Look! No animal in the title, instead this Russian folktale has the most fitting title ever. For a friday. 🙂
FridayThere was once a certain woman who did not pay due reverence to Mother Friday, but set to work on a distaff-ful of flax, combing and whirling it. She span away till dinner-time, then suddenly sleep fell upon her – such a deep sleep! And when she had gone to sleep, suddenly the door opened and in came Mother Friday, before the eyes of all who were there, clad in a white dress, and in such a rage! And she went straight up to the woman who had been spinning, scooped up from the floor a handful of the dust that had fallen out of the flax, and began stuffing and stuffing that woman’s eyes full of it! And when she had stuffed them full, she went off in a rage – disappeared without saying a word.
When the woman awoke, she began squalling at the top of her voice about her eyes, but couldn’t tell what was the matter with them. The other women, who had been terribly frightened, began to cry out:
“Oh, you wretch, you! You’ve brought a terrible punishment on yourself from Mother Friday.”
Then they told her all that had taken place. She listened to it all, and then began imploringly:
“Mother Friday, forgive me! Pardon me, the guilty one! I’ll offer thee a taper, and I’ll never let friend or foe dishonor thee, Mother!”
Well, what do you think? During the night, back came Mother Friday and took the dust out of that woman’s eyes, so that she was able to get about again. It’s a great sin to dishonor Mother Friday—combing and spinning flax, forsooth!
Text source: Russian folk-tales. Edited by William Ralston Shedden Ralston. R. Worthington, 1880.
Copyright for image: Carl Emil Doepler’s illustration of goddess Freya
According to what I found, Mother Friday is another name for the goddess Mokosh, who rules over fertility and midwifery and who is linked to the day of friday. And she is not happy indeed when on her day, women continue their spinning work or men to twine cord. The reason being that these works will kick up dust which hurts her eyes. And we’ve just heard what then happens. And thank God, I’m not in Russia right now because my apartment might kind of be somewhat always a bit dusty. Erh. 🙂
What’s really interesting about this text is also the following footnote of Rolston’s which drives the point home that it’s not only in Russia that you need to be careful on Fridays:
A tradition of our own relates that the Lords of the Admiralty, wishing to prove the absurdity of the English sailor’s horror of Friday, commenced a ship on a Friday, launched her on a Friday, named her “The Friday,” procured a Captain Friday to command her, and sent her to sea on a Friday, and—she was never heard of again.