Mother Folk: Folktales, Wisdom, and Lore in Motherhood


As I braid one of my daughter’s hair and the other waits her turn, I tell them what I am doing. I show them how to separate the hair in sections, how each braid is comprised of three parts, and how to twist the end around your finger to prevent the braid from unraveling. While doing this, I can’t help but to think of all the stories, the tales, the superstitions that I learned from my mother and aunts when I was growing up, getting my own hair braided. For instance, I think of the pattern of bad luck that will befall one of us if more than one person were to braid someone’s hair at the same time, or how if you cut your hair on a full moon, it will grow back longer and thicker.

I find myself lately thinking about the stories and aphorisms my mother figures shared with me, especially now that I’m a thousand miles away from them, or sadly, some have moved on. Each day, I treasure each bit of wisdom more, some that used to be dismissed as old wives’ tales.

When asked for a topic for Mom Egg Review, I thought about these bits of lore and advice and thought folk lore and folktales would make for a great folio. I put out the call hoping to get at least twenty submissions in the short window we had, but was surprised to receive a huge number of submissions. Of course, I could only pick so many and I hope to see those I had to pass in print elsewhere.

Thank you to MER, to all who submitted, and to our brilliant contributors.

DeMisty D. Bellinger is the author of the novel New to Liberty and the poetry collections Rubbing Elbows and Peculiar Heritage. She has an MFA from Southampton and a PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. DeMisty teaches creative writing at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts and she lives with her husband and twin daughters. You can learn more about her at




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