Tracing the Phrase: "OId Wives' Tales"
Let's think about this one for a minute.
Here’s Sharon Blackie on the idea of “old wives tales”—from Hagitude: “In the West today, the wisdom of elder women is rarely acknowledge, let alone valued. Think of the phrase “old wives’ tales”—in common parlance, it’s used to refer to a story which is told and presented as a truth, but which out to be discounted as foolish or superstitious, and as containing exaggerated or inaccurate details and facts. This, the phrase suggests is the kind of conversation that older women specialize in; it’s really all they’re good for. But old wives’ tales actually originate in the ancient tradition of oral storytelling, and many fairy tales, such as those collected and written down by the likes of the Grimms, Hans Christian Andersen, and Charles Perrault, have their roots in the traditions kept alive by older women. In many indigenous traditions, older women are repositories of the memory of the culture; the memories are passed down in stories.”