Why this charming gay fairytale has been lost for 200 years

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“The Dog And The Sailor” is a gay fairytale lost for over 200 years, after it narrowly escaped being ... <+> removed from history altogether

Pete Jordi Wood – The Dog And The Sailor

It’s long been presumed by many folklorists that heroic LGBTQ characters didn’t exist–because when they were told from generation to lớn generation, being queer was a taboo.

But one newly released gay fairytale, that can be traced bachồng to lớn at least the 19th century has been discovered by Pete Jordi Wood, the Cornish writer và illustrator.


His research suggests that not only did gay fairytale “The Dog And The Sailor” exist but that a “whole chunk of LGBTQ folklore” was “deleted” by one homophobic man, as recently as the 1950s.

“We know that queer characters và stories were prevalent in mythology,” Pete tells me.

“There is some fascinating stuff about the origin of Mulan and how it’s actually a trans narrative sầu. So why, particularly in European fairy tales, did queer characters suddenly, seemingly, disappear?”


The reason we don’t have sầu much lớn point to is not that LGBTQ folklore didn’t exist, but because during a relatively short period of history–one of the most important folklore academics put his own morals into lớn play when editing the most internationally renowned folklore collections.

“Before books, people told stories to lớn one another, often around the fire. These stories would travel this way down generations & around the world,” Pete says.

One classic example is you can trachồng early variants of Cinderella khổng lồ Trung Quốc during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE.)


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But this kind of storytelling came lớn an abrupt halternative text with the invention of the printing press. People stopped telling tales, in part because they became more literate và read books instead.

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Pete Jordi Wood – The Dog And The Sailor is a release of the folklore story The Dog And The Sea as ... <+> edited by Stith Thompson

Pete Jordi Wood – The Dog And The Sailor
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Gay fairytales have sầu always existed, but some have sầu been edited out of history

It is challenging khổng lồ trace stories further baông xã than the 19th century because it wasn’t until the 1800’s that “Folklorists” became a fully-fledged academic discipline.

Around the Industrial revolution, & the invention of the printing press, some of the earliest Folklorists began lớn create collections of folklores.

Capitalising on listening to lớn storytellers, they began writing down and publishing their stories as collections. This sparked a considerable push to catalogue stories, from about 1850-1900, before they were lost forever, as people began khổng lồ read instead of pass stories from generation khổng lồ generation.

And this is where Pete says the filtering of LGBTQ characters began to lớn occur.

“Over one hundred years, very few people edited a catalogue of the world’s folklore with a system which logs different variations of tales across borders around the world,” Pete says.

They used the Aarne Thompson Uther Tale Type Index, khổng lồ catalogue certain folktales by their structure & assigns them AT (Arne Thompson) numbers.

Stith Thompson, an American Scholar and Folklorist, one half of the duo who created this system then got khổng lồ work on cataloguing, which is where of monumentally erased much of LGBTQ folklore.

“Unfortunately by his own accounts, Stith Thompson brought with hlặng lớn the editing his own sense of right and wrong.

“In the accompanying Motif Index of Folklore he compiled in the 1920s, and revised in the 1950s, he lists ‘Homosexuality’ & ‘Lesbianism’ in a section called “Unnatural Perversions” with bestiality và incest. mở cửa about his views he admits he omitted many stories in the catalogue because they were ‘perverse’ or ‘unnatural,’” Pete says.

“One dude. One guy got to lớn choose what stories did or didn’t make the cut in what is now the core resource & system for documenting folklore in an order still used today.


Much gay folklore was lost when Sith Thompson & other prolific folklore academics imposed their ... <+> own morals và the stories they heard when they edited them for their collections

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Did Stith Thompson press “Delete” on vast chunks of LGBTQ history?

In a matter of speaking yes, but not entirely. His folklore collections remain rife with maligned evil LGBTQ characters who, rape, pillage & murder.

“Unfortunately, Stith Thompson was all too happy to lớn put LGBTQ folk tales into lớn his catalogues if the queers got bashed up, imprisoned, sent lớn hell or murdered. Or worse, that they were predatory và evil.”

But there is light at the end of this historical tale – one story about a Prince và a sailor who fall in love has survived.

Studying for a Masters degree in Illustration at Falmouth University, và siông chồng và tired of the ‘Hero’s Journey’ Pete re-read Stith Thompson’s folk tale catalogues.

And he found something Thompson had missed, something inherently queer.


The Dog And The Sea is an ancient story, only reimagined with new illustrations, that truly depicted ... <+> a positive sầu queer story that was passed from generation lớn generation over 200 years ago

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The Dog And The Sailor is the gay fairytale where the male sailor, gets khổng lồ kiss Prince Charming

Stith Thompson’s six-volumeMotif-Index of Folk-Literature is considered the international key khổng lồ traditional material.

“So I looked at over 600 tales in the archive, reading from a queer perspective sầu. And finally, lượt thích any good fairy tale, my wish lớn find my Prince Charming came true.

“I found this weird-ass tale type called “The Dog and the Sea” which existed in multiple languages, but not in English.”

So after translating variations of the story from Danish, German, Frisian, and others; & checking Thompson’s synopsis was correct, containing the same elements or motifs – Pete found an “unbelievably & fabulously gay” plot.

“You’ve sầu got this guy who wants to be a sailor who goes on this great adventure, wining the hvà in marriage of a handsome prince.

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“The witch in it is fabulous, và ridiculously beautiful–a nice twist on the ugly old hag routine. The sailor’s mother is overprotective & funny. There’s a bunch of sexual innuendos. Plus the prince is a total dreamboat.

“Ultimately it’s an ancient tale with a positive sầu portrayal, of a guy who can be read as gay or asexual, but certainly queer, who is the only person who can defeat the evil because he can resist her beauty.

“I mean hello, Disney, please make this movie!”

This hidden gem has been available in collections all across Europe, for over a hundred years, in print. But Pete got ‘gay goosebumps’ when he realised what he’d found.

“When I started to recount it khổng lồ my gay friends, they got goosebumps too. I’m pretty sure goosebumps is an accurate measure of the fact a story is kind of special.

“We don’t know when The Dog & the Sea were first told, but it would likely be far older than the 1800’s when it was first written down in words.

“What I draw from it is how much it resonates with today’s world. Not just the queer aspects, but a story about male mental health, austerity, and even climate change. If it was groundbreaking, then, whenever it first surfaced in history, in many ways, it still is.

And does Prince Charming get his kiss at the end?

It depends on whether you read Pete’s adult or child variation of this lost queer fairytale re-born. But both come as an ever more non-binary generation are hungry to know more about their long lost queer history.

“The Dog và the Sailor” is available now with an accompanying online, 3 chiều interactive exhibition of the artwork, narrated by Years & Years actor Dino Fetscher.

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I"m a journamenu, digital nội dung producer, audience development consultant và a "Radio 30 Under 30" 2019 winner. I host the British Podcast Awards recognized social enterprise podcast #QueerAF. With National Student Pride the show mentors young LGBT students, graduates and reporters to get their first audio commissions. I"ve produced audio for anhhungxadieu.vn, City AM, Cancer Retìm kiếm UK, audioBoom and led the Clip & audio strategy for Attitude Magazine và Gay Star News. I"m driven by stories that empower those they are about, with past investigative series on chemsex, "ultra-conservative" on-campus extremism, with sexual assault survivors and on trans rights.


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