Middelboe Chronicles, Part 43: King March

From foxes’ dumplings to asses’ ears: King March (“Animated Tales of the World,” 2002), a Welsh version of the second-best-known Greek legend about King Midas (the first best-known being the one about the golden touch).

The original Midas appears to have been a real person, the first of three historical kings of that name in Phrygia (in Anatolia, in present-day Turkey), and asses’ ears were for some reason part of the actual official insignia of some of the royal houses of Bronze Age Anatolia. This story (Folktale Type 782) may thus have originated in Anatolia, as a just-so-story to explain the origin of the insignia, and then traveled both westward (to Greece, and thence northwest to Wales, Ireland, and elsewhere) and eastward (as versions of the story are also found in, inter alia, Central Asia, India, and Korea), getting associated with various different kings. (Phrygia was also quite wealthy, which probably explains the other Midas myth, about the golden touch.)

The King March/Mark in the Welsh version is often identified with the still better known King March/Mark who was the husband of Iseult/Isolde, who famously fell in love with Tristan/Tristram (supposedly because of a love potion, but perhaps because she found his ears less daunting than her husband’s).

2 Responses to Middelboe Chronicles, Part 43: King March

  1. Andrew August 22, 2019 at 7:20 pm #

    What do you think of Régine Pernoud and Jacques Le Goff?

    • Roderick August 22, 2019 at 11:09 pm #


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