“So, women’s tales…” OPNO said.
“Ladies are not allowed to talk to each other, they’ll get ideas,” I said.
“This is a terrible story,” she said.
“You can tell it’s being told by men.”
I had thought, before I finished reading the last paragraph, that the story would end with them all living together and the men the women had talked to finding wives to live with them as well and so they would all have other people to talk to, especially the women, who weren’t allowed to go out, but they would not have too many people to handle. That would be a reasonable solution.
But no. The husbands got even more jealous and went even farther in isolating their wives and did not learn from their mistakes. The message of the story is not ‘too much solitude and too much togetherness cause trouble, so find a middle ground,’ as I thought it would be; rather, it’s ‘jealous, controlling men will try to solve their relationship problems by becoming more controlling and will blame everyone but themselves when it doesn’t work.’
OPNO has a relative who divorced five wives for trivial things like singing once while they ironed and others could hear, and finally nobody would marry their daughters to him. I don’t know if he learned and took responsibility for his behaviour, but going on personal experience, I doubt it. I have been the woman in relationships with men who isolated me and tried to prevent me from talking to anyone, and they still blame those untrustworthy women for all their problems and also for not dating them now.
I really hope this is being told by men as a cautionary tale, but given that it had a happy ending and the sort of ending that is seen as normal by a lot of people (excepting the castle), I rather doubt it.