In Honor of #Folklore Thursday: Reading “Briar Rose”

from Philip Pullman’s re-telling of Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm:

The sleep was so deep that it spread through all the castle. The king and queen had just returned, and as soon as they walked into the hall they fell down where they stood. Their servants and attendants fell down too, like dominoes in a line, and so did the horses in the stable and the grooms looking after them, and the pigeons on the roof and the dogs in the courtyard. One dog was scratching himself: he fell asleep just like that, with his back paw behind his ear. The flies on the wall fell asleep. Down in the kitchen the very flames under the roasting ox fell asleep. A drop of fat that was about to fall from the sizzling carcass stayed where it was and didn’t move.

Sentence of the Day: from Philip Pullman’s FAIRY TALES FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM

  • When the bird saw the vegetable stew coming to the boil with a dead mouse in it, he panicked.

— from The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage, a fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm, re-told by Philip Pullman

#amreadingpoetry: James Merrill

Fed
Up so long and variously by
Our age’s fancy narrative concoctions,
I yearned for the kind of unseasoned telling found
In legends, fairy tales, a tone licked clean
Over the centuries by mild old tongues,
Grandam to cub, serene, anonymous.
. . . So my narrative
Wanted to be limpid, unfragmented;
My characters, conventional stock figures
Afflicted to a minimal degree
With personality and past experience —
A witch, a hermit, innocent young lovers,
The kinds of being we recall from Grimm,
Jung, Verdi, and the commedia dell’arte.

— James Merrill, excerpt from the long poem The Changing Light at Sandover

Sentence of the Day: “The Boy Who Left Home To Find Out About the Shivers”

from Fairy Tales From the Brothers Grimm, edited by Philip Pullman:

He had just sat down again when from every corner of the room there came black cats and black dogs, each of them wearing a red-hot collar with a red-hot chain.

— from “The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers”

Mejhiren Drops a New Chapter of “When the Moon Fell In Love With the Sun”

Take out the names Katniss and Peeta and this could be anything: a fairy tale that adheres to its magical conventions but has such a complexity of description and symbol that it seems to be operating on a level that is completely meta. Maybe this is a hallucination: there is no large wooden house by a lake, there is no lone victor who dresses himself in bearskin when he comes to fetch Katniss from her childhood home and brings her to his house as a servant. It’s all a dream. It’s like Memento, all jagged pieces. It’s about fragmentation. Literally.

The author updates about once a year.

Yes.

Every year we have a chapter that tells us what happens when Katniss wakes up each morning: the mysterious companion of her night-time disappears. She doesn’t know if it’s Peeta or someone else. If it’s Peeta, why the heck doesn’t he just tell Katniss, Yes it’s me that comes and sleeps next to you every night? For the reader it’s been five years (Admittedly, in the story it’s only five nights, but anyhoo) of tension, confusion and speculation. (Who is Mejhiren? She has a tumblr called Porchwood. That’s all self knows)

If this is serialization, it’s also torture. All the author is willing to give are crumbs, carefully doled out. You must be a masochist.

Yes, yes, self will admit, she is a masochist. So are hundreds of thousands of other fan fiction enthusiasts. We’re all masochists, we all exist in a state of suspended animation. Thank you, Mejhiren, for updating right after the news broke of George Michael’s death.

Anyhoo, this chapter begins with Katniss waking up in bed alone (naturally). Nothing is different. She keeps trying to piece together clues. And this morning there is a new one: a feather.

What does this mean?

Scooting out of bed, I press a kiss to the feather and tuck it away in my drawer of precious things alongside the wintergreen sprig and the orange, which I decide to split with my companion tonight, peel and all. Perhaps my visitor is a bird himself, I think, a little madly, wooed by my newfound gentleness in the woods, and the feather is his own. Oranges are very precious, of course, but many birds love fruit, peels and rinds and all, and I resolve to ask Peeta if he’s found one that prefers oranges yet. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s tried it already.

“We’d make a fine pair,” I tell my absent companion as I collect the nest from his pillow and carry it to my dresser-top to await this evening’s treat.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Everlark: Once, in a Cabin Deep in a Forest . . .

. . . there lived a widowed coal miner with 12 children. And these twelve children were:

  • Gloss
  • Darius
  • Finnick
  • Thom
  • Marvel
  • Cato
  • Johanna
  • Glimmer
  • Delly
  • Madge
  • Primrose
  • Katniss

Gloss, Cato, Glimmer, Delly, Madge and Primrose were “fair-haired with cerulean eyes and porcelain, milk-colored skin . . .  Darius and Finnick were the handsome gingers” and Thom, Marvel, Johanna and Katniss were “dark-haired” and “olive-toned.”

One day, the miner is informed that his in-laws have bequeathed him an apothecary but he must travel in person to District Four to claim it.

So the miner took leave of his 12 children and promised to bring them back gifts from Four, and the children asked for:

  • jewels
  • shoes
  • dresses
  • fancy shields

But Katniss asked only for a single white rose.

The miner did not yet know that to get this rose, he would have to go to an “enchanted castle” where “a hijacked prince” held on to the rose for dear life.

How self loves Everlarkian fairy tales. This one’s by author PeetasandHerondales.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

It’s Not This Time of Year Without: Fairy Tales, Myths and Magic

The latest Daily Post Photo Challenge is:

IT’S NOT THIS TIME OF YEAR WITHOUT . . .

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Self’s Snuggly Slippers: Take Her to Oz Pronto!

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An Illustration From Hans Christian Andersen’s THE WILD SWANS

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A Most Fantastic Book, SWAN SONG, by Mendocino Artist Mary Ellen Campbell

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fairy Tales and Women

Yes, you know it.

From Maria Tatar’s essay, Reading the Grimms’ Children’s Stories and Household Tales:

“. . . oral storytelling is often affiliated with labor traditionally carried out by women: spinning, sewing, weaving, and cooking. That many of our metaphors for storytelling — spinning yarns, weaving tales, cooking up a plot — derive from the domestic arts suggests that fairy tales were indeed related to ‘old wives’ tales,’ stories told by midwives, nursemaids, female domestics, and others to transmit wisdom from one generation to the next.

“Gossip and narrative are sisters,” the British writer Marina Warner suggests, “both ways of keeping the mind alive when ordinary tasks call . . . “

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Maria Tatar: THE ANNOTATED BROTHERS GRIMM

The Fisherman and His Wife

A fisherman befriends a flounder who can grant whatever he desires. The fisherman’s wife asks that the flounder make her Pope. The flounder grants her request and the fisherman returns home to find his wife “seated on a throne that is bright as the sun.”

“Husband,” the fisherman’s wife says, “If I can’t make the sun and the moon rise, but have to watch them rise and set, I won’t be able to stand it. I’ll never have a moment’s peace . . . go to the flounder. I want to become like our dear God.”

Outside a storm was raging, and the wind was blowing so hard that the fisherman could hardly stay on his feet.

*****

Maria Tatar: The landscape begins to take on an apocalyptic coloring once the wife demands divine powers.

Tatar calls this story “an anti-fairy tale: a narrative that, rather than tracing a rise in fortunes or a reversal, takes the protagonist back to the miserable condition in which they started.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Transmogrify: Daily Post Photo Challenge, 28 October 2016

Transmogrify:  It means “to change in appearance or form, especially strangely or grotesquely; it means to tranform.”

— Michelle W., The Daily Post

And, you know, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are full of these transmogrifications. The iconic illustrations were by Sir John Tenniel.

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Alice in Wonderland: The Queen orders the playing cards to paint the roses red.

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Still Alice in Wonderland: Roses With Faces

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The Mock Turtle and the Gryphon share a couple of sad stories with Alice.

In most Lewis Carroll, reality is a slippery slope. Things are always transmogrifying.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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