Fairy Tales Fridays 08

Fairy Tale of the Week:

“Pen and Inkstand” by Hans Christian Andersen


NaNoWriMo has ended and I’m finally back to doing these, yay!

Ok, this one isn’t one I’m super familiar with, but I do think I’ve read it before. Maybe back in school, in a textbook? I’m not sure.


So there’s this poet, and he has a pen and inkstand. Some person is in the the poet’s study one day and says something about how amazing it is, what comes out of the inkwell.

The inkwell is all like, “Heck yeah it is! I’m fabulous! What the poet writes is brilliant because of me!”

That pisses off the haughty pen who’s like, “Um, actually sweetie, I’m the amazing one here. You’re just liquid and I do all the actual work.”

Sentient writing accoutrements, cool. Very fairy tale.

So, they bicker and snipe at each other, each thinking they’re more important than the other for the writing the poet does.

Then one day, the poet goes to see a concert and he’s super moved by the violin performance. He’s thinking about how the bow and strings seem to move on their own because the violinist is so skilled it doesn’t look like the playing requires much in the way of skill or effort, and how probably no one remembers the actual human person doing the playing.

But the poet will.

So, he writes an essay about people and their instruments, and how ridiculous it would be for the violin bow or strings to be proud of their achievements because the human was the actual master. He also basically said the same thing about people (because people like to boast), so the central idea of it is how people are actually instruments of the lord, and all glory is his, and all that.

The inkwell and pen take another shot at each other, each claiming the poet was referring to the other when he made the observation about how silly it would be for the instruments to be proud.

The poet continues to think about how people are all being guided by the lord, the end.


Meh. I’m sorry, but I have such a hard time with Andersen. I don’t think I’ve read one of his stories yet that I’ve genuinely enjoyed and not either disliked or just thought was “meh.” I’m definitely a Grimm fan.

I’d give this one like 2.5-3 out of 5 stars for the quarreling pen and inkstand.

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Fairy Tales Fridays 07

Fairy Tale of the Week:

“Rumpelstiltskin” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

 

One of my favorites, yay!

 

There was a miller who had a beautiful daughter, but not much else. He had to see the King once, and–wanting to impress the King or something–he told the King that his daughter could spin straw into gold. The King was like, “Hmm, that’s an interesting talent. Bring her to me and we’ll see what she can do.”

So, the miller’s daughter was taken to the King and he put her in a room full of straw with a spinning wheel and locked her in overnight, telling her that if she couldn’t spin it all into gold by morning, she was dead.

Obviously, the miller’s daughter was distraught and started to cry.

But wait! A little man opened the door and came inside. He asked her why she was so upset, and the girl explained. The man asked her what she would give him if he spun the straw into gold for her, and she offered him her necklace. He sat down before the wheel and spun all the straw to gold.

The next morning, the King was surprised, but very pleased with his room full of gold, but he was a greedy man. So, he had the girl locked in a larger room full of straw the next night, telling her once more that she had to spin it all into gold by morning or die.

Again, she wept over her predicament, and again, the little imp appeared and asked her what she would give him if he performed the task for her. She offered him her ring and he went to work.

The King was delighted at what he found the next morning, but wanted more. So, he put the miller’s daughter into an even larger room and told her if she could spin all the straw in that room to gold, he would make her his Queen.

When she was alone that night, the little man came to her again and asked what she would give him. She had nothing left to give, but he suggested that–if she became Queen–she give him her firstborn child. Desperate, and probably not feeling certain that would actually become Queen, she agreed to the imp’s terms. He spun all the straw to gold for her once more.

The King kept his word, and the miller’s daughter became Queen.

A year later, she’d forgotten the little man and she had a child. But the little man had not forgotten their bargain, and he came to collect. The Queen was desperate to get out of the deal and offered him riches, but he declined and told her something alive was worth more to him than any treasure. When she cried, he pitied her. He gave her three days to get out of giving him the child. If, within that time, she discovered his name, she could keep her baby.

The Queen thought of every name she could and sent someone out to find even more names. When the imp returned the next day, she said all the names, but to each he replied, “That is not my name.” She did the same thing the second day, but with the same results.

On the third day, the messenger returned and told her he hadn’t found any new names in the villages, but in the forest, he’d come upon a small house with a fire burning in front of it and a small man was jumping around that fire and shouting. Within the lines he was shouting, he named himself.

The Queen was very happy to hear this name, and when the imp returned and asked her if she knew his name, she at first continued with common names. But then, she said, “Perhaps your name is Rumpelstiltskin?”

The little imp was enraged and accused her of getting his name from the devil. In his anger, he thrust one of his legs deep into the ground. In his efforts to free himself, he pulled so hard on his leg that he tore himself in two.

The end.


Rating and thoughts:

5 out of 5 stars because I have always loved this fairytale. I remember reading and re-reading it when I was really young, and I had several different versions of the story. I loved them all.


In other media:

I know I’ve seen more than the ones I’m listing, like an episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog, and that animated…I think…fairy tales show that was on back in the ’90s, and probably a lot more. Rumpelstiltskin is one of those tales that has inspired a lot of media, from characters in movies and TV shows, to songs and poetry and novels and probably some video game characters. But these are the ones I remember best.

  • There was a musical version of the story from 1987 that I watched probably 50 times when I was a kid, and I would love to get it on DVD or something because I remember it being one of my absolute favorite movies. I probably drove my family crazy with it for a while.
  • Then, in 1995, there was a B-horror movie, which I remember also enjoying, but I don’t remember much about it except I think Rumpel ended up on a motorcycle at some point. That’s another one I’d love to re-watch.
  • I think he was kind of a character in one of the Shrek movies, or maybe there was an antagonist based on him?
  • He also made an appearance in Happily N’Ever After (or the sequel, maybe), but I haven’t seen those in a while so I’m not sure how prominent his role was.
  • There was an episode of Grimm (“Nameless”) in which a Wessen was named Trinket Lipslums, which is an anagram of his name. I really liked that episode, probably because I caught on right away that it was Rumpel inspired.
  • And, finally, Once Upon a Time. I could probably write a huge blog post about Rumpel and all the crossovers with other fairy tales that happened in that show. This Rumpel is my favorite Rumpel, and I have a lot of feelings about The Dark One. I love this show, and I love Rumpel’s deals.

Rumpelstiltskin is really a “Be careful what you wish for” kind of story, and is probably the foundation of why I am very wary of making deals 😛

Fairy Tales Fridays 06

Fairy Tale of the Week:

“The Teapot” by Hans Christian Andersen

I finally gave in and read an Andersen tale, even though they’re really not my favorite.

This was a short and bittersweet story about a proud teapot. She was proud of her spout and her handle, but not so much her lid, because it was cracked. In the tea service, she felt herself a queen, but the other items weren’t exactly fond of her.

One day, whoever was pouring the tea was clumsy and dropped the teapot. Her spout and handle broke off, and she ended up with someone who was poor. They put dirt in the teapot, which she wasn’t happy about (she compared it to being buried), but then they also planted a flower bulb inside that dirt.

Eventually, the teapot began to think of the bulb as her heart, and she grew proud of it. Everyone admired its beauty (but not hers) once it grew, and the teapot was happier than she’d ever been. But, then it needed to be transplanted, and to remove, they broke the teapot in half and threw the pieces in the yard. After that, you’d think she would have been bitter, but she actually looked back fondly on her memories of housing the flower.


This one was short and thankfully easier to read than last week’s tale. It definitely hasn’t made me an Andersen fan, but I enjoyed it well enough.

3.5/5 stars

Fairy Tales Fridays 05

Fairy Tale of the Week:

“Frederick and Catherine” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

I feel like I’ve read this one, but had (fortunately) blocked it out of my mind.

 

Frederick and Catherine are married. One day, he’s going to work and tells her he wants food ready when he gets home. It’s all downhill from there. First Catherine leaves the food unattended while she goes down to draw some beer. She remembers–once she’s down in the cellar–that the dog could get the sausage. She rushes back upstairs, but it’s too late. The dog stole the sausages and took off through a field. So, naturally, she chases the dog, but fails to retrieve the sausage.

Back at the house, beer is running everywhere because she didn’t turn off the tap. She gets the brilliant idea to use wheat flour to dry it up, so her husband won’t know what happened. That was kind of pointless, because as soon as he gets home, she tells him about the sausage, the beer, and the flour. Frederick is not pleased, but Catherine is like, “Well, you should have told me not to do things that way.”

*face palm*

Then Frederick changes some thalers for gold coins, tells Catherine they’re counters for a game, and buries them under the manger. He instructs her to not mess with them. Some peddlers come by selling pots (spoiler alert, they’re probably con artists), but Catherine tells them she has no money. She does, however, tell them they can go look at the yellow counters buried under the manger and see if they’d be willing to trade.

They dig up the gold and are pretty much over the moon, and skedaddle, leaving the pots behind. Catherine didn’t really seem to have a need for the pots, so she knocks the bottom out of the pots she already had and used them for decoration on the porch. *sigh* Frederick comes home, sees them, and asks wtf is going on. Catherine tells him. Frederick is not pleased. Catherine suggests they go after the thieves.

So, Frederick is like, “Yeah, ok, let’s do that! But bring some food for the trip,” andoff they go. Catherine gets sad over some ruts in the ground and smears the butter she’d brought along into them in an attempt to fill the empty space up. Then she drops a cheese at the top of the hill and it rolls away. She doesn’t want to walk back down the hill, so she sends another cheese after it. (Yes, really.) And then another, and another, until all the cheeses are gone. *beats head on desk*

When Frederick asks her for some food, she hands over some dry bread. Frederick is like “Where’s the butter and cheese?” and Catherine tells him what she did. Frederick is not pleased. Catherine insists he should have told her not to do it. Then he asks if she remembered to lock up before they left, she says she didn’t (because he should have told her to do it), and he sends her back, instructing her to also bring back more food. She locks the top half of the door, and then takes the bottom half back to Frederick. When she meets back up with him, he makes her continue carrying everything, and–because the dried pears and vinegar she brought along will be too heavy, in addition to the door on her back–she straps those to the door, so it can carry them.

*deep sigh*

They climb a tree to spend the night in, and–amazingly–the thieves end up making camp right below them. Frederick goes for some rocks, climbs back up, and tries to hit the thieves to kill them. He fails, and the thieves think they’re apples falling. Then Catherine drops the pears, which the thieves mistake for falling leaves, and then she dumps out the vinegar, which the thieves think is dew. Finally–finally–she realizes that maybe, just maybe, it’s the door that’s so heavy. And she drops it. The thieves freak out, thinking it’s the devil, and they run off and leave everything behind. So Frederick and Catherine get their gold back and go home.

Frederick tells Catherine she needs to work hard, so she heads to the fields. She ends up eating first, then gets so tired she ends up hacking up her clothes while she works. She falls asleep in the field, and when she wakes up–half naked–she can’t figure out if she’s Catherine or not, so she goes to her house and calls to Frederick at a window. Frederick answers and she asks if Catherine is home. He says she is and must be asleep, so Catherine determines that she’s not Catherine.

*groaning in frustration*

She wanders around and finds a group of thieves and asks to join them. In the village, she just…yells out, asking if anyone has something the group can steal. The vagabonds part ways with her after telling her to go dig up some turnips in the pastor’s field. She goes to do that, and someone passing by thinks it’s the devil. So, he runs to tell the pastor, who can’t walk so well, and carries the pastor on his back. All this time, Catherine has been low to the ground, but then she stands up. The pastor and the other guy freak out, shouting about how it’s the devil, and the pastor ends up running away faster than the other guy.

The end. Finally.


Uuuuugggghh.

I don’t have a lot of thoughts about this one, and I’d like to scrub it from my brain.

Catherine is not an endearingly ditzy person, she’s an absolute moron. I think maybe this was supposed to be kind of funny, but it just made me cringe constantly. I honestly didn’t even want to finish it, and it’s not like Grimm stories are very long.

It was painful to read and I want to bleach my brain to remove it. 1/5 stars, and I hope I never read it again.

 

Fairy Tales Fridays 04

Fairy Tale of the Week:

“The Singing Bone” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Hey, this one I have read before, whoo! (If anyone happens to be wondering how I’m picking the tale of the week, I’m using a random number generator. And I’m stuck on the Grimm’s because I’m really not feeling Andersen’s right now.)

In this story, there’s this boar that’s terrorizing a kingdom, destroying fields and killing animals (and sometimes people). So the king is like, “Wow, we have to get rid of this thing. I’ll offer a huge reward to anyone who will slay it!” But everyone is terrified of it (I don’t blame them), so no one wants to go hunt it down.

Then the king gets the idea of offering his daughter–in marriage–to whoever kills the boar. (Because of course he does.)

After that, these two brothers are like, “Alright, let’s do this thing!” The older one wants to do it because he’s arrogant, but the younger one apparently has a pure heart and just wants to do the right thing.

So they go to the king and he sends them out, but has them enter the forest the boar lives in from two different directions, to maximize the chance of one of them coming across it and maybe killing it.

The younger brother walks in and this little dude pops up and is like, “Hey man, you’ve got a pure heart, take this spear. With it, you’ll be able to kill the boar.” And the younger brother is like, “Cool, thanks dude!”

Shortly after that, the boar charges the younger brother and impales itself on the spear. Boar-0. Younger brother-1. Success! He’s gonna marry the princess, whoo!

But when he comes out of the forest with the boar on his back, he sees this house where a party is going down, and there’s his older brother. Older bro was too scared to go into the forest sober, so he was hanging out in the house getting some liquid courage first.

Older bro sees his younger sibling with the dead boar and of course he’s not happy. He invites his brother to have some wine, and then they set off to see the king, together. The older brother waits until his younger brother is ahead of him on a bridge and whacks him in the head, killing him. Then he buries his body under the bridge, picks up the boar, and goes to the king and claims he killed the boar himself. When his brother never showed up, he told everyone the boar must have killed him. He marries the princess.

Years later, a shepherd is crossing the bridge and sees a bone, so (of course) he thinks it would make a great mouthpiece for his horn. But oh ho! When he tries to play it, it starts singing. About how the previous owner of the bone had been killed by his brother so his brother could marry the princess.

The shepherd thinks that’s brilliant, so what does he do? He takes his horn/singing bone and plays it for the king. The king, obviously, understands what the bone is singing about. The rest of the bones of the younger brother are then found, given a proper burial, and the older (lying, cheating, no good) brother admits what he did and is then sewn up in a sack and drowned.


Ok, I love this one.

I think I’ve read it like 3 or 4 times, and I always enjoy it. It reminds me of some other folkloric story I read or heard when I was a kid (probably based on this one), but I can’t remember it.

4.5/5 stars for macabre deliciousness. Exactly what I want out of a Grimm brothers fairy tale.

Fairy Tales Fridays 03

Fairy Tale of the Week:

“The Flail From Heaven” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

While I haven’t read this one, it kind of reminds me of Jack and the Beanstalk just a bit.

 

In this story, this peasant guy is just minding his business, tilling his fields with a couple of oxen. But then their horns (for no apparent reason) start growing until they’re so big the peasant guy can’t take them through the gate to get back home.

Luckily, there’s a butcher passing by who’s like, “Hey pal, I can take those off your hands! Oh, by the way, if you bring me some turnip-seed, I’ll give you a Brabant thaler for each one,” and the peasant gladly takes the deal.

So he goes home, gets the seeds, and carries them back to the butcher. But, along the way, he lost one. The butcher paid him as promised, but on his way back, the peasant saw that the seed he’d lost had grown into this massive tree that stretched up into the sky. For whatever reason, he gets it into his head to climb up and see wtf the angels are up to.

And just what are they up to? Threshing oats. Thrilling, right?

But then, the tree he’s on starts shaking and he looks down to realize someone is chopping it down. Does he panic? Nah, he just decides falling that far would be a decidedly Not Good Thing, and just freaking makes himself a rope from the oat chaff the angels have left piled up.

Before climbing down, he also grabs a flail and a hoe, and it’s a good thing he did. Because when he gets down, he’s in a big freaking hole. Being the resourceful chap he is, he just digs himself some steps with the hoe and takes the flail home as proof of his little adventure.


What even…

Ok, I don’t know what to think about this one because it’s just so ludicrous, so I think I love it. I mean, I know. Fairy tales aren’t exactly meant to be super-believable. But for some reason, this one had me unsure of whether I wanted to roll my eyes or snort in amusement.

I say 4/5 stars for a page and a half of “wtf.”

Fairy Tales Fridays 02

Two weeks in a row, huzzah! Maybe this weekly fairy tale thing will actually stick 😛


Fairy Tale of the Week:

“Clever Grethel” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Another tale that’s new to me, I think. It felt really familiar, but that could just be because I’ve read or seen something with a similar story line before, but I can’t remember.

In this bite-sized story (seriously, it’s only like 3 pages long), Grethel is a cook for this guy, but she’s also not one to pass up drink or food, and she’s pretty full of herself. One day, her master is like, “Hey, someone’s coming over later, so cook up a couple of birds for us,” and Grethel hops to it. But the guest doesn’t arrive before the fowls are almost finished cooking, so the master runs off to fetch the intended guest.

While he’s gone, Grethel gets a bit sloshed and starts eating the birds. She starts with an overcooked wing (“It’d be a shame to waste it…” kind of thinking), and it’s all downhill from there.

When her boss gets back, he tells her the guest is right behind him, so she should hurry with the birds, then he sets off to sharpen a knife and otherwise prepare for dinner. Grethel meets the guest at the door and shoos him away, telling him her master intends to slice off the dude’s ears (ouch), and to listen to the sound of him sharpening the knife! (The horror!)

The guest, of course, freaks out and dashes off. Grethel runs to her master and claims the guest just stole the birds she’d prepared, and so the master takes off after the “thief,” shouting at him about how he just wants one. The intended guest thinks the other guy just wants one of his ears, and continues running like his life depends on it.


Clever Grethel, indeed. I liked this one, but I feel like it’s also not going to stick in my mind forever or anything. Definitely 3-4/5 stars for entertainment value, though.

Have any of you read this fairy tale?