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Showing posts from January, 2014

A Tale Across Time (East of the Sun, West of the Moon), By Christina Ruth Johnson, Vintage Fairy Tale Sleuth

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My favorite fairy tale for many years has been “East of the Sun and West of the Moon.” A few different things conspired to make it so. I love that the hero of the tale is female--it is she who undertakes the quest, she who rescues the prince, and she who defeats the evil. I love the illustrations by the great Kay Nielsen that are associated with it.

I also love the conundrum it presents when compared with the classical myth of “Cupid and Psyche.” To be so similar, yet so far removed in time and space! What is the connection? I decided that whether or not I found an answer, I would address this problem in my next Fairy Tale Vintage Sleuth column . . . so let the sleuthing begin!



ESWM was originally collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe, two famous Norwegian folklorists, who were born about 30 years after the Grimm brothers and drew on the work of the latter for inspiration in their own endeavors. Asbjørnsen and Moe began publishing their collection of stories, Norske folk…

Book Review Column: Girl Power, By Lissa Sloan (Cinder, Scarlet, and Towering)

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Girl Power:  In which I review three updates featuring classic fairy tale heroines: the girl with the slipper, the girl with the hood, and the girl with the hair.  (Cinder, Scarlet, and Towering)
Cinder and Scarlet, by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is volume I of TheLunarChronicles, Marissa Meyer’s blend of post-World War IV Earth and classic fairy tales.  Linh Cinder is the best mechanic in New Beijing, where she supports her stepmother and stepsisters by working out of a market stall.  When Crown Prince Kai gives her a mysterious repair assignment and later invites her to the royal ball, she finds him as attractive as the rest of the world does.  But Cinder can’t imagine Kai would be interested in her if he knew she was a cyborg.  And she has other things on her mind, such as the deadly plague that is hitting too close to home, fixing the family hover before the ball, and trying to avoid the cyborg draft.   When Cinder is forced to become a test subject for plague vaccines, she learns she is m…

Roses and Agatha Starless, By Adele Jones

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Editor's note: This bittersweet tale shows that details matter in writing stories. I also liked how it evoked both "Beauty and the Beast" and the myth of Persephone.
In the early evening, when the sun was out of sight but it was still light enough to see, Agatha Starless sat at her balcony, weaving a yellow shawl. The thread shone in the moonlight, and she hummed to herself as she sat, deep in lazy contemplation. She thought by turn of her sisters and their suitors, and what she might wear to the next palace party, and of the prettiness of the landscape, the hills rolling neatly out to the horizon.

She was the oldest of three sisters and was regularly courted by a variety of lords, one of whom would be chosen on her twentieth birthday. Agatha looked forward to marriage but was happy enough waiting; it was pleasant to be young still. She could imagine no greater pleasure than sitting on the balcony, weaving and looking up at the sky or across to the horizon, and thinking on…

Throwback Thursday: The Princess of Evighet, by Larry Stanfel

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Editor's note: For Throwback Thursday, here's a winning story from 1-15-14. It has so many great fairy tale elements! Read on.
This story evokes classic fairy tales, even if the heroine is a bit more detailed and lovable than most of her older sisters in fairy tales. There are foolish, indulgent parents, a nasty witch, a benign fairy, and a seeming happily ever after. Yet, as with the classic tales, one is left wondering: Would our heroine have had an even happier ever after without her "reward"? That's what made this story so intriguing to me. It leaves room for interpretation.

A rather long time ago there was a Kingdom called Evighet, far across the sea from us, which had a King named Kaldric and a Queen, Agnetha. Their rule was entirely benevolent and gentle, and their subjects were happier than those in any other Kingdom.

There were so many holidays that the only way any work was accomplished was because the people were so pleased about the vacations, they endea…