And Then It Was Fixed . . .

The Storytelling that Surrounds Cunning Folks


  • Kirstine Munk Danish Folklore Archives



Cunning Folks, healing narratives, Danish folklore


The cunning folks have always existed in Denmark. They cure various ailments and are often surprisingly succesful despite the fact that they do not have any education relevant to their practice. The cunning people seldom advertice, and their reputation is based exclusively on the stories that other people tell about them. This article explores why the narratives abut the cunning people seem to be such good stories, when - in comparison - the stories that are generated in the mainline alternative health sector are less fabulous.


Ahlin, Lars. 2007. Krop, sind—eller ånd? Alternative behandlere og spiritualitet i Danmark. Aarhus: Forlaget Univers.

Bruner, Jerome. 1986. Actual Minds, Possible Worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Eakin, Paul John. 1999. How Our Lives Become Stories: Making Selves. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Jackson, Michael. 2002. The Politics of Storytelling: Violence, Transgression and Intersubjectivity. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press.

Johannessen, Helle & Ann Ostenfeld-Rosenthal. 2012. Alternativ behandling: Praksis og fakta. Copenhagen: Munksgaard.

Kleinman, Arthur. 1980. Patients and Healers in the Context of Culture: An Exploration of the Borderland between Anthropology, Medicine, and Psychiatry. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Mattingly, Cheryl. 1998. Healing Dramas and Clinical Plots: The Structure of Narrative Experience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

McAdams, Dan. 1993. The Stories We Live By: Personal Myths and the Making of the Self. New York: The Guilford Press.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. 1962. Phenomenology of Perception. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Munk, Kirstine. (forthcoming). “’Og så brød hesten ind i samtalen!’ Om brugen af kloge folk indenfor veterinærområdet før og nu.” Dansk Veterinærhistorisk Årbog 46.

Ricoeur, Paul. 1984-1988. Time and Narrative (vols. I, II, III). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Sacks, Oliver. 1987. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales. New York: Harper.

Sartre, Jean-Paul. 1976. L’étre et le néant. Paris: Gallimard.

Schank, Roger C. 1990. Tell Me a Story: A New Look at Real and Artificial Memory. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

SUSY. 2005. Sundheds- og sygelighedsundersøgelsen. Statens Institut for Folkesundhed.

Stern, Daniel. 2004. The Present Moment In Psychotherapy And Everyday Life. New York: W.W Norton & Company.






How to Cite

Munk, K. (2013). And Then It Was Fixed . . .: The Storytelling that Surrounds Cunning Folks. Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 42(4), 9-15.