Carter, Angela. "The Executioner's Beautiful Daughter".
- setting: an isolated village high in the uplands
- dwellers: sullen people with flat, boneless faces like the Eskimo, eyes with slack skin of the Mongolian instead of eyelids
- men: particularly hirsute, filthy, and verminous
- women: "built for durability rather than delight", perform all the demanding agricultural tasks
- days filled with manual work, nights devoted to the imaginings of unspeakable desires
- foklore: wizards, shamans, practitioners of the occult
- the tribe was banished from their original more prosperous region by their neighbours who considered their common practice of incest abhorrent
- never takes off his mask because he would die of fright seeing his natural face
- lost his original face, became an object of fear and retribution
- demands for breakfast eggs precisely on the point of blossming into chicks
- the only who is allowed to commit incest with his beautiful daughter
- otherwise incest is punished here by decapitation
- executed his only son for committing incest with his sister Gretchen
- the executioner's daughter, the only beauty in the village and the only tender-hearted creature here
- buried her brother's body beside the hen-coop where she goes each morning to collect eggs for her father's breakfast
- after an act of public execution decribed in the story, she sees her dead brother riding a bicycle in the night, though she does not know what a bicycle is
- her dream ends with the cock's crow and her going out to collect the eggs
Questions to Consider
- The executioner beheaded his son for incest. What was the motive of the execution, was it the justice or rather jelausy?
- What might be the motives of incestual behaviour as such?
- What is the thing the village-dwellers desire? Does the incest stand for their desires? Do they desire incest just because it is forbidden?
- What part does the folklore play in the villagers' lives? Do they keep their traditions for their belief in them or out of fear of breaking them?
AuthorCarter, Angela. (1940 - 1992).
Full Title"The Executioner's Beautiful Daughter".
First PublishedIn: Fireworks. Nine Profane Pieces. London: Quartet, 1974.
Carter, Angela. "The Executioner's Beautiful Daughter". (1974). Fireworks. Nine Stories in Various Disguises. NY: Harper and Row, 1981.