marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

more Coloured Fairy Books

Another installment, of the next four books. Continuing to far farther than the first books did for tales.

The Pink Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

This collection leans heavily toward the Danish and Italian tales.  Including, alas, Hans Christian Anderson, whose work I have never been fond of.  (Though I will note that "The Goblin And the Grocer" was translated pre-modern fantasy; the goblin as a household sprite, like a brownie, is an old tradition.)  "The King Who Would Have a Beautiful Wife" struck me as nasty.  But it has a number of good ones.  I particularly like "Catherine and Her Fate," "The Man Without A Heart", "Esben and the Witch," and "Don Giovanni de la Fortune."

The Grey Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

This one has a fair variety.  A number of Arabic -- or arabesque -- ones, some of which I recognized from a more literal translation (this turns ghouls into witches and ogres).    Some prolonged literary ones, which were not to my taste.  I particularly liked "The Story of Bensurdatu", "The Magician's Horse," "the White Wolf," "The Bear," and "Laughing Eye and Weeping Eye."  All which I think I have read before as variants earlier in the series.  Interesting to see what twists are put on them.  (It features "Donkey Skin."  Bowdlerized, of course.)

The Violet Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

This one, I think, has more weak tales than the earlier ones, especially since many of them are other kinds of folk tales.  Some are very good; I particularly mention ""The Nine Pea-hens and the Golden Apples," "Jesper who Herded Hares," and "The Frog."

The Crimson Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

A wide variety.  I like "Lucky Luck," which is of the same type as "Faithful Johannes" (at least at first), but better put together.  Oddly enough, it has two tales "The Hairy Man" and "The Gold-Bearded Man", where the prince gets in trouble by freeing a prisoner (a la "Iron Hans") but the freed captive does not play so great a role.  I also particularly liked "The Colony of Cats" and "Niels and the Giants." And there is also "The Horse Gullfaxi and the Sword Gunnfoder" which gets a special mention for having the only benevolent stepmother in any fairy tale I've read.
Tags: fairy tale reviews, fiction reviews: pre-20th century

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