and…
you know i was going to say maybe she just shouts for her sisters and suddenly you’re realizing you’ve made a terrible terrible mistake bc you’re surrounded by big fucking birds who are all hissing. but honestly if this swan lady is as aggressively down to brawl as any other generally unhappy swan, then she’d straight up fuck you up on her own. she’d just deck you roundhouse, honestly. you don’t fuck with swans. why does this trope exist
okay but consider this: a woman walks to the park every day and feeds the swans and watches them paddle gracefully around the lake, sighing to see how beautifully they swim.
finally one day, a swan comes up to her and says ‘why don’t you come and swim with us? you always sigh so wistfully to see us on the water, and you would be most welcome to join our company, for you have always been a true friend to our kind’
and the woman says, ‘i can’t swim’
and the swan says, ‘we’ll teach you’
and the woman says, ‘literally i can’t swim, my husband stole my sealskin and should i venture into deep water i would surely drown’
and the swan says ‘your husband fucking WHAT’
the next morning the woman’s front yard looks like this.
and neither the woman nor her husband are ever heard from again, though for very different reasons.
tagged for imaginary swans doing the lord’s work
A++, two thumbs up.
It may also interest someone to know that swans can projectile poop.
I know a real-world mama swan who got shot in the wing and walked four miles overland to get back to her babies and dad swan, with her broken wing bleeding and dragging the whole way. She just kept going. Don’t mess with lady swans.
Also? Swans don’t have a lot of obvious physical markings that divide the males from females. So some idiot might be like, “damn, that’s a sexy bird, I wanna marry her” and then like. It’s a dude swan. You just transformed thirty pounds of angry aggressive bird into 200+ pounds of angry aggressive adult man, who will totally kick your butt. (Also I’m pretty sure that if you turned a lady swan into a human, you would not get a willowy little 5′0″ girl. You’d probably have a 6-foot amazon with biceps the size of your head. Swans are heavy birds and it takes a LOT of muscle to get them into the air. They are among the baddest bitches in the bird kingdom)
And when a swan decides to beat you up, it is not with fancy martial arts. Swans are brawlers. They have bone clubs built into their wing joints specifically for beating people up. A human swan is gonna come at you screaming and spitting and just keep punching you in the face until you regret every decision you have made ever in your life and also some of the ones your parents made too.
As for the #MeToo/#TimesUp movement that’s been the talk of awards season and beyond, there were white roses on the red carpet, but it too was comparatively low-key — until Kesha performed “Praying,” her stark piano ballad about abuse. As critic Lorraine Ali notes, it was a reminder to an industry that has yet to deal with its own demons. Of course, “Praying” didn’t win an award either, losing out to Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” about — yes, you guessed it — a woman’s body.
I think I’m always chasing that particular high you only get from certain rare stories – the ones that resonate with you on a strange personal level, like an implacable aroma that reminds you of something that was once very dear to you but has somehow been forgotten. Those stories that rewire your brain just a little, just for a while. Not every great story has this effect – I have enjoyed many excellent books and movies that did not change me.
It’s just that now and then, if you’re very lucky, you’ll come across a story that feels like home, or a like limb you didn’t even know you had or how you got by all these years without using it. These stories haunt you and become part of your personal canon.