‘The Water of Life’ by the Brothers Grimm

The Fairy Tale Blog

Long before you and I were born there reigned, in a country a great way off, a king who had three sons. This king once fell very ill, so ill that nobody thought he would live. His sons were very much grieved at their father’s sickness; and as they walked weeping in the garden of the palace, an old man met them and asked what they ailed. They told him their father was so ill that they were afraid nothing could save him. ‘I know what would,’ said the old man; ‘it is the Water of Life. If he could have a draught of it he would be well again, but it is very hard to get.’ Then the eldest son said, ‘I will soon find it’ and went to the sick king, and begged that he would go in search of the Water of Life, as it was the…

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The Fairy Tale Princesses

The Fairy Tale Blog

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the fairy tale princesses of Perrault, Anderson, Grimm, etc., were written to be heroines, role models, perfect representations of the perfect woman; an archetype, if you will. Snow White’s habit of lying around in a coffin teaches girls passive acceptance. Sleeping Beauty reminds them that beauty triumphs over any difficulty. And they can clearly see that Prince Charming only marries Cinderella because her self-abasement after the ball is appealing to his male chauvinism. In misreading these fairy tales, modern individuals seek to alter, prune, or explain away the negative elements, reworking the female lead into a strong, independent heroine who will stand for no weakness, no saving prince, and no redemption. But not all princesses were written to be role models, and many of those that were, represented virtues generally overlooked, but by no means outdated, in modern society.

Besides the heroine, there are three other types of Fairy Tale…

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‘Jack and the Princess’ by Elizabeth Russell

The Fairy Tale Blog

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Jack. He lived with his mother in a cottage on the outskirts of a kingdom, right between the town and the outlying farmland. The kingdom was going through a period of drought: everyone was starving, and Jack and his mother were no exception. One morning, his mother said to him, “Jack, we are going to starve. You must take the cow into the village and sell her for what you can get. We will live on what she sells for a few weeks and then we will die.”

So Jack took the cow and headed down the path to the village. On his way, he met a hobbling old man who carried a little handkerchief. Inside the handkerchief, the old man said, were four magic beans, and he offered to trade Jack the beans for the cow. Jack saw that this…

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Self-Portrait of a Man over Thirty

The Fairy Tale Blog

I was told to write a self-portrait. Yes, write one. It’s an amusing thought, I think…after all, artists paint self-portraits all the time, so why shouldn’t writers write them? These were the questions put to us this afternoon at my bi-weekly night art class with Jane Caulfield. She, a middle aged woman with three children and as many smile wrinkles around her eyes, prodded us to look carefully at our features and dig deeper into our view of ourselves.

“You can learn a lot from a face,” she told us. “It goes beyond the auto-biographies authors are so key to pen. It delves into the soul behind it, revealing, like a Monet, the garden beneath. If you look at a face at just the right moment, you’ll uncover more of the mystery in them than you ever thought possible. So study your own face, see what it looks like, and…

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