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Original Fairy Tales > Green Fairy Tale Book -Spoilers

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message 1: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1390 comments Mod
This is the thread for the Green Fairy Tale Book. There may be spoilers.


message 2: by Carole (new)

Carole Weave-lane (writingnamecaroleweave-lane) | 104 comments I have read three fairy tales in it that I have not read before.


message 3: by Jalilah (last edited Jul 18, 2018 05:01AM) (new)

Jalilah | 4546 comments Mod
Carole wrote: "I have read three fairy tales in it that I have not read before."

That's what I love about the coloured fairy books! There are always a number of tales that are new to me. I missed them as a child, and only discovered them a few years ago. I've read 3 so far. I'm looking forward to reading this one next week!


message 4: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 755 comments It’s the first time I read one of the fairy books by Andrew Lang . I joined the group read of the Green Fairy Book because I have heard so much about his books. I’ve only read the first three stories so far.

I enjoyed the Half-Chick and The Story of Caliph Stork—the Half-Chick because it illustrated the importance of compassion and generosity and the Caliph Stork because it showed wickedness being punished.

But I was concerned with the story of the Blue Bird because it fits the pattern that I find so distressful about some fairy tales. Why is it that the father is always absent; the bad guys are always women (usually a step-mom and her daughters); the good girl is always very beautiful; and the conflict is always between women for the handsome prince?

I just think this sends all the wrong messages to young girls. It tells them to distrust older women; to distrust women who are not beautiful; and to trust the handsome prince/king because he is their salvation. Granted Fiordelisa goes on a journey to find her prince charming and uses her skill to regain him. But goodness, gracious! Why does it always have to be this way?

I don’t think it sends a good message to young boys, either: women are fighting each other to win you in marriage. You are the big prize that every woman seeks, etc. etc.

I’m not suggesting we censor these stories from children. But I do think that we need to spend time deconstructing the stories with children to make sure they understand how and why their message is detrimental to both boys and girls.

But maybe I’m just not getting it.


message 5: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 3778 comments Mod
Tamara wrote: "I’m not suggesting we censor these stories from children. But I do think that we need to spend time deconstructing the stories with children to make sure they understand how and why their message is detrimental to both boys and girls."

No, I think you're absolutely correct. Fairy tales favor the beautiful, and I definitely think any reading of fairy tales to kids should be followed by a discussion of historical perspectives and why/how it's wrong to equate physical beauty with inner goodness.

But that's one reason I love retellings. There's so much potential commentary in the changes an author makes to a fairy tale. I'm frustrated with a lot of picture book retellings because they don't make very many changes to address these issues.

I probably won't read this for a while because I still hacen't started The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales.


message 6: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 755 comments Margaret wrote: "But that's one reason I love retellings. There's so much potential commentary in the changes an author makes to a fairy tale...."

That's a very good point. thanks!

I think the stories can also be used as the catalyst to raise these issues with children to train them to think critically about what they see and hear.


message 7: by Asaria (last edited Jul 20, 2018 01:24PM) (new)

Asaria | 686 comments Tamara wrote: "It’s the first time I read one of the fairy books by Andrew Lang . I joined the group read of the Green Fairy Book because I have heard so much about his books. I’ve only read the first three stori..."

I think the s..."

I bet you'd dislike all fairy tales of Madame d'Aulnoy, in which the issues you raise are even more glaring. And "Blue bird" is by her.

At least two her stories Lang picked for the Green fairy book. They are easily recognisable:
1) Heroines are considered beautiful, goodness incarnated and almost always princesses.
2) They love pretty things, can't do anything on their own without the help of prince. More often than not, it doesn't bother me much in other collections, just d'Aulnoy overdid this. In general good look win over someone's personality.
3) Omnipresent glamour, I mean descriptions of every beautiful object heroine encounters.


message 8: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 4546 comments Mod
Tamara wrote: "It’s the first time I read one of the fairy books by Andrew Lang . I joined the group read of the Green Fairy Book because I have heard so much about his books. I’ve only read the first three stori..."
Asaria wrote: " I bet you'd dislike all fairy tales of Madame d'Aulnoy, in which the issues you raise are even more glaring. And "Blue bird" is by he.."

These books came out in the late 18 hundreds and the tales are probably a lot older. I take this into account when I read them the same way as I do when I read Arabian Nights or other older tales.

I do agree with Margaret that if there is going to be a retelling they need to change. Also I would never read these tales as they are to younger children. With older children I would talk about how times have changed are circumstances are different now.

I have read a few Madame d'Aulnoy tales where the heroine was unattractive. If I remember correctly one of them was in The Olive Fairy Book and is called the Green Snake.......I think!


message 9: by Asaria (last edited Jul 21, 2018 03:41AM) (new)

Asaria | 686 comments Lila wrote: "These books came out in the late 18 hundreds and the tales are probably a lot older. I take this into account when I read them the same way as I do when I read Arabian Nights or other older tales.

Usually, I take the fairy tales for what they are. So far I'm enjoying Lang's selection, just not from the French sources.

D'Aulnoy was writing for the French court, and it shows. For example, she dedicated many pages to what heroines are wearing, what's their haircut, what gifts they got from the prince, what the castles look like. Maybe that explains why "Animal Bride" type is rare there. They all care for the appearances. Keeping your finger crossed for the villains isn't intended reaction, I suppose.

I'm not forming my opinion solely on Lang's books. I've read her whole collection.

Lila wrote: "I have read a few Madame d'Aulnoy tales where the heroine was unattractive. If I remember correctly one of them was in The Olive Fairy Book and is called the Green Snake.......I think!"

Despite her own experience of being rejected by the society for her ugliness, she refuse the snake for the same reason. So she still fits the pattern.


message 10: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 755 comments Asaria wrote: "I bet you'd dislike all fairy tales of Madame d'Aulnoy, in which the issues you raise are even more glaring. And "Blue bird" is by her.."

I think you're right. By the sound of it, I probably would dislike Madame d'Aulnoy's fairy tales.
These types of fairy tales bother me because I think they can be so damaging to young children in many ways.


message 11: by Mary (last edited Jul 20, 2018 08:19PM) (new)

Mary Catelli | 951 comments The father is always absent -- or the villain -- because he would derail the story otherwise. Like the king and queen managing to invite all the fairies to the christening.

Ditto for the evil stepmother. The one fairy tale I know with a good one -- she has relatives who are a problem.


message 12: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 3778 comments Mod
I find historical context often enriches my experience reading fairy tales. Did anyone here read the group read from a few years ago, From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers? She writes about how fairy tales reflect some of the realities for women of the time, and could also often be warnings. For example, beauty was often how women's worth was judged. The Bluebeard tales warn of the very real risks of marriage and how women's life expectancies were so much lower than men's because of childbirth, so women often married widowed men.

I like d'Aulnoy's fairy tales because they reflect her time in the French court. Because they are reflective of her lived reality. I find them a bit snarky.

So some of you are probably gonna fight me on this, but I find the Disney fairy tales to be far more disturbing for young kids than actual fairy tales. Vapid princesses and princes, a dumbed down plot. I do love the songs though! And Maleficent is pretty awesome. :) I would much rather read my daughter a fairy tale with all the darkness, blood, and stereotypes and have a discussion about it. Kids are smart. They know that beauty doesn't actually equate kindness, especially if a parent talks to them about it. But what it can teach them is how society often uplifts beauty over intelligence, and how wrong that can be. Also, I find many brave heroines in fairy tales (far more than in the old disney movies, I haven't watched many newer ones).

I'm currently reading a lot of fairy tale picture books, and I'm finding a lot of brave women that will be great role models for my daughter. I'm also reading a lot of bad retellings, that take out a lot of the plot which leaves vapid princesses being saved by vapid princes.


message 13: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 951 comments Down with Disney!

Part it's that it feeds into the Pop Top 20 list of fairy tales, but part it's what it does to them.


message 14: by Jalilah (last edited Jul 21, 2018 04:55PM) (new)

Jalilah | 4546 comments Mod
I agree 100% about knowing the historical context! This reminds me of when we read Bitter Greens a few years ago. Part of it is based on the author, Charlotte Rose de la Force who wrote a version of Rapunzel called Persinette. She was a member of the French court but was banished to go live in a convent. At her time living as a women really was often like being in some of those fairy tales! This is why there were often the themes of being locked up in a tower or married off to an old ugly man you hardly know (like in Beauty and the Beast) Terri Windling wrote an article about this, but I can't find it! She talks about how the woman fairy tale writers of the French court were actually subversive. If anyone can find the article, please post!


message 15: by Jalilah (last edited Jul 21, 2018 05:02PM) (new)

Jalilah | 4546 comments Mod
As I said above, the article I mentioned seems to be no longer available.
This is another one by Teri Windling about Rapunzel
http://www.mythicjourneys.org/newslet... , but
de la Force and the French Court writers are mentioned:


" Sixty years after Basile's "Petrosinella," the French writer Charlotte-Rose de La Force borrowed elements from it to use in her own Maiden-in-a-Tower story, "Persinette," published in her fairy tale collection Les Contes des Contes in 1697. (This, of course, was a practice much more common in the days before copyright laws; particularly among writers of fairy tales, where the practice continues to this day.) La Force was part of a group of writers (including Madame D'Aulnoy, Madame de Murat, and Charles Perrault) who created a vogue for adult fairy stories in the literary salons of Paris. Like Basile, La Force was writing for an educated, aristocratic audience, creating stories that were meant both to entertain and to comment on issues of contemporary life.

One issue of particular concern to women of the period was the common practice of arranged marriages, particularly among the upper classes. Women had no legal say in these arrangements, often conducted as business transactions between one aristocratic family and another. Daughters were used to cement alliances, to curry favor, and to settle debts. Sex was a husband's legal right, and there was no possibility of divorce. Young girls could find themselves married off to men many years their senior or of vile temper and habits; disobedient daughters could be shut away in convents or locked up in mad-houses. Little wonder, then, that French fairy tales are filled with girls handed over to various wicked creatures by cruel or feckless parents, or locked up in enchanted towers where only true love can save them.

La Force and other writers of the period championed the idea of consensual, companionate marriages ruled by love and civility. (Some also believed that Fate intended certain souls to be together.) The emphasis on love and romance in their stories can seem quaint and saccharine today, but such stories were progressive, even subversive, in the context of the time. La Force herself was an independently-minded woman from a noble family who caused several scandals in her quest to live a life that was self-determined. She fell in love and attempted to marry a young man without parental permission. When his family locked him up to prevent an elopement, she snuck into his room dressed as a bear with a traveling theater troupe! The couple escaped, and married — but the law eventually caught up to them and the marriage was annulled. She then got caught publishing satirical works critical of King Louis XIV. La Force was exiled to a convent for this crime — where she wrote her book of fairy tales and a series of popular historical novels. Eventually released, she spent the rest of her life earning her own living through her writing"


message 16: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 951 comments I'm particularly fond of The Golden Blackbird. And The Golden Mermaid -- it's a bit odd that he put two tales of the same type here, but then, he expected it to be the third and last.


message 17: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 3778 comments Mod
Mary wrote: "Down with Disney!

Part it's that it feeds into the Pop Top 20 list of fairy tales, but part it's what it does to them."


:)

Lila wrote: "As I said above, the article I mentioned seems to be no longer available.
This is another one by Teri Windling about Rapunzel
http://www.mythicjourneys.org/newslet... , but
de ..."


Thanks for sharing! When my class read Beauty and the Beast, I also had them read an article about arranged marriages and B&B. It broke some hearts in that class!


message 18: by Jalilah (last edited Jul 26, 2018 06:33AM) (new)

Jalilah | 4546 comments Mod
I just started and am disappointed to know that the Blue Bird tale is the same one that I read last year in Wonder Tales: Six French Stories of Enchantment by Marina Warner. It's not Madam Aulnoy's best tale IMO. There is also a Russian tale called The Blue Bird which I read decades ago and I thought it would be that one. I agree the ugly and beautiful princesses is a bad message for young girls. And that name King Charming is so silly! Like I said, it's my least favourite tale of hers!
I look forward to reading the rest of the tales!


message 19: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 951 comments One of my few issues with Lang is that most -- not all, but most -- of the French tales are literary.


message 20: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 4546 comments Mod
I read the Caliph and the Stork too but I have no idea where I read it!


message 21: by Asaria (last edited Jul 27, 2018 11:55AM) (new)

Asaria | 686 comments I'm halfway through. Finally no french stories on the sight. Besides, slowly my favourite archetypes are appearing.

Mary wrote: "One of my few issues with Lang is that most -- not all, but most -- of the French tales are literary."

I'm OK with literary fairy tales. Some of the finest Polish fairy tales were written by most popular/the best writers of their times like Nobel award winners Władysław Reymont or Henryk Sienkiewicz to name a few.

Lila wrote: "I read the Caliph and the Stork too but I have no idea where I read it!"

The same. BTW, thanks for sharing that article, Lila. It explains the reason behind the overabundance of "maiden in a tower" trope in the french stories.


message 22: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1390 comments Mod
Mary wrote: "One of my few issues with Lang is that most -- not all, but most -- of the French tales are literary."

He's drawing on the Cabinet de Fees, which was all the salon tales by women, so that's part of the reason. It was very popular in the UK.


message 23: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 951 comments That's the cause, not a reason.


message 24: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1390 comments Mod
Lila wrote: "I read the Caliph and the Stork too but I have no idea where I read it!"

I found this: https://www.bbc.com/education/clips/z.... But apparently it is commonly used in various collections.


message 25: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 4546 comments Mod
Chris wrote: "Lila wrote: "I read the Caliph and the Stork too but I have no idea where I read it!"

I found this: https://www.bbc.com/education/clips/z.... But apparently it is commonly used in various colle..."


Thanks! For some reason the video is unavailable. So, is the tale actually from the Arab world? I was not sure, as there are references to religion and culture that seem accurate, but some of the names not.


message 26: by Christine (last edited Jul 28, 2018 07:47AM) (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1390 comments Mod
The original version is (I have read a version in an Arab folklore book), but it has been recast/edited/changed into various European versions, so European view of the Arab world perhaps?


message 27: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 951 comments Notice that this collection includes "Jack My Hedgehog."

If the name "Hans" was translated from German, the Arabic names stood no chance of making it unaltered.


message 28: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 4546 comments Mod
Chris wrote: "The original version is (I have read a version in an Arab folklore book), but it has been recast/edited/changed into various European versions, so European view of the Arab world perhaps?"

Oh Chris! Whenever you have time can you please send me the link to the Arab Folklore book?
Have you read A Hundred and One Nights yet?

Mary wrote: "Notice that this collection includes "Jack My Hedgehog."

If the name "Hans" was translated from German, the Arabic names stood no chance of making it unaltered."


Very true!


message 29: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1390 comments Mod
Lila wrote: "Chris wrote: "The original version is (I have read a version in an Arab folklore book), but it has been recast/edited/changed into various European versions, so European view of the Arab world perh..."

You would ask. Give me a day to see which one it was.


message 30: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 4546 comments Mod
I'd never heard of the Comte de Caylus before! In his tale Rosanella I found his idea if the fairy splitting one person into twelve very science fiction like!


message 31: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 4546 comments Mod
Up to now I am not enjoying this collection as much as the other ones I've read from this series.


message 32: by Jalilah (last edited Sep 12, 2018 05:10AM) (new)

Jalilah | 4546 comments Mod
Asaria wrote: "I'm halfway through. Finally no french stories on the sight. Besides, slowly my favourite archetypes are appearing.

Mary wrote: "One of my few issues with Lang is that most -- not all, but most --..."


I agree the tales get better in the second half. I normally like many of the French court tales, but just not the ones in this collection.
Overall I would say this book is still worth reading if you are a fairy tale geek. However I would never suggest this book as an introduction to the Colored Fairy books because it's not the best.
Nevertheless I am enjoying some of the tales if anything for comparison . There are a number that have similar motifs as other tales, but slightly different. For example there is a Grimm's tale called Puddocky that has elements of Rapunzel ( a girl that loves parsley so much that her mother steals it from a witch), The Frog princess, ( the witch turns the girl into a frog) and the White Cat ( where the 3 brothers have 3 tasks: find a cloth that fits through a ring, a dog that fits into a nut and the most beautiful bride).
A notable difference with Grimms is both the dogs and the brides of the other brothers are drowned in the river after the ones the youngest son presents are declared the best!
There is another Russian tale called King Kojata that is interesting too.


message 33: by Asaria (last edited Sep 12, 2018 09:56AM) (new)

Asaria | 686 comments Lila wrote: "I agree the tales get better in the second half. I normally like many of the French court tales, but just not the ones in this collection... "

You know, while reading "The White Cat" I suddenly became aware I read this story, or very similar one, in the past. It was like my childish self awoke for a moment and excited was repeating "Hey, I read this!". Immediately I recalled that the titular white cat in the illustration from the book I owned looked like a more realistic take on Duchess from Disney's Aristocats.


message 34: by Mary (new)

Mary Catelli | 951 comments O yes, reading Lang's books by themselves is enough to introduce a lot of variants.


message 35: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 3778 comments Mod
I quite like The White Cat tale.


message 36: by Jalilah (last edited Sep 14, 2018 04:55AM) (new)

Jalilah | 4546 comments Mod
Me too! The White Cat has always been one of my favourit since I was child and before I knew it was penned by Madam Aulnoy! When I read The Blue Fairy Book I revisited it and also enjoyed the other Aulnoy tales which I was unfamiliar with.


message 37: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 4546 comments Mod
Mary wrote: "I'm particularly fond of The Golden Blackbird. And The Golden Mermaid -- it's a bit odd that he put two tales of the same type here, but then, he expected it to be the third and last."

I liked both of these tales too. Yes, he even writes in his intro that it will be his last.


message 38: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 4546 comments Mod
So I ended up liking this book more than I thought I would. What saved it for me were the lesser known Grimms tales that I discovered. My least favourite were the Comte de Caylus tales!


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