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This question got me thinking about the Irish depiction of legs in mythology.

  • I remember one woman, in particular, from (I believe) the Ulster Cycle, described as having backward legs, similar to a stag or horse, to connote her inhuman swiftness. (The Greek heroine Atalanta is one parallel, although I can no longer remember the gist of the Irish story.)

Not strictly related: Cut Across Shorty

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    This detail might possibly occur in some tellings of the story of Macha's foot-race, reckoned among the remscela of the Táin in that it explains the curse by which the Ulstermen suffer disabling pangs as of childbirth in their hour of most need. I don't recall it, however, from Kinsella's version (pp. 6–8), for which the source text for this remscel is that edited by Windisch and published in 1884. – Brian Donovan Aug 30 '17 at 13:53
  • @BrianDonovan Good call re: Macha. The the Kinsella is my favorite translation, but I'm not entirely sure if the description of the reverse legs derives from the Táin or the broader Ulster cycle. – DukeZhou Aug 30 '17 at 14:48
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    Note the association with horses in the Wiki piece you link. – Brian Donovan Aug 30 '17 at 16:19
  • Didn't the Badb Catha have backwards knees (along with other grotesque features) in Togail Bruidne Dá Derga? – Charlie Tizzard Ó Kevlahan Sep 26 '18 at 10:56
  • For what it's worth, horses (dogs, etc.) don't actually have "backward knees". They have short thighs and very long feet, making their heels look like backward knees. – Ray Butterworth Oct 10 '20 at 13:03

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