GRIMM’S COMPLETE FAIRY TALES: Tales 49-52
#49 THE SIX SWANS
Do you ever wish you had a magical ball of yarn that lead you wherever you wanted to go? It’s like a medieval Google Maps. It would be extremely helpful in various fairy tale situations, such as having to hide your children from their evil stepmother in so secret of a place that you needed magical yarn to help you find it. “Yarn Siri…give me directions to the secret children hideout.”
#50 THE SLEEPING BEAUTY (BRIAR ROSE)
It’s actually quite surprising how much the Disney version of this tale kept from Grimm’s original. The scorned Wise Woman who didn’t get invited; the cursed spindle; the kingdom falling asleep along with the princess; even the vast thorn bush that grew around the castle. However, it seems Prince Philip didn’t have to do as much work as the Disney movie relates; quite a bit less, actually. No dragon fights at all. Turns out, the guy just happened to show up to the castle on the day the 100 year curse lifted. Dude just strolled in, kissed the waking lady, and married her on the spot. Poor girl was probably still groggy when they tied the knot and got stuck with the opportunistic louse. Seems he could have at least let her think it through over a cup of coffee.
#51 FUNDEVOGEL (FLEDGLING)
Two points really stood out in this tale: One, the forester took home a baby that was stuck in a tree while the child’s mother slept right under the same tree. HE KIDNAPPED THE CHILD. WHILE SHE SLEPT. Who does that? Welp, this idiot is sleeping, guess I’ll take home her child and raise it as my own. Second, it seems that one of the survival instincts of children in a fairy tale is to SHAPESHIFT AT WILL. The two friends in this story transform themselves into a rose bush with a single rose, a church with a chandelier, and a pond with a duck in it by just saying it. Well, that and promising to never leave each other, neither now nor ever. Which isn’t creepy. Whatsoever.
#52 KING THRUSHBEARD
What could be better than teaching a young princess a lesson when she declines to marry you? I feel like there should have been some seminar about consent in Fairy Tale Land. The Grimm’s missed the boat on that one. So, clever old King Thrushbeard disguises himself as a beggar, her father forces the princess to marry the beggar because she’s turned down everyone else, and the beggar makes her work her hands til they bleed in various jobs for a meager living. I’m guessing the moral here is that if she turns you down the first time, disguise yourself and make her regret it. I’m taking notes of which fairy tales I want my daughter to read so she can learn what kind of men to avoid and what kind of schemes to be on the lookout for as well. This one is case in point.