Posts filed under ‘Fairy Tale Friday’
Since July is high season in Nantucket, I’ve been working a lot of nights, weekends, and everything in between. Among other unfortunate side effects (what laundry?), for me the high season translates to a lot less reading than I was doing in the early summer. Exhaustion has been my prevailing emotion the last few weeks, which means sayonara nonfiction. Farewell novels! So long short stories!
And hello Bill Willingham’s Fables series of comic books! Yes, comic books. This lovely series has proven to be the perfect capper to a long, tiring day (or week or month, as the case may be) of work.
Fables is a long-running comic book series that tells the story of (public domain) fairy tale characters who are ousted from their fairy tale world by “The Adversary” and forced to live for centuries in our “mundy” (short for “mundane”) world. About half of the characters end up in New York City, in an apartment building called Fabletown, while the other half—the ones who can’t disguise themselves as mundies so easily—live in upstate New York on The Farm.
And that’s just the basic set-up. Each volume in the series tells stories within this invented reality as well as carrying larger plot arcs forward. And each volume tends to take a different genre, with everything from noir murder mysteries to political thrillers to romance novels getting their day in the spotlight. It’s refreshing and makes for a nice change of pace even as you follow favorite characters along their larger story arcs. (more…)
In the continuing adventures of “The Grimms be crazy,” I present their story “The Dog and the Sparrow.” I should note that this would more aptly be named “The Narratively-Pointless Dog, the Loyal and Vengeful Sparrow, and the Enraged, Totally Idiotic, Comeuppance-for-you-mister Man.”
This version translated by Edgar Taylor and Marian Edwardes from the Grimm’s original Kinder- und Hausmärchen.
A shepherd’s dog had a master who took no care of him, but often let him suffer the greatest hunger. At last he could bear it no longer; so he took to his heels, and off he ran in a very sad and sorrowful mood.
On the road he met a sparrow that said to him, ’Why are you so sad, my friend?’
’Because,’ said the dog, ’I am very very hungry, and have nothing to eat.’
’If that be all,’ answered the sparrow, ’come with me into the next town, and I will soon find you plenty of food.’ (more…)
I’ve always been struck by how affected we are by books we read (or, more likely, read to us) in our early years. The ones we read ourselves in our remembered childhoods are less surprising; of course they resonated—they were the first books we actually, personally devoured. But the ones I find truly shocking in their emotional and psychological effect are the ones we don’t necessarily remember. The ones read to us before we have particularly firm memories of anything, let alone books.
I think fairy tales often fall into this category since they are so commonly (and strangely, considering much of their content) read to children. There’s plenty of opportunity for subconscious internalization with stories like these, but even I didn’t know how much until some recent chance book encounters. (more…)
Adapted from Joseph Jacob’s English Fairy Tales.
Once upon a time there was a boy named Jack who was sent out into the world by his parents with a large cursed cake and a golden snuff box, the former from his mother who was both sad and angry to see him leave and the latter from his father who told him never to open the golden snuff box unless he be on the verge of death.
Jack wandered very far and ate his way through the entire cursed cake before arriving one day at a tavern. Having run out of cursed cake, Jack was quite hungry and was pleased to make the acquaintance of the pretty barmaid. The pretty barmaid fed him heartily and, over ale and pie, they fell madly in love.
Unfortunately for Jack, the pretty barmaid was no free agent and, as most girls in such stories do, had a disagreeable father. The disagreeable father did not appreciate penniless Jack making eyes at his pretty daughter and told Jack that, if he wanted her hand, he should make a lake and the largest warship in the world appear outside the tavern by morning. If he failed in this, he would lose not only the girl, but his life.
Jack decided this was a close to death as he was like to get and whipped out his father’s golden snuff box. The moment he tipped open the lid, three little red men popped out and asked him what they could do to help. He told them he needed a lake and a big warship. “Easy peesy,” said the three little red men and it was done. (more…)
For my post this week, I’d like to take a moment to appreciate fairy tale illustrations. In my humble opinion, they are often the most beautiful and evocative illustrations provided in books, perhaps because of the inherent magic and creativity of the stories themselves.
There about a million wonderful illustrators I could call out, but I’m just going to touch on my favorites and hopefully you all will chime in with yours!
It’s back! Launching this very week, Fairy Tale Friday is now a weekly meme hosted by us here at Literary Transgressions and Books4Learning. Everyone is invited to join in the discussion and/or share a related blog post.
You can participate on your blog in several different ways:
1. Join in the weekly theme (when offered) by writing about some aspect of it or sharing a related story.
2. Share a favorite or recently read myth, legend, or fairy tale book—fractured, traditional, or modern.
3. Deconstruct fairy tales in general or a particular one.
4. Unearth a “forgotten” myth, legend, or fairy tale and write about it.
Rewrite a traditional tale or share your own original myth, legend, or fairy tale.
Whatever you chose to post about, make sure to link your post up to the weekly Fairy Tale Friday Round-up (alternating between Books4Learning and us) and add the Fairy Tale Friday badge (above).
As I mentioned last week, as part of the Classics Challenge and as an homage to A.S. Byatt’s Possession, this Friday will be a Victorian Fairy Tale Friday.
Unlike our usual Fairy Tale Fridays, I have not retold this story or changed it in any way. It is taken directly from Joseph Jacob’s English Fairy Tales (1890), the entirety of which you can read at Project Gutenberg if you should be so inclined.
The Laidly Worm of Spindleston Heugh
as told by Joseph Jacob
In Bamborough Castle once lived a king who had a fair wife and two children, a son named Childe Wynd and a daughter named Margaret. Childe Wynd went forth to seek his fortune, and soon after he had gone the queen his mother died. The king mourned her long and faithfully, but one day while he was hunting he came across a lady of great beauty, and became so much in love with her that he determined to marry her. So he sent word home that he was going to bring a new queen to Bamborough Castle.
Princess Margaret was not very glad to hear of her mother’s place being taken, but she did not repine but did her father’s bidding. And at the appointed day came down to the castle gate with the keys all ready to hand over to her stepmother. Soon the procession drew near, and the new queen came towards Princess Margaret who bowed low and handed her the keys of the castle. She stood there with blushing cheeks and eye on ground, and said: “O welcome, father dear, to your halls and bowers, and welcome to you my new mother, for all that’s here is yours,” and again she offered the keys. One of the king’s knights who had escorted the new queen, cried out in admiration: “Surely this northern Princess is the loveliest of her kind.” At that the new queen flushed up and cried out: “At least your courtesy might have excepted me,” and then she muttered below her breath: “I’ll soon put an end to her beauty.” (more…)