Magical Curses

Magical Curses.

Is it even possible to have a fairy tale without one?

Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White…

Gorgeous rendition of Snow White by artist Krishnakhi Hazarika. Check out more of her art on Instagram @krishnakhi_h14

It seems that nearly every fairy tale has at least one cursed person (usually a princess) and that there’s always another person (usually a prince) that must come, break the curse, save the princess, then rule the kingdom with justice and wisdom.  But where did the idea of the curse come from?

The Cambridge dictionary defines cursing (paraphrased) either as saying rather naughty things to someone else, or, “to say magic words intended to bring bad luck to someone.”  The idea of the malevolent curse is ancient.  Egyptian tombs had curses chiseled into their entryways and on tablets scattered throughout their winding passageways (www.ancient-origins.net).  When Howard Carter found the tomb of King Tut, of all the original excavators, Carter was the only survivor.  Everyone else bit the dust.  Even Lord Caernarvon, the benefactor of the dig, perished at the hands of mysterious ailments after visiting Tut’s resting place.  Many chalked it up to the Curse of the Mummy.

Many cultures world-wide have beliefs in magic—both good and bad.  Sometimes it’s the same magic and it’s the wielder who causes the good or the bad, other times it’s the magic itself.  Even the Bible mentions curses.  In Exodus (chapter 20), it talks about generational curses—that the LORD will visit the sins of the fathers upon the children for multiple generations.  But the next verse also offers the way to “break the curse.”  Repentance and turning to the same LORD breaks the curse and brings restoration (www.bible.net).

On an excavated 1,600-year-old Italian lead tablet, an inscribed curse was found wishing for the destruction of a man and his wife.  The curse specifically asked for their hearts, livers, and buttocks to be destroyed.  Yes, please destroy the rear ends of my enemies.  That will show them (www.ancient-origins.net). 

Curses seem to have changed over time (and really, don’t most things?). They’ve gone through the changes of the medieval-type fairy tale, enacted by vengeful stepmothers or nasty witches.  Today they’re still most closely associated with witchcraft or superstition.

What do you think?  Are curses real then and/or now?  Pop up to the grey “comments” button and let me know what you think.  Also, make sure no one gives you the evil eye!

Book Recommendations

Midnight for a Curse by E. J. Kitchens

Anwen of Primewood (Book 2 of a series—can be read alone, but better if you read Book 1 first) by Shari L. Tapscott 

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (awesome protagonist with cerebral palsy)

Creative Writing Prompts

The curse fell upon me, heavy, stifling, suffocating.  I was going to die before the enchantress finished her work.

Are you kidding me?  It’s the twenty-first century.  People don’t get cursed.  Do they?

Unicorn poop.  I had been cursed to shovel unicorn poop until I found a way to break this horrid spell.

The Quintessential Curse…
Such a great, under appreciated song! From the movie, RIgoletto
One of my very favorite fairy tales.