Help me identify this folk tale (or tales)
January 18, 2017 2:25 PM   Subscribe

Is there a folk tale about a parade that you're not supposed to look at that comes through town every seven years (maybe some kind of hunting party?), and one guy looks at it, so a duck sneaks into his house and puts a fish hook in his leg and doesn't take it out until the parade comes through town seven years later?

I might be conflating a number of folk tales, or mis-remembering a specific modern story as a folk tale, but I have a vague memory of certain very specific things. Or maybe I made the whole thing up, that's always possible.

Definitely interested in answers that contain partial elements of what I'm remembering!
posted by hapticactionnetwork to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Well, it's not very similar (in particular, it lacks the crucial and marvelous duck-as-bearer-of-judgement), but the bit about the guy peeping when he shouldn't have is reminiscent of the legend of Lady Godiva's naked ride, Peeping Tom, and his being struck blind as punishment.

Maybe that will be a helpful starting point?
posted by col_pogo at 2:55 PM on January 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

This is fairly broad, but the first part reminds me a lot of the Wild Jagd or the Wild Hunt.
posted by WidgetAlley at 3:00 PM on January 18, 2017 [7 favorites]

The parade through town every seven years reminds me of Tam Lin.
posted by azalea_chant at 3:59 PM on January 18, 2017 [8 favorites]

I read something like this! And have no idea where. And now something I had forgotten is poking me albeit more gently than a fish hook in my leg.
posted by Bella Donna at 6:35 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

I was gonna say Tam Lin too.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 6:39 PM on January 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Tam Lin/Wild Hunt, fey or faerie stories in general feature this theme. Tam Lin includes the procession every 7 years, and in other stories of the wild hunt, mortals who see it go blind, crazy, or are forced to join the hunt. Same goes for mortals sneaking into faerie.

I could see this particular story being from a novel playing off these common themes. It's not a specific story I remember, but definitely fits in the general style of stories of the fey.
posted by catatethebird at 9:09 AM on January 19, 2017

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