I was recently tagged for the Inspiring Blogger Award and received a shout out from Adam over at Fairy Tale Fandom. Thank you for thinking of me, and here is my post in response!
The idea of this tag is to post 7 facts about yourself that other people may not know. Since this is a fairy tale blog, I’ve decided to list 7 of my favourite fairy tales instead.
1. The Little Mermaid
Denmark, Hans Christian Andersen. Read it here.
I love ocean stories and mermaids, so of course this had to be on the list. I also love the ending, because I feel so conflicted about it. Part of me thinks ‘GURL what are you DOING just stab him & get the hell out of there!’ but also, I understand her decision. I’ve had my heart & soul ripped out by people, but if someone gave me a knife I plonked me at their bedside then I’d totally become sea foam, too.
George Douglas, Scotland. Read it here.
Since I’ve studied ‘Sleeping Beauty’ so extensively, spinning wheels and stories associated with them really interest me. ‘Habitrot’ is one of the more comedic ones I’ve found, with a group of mysterious old women living underground and spinning. Their work makes them ugly, and so the husband of the heroine forbids her from spinning to preserve her beauty. Which is exactly what she wants, because she is lazy and hates spinning. Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm also collected a similar story called ‘The Three Spinners.’
Italy, Giambattista Basile. Read it here.
This early version of ‘Rapunzel’ is much exciting than most of its successors. Petrosinella is a gutsy heroine, who doesn’t hesitate to plan her escape from the tower. The ogress (read ‘witch’) has Petrosinella under a spell, which requires her to retrieve three gallnuts to break it. As she flees with the prince, she throws them on the ground and they transform into animals. The final one eats the ogress, and the young lovers marry and live happily – ‘one hour in port, the sailor freed from fears, forgets the tempests of a hundred years.’
There is another, more crazy, version of this story entitled ‘Parsley Girl’ in Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales. It involves cannibalistic nuns and a talking frog. Enough said.
4. White Bear King Valemon
Norway, Asbjørnsen & Moe. Read it here.
I saw a fantastic performance of this story a few years back called The Girl with the Iron Claws. I was so enthralled by it that afterwards I sought out the original story, and found this Norwegian tale. It’s similar to ‘East of the Sun, West of the Moon,’ but instead of having winds for help the princess meets old ladies and children who give her magical objects. Also she has to climb a mountain (hence needing the iron claws. Also in some versions the mountain is made of glass).
5. Ricky of the Tuft
France, Charles Perrault. Read it here.
I love the message this story has, that beauty is only what you perceive it to be and when you love someone they are beautiful to you no matter what. I also want to know what happens to the stupid princess’s sister, who disappears from the story halfway through. Someday I’m going to write her ending!
6. Little Brother and Little Sister
Germany, Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm. Read it here.
My spirit animal is a deer, and this is the first fairy tale I encountered that features one. A brother and sister are out in the forest, and the brother drinks enchanted water which turns him into a deer. I like how this story incorporates both familial and romantic love, and think it’s an all-round cute little tale which is sometimes rare in the world of fairy tales!
7. Vasilisa the Fair
Russia, Alexander Afanasyev. Read it here.
I just love Baba Yaga stories! This one was collected in Russia by the folklorist Alexander Afanasyev, and published in his collection of fairy tales in the mid-1800s. Vasilisa is the ultimate fairy tale heroine. Brave, beautiful, clever, and resourceful. She gets on with things, and gets her happy ending. Not even a house on chicken legs surrounded by glowing human bones can stop her.