THE MAID OF THE NORTH by Ethel Johnston--Adapt. Phelps


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Phelps' collection of 21 ""feminist"" folk tales has as much variety as McCarty's, above (and some of the same basic stories), but shows a consistently sharper sensibility at work and holds out for stories and tellings that consistently entertain and engage intelligent interest. The title story has been pieced together from incidents in the Kalevala that deal with the independent and clever Maid of the North. An English tale featuring Arthur and Gawain answers the question that eluded Freud--what do women want?--to feminist satisfaction. In other selections, women and maidens stand up to a fairy queen, an evil wizard, or a tricky tiger; the now familiar clever wives save themselves or their husbands; devoted brides venture off to find their mates; and Scheherazade takes on the Sultan (though her 1001 tales are omitted from this version). Humor, romance, and adventure all have their turn. Though there are a few inevitable duplications or close resemblances, this would make a respectable addition to a collection with Minard's Womenfolk and Fairy Tales (1975) and Lurie's Clever Gretchen (1980).

Pub Date: May 7th, 1981
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston