marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

you don't have to talk about fairy tales, you know. . . .

People's ignorance of fairy tales can be Very, Very Annoying.  Starting with ill-educated geese who think that unicorns are a fairy tale motif, or that nothing terrible happens in fairy tales.  But then they aren't writing articles about them. . . .

Those that do are often no better educated.  Like an article that discusses a radical, new re-telling of Cinderella.  Her problem is not her stepmother and stepsisters, but that her father left the family deeply in debt.  So she (and the rest of them) go off to work for a prince, and then she wows the prince (who knew of her existence beforehand) at the ball.  And I say, your radical, new retelling is Catskin.  Or All-Kinds-of-Fur.  Or Cap O'Rushes Or The Bear.  Or any of the numerous folktales of Aarne-Thompson type 510B, as opposed to Aarne-Thompson 510A, which includes Cinderella and all the heroines persecuted by female figures.

Or an article which discussed the Swan Maiden fairy tale and solemnly said that the hero, setting out in search of his lost wife, was encroaching on territory of younger men, who were not yet married.  A common plaint:  that the fairy tale always ends with the marriage.  Ha.  Some fairy tales start out with the characters already married, such as The White Duck , The Witch In the Stone Boat, or Stan Bolovan,  Many, many, many more start out with the character unwed, but have the marriage in the middle of the tale, as the Swan Maiden does, and other tales of Aarne-Thompson type 401* -- and others of type 401, such as Soria Moria Castle.  Plus Aarne-Thompson type 425A, where the heroine is looking for the hero, who is often enough her husband: The Brown Bear of Norway, The Crab or The Enchanted Pig And many others.  Like Sleeping Beauty.  Perrault's Sleeping Beauty, that is.  The Grimms' version chopped off that, but they did find a fragmentary "Evil Mother-in-Law" which starts with the young married queen and her children whom her mother-in-law wants to eat.  Or like The Six Swans, Our Lady's Child, The Singing, Springing Lark, Brother And Sister, The Wonderful Birch, The Enchanted Wreath, or The Three Little Men in the Woods.  It always happens in The Girl Without Hands, in every variant.  Even Catskin has a coda where the father repents of his wickedness after his daughter has been married for years, and in The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was, the heroine does nothing before her marriage but afterwards, in a coda, actually teaches him what fear is.  It is not, to put it mildly, that uncommon.  If my experience is typical, it's more common that the Hansel and Gretel type where the characters return home.

grumble, grumble, grouse.
Tags: fairy tales, families: matrimony, families: other, families: parent/child, rants

  • Come Holy Ghost, Creator Blest

    Come Holy Ghost, Creator Blest, And in our hearts take up Thy rest; Come with Thy grace and heav'nly aid To fill the hearts which Thou hast made, To…

  • Alleluia! sing to Jesus!

    Alleluia! sing to Jesus! His the scepter, his the throne. Alleluia! His the triumph, his the victory alone. Hark! the songs of peaceful Zion thunder…

  • Hail the day that sees him rise

    Hail the day that sees him rise, Alleluia! to his throne beyond the skies. Alleluia! Christ, the Lamb for sinners given, Alleluia! enters now the…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded