A series of prints depicting female characters from folklore and mythology.
A miserly old man meets the woman of his dreams; a woman who does not eat! They will marry at once. She is a hard worker yet is not a burden on his food supplies. Oh, happy days. But somehow his stock of rice is in decline…
A horror befalls the man when he stays home to spy on his wife and he discovers her secret. He watches as the back of her hair parts to reveal her skull splitting open and a large, hideous mouth appears. Hungrily, the “second mouth” (for that is the translation of Futakuchi-onna) eats as much as it can; extending its long tongue, aided by tentacle-like waves of hair, it feeds upon the rice that the man had been selfishly guarding. It would seem that hunger and deprivation do not a pleasant companion make.
The goddess Hel is half alive and half dead. Along with her siblings, Jörmungandr (a giant serpent) and Fenrir (a wolf), she is a child of Loki resulting from his affair with the giantess Angrboða. A more unusual family is hard to imagine. When Oðin discovered the existence of these beastly children, he was not pleased.
Hel is sent to live in the underworld, for where else could a creature so unsightly reside. But Hel knows how to make the best of a gloomy situation. She crowns herself queen of her realm; she has mansions and servants and the loyal assistance of her hell hound Garmr and her dragon Nidhogg who help her to bring in the newly deceased. Hel is powerful and strong, and along with her ever-growing army of the dead, a little bit alarming.
When the sun sets on a Thursday a dramatic transformation occurs; a cursed woman will change into a mule with a neck that spurts out flames where the head should be. This is a curse administered to a woman as a punishment for having a sexual relationship with a priest. Becoming the Headless Mule seems to be considered worthy penance for such a lack of respect for the values of chastity, although it must be assumed that the unaltered man of God must have had no power to resist the situation.
The Headless Mule will gallop across the territories of seven parishes, hooves clattering thunderously and wailing like a horse that is on fire might well wail, until Friday sunrise when she returns to human form. A rather exhausting end to the week.
The story of Medusa is one of fear, sadness and ever-increasing disappointment. It begins in the Temple of Athena where Medusa is dutifully serving her favourite goddess, when the god of the seas Poseidon sees her there and rapes her. Athena is furious. But her fury is inexplicably aimed towards Medusa, whom she is determined to punish severely. She transforms her long golden hair into writhing, hissing serpents and she makes it so whoever looks upon her face will be turned to stone.
And so, feared as this dreadful monster, Medusa must survive an isolated existence on the island of Sarpedon. Perhaps a single comfort being her new ability to petrify anyone else who plans to attack her. Or perhaps not, if Perseus has anything to do with it.
One day, centuries ago, an aristocratic woman makes the mistake of refusing money to a beggar, who in return curses the woman’s unborn child to be born with an unusually hoggish appearance.
Born with the head of a pig, resting on the shoulders of an otherwise regular looking woman, Tannakin Skinker is looking for a husband. Or rather her parents are looking for a husband for her and they will do whatever it takes. They have been told that the only way she is to be cured of her porcine affliction is by her marriage (and its consummation) to a man of noble lineage.
Oh, for her to be both normal AND married, her mother would be overjoyed.
Baba Yaga does not care what you think, she is happily getting on with things and living her best magical life. She lives deep in the forest in a hut that stands on chicken’s legs, with invisible servants to help around the house. She has iron teeth and travels around in a mortar, wielding a pestle. Most try to avoid her, perhaps taken aback by her less than vappealing looks, or perhaps they’ve heard those rumours about her eating people.
Some might choose to pay Baba Yaga a visit, usually if they need assistance with a difficult situation. Baba Yaga is wise and powerful and can most likely solve any problem if she wishes, but that will depend on her mood; is she feeling helpful? Or mischievous? Or does she need another skull to add to the fence around her house.