June 24, 2018

FAIRY TALE FLASH - Found by Shalom Galve Aranas

The dark prince awoke at the edge of the sea...
I found you lying on the beach at midnight. I was taking a walk. It was very hot inside my hut and I had to go out in my shawl and white nightdress.

You were naked with sand all over your large, strong thighs. I thought you were a fisherman whom the sea returned and the sand reclaimed. I had to see you. Because even then, my heart pounded as you slept like a prince who needed to be kissed to wake up.

I knelt before your prone figure and kissed you on your powerful mouth.

The dark prince awoke. I saw that you have a noble nose and I knew that I will always have you in my mind for the rest of my life. I lent you my shawl to cover what I would never forget because even then, I was falling in love but was fearful of this power you had over me.

Why are you lying here by the beach? I asked.

I don’t remember, he replied and blinked his eyes twice to have a better look at me.

Did you just kiss me? he asked as though he had been dreaming and I had stolen him from his deep reverie.

Yes, I replied, because I knew kissing a stranger could never lead to anything. He would always return home.

Do you remember your name? I asked but he did not reply. Perhaps he was thinking of who he was.

The stars were a bowl of pinpoints of light above us and the moon stood guarded, shedding light on his form.

I am a prince from an Arab country. This is still a dream because I have been turned into a wolf by a suffering crone whom I turned away, and if I become bored, I shall turn into a wolf again. I remember now, they threw me at sea, to drown because I bit people from our town.

Oh, but you wouldn’t bite me, would you? I just kissed you.

No, I’ve decided to fall in love with you. May I kiss you for saving my life?  I am destitute now and very much alone. I have no one.

I live alone, but how to save you from turning into a wolf and bite me?

You would have to love me. I remember.

But you may just be playing with my emotions, how may I know you mean the truth? I asked modestly.

It is because a prince is always honest with his feelings.  I was bored and lonely. Now I have found you, I know I shall not pine for another not because I do not want to turn into a wolf.

I knelt and kissed him again. I caressed his briny skin and for a brief period I touched fur but I continued to kiss him, tasting his fangs while my eyes were closed.

He did not bite me, and when I opened my eyes he was still there, kissing me back.

Shalom Galve Aranas has been published at The Lycan Press, Former People, The Blue Nib, Medium, Written Tales, The Ugly Writers and others for her poetry and fiction. She is a loving single mother of two.
Follow her on Facebook: Shalom Aranas

Cover: Amanda Bergloff

Thank you for reading today's Fairy Tale Flash story, and please share your thoughts about Shalom's tale in the comments section below. We'd love to hear from you!
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June 22, 2018

EVER-CHANGING FAIRY TALES by Kiyomi Appleton Gaines

Do fairy tales always remain the same or do they change to suit each generation?
EC's contributing editor, Kiyomi Appleton Gaines, shares her thoughts on the topic in this week's article:
Some people have been very upset recently about the results of a survey that found that parents are changing fairy tales in order to make them more gentle tales for their children. Changing these classic tales, many an argument goes, is nothing but political correctness run rampant.

Yet fairy tales have always been retold, embellished, and otherwise changed to suit the mores and preferences of the current generation. Our current standards of child-rearing, begun with and passed down from the Victorians, is that children should be coddled and protected. What should we expect but that it should include the stories we tuck little ones into bed with? And why not? They're small and it's definitely better than the workhouses of yore! However, very few children, even among those parents and grandparents now bemoaning the loss of the "good old days," ever actually heard the original versions of fairy tales while being put down to bed as tots to begin with.

Red Riding Hood ranked as the tale most often changed for younger ears. The Perrault version of Red Riding Hood, one of the oldest written versions, was in fact drafted as a warning against young women engaging in sexual activity in the age of Louis XIV's notoriously libertinous court. Sure you don't want to edit that a little bit before sharing it with a youngster?

Fairy tales were never initially intended as stories for children, let alone bedtime stories to fall asleep to. Fairy tales were not meant as moral injunctions to "scare kids straight," as it were, but were often primarily stories women would tell each other to pass the time of spinning and weaving - this is why we talk about "spinning" a tale, "weaving" a good story, or telling a "yarn."

That's why so many of these old stories feature young women in unlikely situations, and resolve with reinforcing culturally prescribed behaviors for wifehood and motherhood.

Perhaps parents are too cautious. Crime statistics show that we're living in one of the safest times to grow up in the developed world, yet parents are literally charged with child endangerment for leaving their child to play unsupervised in the park or walk to and from home - things many of us wiled away many hours doing.

We also may very well underestimate what children, even young children, are able to handle. I re-watch movies I saw as a young child and thought nothing of at the time, and now am horrified by the degree of loss, violence, threat, and general darkness that permeates even old Disney standards. This gives me pause to reevaluate my perspective, because as a child, I wasn't upset by it.

But changing stories to suit current need and preference is nothing new. The old versions of stories are not being done away with, and are still tucked in libraries, bookstores, or are just a query away on the internet for curious young readers to explore. Parents are doing their best in a time when they themselves face considerable real world uncertainty and insecurity. If that means giving Sleeping Beauty consent in that wake-up kiss rather than diving into #MeToo with their five-year-old, I say good job, parents, of claiming your place in the long parade of oral tradition!

But those parents themselves might benefit from digging into their own favorite remembered stories to gain inspiration, hope, and courage from the heroes that reside and triumph in the trying and uncertain circumstances there.
Kiyomi Appleton Gaines is a contributing editor at Enchanted Conversation Magazine who writes stories and articles inspired by folklore and fairy tales. 
Find more of her writing at A Work of Heart
and follow her on Twitter @ThatKiyomi

Cover: Amanda Bergloff 

Thanks for reading, and please share your thoughts about Kiyomi's article in the comments section below. We'd love to hear from you!
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Edgar Allan Poe and the Jewel of Peru HERE

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June 20, 2018

JUNE ARTIST SPOTLIGHT - Meet Eveline Wallace

This month's
shines on artist,
Eveline Wallace
interviewed by EC's contributing editor, A.M. Offenwanger.
I first met Eveline Wallace when my local library had a show of her art.
I was taking a poetry class, and spend a long time staring at a large painting of a three-masted ship sailing across sky-blue waves on the top half of an arch-shaped canvas. It was only after I had written my poem about the ship that I realized that what I had taken for vaguely abstract rocks along the right side of the painting was, in fact, a map of the California coastline.

That blend of abstract and concrete, of perfectly obvious and delightfully unexpected, is what characterizes Eveline’s work—even characterizes Eveline herself. At a “Meet the Artist” day I got to know her in person—a small lady with snow-white hair that sported one vibrant purple streak. Lately, that streak was pink, and when I went over to her house to interview her for Enchanted Conversation Magazine, her hair had gone all dark. Unexpected—just like her art.

“I like anything that’s different,” Eveline said.

“What inspired you to become an artist?” I asked, and she had to think about it for a while.

“It’s an inner urge,” she said then, “a desire to create. I had it from when I was little. We used to play in the hawthorn tree in the rain, and the red blossoms would fall in the puddle, and I would make them into little boats—they were all little Ophelias going down the river…”
We laughed at that, because over her mantelpiece hangs a copy of Waterhouse’s “The Lady of Shalott,” drifting down the river.

But when I asked her about her favourite artists, her answer brought up someone closer to our own times. Kay Nielsen, she said, and when I admitted I was unfamiliar with his work, she brought out some books to show me.
“Illustrations from fairy story and children’s books—illustrations really, that’s what inspired me,” she says. “Artists that are metaphysical, art that has people in it. People—people are the big thing. The deeper meanings of life, work that has a mood that pulls you in. Anything that’s different, like Kandinsky.”

“Do you have a favorite medium to work in?” I asked.
She does: egg tempera. The real egg tempera, the one you mix yourself with raw pigments and  egg yolk. Different indeed.
Eveline also likes to work in coloured inks, and sometimes acrylic, on top of modelling paste. But not oils—they take too long to dry. “I work fast as it’s happening; it changes as I’m doing it. It sort of creates itself; I see things and I start to paint something, then I see some people in there and put them in.”

I wondered if she uses models for her figures.
“I do it out of my head. It’s imagination.” Sometimes she paints a portrait of a specific person, and she will use existing images to copy for that, but she prefers working from what she sees in her mind. “It gives you a different dimension or a different feeling when it’s from your imagination.”

Her painted stories show the unexpected, yet familiar. A Thumbelina-like fairy floats asleep in a bubble amidst rose buds, guarded by a peacock; a turban-clad charioteer steers his invisible equipage through the night; a Civil War soldier dreams on a park bench, serenaded by ghostly musicians. There are elves and dwarfs and spirits; and a masked Death in velvet and lace leads a bridal maiden to a new life.

“You are actually painting your inner self,” she says. “I like the mysterious, the spiritual—”
“Like an inner world,” I suggested.
“Yes, that’s it! I like the inner world, the inner sensorium, as they call it. I can get that from painting. Whatever comes, comes, and it feels always good.”

Check out Eveline's enchanting art

Death and the Maiden

The Charioteer

Sprite in a Bubble

Ghostly Mazurka

The Soldier

Eveline Wallace lives in Oyama, British Columbia, Canada.
You can find her on Facebook,
at her blog at Sentire Eveline,
or email her at ewallace30@LIVE.CA

Interview and photos of Eveline's art by A.M. Offenwanger


June 17, 2018

FAIRY TALE FLASH - A Brother's View by Becca Miller

He shoved his way through the crowd, but another was there first...
In the crush of dancers, he barely saw her as she entered the room. Yet, there was something about her that immediately drew him to her. Was it her beauty? She was very nearly the most beautiful woman in the room, with her perfect blonde curls and bright blue eyes. The air of magic that hung around her? Whatever it was, he knew that he had to meet the mysterious woman and take her into his arms. Who was she? He really did not care. He lived for the moment and wanted to dance.

He shoved his way through the crowd, almost at her side. Horror! Another there first. A growl of frustration. His brother? Of course. For the crown prince must always be first. And he forever second. He sulked in the corner. Pouting. Angry. Dejected. Someone joined him. He glanced over to see Lady Alyssa Davenport. She had been his brother’s favorite. She must also be feeling the rejection.

“It’s Ella,” Alyssa spat. He looked to where his brother and the mysterious girl were dancing. Ella. Alyssa’s beautiful, perfect step-sister. Always doing good. Always helping others. Revered for her compassion. And always avoiding society. He was surprised to see her here.

“The Council of Fairy-Godmothers has decided to reward her for her perfectness. They made her alluring and irresistible for the evening. Of course, they appeared while she was supposed to be helping me dress. I was forced to finish dressing by myself. It is unfair,” Alyssa whined. Normally, he would be annoyed by her complaints, but tonight he found himself commiserating. How tiresome to have the perfect sibling.

“At least,” Alyssa concluded, “she is leaving early. She has to feed orphans tomorrow or some such nonsense.”

Devastating! He would not dance with the perfect Ella, for his brother would monopolize her until she left. Maybe, he thought, this evening was not a complete waste. He could take his brother’s first choice. Certainly, tomorrow Ella’s allure would have worn off and Alyssa would once more be preferred. But he could win her first.

“Dance with me,” he said to her. It was a request, not a command. Though he always could command. He was a prince, even if just a second born.

“With you?” Alyssa snorted. “I want the best, and that is your brother. Not you.” She walked away, leaving him alone. Soon enough, Ella left his brother alone. But his brother was not dismayed.

“You know it was only Ella,” he informed his brother the next morning. The crown prince smiled and replied he already knew. Ella had told him.

A few short months later, the second born prince found himself sulking at yet another ball, this one a wedding. Alyssa joined him. Again. Only now, she smiled sweetly at him, asking him to dance.

“I only want the best, Alyssa. That is not you,” he replied, staring at the beautiful Ella, in all her perfectness. Now Crown Princess.

Becca Miller loves reading, coffee, fairy tales, writing, cats, and both rainy days and sunshine. She is thrilled when she can combine those loves in any form.

Cover: Amanda Bergloff

Check out Karen's book
Edgar Allan Poe and the Jewel of Peru HERE

June 15, 2018

SATURDAY TALE - Someone Else's Story by Kiyomi Appleton Gaines

She sometimes thought she could remember. But it felt like someone else's story, like something she had heard again and again, but not something that had happened...
Sometimes she woke and didn't know where she was, stuck in that strange space between dreaming and the rest of her life. The man beside her, wrapped in the rumpled sheets, would seem a stranger, and she would try to piece together just how she had ended up here and who he was. She would either fall back asleep, or struggle to wakefulness, and the familiar would settle over her again.

Day to day passed with little change, but she found she was more or less content. Her home was modest, but clean and orderly. The garden plot was neat, and the animals well cared for. She had a good life. In the distance, on a clear day, she could sometimes see the parapets of the castle, the colored flags unfurled in the wind on their narrow stilts. Sometimes, unaccountably, the sight of them would leave her feeling melancholy, and she would sit inside at her spinning wheel, instead of outside enjoying the good weather.

Strange sensations, like memory, would sometimes come over her when she sat spinning. A room, empty, but for a wheel, and piles of flax. A door barred, walls bare, and only a narrow window, high up, so she could see nothing through it but a sliver of blue sky. The skin of her hands was dry from working the fibrous material. And she despaired of escape.

The man, her husband, knew about nature and humors and the elements that made the world. It was a point of pride for him, but she only felt disgust at the work. Confused, she called it piety. There were some things that it was not for man to know, that were not to be meddled with, she reasoned. It brought in coin, though. They were not wealthy, but they had enough. He reminded her of this, to know her place, that she was no grander than he, and that his work had saved her life.

Yes, that. She did not remember that. Or rather she did, but it was more like a story she had been told than something she truly recalled. Pricking her finger, the infection that followed, a delirious fever, the herbal remedies that cured her. It was all so long ago now. The skin opened up, there must have been blood, and she imagined the long, narrow spindle, stretching up like a stilt overhead as she collapsed to the floor, her dress rumpled beneath her. Yes, that must be what happened. Who had found her? Her father? No, he was long gone. Her mother? Her mother had sent her away... Something nagged at her. Her mother had sent her away. She felt anger at this, mingled with despair.

"I woke you with a kiss," her husband told the story of their betrothal. Her finger pricked on the spindle, the infection, the delirium, then his herbal remedies, and woken with a kiss. Her mother had sent her away to be married, of course. She had heard it so many times. She could sometimes imagine just how it must have been. She sometimes thought she could remember. But it felt like someone else's story, like something she had heard again and again, but not something that had happened. Or at least not something that had happened to her.

Most days she just put it from her mind.

She heated the flattening iron on the hearth. She liked things to be flat, smooth. Rumpled clothing nagged at her, so she ironed everything. This was summer. In the colder months, they would lay down skins, which were warmer, but left her unsettled and distracted in a similar way. Her husband laughed at her, called her a gentle creature. As long as she still prepared his meat for his meals, he said, she could mourn for the pelts.

Once when he was out of the house, she had, on impulse, gathered up all the skins and tried each one on in turn. She was frantic lest she be caught, but nothing happened, which left her feeling disappointed and adrift. He returned as she dropped the last pelt to the floor.
"What are you doing?" he asked, standing still and quiet.
"Trying them on," she said.
Why, indeed? They should have changed her, she thought. Lifted the fog from her mind. If only she could find the right one. But that didn't seem right either. The skins were not her own, they were just animal pelts. That, too, was another story she had heard, someone else's story.
He was quiet, angry, as he returned each one to its place.

In the summertime, the men went out into the marsh to net fish and crabs and other shellfish. Her husband did not join them. She would watch them though. They looked strange, bird-like, walking out around among the reeds and grasses on their wooden stilts. She would buy a bushel of shellfish, and a basket of a certain marsh weed. Alchemy was not the only means of transforming useless things into something desired.

There was something else she sometimes dreamt, a strange conversation, in that same spare room with the flax.
"I'll turn it to gold," the man said, " but in return you will owe me something."
"What do you want?" she asked.
"Oh, nothing much. Something very small. And nothing that matters to you now."
She knew she would die if the gold was not there in the morning. "Very well. What do you want?"
His smile was too wide, and his teeth, slick with saliva, shone in the light filtering down from the small, high window. "Your child."

Of course her child would be his. He was her husband. But still, she dried and mixed her herbs, and the marsh weed assured that a child would never come.
Kiyomi Appleton Gaines is a contributing editor at Enchanted Conversation Magazine who writes stories and articles inspired by folklore and fairy tales. 
Find more of her writing at A Work of Heart
and follow her on Twitter @ThatKiyomi

Cover: Amanda Bergloff 

Thanks for reading this Saturday Tale, and please share your thoughts about Kiyomi's story in the comments section below. We'd love to hear from you!

June 13, 2018


The Brothers Grimm, One Thousand and One Nights, Mother Goose...almost all our knowledge of fairytales and early children’s literature comes from collections. We seem to hear more about these collections, and the people who took the time to compile them, than we do about the original writers. This month I’m looking at the people behind the stories, the people’s whose work deserved collecting in the first place.
Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter was a powerhouse far ahead of her time. We remember her best for fables that showcased anthropomorphized animals like The Tale of Peter Rabbit and The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, but she was much more (which is saying a lot considering The Tale of Peter Rabbit is still one of the best-selling books of all time).

There were many advantages for Beatrix growing up. Her family had wealth through the ownership of one of England’s largest textile printing works, as well as luck in the earlier days of the stock market. Beatrix was privately educated and found a love for nature and the natural sciences. She was a skilled artist and received acclaim for her colorized drawings and descriptions of fungi. Her love of nature and the environment would stay with her over the course of her life.

Beatrix had been raised on fairy tales and the traditional folklore of Scotland. She was an avid reader and always sought to express herself through words or art. While she was on a vacation in Dunkeld, she included the first ideas of The Tale of Peter Rabbit in a letter to a friend back home. In 1900, she finalized the story and began shopping it around for publication. She was unable to find anyone to take the book and decided to self-publish it for her family and friends. Canon Rawnsley received a copy of the book and was so impressed, he persuaded Frederick Warne & Co. to take a chance on it. The Tale of Peter Rabbit was published in 1902 and became so successful that Beatrix would go on to publish twenty-two more books with the company.

With the money she made from writing, Beatrix set off on a life of farming and conservation. Her passion for farming and her skill at raising sheep were almost unmatched (her mastery of sheep breeding became so well known that in 1942 she became the first woman elected president of the Herdwick Sheepbreeders’ Association). Upon her death she left all her 4,000 acres to the National Trust. Her donation made it possible to create the Lake District National Park. A true Jill of all trades, Beatrix Potter established herself in many different fields and thrived in whatever task she was taking on at the time. In a time when women were blocked from many aspects of industry, Beatrix was a maverick and a trail blazer.
Marie-Catherine d'Aulnoy

Marie-Catherine D’Aulnoy lived a life worthy of a Hollywood biopic. She was born in 1650 to a noble family and married off at the age of fifteen to a man thirty years her elder. Her husband was accused of treason by two men assumed to be lovers of D’Aulnoy. After a few years in prison, D’Aulnoy’s husband was released, and D’Aulnoy fled her home in north-western France and became a spy for the French government. During this time, she was thought to live in Spain and England. Upon her return to France, she was involved in a plot to take revenge on the abusive husband of her friend, Angélique Ticquet. The two women conspired to have one of Angélique’s servants shoot her husband, but the plan was foiled and resulted in the target being wounded instead of killed. While Madame D’Aulnoy was never implicated in the crime, her friend Angélique Ticquet was beheaded for attempted murder.

As if that wasn’t enough, this former spy and conspirator of murder would become the founding mother of fairy tales. Marie-Catherine D’Aulnoy was the principle figure in fairytale précieuses. Précieuses was a French literary style born in the salons of the female elites where well-to-do women conversed about life and literature. One of the most popular games played in these salons involved the telling of fairy tales. While the idea was that the tellings would be impromptu and spontaneous, they were usually well prepared and thoroughly rehearsed.

Apart from her participation in the salon culture, D’Aulnoy was a prolific writer, and penned two different collections of fairy tales, Les Contes des Fees (Tales of fairies) and Contes Nouveaux ou Les Fees a la Mode, were published in 1697 and 1698. These stories were not meant for children and reflected the language of the courts and salons at the time. Changes were made throughout the years to make the tales palatable for younger audiences, so much so that today some of the stories are nearly unrecognizable from their original forms.

The salon literary culture had a significant impact on writings of all forms, but especially fairytales. The works of the précieuses influenced  Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve (author of the original Beauty and the Beast) and Charles Perrault (Cinderella). While you won’t see very many references to Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy, she was, without a doubt, the mother of the fairytale as we know it today.

Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen was as equally unique as he was prolific. Born in Denmark in 1805, he wrote some of the most well-known fairy tales and childrens stories in the Western world. To his credit are the familiar titles, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, “The Little Mermaid”, and “The Ugly Duckling”, among many other works. Besides fairy tales, Andersen found initial success writing travelogues, short stories, and his breakthrough novel, The Improvisatore, which was based on his time traveling throughout Italy. He also put together stage plays and other theatrical works, though these produced little commercial or critical success.

Andersen fell in love with fairy tales from an early age when his father would read him One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights). Though he was born with dyslexia, he did eventually learn how to read. Much to his editor’s dismay, he struggled with spelling throughout his life. While he grew up poor and endured the death of his father at a young age, Andersen found success in writing early on, publishing his first story, "The Ghost at Palnatoke's Grave," at the age of seventeen.

Even though Andersen is remembered today for his fairy tales, this acclaim took some time to materialize. Published entries for his multi-installment book, Fairy Tales, which contained some of his best-known works, occurred in 1835 and 1837, but sold poorly. After this, he focused on novels and poetry which performed far better for him. It wouldn’t be until 1845, with the translation and reprinting of some early works, that Andersen would find fame in fairy tales. While he still pursued other forms of writing, he worked on fairy tales and childrens stories for the rest of his life and became one of the best-known writers of children’s literature.

There are many other people that I wish could have been included on this list, but unfortunately, we don’t know who they are. Many of our beloved stories of fairies and folklore were passed down orally for generations before ever being written down, making nearly impossible to trace them back to a single source. Even when we know the original writers of these stories, it’s easy to see the lives of those people overshadowed by the success of their works. It takes special people to craft stories that last for hundreds of years...special people that are still out there. You can take part in this tradition by submitting your stories to Enchanted Conversation where we’re always hunting for the next Potter, D’Aulnoy, and Andersen! Just try not to get your friend beheaded in the process.

William Gilmer is a writer and poet living in Michigan where Fall never lasts long enough. Over two dozen of his pieces have been published both online and in print. Keep an eye out for his monthly articles in Enchanted Conversation Magazine, and if there isn’t enough going on in your feed, follow him on Twitter @willwritethings

Cover: Amanda Bergloff

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