Our upcoming puppet show tells a long-lost folk tale from the Upper Palatinate, Bavaria, called The Girl-Giant and the Farmer. Female giants seem to occupy a few special places in the collective unconscious, and in my research certain themes appear. Why not listen to this beautiful song and explore with the links below:
The Giantess by Chris Schoen. Listen to and support our friend Chris, who put music to Charles Baudelaire’s poem La Géante (The Giantess) as part a cantastoria cycle called Baudelaire in a Box by Chicago’s Theatre Oobleck.
Giantesses appear often in stories from Indigenous nations on the Northwest coast of North America; terrifying female monsters who live deep in the woods or high in the mountains. One common theme across nations is that she will scoop up humans and put them in her basket for a later meal…
- Beautiful and terrible masks of Dzunukwa or Tsonoqua
- An online text of a so-called “basket ogress” story, with the wonderful headline Cannibal Basket Woman Defeated by Clever Kids
In eastern Canada, Mi’kmaq culture tells of another fearsome female giant:
- The Gougou, who snatches up fishermen and puts them in a sac or a “great pocket” according to Samuel de Champlain.
- The only Gougou story I could find online is Champlain’s popular account, which is very interesting but also chock-a-block full of colonial racism. If anyone knows better of online sources for stories of the Gougou/Kuku, post them in the comments, please!
Our Bavarian girl-giant has none of the awe-inspiring ferocity of these Indigenous tales, but she does have a tendency to pick things up that she perhaps shouldn’t…
…Is this a universal lady-giant attribute?