Experiences of an American woman who was married to a Serb.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Under the Rainbow: Balkan Fairy Tales Are ... Different

"I drove under a rainbow today!" my husband announces when I make my daily phone call to the Balkans. "But don't worry honey, I am still a man."


He assumes the problem is with the phone line and repeats himself, speaking extra loudly and clearly,"I'm still male. I did not turn into a woman."

I did not think he knew any fairy tales, certainly no Western ones. But it turns out there are Balkan fairy tales, and one of them details what happens to people who go under rainbows. Sex change!

My husband is a little surprised I hadn't heard about this fable before. Am I really sure? We each realize abruptly we are married to the Alien. It's one of those moments where you are so close, yet so far apart.


peegee said...

It's a belief.. dictionary from 1818 - 'serbs say, if man would cross under a rainbow, he'd become a woman, and woman a man'

I had to look it up :) I never heard there was a tale

tinica said...

Ha! the only Balkan "fairytales" I've heard are war sagas as origins for common recipes; I heard a dandy in a restaurant once when I asked for the recipe of the ro┼żada, which is nothing more than a common flan. I love the rainbows over there - but I'm glad I didn't have an instant sex change! This is a great topic - I'd love to hear more.

Pera said...

Never heard about that one. I know a tale that if you find a place where rainbow begin, there will be a treasure.

malarija said...

I've heard that If you cross under a rainbow - you get a mustache :)

Rebeka said...

I actually read a short fiction story as child about a girl I believe in Vojvodina who was unhappy and she decided to cross under a rainbow in a belief she would turn into a boy. What happened is that while she was trying to cross the rainbow she wondered over the marches, or around some lake and drowned. I haven't heard the fairytale itself but I assume there is something like that. Nowdays people just joke about it.

Tracey said...

So my father is also from the former Yugoslavia and that's why I've been tagging along your blog. I think it's so interesting that you're American-born and have moved to Serbia. I've never been there myself and I don't know much of the culture, but this...is priceless. I'm definitely going to ask my father about this tonight. Looking forward to reading your future posts.