marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

ah motives

Fairy tales are lacking in motive.  Why are the twelve dancing princesses dancing every night?  Why does the dwarf go to stand in the princes' way and give them directions, if they'll listen?  Why does the gooseherd chivvy Tattercoats to the ball to watch the arrivals?

But some are positively counter-intuitive.

"Iron Hans" for instance. The prince goes and saves the day, and goes back into hiding, putting away the magic.  When the king and princess earnestly wish to reward the rescuer of the realm.

And that's not even the worst variant.  There's a Russian variant, "The Mangy One", where the three princesses choose their bridegrooms before the war, and the youngest picks the gardner's boy, the prince in disguise, and he keeps his identity secret from her -- while marrying her -- while he saves the day three times.

Mind you, in all variants, the prince ran away from home because of freeing a prisoner of his father's and fearing his rage, but he already saved the kingdom once (or thrice).  He could do it again.

So -- pondering, pondering, pondering -- just because they are triumphatn doesn't mean it doesn't do damage.  And if magic is used against him, they might not be able to shield him. . . .

Still pondering.

Tags: fairy tales (retelling), motives and purposes
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