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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Top Fairy Tale Curses and Punishments

There's nothing like a good curse — a punishment, some justice, comeuppance, or just a good, ironical so there. It's something fairy tale writers and tellers have heaped on their subjects casually and plentifully for as long as the stories have been told. They range from the macabre to the weird to the downright horrific, and here are a few of my faves...

Cursed into the form of a bear.
This is fairly low on the list of curses, because though I imagine it would be pretty awkward, maybe it would be kinda cool sometimes, too? Being all powerful and RAHRRR.
And I mean...you live in an enchanted castle, Bear. What more do you want?

Cursed into the form of a toad.
This should probably be followed by "being forced to marry a brat," cause you gotta admit, Toad's a pretty good toad. He's helpful to the princess. He fetches her golden ball, she runs away. He wants to be cuddled, she throws him against a wall. Would you want to marry that?
But I'm far more interested in how a "prince" (if we believe his story — and would you?) got cursed into the form of a toad to being with.

But also, there's a giant toad on your face.
That's awkward.

Forced to dance all night in an Other realm...
...which is both a curse and a blessing. I've already mentioned how much I want to see the underground world of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, so I might be willing to put up with a few blisters to do so.

Having bugs/toads/various other insects and/or amphibians/reptiles spill from your mouth when you talk.
Similarly, being 'blessed' with gemstones and coins, etc. Both of these just seem damned inconvenient.
on a side note, I read a really good short story retelling of "Diamonds and Toads" (aka the genesis of this curse) that flipped the curse and blessing. It was actually a pretty damn good story, in an anthology of other damn good stories called Silver Birch, Blood Moon. You should check it out.

Enchanted sleep.
Wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for all the creep-os lurking in the shadows, waiting to...do stuff.

Metal shoes.
Not that I think glass shoes would be so comfortable, and HOLY HELL, what if you landed none-too-lightly on your feet during a dance step?  But iron shoes, meant to be heated over a fire and then placed on the (assumedly crying and sniveling) wearer, who is then made to dance until the shoes cool (or you know, they die)...that is some next level sh*t in the realm of curses, ya know? Probably because, unlike many of them, they seem totally plausible to our world

Pecked out eyeballs.
Look, I'm not saying they didn't bring it on themselves, but Cinderella's stepsisters have clearly already had to put up with a lot in their lives — their mother makes them chop off their respective toes and heels in order to fit in a pair of shoes, and I highly doubt this was the first odd and painful thing she'd made them do. But as punishment for their sins against Cinderella (which my tired fingers just tried to spell 'cin,' so clearly it's time to call it a night...), they had their eyes pecked out by birds.
I mean... dude.

So what are some of your favorite fairytale curses or punishments?

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  1. LOL- yes! This, so much. I would LOVE to go the 12 Dancing Princesses route. Think of the cardio! And I adore dancing. I'd be dead exhausted and sleep all day afterward, but still. Dancing!
    I think the worst has to be poor Little Mermaid's new legs. A 'blessing' of legs means it feels like she's walking on broken glass with every step? Given how much it hurts when I get pins & needles, I can't imagine. Or rather, I can, and NO prince is worth that.

    1. Especially if you're just going to die in the end, anyway...


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