Tatter-


hood was born one of twins to a barren queen who magicked them with the help of a wizard-in-training out of two seedling plants – one fair and one rare. Pretty was sweet and soft, and Tatterhood was born riding on a goat, waving a wooden spoon and hooting. Startling. They grew up, each different as could be. Eventually, there came a challenge: You must go to the castle and meet with the king in a country where all is unknown.

For the challenge, the fair young Pretty dressed in dainties in delicate colors, Tatterhood in the ragged cloak she brought with her at birth. They had adventures; they conquered the seas. They met handsome young princes and cured some disease.

The challenge was met, with dragons and spells and danger at every turn. Pretty’s head was turned into the head of a calf by some trolls, or maybe it was ogres. Pretty cried, mooed, licked her nose and ruminated. Tatterhood rescued her in the wild waves, swinging her wooden spoon and hooting all the way.

They came to the kingdom, where the king greeted them kindly and welcomed them in. They walked in the garden with their fine young men. Pretty wore her hair dressed in flowers. Tatter kept her face in shadows in her cloak, as she had all through the seven seas, the mountains and up to the adventures that took her to the old king’s castle. The young couples courted – the pretties kissed prettily; Tatter and her fellow chattered and nipped.

As the adventure advanced to its cheerful conclusion, Tatterhood’s beau said may I not see your face at last? Now you shall, she said (strict thing). The cloak fell away, there was a great joining of hands, and all four called their parents, who gave them a double boda and a lovely new kingdom with fresh new wizards. And they lived, of course, happily ever after. 

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6 Responses to “Tatter-”


  1. 1 Cliff Burns November 27, 2007 at 8:52 am

    Interesting…we had a “house concert” featuring a storyteller this past week, 25 people crowded into our living room and the last tale the chap tells is a “Tatterhood” narrative. In our story, “Tatterhood” was quite homely and rides a goat, brandishing a wooden spoon. Is there a collection of tales involving the character? Good post…

  2. 2 Teresa November 27, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Tatterhood is a traditional story from Norway, I believe. My first acquaintance with it was through a feminist revision by folklorist Ethel Johnson Phelps – I’ve never seen the original version. In Phelps telling, Tatterhood is homely only by implication, since her sister is so pretty and they are said to be so “different”. She’s given Tatterhood possession of her appearance and power by wrapping her in a cloak that prevents others from seeing her clearly unless she gives them permission. Mine is a highly compressed version of the story – under 300 words – but I think the flavor was captured (Tatterhood concentrate?).

    Anyway, thanks for the comment — I just checked out your blog and must say I feel a little envious that you are cracking along, writing and publishing and saving yourself from the tedium of everyday life (argh). I was hoping to nano along to completion with my Mayhem, Texas but have been completely blown out of the water by my mom’s sudden illness. I believe I’ll go take another look at your work — you’ve been busy.

  3. 3 Bobby Goat GRUFF! December 20, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    This is really cool. It made me think of the word tatterdemalion. I have no clue whether there is any connection between that word and this story.

    Your own connection to the story quite nicely fits with my mental association with the word I brought up. I associate that word with an old net.friend who was a mixture of strongly feminist and F2M transsexual.

  4. 4 Teresa December 20, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    “I’ll frippery the villain; I’ll reduce him to frippery and rags, a tatterdemalion!” (Lady Wishfort) – sounds like the same origins to me, I wonder which came first?

    Perhaps your old friend was prone to frippery as well?

    Thanks for the visit, Senor Gruff – love your words, acres of silly chewing.

  5. 5 Bobby Goat GRUFF! December 20, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    Indeed it does sound related.

    I think that it it funny that I almost never bother to use the intertoobs to search for such things when I’m in the throws of zooming about reading blogs. Somehow I enter a state of not doing fact checking. I just suspend belief and think of it all as gossip.

  6. 6 Teresa December 21, 2007 at 7:25 am

    Results 1 – 10 of about 1,920,000 for
    is the internet all gossip?

    (0.20 seconds)


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