05/17/2010 11:05 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

In Defense Of The Old Wives' Tale

'A foolish story, such as is told by garrulous old women' is how the Oxford dictionary defines an old wives' tale. Despite being treated with contempt over the centuries, these narratives served not only to amaze and appal children but to teach them coded lessons about the realities of life, from toilet training to pregnancy, argues Germaine Greer

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