marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

The Enduring Power of Fairytales

The perennial fairy tales found all over the world in slightly varied form.

Do they answer to some deep need?

And what's a fairy tale anyway?  J. R. R. Tolkien's "On Fairy Stories" came up, and there was discussion about needing magic.  A bit later, I put in "Catskin."  Fairy tale:  father doesn't want a girl, only a son, so he goes to marry his daughter off to anyone who'll have her, she demands three fancy dresses in an attempt to escape, and then a catskin coat, sneaks off, gets a job in a scullery, goes to the ball three times in her fancy dresses, marries the young lord, has a child, tells her husband about her family, and her husband goes to retrieve her father, now forlorn, and willing to do anything to see his daughter again.  Notice the total lack of magic.  Mind you, many of "Catskin"'s variants have magic, as a panelist pointed out.  The coat she demands can be magic, or the chest she uses to flee over land and sea; she might even turn into a bear; but it's not required.

This panelist also noted it's not popular nowadays, which she thinks stems from its recommending running away.

Many female-centric one.  (Me I'm dubious about this one, because I'm not sure anyone's gone and counted.  It's the true of the most popular ones nowadays.)

Can't remember whether this was the panel where they talked about the way European ones got out.  If so, this was where I observed that the publication of Grimms' Fairy Tales produced a noticeable shift how oral fairy tales were told -- in Japan.
Tags: boskone, fairy tales

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