Uncanny Georgia: Daughters of the Sun

young_wishham_womanHere’s a fun one. According to a legend from southern Georgia, a Creek hunting party once got lost in the Okefenokee Swamp. At the height of their desperation, they were rescued by a group of beautiful women. According to an early 19th-century report:

[They] being lost in inextricable swamps and bogs and on the point of perishing, were unexpectedly relived by a company of beautiful women, whom they call daughters of the Sun, who kindly gave them such provisions as they had with them, consisting of fruit and corn cakes. (Jedidiah Morse, The American Universal Geography [J. T. Buckingham, 1805] 726)

Having rescued, cared for, and fed their guests, the women then warn them to flee as fast as possible “because their husbands were fierce men and cruel to strangers” (Morse, 726). These husbands were said to be of gigantic stature. They are hairy, aggressive, barely civilized wild men.

For their part, however, the “daughters of the sun” are beautiful nymph-like beings with dark eyes and musical voices. They often appear in thin, clouded forms, and have been compared to angels.

Despite their brutish husbands, the daughters of the sun dwell in an inaccessible island paradise. Morse continues to describe their settlements,

situated on the elevated banks of an island, in a beautiful lake; but that in their endeavours to approach it they were involved in perpetual labyrinths, and, like enchanted land, still as they imagined they had just gained it, it seemed to fly before them.… When [the hunters] reported their adventures to their countrymen, the young warriors were inflamed with an irresistible desire to invade and conquer so charming a country, but all their attempts had hitherto proved fruitless, they never being able again to find the spot. (726–27)

The idea of beautiful, helpful women married to terrible ogres seems to be an almost universal trope in fairy tales. This is but another variation on that theme.

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