In the folktales of the ethnicities of the Carpathian Basin, the phenomenon of stepchildhood (due to orphanhood, separation, removal from home, transfer or remarriage) occurs quite frequently. This phenomenon has been thoroughly mapped by mythologists and folklorists, by exegetes and prominent scholars of medieval and modern history from the perspective of different disciplines. However, the literary hermeneutic analysis of these narratives reveals the historical and socio-cultural background, the individual and local community experience from which the existence of a marginalized child, sometimes barely tolerated and sometimes totally deprived of rights in the family, can be interpreted. As a compensation for the unbearable foster-life, the storytellers aim to overwrite the bad experience by creating a good fortune through the intercession of a helping being, a ‟God-sent man”, assisting the hero.
The Phenomenology of Stepchildhood in Folktales