fairy tale blog

YA Fairy Tale Retellings

I’ve had several people ask for some YA retelling book recommendations, so here are a few of each! I marked my favorites with an asterisk:

Cinderella

Snow White

Beauty & the Beast

Sleeping Beauty

Rapunzel

The Twelve Dancing Princesses

Peter Pan

Aladdin/1,001 Nights

Red Riding Hood

Hansel & Gretel: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

The Little Mermaid: Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon

The Frog Prince: 

Rumpelstiltskin: A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

The Snow Queen

anonymous asked:

i really want to follow more disney/fairy tale blogs, do you have any favourites? thank you in advance

The all time king is @droo216

@ibuzoo posts beautiful Disney graphics from time to time. @theabhorsen blogs about fairy tale things. @caddies posts Disney stuff, as does @saferincages. @princessesfanarts posts really beautiful art. 

Seriously, I follow SO MANY wonderful Disney and fairy tale blogs, it might be easier to do this- if you post Disney or fairy tale things, like this post so anon and others can find you! Like this even if I don’t follow you, so I can lurk too.

Witchy blog hunt!

Please reblog/like if you mainly post one or more of the following:

-spells
-correspondences
-paganism
-hellenic polytheism
-sigils
-witchy aesthetic
-nature/animals/crystals
-faeries
-mythology
-fairy tale aesthetic
-dark fantasy
-moon pics
-astrology -Halloween


and I’ll follow you!

The Little Mermaid

Mermaids are popular lately. I guess that makes now as good a time as any to talk about Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid.

Which desperately needs to be talked about. Seriously, the situation is dire.

Everyone knows the Disney version, which I happen to like very much, but it’s a different story, about different things. Starting with the Disney version, we’re all trained to see Prince Charming as the only possible happy ending.

Most people also know that in Andersen’s version, the mermaid dies in the end. And this is where things get difficult. First, there are a lot of picture books that end with her dying, and they have Andersen’s name on the front, so naturally everyone assumes they’re telling the original story.  If you read a twenty page picture book that was just the Disney story condensed, until suddenly it ended with death, you did not read the original.

Also, there’s this idea going around that she committed suicide because the prince didn’t love her. That is not what happened at all, and I don’t know how the rumor got started, but it really bugs me.

So I’ve got a collection of Andersen’s fairy tales in front of me right now, and I’m actually really frustrated because the title page doesn’t name a translator, but it’s got 47 of his stories in it, and my dad bought it in Denmark. The Little Mermaid is 35 pages without illustrations, I have done my research, and I’m fairly sure it’s the real, full story.

On to the summary:

The mermaid’s got a bunch of sisters. They’re all kind of interested in our world, because they’re not allowed to go to the surface until they reach a certain age. But the novelty wears off for the others. Our mermaid, much like Ariel, is a little obsessed. Already, this is about more than a cute boy. The mortal world is something that fascinated her long before she met the cute boy.

And then she saves his life. And she’s got a crush on him. It’s bad. She spies on him a lot. Her sisters help her find his house. But she doesn’t actually do anything. Days pass. Maybe weeks. Probably weeks. And then she talks to her grandma, and finds out that although they have much shorter lifespans, humans have immortal souls.

This is important.  The Little Mermaid is part of a large group of folk and fairy tales with this same basic idea. Humanoid creatures that are not human have human rationality, but lack human souls. It’s terrible, because they have the ability to understand exactly what they’re missing. So these creatures—fairies, elves, trolls, assorted sea beings—have one shot at a soul. Some stories say you only have to marry a human, others say you have to bear his children (sucks to be a merman, I guess).

She’s been obsessed with humanity forever, and she’s totally in love with this guy. But it’s not until she learns about the soul that she does anything. This is about the boy, yeah, but it’s also about the soul, and in the long run the soul is more important.

So she goes to the sea witch—who, by the way, warns her that this is stupid. And the deal is that she can become a human (which will be intensely painful), in exchange for her tongue (she cuts it out), and if he marries her, she gets the soul. If he marries no one, presumably she lives a normal human life, and dies in thirty or forty years with no soul. (The text really isn’t clear here.) But if he marries someone else, then she dies and turns into sea foam (which sounds weird but apparently it’s what all mermaids do when they die). Really, it’s a pretty generous deadline for a witch.

The prince finds her naked on the beach and takes her home, like a stray dog or something. A lot like a stray dog. Seriously. Let’s look at this relationship.

“Everyone was enchanted by her, especially the prince, who called her his little foundling…The prince said she was to stay with him forever, and she was allowed to sleep outside his door on a velvet cushion.”

A velvet cushion. Wow. Talk about your healthy romantic relationships. Not a bedroom. Not a bed. She is allowed to sleep on a cushion in the hallway.

What a privilege. I am so jealous.

Next, he has some boys’ clothes made for her so they can ride horses together.

Is she his pet? Is she is little brother? I have no idea. When I told my mom the story, she said, “So basically what he wants is a pet friend.” I think that sums up the situation pretty nicely.

But wait, there’s more!

“Day by day the prince grew fonder of her. He loved her the way one loves a dear, good child, but to make her his wife did not occur to him at all.

“’Of course I love you best,’ said the prince, ‘for…You are devoted to me, and you resemble  a young girl I once saw but will certainly never find again…She was the only one I could love in this world. But you look like her…and so good fortune has sent you to me. We shall never be parted!’”

Then his parents want him to go meet a princess. He tells the mermaid,

“I cannot love her. She doesn’t look like the beautiful girl in the temple, whom you resemble. If I should ever choose a bride, you would be the more likely one, my mute little foundling with the sparkling eyes!”

And this is where it gets really interesting:

“And he kissed her rosy mouth, played with her long hair, and rested his head upon her heart, which dreamed of mortal happiness and an immortal soul.”

Which she’s never gonna get. Why? Because this guy’s a loser.

You give a girl a nice little doggy bed. You treat her like a boy. You talk to her like a child. You tell her you love someone else. And what do you do next? You kiss her.

This is not Prince Eric. This is not Disney. Reading this story, I don’t want her to end up with this prince. That’s not a happy ending at all. He doesn’t even treat her like a person, and she deserves so much better.

So the prince goes and meets this princess. And the princess ends up being the girl that he loves from the temple. (He thinks she saved his life. Actually it was the mermaid. I’m really curious about what would have happened if he’d learned the truth.)

He’s going to marry her immediately. The deal with the witch says our mermaid dies the first morning after the wedding. She holds the bride’s train. She participates in the wedding that’s going to kill her, because she’s a sweet person who really loves this guy who treats her like a pet, and it is devastating.

Her sisters are also really sweet. They made a deal with the sea witch, too. In exchange for all of their hair, they get a knife, and they tell our mermaid:

“Before the sun rises, you must plunge it into the prince’s heart! And when his warm blood spatters your feet, they will grow together into a fishtail, and you will become a mermaid again and can sink down into the water to us, and live your three hundred years before you turn into the lifeless, salty sea foam.”

His life for a do over. I’d totally take that deal.

Maybe not. But I have a long list of fictional people I would like to slap, stab, or strangle, and he is definitely on it.

Anyway, the little mermaid is a much better person than me, and she’s not gonna kill this guy. She jumps into the sea. I think this is where people get the suicide idea, but the sun is just coming up now. She’s about to turn into sea foam, and being a very considerate sort of person, she’s going to do it in the water, so no one has to clean her up. She is literally seconds away from a natural death. She’s not killing herself. Knowing that she’s going to die regardless, she is choosing a place to die in.

And it’s quote time.

“Once more she gazed at the prince with dimming eyes, then plunged from the ship down into the sea. And she felt her body dissolving into foam.

“Now the sun rose out of the sea. The mild, warm rays fell on the deathly cold sea foam, and the little mermaid did not feel death…she saw the clear sun, and up above her floated hundreds of lovely transparent creatures…The little mermaid saw that she had a body like theirs. It rose higher and higher out of the foam.”

So she becomes a Daughter of the Air. Daughters of the Air create their own souls with good deeds. It takes about three hundred years. So basically she gets to hang around for the length of her normal mermaid lifespan, and then she’ll have a soul and she can go to Heaven. Also she gets to talk again. This is not actually a tragic ending. She wins. She gets the soul. She doesn’t get the prince, but I have a feeling the Daughters of the Air are gonna treat her a lot better than he did, so who cares? She’s going to Heaven.

Now at the very end Andersen mentions that if the Daughters fly past a naughty child, they’ll get another year added to their 300, but mostly this seems to be a scare tactic for young readers, so let’s just focus on the happy part where the little mermaid does technically die, but also gets eternal life.

Also, if you want to read more of this type of story, where marriage=soul, you should totally check out Undine, by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué. It was written before The Little Mermaid, it also involves a sea person, it’s much more painful, it’s a little more explicitly religious, and it is absolutely beautiful. Also it’s free online, and George MacDonald Approved:

“Were I asked, what is a fairytale? I should reply, Read Undine: that is a fairytale … of all fairytales I know, I think Undine the most beautiful.”

 

 

 @Q]�<

Beauty and the Beast

We all talk a lot about Beauty and the Beast—especially me. Of all the fairy tales I’m obsessed with, this has always been my favorite. And right now, I think the Beast is an excellent way to continue this discussion on rape.

What do you know about him, you who grew up on Disney?

The Beast was a jerk, right? He was mean to some fairy, so she turned him into a monster as a well-deserved punishment.

My favorite version of this story is La Belle et le Bete, a novella by a Madame Villeneuve. It’s the version of this story type that our current version is most directly descended from. And it doesn’t focus a lot on this aspect of things, but here is what I have always taken away from this story:

The Beast is the victim.

He’s young. Young enough that he can’t be left home alone when his mother the queen goes off to war. So they leave him with a fairy woman.

The fairy falls in love. The Beast—future Beast—doesn’t feel the same way. That—not wanting a romantic relationship with his guardianthat is what he’s being punished for.

So we’ve got a young man, sexually harassed, at the very least, by a woman he trusted to take care of him. He gets tossed into some new body, monstrous and unfamiliar. But wait!

There’s more. Part of the spell is that he must seem as stupid as he is hideous. You’ve got this child, abused, tortured, transformed, and not even able to properly express himself—able to think just as he normally does, but unable to express those thoughts, unable to communicate effectively, unable to even let the Beauty get to know him as he really is.

I’ve read a lot of weird, intense, depressing fairy tales, but I’ve never encountered a character I felt more sympathy for than the Beast.

Now, let’s talk about what we’ve done to this story over the years, and what it says about us as a society.

This awful thing that happened to the Beast was his own fault, naturally. A very young man is sexually abused, essentially, by an older woman who is supposed to be taking care of him, and we change this into the story of an unpleasant young man being justly punished by a good woman. And then—then we do the exact same thing Beauty spent the entire story learning not to do. We immediately assume that ugliness of body must signify ugliness of spirit, and we adjust the story accordingly.

This is meant to be a story about a girl learning to see past appearances—about Beauty becoming a better person. Instead it’s become the exact opposite—Beauty helping the Beast to become better. It’s a redemption story now. The Beast never needed to be redeemed. He needed to be rescued.

I love Beauty and the Beast, in all its versions. I’m not saying that there’s something wrong with the version we tell now. It’s a good story, if a different one. What I am saying is that the way the story has changed over the years can be connected in interesting ways to how we handle the issues it contains in real life.

How many times have you heard the words “Men can’t be raped?” We have this bizarre inability to accept the idea of the guy as the victim in any situation. Anyone who gets raped, our society tends toward the mindset of “They deserved it.” Or we pretend it didn’t happen. And in the meantime, we’ve got all these people suffering the way the poor Beast does.

Imagine how traumatized he must have been. Imagine going through that, and having everyone siding with the evil fairy, everyone saying you deserved it, everyone assuming that because you’re big and ugly, you couldn’t possibly have been a victim here, and in fact, you were probably the perpetrator.

Let’s think less about magic flowers, and more about the incredible abuses of power at play here. The Beast is magnificent. And so many people are going through the real-life equivalent of his problems. We need more Beauties to see the worth in the people we push off to the side. No one real should ever have to suffer like the Beast.    

\n  QQL&��

(She’s the kind of dreamer that lives in vodka and fairy tales and the hope that one day he will realize that he missed out on the most beautiful goddamn thing he’s ever had the chance to hold onto.)

She’s the kind of lover that loves in marijuana minutes & half smoked cigarettes & drunken hope that one night he’s going to wake up next to a blonde with eyes like the sunrise & suddenly miss her black velvet curls & night sky, starry eyes. And the darkness that once left him afraid.. he’ll crave.

(And she hopes he finds her in his nightmares, her lips on someone else’s lips and her hands tangled up in their hair and she hopes he remembers the way she used to taste like blood and bravery and half of an unfinished love song & she hopes it makes him miss her, the way she misses sleeping pills and being 17.)

He’ll dream about her until he’s wide awake, until every cup of coffee tastes like her name, bitter but so fucking sweet & his hands will shake, remembering how her lips tasted like cherries & second chances. And her only wish is when his blonde bombshell asks what his favorite flavor is, he says cherries. It’s always been cherries.

—  A collab with ( weallwritealong )