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Showing posts from May, 2014

Madame d'Aulnoy: La dame des contes des fees, By Christina Ruth Johnson, Vintage Fairy Tale Sleuth

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We hear so much about the famous male authors of fairy tales such as the Grimm brothers, Andrew Lang, Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Perrault, etc., that we might sometimes forget the female authors who helped just as much to define the genre as we know it today. In fact, it was a female author who first coined the phrase “fairy tales” -- “contes des fées” in the original French.


Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, Baronne d'Aulnoy, better known as simply Madame d’Aulnoy, was born in either 1650 or 1651. We know she married Francois de la Motte, Baron d’Aulnoy at the tender age of 16 in 1666. The Baron was thirty years her senior at the time.

Madame d’Aulnoy’s early years of marriage were marked by scandal and intrigue worthy of HBO. Her husband, often in dire financial straits, was accused of lese-majesty (a crime against the reigning authority, usually considered high treason) in 1669, a claim soon proved false. His two primary accusers were the Marquis de Courboyer and his …

The Cell Tower, By Shari L. Klase

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By Arthur Rackham
Editor's note: Rapunzel and the internet AND a dragon? This fun twist on an old story grabbed me right away.
Locked away in her high tower, Princess Emi sat contentedly among her books. Emi was a lovely girl; her one imperfection being her extreme farsightedness due to eyestrain. The eyestrain came from the hours and hours she spent reading and studying her large library of books, as well as the time spent surfing the Medieval Media. So engrossed was she in her study that she didn’t hear her mother call from the bottom of the tower wall.
“Oh, Emi, dear, could you please let down the rope so I can climb up to you?”

Emi often buried herself in her books to the point where she blocked out all distractions.

“Oh, that girl will be the death of me,” Queen Giselda said. She learned long ago to prepare for Emi’s distractions. She hoisted herself up the tower finding footholds in between the stones here and there. Her hands found greater stability from the vi…

Cats-eyes and Carbuncles: How a Merchant's Son Outwitted Old Nick--A Fairy Tale in Thee Acts, By Todd Swanson

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Editor's note: Magical objects, Satan, sibling rivalry--this story has many classic elements of the very best fairy tales. It casts a magic spell on the reader.

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Once, not so long ago, there lived two brothers, the children of a wealthy merchant.  On the night before his final journey, the merchant dreamt that his ship would sink into the farthest reaches of the farthest seas.  In the morning, he summoned his sons.
“My beloved sons, tomorrow I sail to seek the Gate of the Moon, for it is said to glitter with gems and jewels that shake from the shimmering moon.  But I fear my dream shall prove truthful, for all who seek the Gate of the Moon disappear into the sea.”
At this, the elder son was most dismayed, for he loved his father dearly.  The younger son was also dismayed, but for a very different reason: He did not want to share an inheritance with his elder brother.
The father read resentment in his younger son’s face and said to him, “My son, though I know what you want is wealth i…