Into the Forest discussion

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Original Fairy Tales > GRimm The Tales -Spoilers likely

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message 1: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1388 comments Mod
A place to dicuss the stories.


message 2: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1388 comments Mod
So has anyone started?


message 3: by Anki (new)

Anki (shadrachanki) | 3 comments I've read the first four stories so far. My copy of the tales has them in a radically different order than the number order, and some of the titles are extremely different as well. It took me some time to figure out which stories where which and make note of the page numbers.


message 4: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1388 comments Mod
What did you think of the "Our Lady's Child"?


message 5: by Diane (new)

Diane Reed Wow, Chris--my mind is reeling after reading "Our Lady's Child." (I couldn't find it in Maria Tatar's annotated Grimm, so I looked it up online: http://portitude.org/literature/grimm... )
This fairy tale seems to have borrowed a lot of classic elements from other traditions/tales: Pandora's Box, the Garden of Eden, Cock crowing 3 times & the denial of Christ, Rumpelstiltskin's requirement of a baby for penance, etc. What struck me most was its harshness, however. The Virgin Mary demands total obedience without ever really saying why--and she metes out a cruel justice upon a girl for merely being curious about the 13th door. Very old testament feeling to it all: curiosity, wanderlust & ambition are treated as "sins", particularly in women. Sigh. I found myself wishing the Virgin Mary would have more original dialogue--perhaps that would encourage the girl more as she makes her transition to womanhood. I wouldn't mind hanging out in Heaven for a while, though! What was your take on it?


message 6: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1388 comments Mod
It's one of the ones that I wonder if the Grimms changed a bit. Many of the tales became more religious.


message 7: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 4468 comments Mod
Wow is right I just read it and feel the same way! This tale is not in my version of Grimm’s tales either. Yes, it definitely has an Old Testament feeling to it. It reminds me of the Garden of Eden story. This is the first time I've read about the Virgin Mary in a European Fairy Tale. She appears in some of the old New Mexican stories replacing the Fairy Godmother in a Cinderella like story. Like the New Mexican tales, the Virgin is way more forgiving than God would be.


message 8: by Diane (new)

Diane Reed Jalilah wrote: "Wow is right I just read it and feel the same way! This tale is not in my version of Grimm’s tales either. Yes, it definitely has an Old Testament feeling to it. It reminds me of the Garden of Eden..."

Yes,I enjoy the Virgin Mary in Southwestern/New Mexican tales--she seems more like an angel. I have a feeling Chris is right--maybe the Grimms got more dogmatic as time went on. Or perhaps they felt pressure to make the fairy tales less pagan? Interesting story.


message 9: by Jalilah (last edited Mar 14, 2012 06:46AM) (new)

Jalilah | 4468 comments Mod
Hmm, I just read the Frog Prince and remember now why I did not like this tale as a child.
On one hand while I liked frogs, I used to catch them as a child play with them, then let them go free again, I felt the repulsion the princess felt having to share her bed with the frog. Even to a child the sexual connotations are clear. On the other hand, I did not like the princess for breaking her promise and worse still, for throwing the frog against the wall. It seemed to me that she did not deserve the prince. Even as a child it did not seem right to me that the prince would want to marry her as she did not seem like a good person.


message 10: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1388 comments Mod
You're right. The Frog prince bugs me for all those same reasons, and because of the father of the princess. It almost seems like they have to get married simply because of the time spent in the bedroom.


message 11: by Anki (new)

Anki (shadrachanki) | 3 comments I read The Twelve Brothers last night and I have to say that the king's behaviour makes no sense. "If our thirteenth child is a girl, I will kill all my sons so her portion can be greater." What's up with that? I mean, presumably his heir would need to be male, so why kill all his male offspring? Severe logic fail.

There are other problems with that story as well.


message 12: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1388 comments Mod
I think that is a good question Anki. If the tales are supposed to transmit something, why transmit that idea?


message 13: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 4468 comments Mod
I have noticed in many of tales, both Grimm’s and the French ones, that the kings are often very unjust and erratic to say the least. Perhaps it was a social commentary?


message 14: by Diane (new)

Diane Reed Interesting thought : )


message 15: by Anki (new)

Anki (shadrachanki) | 3 comments That's entirely possible. Of course, the king more or less disappeared from the story after he made that pronouncement, and once the princess went to find her brothers it was like the parents ceased to exist entirely.

Then there's the randomly-appearing old magic woman who only shows up for one scene to tell the princess that she shouldn't have picked the lilies for her brothers because that turned them into crows/ravens and it's all her fault (despite the fact that she was never told anything about the flowers, nor were they brought up in the story previously).

I don't know; it just felt like there were a lot more holes in this story than in other tales where people get transformed into animals. It's like there wasn't a clear, logical thread connecting the events together; they just happened because "this is the sort of stuff that happens in fairy tales".


message 16: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 4468 comments Mod
Now it is really apparent to me that in general, I prefer the French tales to the German ones. I mentioned in the Blue Fairy book thread that I find the characters in the tales of Madame D'Aulnoy to be more complex and less one dimensional than in other Fairy Tales. I find many of the Grimm’s characters very strange although I still think many of their tales like Hansel and Gretal and Snow White are classics


message 17: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1388 comments Mod
Many of the Grimm's tales came from French sources in the original form. It's interesting how culture changes the stories.


message 18: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1388 comments Mod
What is also interesting, what I would really like to know, is whether the female characters were more active in the original tales than in the rewrites.

There is a theory, as well, that the story "The Singing Bone" may have been told because of a love triangle between Whilem, Dorthea, and Whilem's younger brother.


message 19: by F.T. (new)

F.T. (ftmckinstry) Late last night I read "A Tale About the Boy Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was," from The Complete Fairy Tales of Brothers Grimm, Vol. II. I was reading along thinking, Ok this is messed up in a campy sort of way - "If I could only get the creeps!" - then I reached the end and nearly burst out laughing. Minnows. Did not see that coming.


message 20: by F.T. (last edited Mar 21, 2012 06:35AM) (new)

F.T. (ftmckinstry) Jalilah wrote: "Hmm, I just read the Frog Prince and remember now why I did not like this tale as a child.
On one hand while I liked frogs, I used to catch them as a child play with them, then let them go free ag..."


I just read this story and had similar reactions. I like frogs. And I agree, why would the prince want to marry her? The thing that startled me the worst was when she threw him against the wall. Horrible to begin with but it made no sense. Why would that particular thing turn him back into a prince? I was expecting him to ask for a kiss or something. Silly me.


message 21: by Jalilah (last edited Apr 13, 2012 03:53PM) (new)

Jalilah | 4468 comments Mod
I have been enjoying Maria Tatar's The Annotated Brothers Grimm. Not all the tales of the reading list are in it. I was surprised by the number of stories that I'd never read like the Golden Bird, The Singing Soaring Lark, Little Brother Little Sister and the Three feathers. Many of course were reminiscent of French tales but I prefer the French versions of Cinderella, the Poor Millers’ Boy, Furry Pelts and Briar Rose. I also like Hans Christian Anderson’s version of the Wild Swans and 12 Dancing Princesses better. However I Like the Grimm’s version of Little Red Riding Hood more. I’d never read the Adult tales either but I did not like them much. The Jew in the Brambles was terrible! Many of the "Dummy" tales were just too silly for me.


message 22: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1388 comments Mod
Jane Yolen has argued that Rumpstilken, at least in the Grimm version, is in fact Jewish. I always thought she was on to something with that.


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