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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Embracing the WEIRD - Misty's favorite strange tales [vlog]

For my last vlog of FTF, we're talking WEIRD.

There are lots of really bizarre, strange, wacko fairy tales out there, but here are the first 3 that always come to my mind when discussing the stranger side of fairy tales. Definitely let me know your favorite weird tales in the comments - and if you don't have any or know any, a) let me know what you think of the ones I talked about, and b) pick up a copy of Grimm's or Andersen's, Perrault's or Basile's, or just about any fairy tale collection, and open to, oh...any page. Bet you'll find one... ;)

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  1. WOW! I had never heard of the Rose Elf, that really is a bizarre fairy tale. LOL I have read Donkeyskin and there are many variations of that story. I actually watched it on Jim Henson's Storyteller. I also just finished reading Deerskin by Robin McKinley. I thought it was really good. :) Thanks for sharing these strange tales.

  2. Another weird tale is The Three Heads of the Well. :)

  3. I have no idea if Andersen read The Decameron, but there were some creepy similarities with the head in the planter and all. There's an old, old French story (de Nevarre, I think) about a woman who is seduced by her own son, and the daughter that results from that tryst grows up to marry the son/father. And the church tells the mother that it's all her fault. Oh, the wrongness!

    There's a Korean short short about a man who wanted his son to live a long time, so he gave his son a long name. In the course of calling for help one day, it took so long to say the child's name that he dies by the time help is summoned. I've never found it funny. (If you're up for a long, addictive story, you can see this used in a funny way in the K-drama "Secret Garden" http://www.hulu.com/secret-garden.)

    And lastly, is the medieval French fairy tale Babiole. The story itself isn't so weird. What's peculiar is that this story, and the others in its volume, were based on the real-life adventures of the author. Marriages to trolls and flying out of tower windows and magic nuts in boxes. How does that work???

  4. Okay, so bizzare, all of them! Just I don't know. Did these guys eat bad mushrooms while they wrote these? And these tales have endured through time. Kinda scary. No wonder Disney sanitized them. How does a bird carry wood, a mouse carry water? I'm not even going to ask about sending the sausage out to collect wood. Bird brain takes on a whole new meaning!
    Sorry the mouse was involved. But it was a mouse, not a rat!


  5. I wasn't a huge fan of Deerskin, Liz. I really like Robin McKinley, and had never read a retelling of that tale, so I think maybe my expectations were too high. I liked it okay-enough, but I was disappointed.

    Lex - There are a lot of similar tales told across ALL cultures, it seems. My guess would be wandering minstrels/bards, and general nomads, etc., but either way, it's crazy the frequency with which some of these very bizarre tales seem to crop up.
    (And if you want disturbing and not at all funny, there's an African "armless maiden" tale - the exact name of which, I can't remember - where a brother tries to rape his sister, and when she struggles, he and another brother hold her down so they can cut her arms off for being disobedient. There's more to it, and I'm sure she eventually gets some (small) amount of justice, but mostly it's phrased as if she should have known better... O_O)

    And Disney wasn't the only one to sanitize (sort of), Heather - one of the Grimm brothers was a Puritan, and he didn't like sex in tales, so he removed much of it. BUT to keep things interesting for the adults, he added more violence... Yeah.

  6. Oh, also: Secret Garden is definitely in my queue!

  7. Yeah, there were some parts in the book where I was like 'WTF?' O_o But I thought it was an interesting take on the fairy tale.

    Another book that was really amazing was Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue (currently out of print) but still incredible writing. For all I know you have probably read it. :)

  8. Freakishly enough, I know that African story... (I had a prof who specialized in comparing West African and Irish works, and that came up!) One (just one) weird thing about Andersen is that he didn't write folk tales. In the late Victorian era, fairy tales made this big, Romantic surge in the Western psyche, and HCA tapped into that and made up his own. It's part of why so many of his stories center on themes of social justice, pushing boundaries, and consequences for either. (The guy who translated the Scheharezade tales did something similar, slipping in his own made up story--"Sinbad"--into all these other authentic tales. Just to see if he could.) But super old Italian texts of the earliest recorded efforts at fiction? I don't know how well those traveled... :)

    PS As a shout out to the fabulousness of FTF, I will say that I stumbled across Secret Garden after trying to research modern retellings of fairy tales without magic. "Snow Queen" kept coming up in all my searches. (That is great if you want an emo weekend. Tears non-stop, for every episode. And, surprisingly, worth the weeping.) The deliciously adorable Hyun Bin stars in both. Thanks and well done with all the fairy madness!

  9. Thank YOU for being part of it! =)


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