marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

Beautiful Angiola

Beautiful Angiola: The Lost Sicilian Folk and Fairy Tales of Laura Gonzenbach by Laura Gonzenbach

A selection of fairy tales from a pioneer in the field of collecting Italian fairy tales.  Translated from -- High German, alas, since she published in it, and her original notes were lost in an earthquake.

A few tales of sillies and others of scoundrels, but a mix of odd tales and specifically Sicilian variants on well-known tale types. There's a tale where a prince marries a woman who had slapped them when they were both children and in revenge keeps her in a well -- and she gets ahead of him to the three cities he visits, and they have three children before she reveals the truth. Don Giovanni de la Fortune makes a deal with a devil -- and both he and the Devil end up happy. The Daughter of the Sun shows off her magical powers and her rivals keep foolishly trying to do the same. "Rags and Leaves" is an odd one: usually when you have three daughters and a son, it's the son who's the hero, but here the youngest daughter is, and faces the problem of how her husband is to be selected, and then one of dreams. And a lot of other interesting ones.

A lot of them end with a bitter couplet, to the effect that they got to live happily ever after, while we live on in poverty.
Tags: fairy tale reviews

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