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Showing posts from July, 2012

The White Marriage, By William Saunders

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Editor's note: What a marvel William Saunders has created with this story. Fragments of magic, slivers of drama, shards of history, are all mingled together in a reverie called, "The White Marriage."  EC is delighted to present the story as a guest post, as it seemed the best category in which to place it. Enjoy!

Once upon time there was a beautiful princess, and she married a handsome prince, who took her far away across the sea to rule with him over the city of Prague.

And Prague in November resembled an enormous wedding cake, as the Princess, who was now a Queen looked out of her castle window.  After a night of snow, the roofs and the spires of the city shone and sparkled as if they were gorgeous curlicues teased out of sugar by a clever pastry chef. Only if she leaned very far out of the window could she find any sign of the dark earth at all.

Down below among the cottages pressed against the wall of the castle the snow had not settled due to the steady tread of the…

Rumpelstiltskin, By Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

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Editor's note: Poor old Rumpelstiltskin. In my book, he was more sinned against than sinning. He always just seemed like a lonely guy who wanted a child -- and really, how great would the greedy king and thoughtless miller's daughter be as parents? And the miller? A dolt. Everyone knows that you do not, do not, try to gain the attention of the greedy and powerful -- unless you are attempting a palace coup.
The miller was not up to anything like a palace takeover, but in any case, the brag about his daughter's alleged ability to spin straw into gold sets the whole story of "Rumpelstiltskin" motion. 
The king, even for a figure of power in a fairy tale, is notably greedy and cruel. Not only does he want all the gold he can get (which, admittedly, is a pretty common failing), but he threatens her with death if she fails to produce. The miller, meanwhile, is not seen to throw himself at the feet of the kind, begging for mercy for his daughter.
The miller's daughter …