I’d love to be in a wintery, witchy fairy tale. My home would be an old quaint castle hidden in the forest, I’d be the young witch of the woods villagers would brave traveling to for tinctures, cures, and spells for ailments. And I’d always be known as kind, but very dangerous.
According to ancient Kalos folklore, Hydreigon were formed from three cursed humans. The three (a commander and two subordinates) wanted the gold of the mountains and killed the mines’ owners. The dying owners cursed them, forcing the killers to merge into one being without hands. Their greed forces them to stay in the mountains, but they can never dig for or touch the gold they murdered for.
Two young people got married. Some time after that, the man met his aunt.
- You are so skinny, - she told him. - What happened to you? You are young, but you do not look good.
And he answered:
- My dear aunt, I do not know myself. I grow weaker every day.
Then, the aunt said:
- If you do not tell anybody I did it, I will tell you.
The young man promised to keep it a secret, and the aunt started her story.
- Listen to me. In few days, there will be a new moon. It will be Wednesday. Tell your wife you have some work to do out in the field, and leave the house for a day, and have a good rest. When you come back home in the evening, do not sleep, but watch your wife closely. She soon will give you your supper and tell you to go to bed, and you must pretend like you do. She will do the housework, and then, when she is done, she will think you are asleep: that is when she will take a bridle and will want to hit you with it. You will have to get up and take it from her before she does it. Because your wife is a witch, a bosorkanya, and if she does, you will turn into a horse and she will ride you all night, but if you do, she will turn into a mare herself.
The man did as he was told, and then he rode the mare his wife turned into wherever she would go herself.
They soon arrived at a meadow, and there already were many witches, all riding horses. One of the witches said:
- Our head witch is not here, and we can not continue our gathering. We all have to go home now.
So they did. As the man was returning home, he went to the house of a relative who was a smith and asked to shoe the horse. The man first suggested they should wait till it is light outside, but the young one insisted that he wanted to ride it to a fair early in the morning. Not wanting to insult a family, the smith agreed. Then the young man returned home and left the mare in the stables.
In the morning, he returned and saw his own wife there, with horseshoes attached to her feet and hands, and covered in blood. He was scared, and went to his aunt again to ask for another advice.
- And why did you do that?, she asked, - Why did you shoe her? Now your wife will die, and there is nothing that can be done about it. Now, go home, take the horseshoes off of her, and tell people it was an accident. When she is buried, come here again, and I will tell you what to do next.
The man did as he was told, and soon returned. That is what his aunt told him:
- Now you have to spend three nights by your wife’s grave, or you will die. Take some chalk, some holy water, and an iron rod. When you arrive at the graveyard, stand by her head, and make a circle around you with chalk and holy water, then turn to the grave, and put the rod in front of you - she will not see you behind it. Stand there until the roosters sing.
So the man did as he was told again. Soon the grave opened, and his wife stormed out of it towards their house. She was there until roosters sang, and returned to her grave. When the man came home, he saw a great disorder, and everythign was in a mess. Same happened on the next night.
Before the third night, the aunt told him to wait until his wife is back to her coffin. And as she will be half under the ground, he will have to say, “I forgive you, and you forgive me”. Then she will have no right to leave her grave any more.
That is what he did. On the third night, as his wife came back to her grave by morning, he said:
- I forgive you, and you forgive me.
- You are tricky! Well, now I forgive you.
And she never appeared again, and the man lived on. And still does, unless he died.
I want to read up on fairy tales, what would you recommend?
Well, first of all, just read a lot of them. And–this is crucial–read folklore from other traditions, stuff that isn’t typically called fairy tales, to give yourself a good understanding on the gut level of how fairy tales are unspecial (they’re just a particular slice of world folklore; when you get down to it it’s all the same messy preoccupations filtered through different cultural conventions, reference points, etc) and how they are special (i.e. the cultural-historical specificity of the particular stories that have ended up in this category).
But I suspect this is not what you are really asking. So:
Fairy tales are more than moral lessons and time capsules for cultural commentary; they are natural law. The child raised on folklore will quickly learn the rules of crossroads and lakes, mirrors and mushroom rings. They’ll never eat or drink of a strange harvest or insult an old woman or fritter away their name as though there’s no power in it. They’ll never underestimate the youngest son or touch anyone’s hairpin or rosebush or bed without asking, and their steps through the woods will be light and unpresumptuous. Little ones who seek out fairy tales are taught to be shrewd and courteous citizens of the seen world, just in case the unseen one ever bleeds over.