Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fairy Tale Villains

I love villains, not real ones of course, but the villains from fairy tales and fantasy stories. I would say that it's just me but I've heard a lot of people say that the villain is their favorite character in a number of stories.  And indeed villains are often a lot more fun than heroes. They are ridiculous, over the top and full of strange but interesting quarks.

Fairy tales tend as a rule not to have as well rounded characters as other forms of literature, instead they are filled with archetypes and what many would deride as stereotypical, flat characters. However the fact that the characters are archetypes means that to some extent they are understood from the beginning. This allows people's imaginations to fill in their personality gaps the way they fill in the details of how the characters look. In other words by using flat archetypes fairy tales allow us each to create our own perfect characters for each story.

 In more complex stories based of fairy tales the villains themselves typically go through metamorphism of sorts, changing from one character archetype to another. Jafar from Disney's "Aladdin" for example goes from being a 'false donor' to being a 'deceived villain' after a short stint of rampaging about. This is possible because of the longer format of these stories, and such a transformation allows heroes to defeat villains they otherwise would not be able to.

Types of Fairy Tale Villains

The False Donor
Perhaps the most fun of all the villains "The false donor" is a trickster figure, for example the sly fox in "The Gingerbread Man" who tricks the Gingerbread Man into riding on his head so that he can eat him, or Rumpelstiltskin who helps a poor girl in order to take her baby from her.  At some point in the story the false donor will use the people's desires against them, tricking them into making a deal so that the false donor can obtain some nefarious objective.

Most Disney Villains are False Donor's
at some point  in the story.
In stories we like clever villains, and their moments of guile in a part because these allow for some very interesting character actions, and in the case of Disney, some of the best songs. The audience doesn't need to see the villain's complex emotions to appreciate or enjoy them. The desire for power, beauty, or revenge is often the only real motivation a villain needs for us as the readers of a story to appreciate them. Indeed Rumpelstiltskin, one of the most famous villains doesn't have an easily discernible motivation, yet many people love him.


One false donor type I feel hasn't been played to their full potential are those which trick parents into giving away their children. Certainly Rumpelstiltskin has been played up, but there are a number of devils or other beings which convince traveling fathers to give up their child through trickery. This child must than go on an adventure to escape the bargain their parent made with the devil. The story in this case than is about the child going on an adventure to avoid some terrible fate.

The unicorn in "The Valiant Little Tailor"
was defeated because he was so
enraged he ran into a tree.
Rampaging Villain
Wild and completely over the top, rampaging villains can be terrifying, funny, and or the bases for a good adventure story. Think for example of Cruella de Vil who rampages about like a maniac in her car, hitting her dull witted henchmen, and generally acts in a way that's so wicked it's funny. This is not to say that all rampaging villains are funny, there is nothing funny about Godzilla for example. Rampaging villains can be the most horrifying of all the villain archetypes because of their ability to cause wanton destruction, to kill with impunity.

In fairy tales rampaging villains ultimately defeat themselves by focusing so intensely on their destructive goals that they end up destroying themselves.

In “The Two Corpses” there are two vampire like monsters which chase down a soldier and than fight over who gets to eat him as their rampaging turns them against each other until the sun comes up.

Going back to Cruella de Vil we see that she ultimately crashes her car while driving in her furious rage and so is defeated.


The Deceived Villain
An often larger than life villain who the hero is able to overcome through trickery by playing off of their pride, greed and or evil. These are Kings, lords, powerful wizards. In Disney's "Aladdin" Jafar is so arrogant and has such a craving for power that in the end that he defeats himself when Aladdin convinces him to become a Genie, an all powerful prisoner which is trapped inside a small a lamp.

In the fairy tale "Puss and Boots" Puss is able to trick an ogre who is the king of a realm by pretending to believe that the ogre can't change into a mouse. The ogre, offended that Puss thinks so little of him changes into a mouse to prove his power and being a cat Puss eats him the moment he does.


The Devil
Devils, like false donors, offer people something they want in return for something nefarious. The difference is that devils are up front about their desires. They let the character know from the beginning what they want in return for their help. This means that stories with devils are from the beginning about characters trying to figure out how to get out of the bargain they just made.

Rude and Lazy Villain
Bullies more than purely evil villains, the purpose of the Rude and Lazy Villain is to act as a contrast to the protagonist's qualities, to show how good the protagonist is. In Disney's "Cinderella" her 'wicked' step sisters are ugly, bad singers, dull, lazy, and bullies where as Cinderella is; beautiful, hard working, kind, smart, and a good singer.

Typically in fairy tales Rude and Lazy Villains are defeated by a magical being they are rude to. After all in magical worlds where curses are real, being rude, lazy or attempting to bully others eventually leads to being cursed. For Example in “The Girl in the Well”  the Rude and Lazy Sister of the Heroine refuses to work for the people of the magical world and so rather than being rewarded with wealth she is cursed with thousands of defecating insects.


In one story Baba Yaga is the protagonists aunt
who forces her to clean, or do other impossible
household choirs.
Evil Stepmother and The Domestic Witch
In many ways the Evil Stepmother is like a false donor in that they promise something but turn out to be something else entirely. However, like the Domestic Witch they often ultimately give the protagonist a gift through their mistreatment of them. Hard work in the fairy tale world, after all, is one of the greatest sources of success, so by forcing the protagonist to labor night and day the Evil Stepmother/Domestic Witch sets them up to get magical gifts and or help. In the story of "The Three Little Men in the Woods" for example the heroine is made nicer by her step mothers cruel treatment and so shares her food with three magical fairy beings who in return give her the gifts of wealth, beauty and the perfect marriage.





Ultimately the key to understanding fairy tale villains is that they each have a weakness the form of a desire which blinds them to all else. It is this desire which made them become a villain, such desires have commonly been things like beauty, money, power, to terrify people, a baby, to advance their own children over the needs of another, wild wanton destruction, etc.  Whatever the case it is usually the villains desire which leads to their downfall when the villains fail (though in some stories they ultimately win).

When writing a fairy tale than it's important to determine what it is the villain wants, from this will come the villains actions, and their means of their ultimate downfall.

Learn more about fairy tale archetypes at http://fairies.zeluna.net/2013/06/fairy-tale-character-archetypes.html

Monday, June 24, 2013

Japanese Folklore of the Niigata Prefecture

In reading the folklore of Niigata there is the sense of peaceful villages surrounded by an often treacherous wilderness, connected by precarious and often dangerous paths for most of these stories feature travelers seeking shelter or people spirited away while traveling from one village to another. More than simply a wilderness than, the people of the Niigata prefecture were surrounded in folklore by a spirit world filled with snow women, oni, kami and more. This of course is true of Japan which had innumerable isolated villages.

When looking for inspiration for writing a story and art to draw sometimes the best settings already exist in the world around us which is why today I'm going to explore the folklore of Japan, more specifically of the Niigata prefecture in hopes that this interesting and often overlooked region of Japan will help you in your story telling endeavors.

Throughout the Niigata Prefecture there are tales of encounters with the ghosts of people who froze to death in harsh snow storms and of dangerous spirits seeking to kidnap young woman to be their wives. There are a number of stories of Snow Woman and boys seeking shelter during particularly bitter snow storms at the huts of isolated farmers. In one story a Snow Boy creeps into a house to join a family for dinner, helping himself to some miso and boar soup before running back out into the snow where he leaves no tracks.

In yet another story of a magical being seeking shelter from the cold a Kitsune (fox) in the form of a woman seeks shelter with a farmer. As the story progresses they fall in love and have children together.



There is the sense in these stories not only of a coldness, but of warmth, of closely connected villages, of families and people sheltered against the winter in warm houses with pots of hot soup cooking over hearths. So this harsh winter is contrasted by beauty, especially in Agato where hundreds of swans make their winter home.

Like much of Japan the mountains rise up right over the ocean, making travel between villages difficult. Yet young woman had to travel between villages, for they usually married people from elsewhere. This perhaps is why there are so many stories of young woman going missing, taken by oni or becoming ghosts. In one such story a girl is getting ready to be married with an oni descends upon her in the form of a dark cloud and takes her into the wilderness.  Unable to give up on her lost daughter her mother seeks her out until she finds her in the oni's mansion in the forest and helps her escape by getting the oni extremely drunk.

Despite the dangers of the spirit world in folklore there were many tales in which magical beings helped humans as well. A river kami gave a wood cutter one of her children to raise so that he could have a child of his own, and this child made the wood cutter very wealthy.

In another story a calico cat helped an old lady become wealthy by turning into a beautiful woman which became a famous singer in far away Edo.

You can read more about the Lore and Setting of Niigata at "Bits of Japanese Folklore"




Isolated Villages: Japan

Freezing cold rain mixes with snow, creating streams of slush that run down the side of the mountain while also freezing a layer of ice on the cold rocks and trees. The hunter caught in this storm ducks underneath a large pine tree. It's late spring, but in the mountains snow still remains. Even so a pocket of grass and meadow flowers have started to grow on the sunny side of the mountain which the hunter hopes will lure the hungry deer close enough for him to shoot one with his bow. He is still fairly close to his village, close enough that he could see it if it in the valley below weren't for the rain, but it would will still take more than two hours for him to walk through the trees back to it. For in these mountains physical distance is meaningless, raging rivers, streams, thick brush, rocks, forest and the mountains themselves all hinder travel. It could take nearly a day to walk to the next village over, so people rarely do. 

In Japanese Lore it wasn't just distance that kept people from traveling from one village to another, for Japan is a rough land with harsh mountain weather making it difficult and treacherous to walk from one place to another. So treacherous that people once believed that Japan's the paths and forests were haunted. In early Japanese lore the kami, or gods of the wilderness which lived in passes, river fords, and mountain paths were wild and so killed half the people who tried to pass through them. Wolves, bears, magical tanuki, foxes, otters, and tengu all haunted the mountains as well, hunting travelers, carried them off or lured them astray. And than there were the others; other clans, bandits, outcasts, people who for some inexplicable reason seemed to dwell in the wild and the Emishi who were the native peoples of Japan. A people so good at fighting that although they had been greatly outnumbered they fought furiously against the Japanese for well over a thousand years.

It was the isolation of the many villages within the mountains that caused Japan to develop the way it did contends a number of folklorists. Here, in tiny pockets of civilization, surrounded by a wilderness filled with potential dangers people made family and village the center of their worlds, rather than individual self. This is why when a village met to discuss potential actions they would talk until everyone came to a consensus on what to do, rather than simply accepting a majority vote. It is also why people were often refereed to not by name but by their place within a family. Thus someone talking about the father  of a house to the west might refer to them as the “Father of the Western House.” This father for his part would have his identity tied to his place in the house. As the father  he was stern, seemingly aloof and unapproachable for the other members of the family, a few years before, when his father had been the Father he had been more at ease, in a few years when he became grandfather he would be even more at ease. Further the mixture of danger from other groups of people and the challenge of dealing with the forces of nature likely contributed greatly to the idea that nature spirits themselves had to be defeated and or pacified through offerings.

In early Japan people not only had to contend with the danger posed by neighboring clans which could at any moment decide to attack in order to take more land, they had to contend with other peoples. Initially Japan was inhabited by the Emishi on the central island, the Aino to the North and the Ryukyu to the south. Than came the people of the Yayoi culture who eventually came to conquer Japan. Early on the Yayoi culture was not united, however, they were divided into multiple warring clans.

Disputes over land and water rights were also likely extremely common in early Japan and even through to the Meiji era. In folk lore such disputes were not only between people but between kami. Before 800 AD there were a number of tales of kami fighting over water rights which many scholars think represent tales of disputes between villages. Other tales of kami battling against travelers and society are thought to be tales of the Emishi and villages of Japanese people who didn't want to come under Imperial control.

The danger of attack from other peoples, as well peoples dependence on natural phenomenon such as mountains, rivers and the sea which provided food and life, yet at the same time were also the source of great destruction such as volcanic eruptions, floods, and tsunamis.

We see the importance of the village manifested through the importance of the village boundary. It was at these boundaries which people would erect shrines or place stones which were supposed to be the homes of a protective kami. Rituals to drive away noxious insects, plague, spirits, and more would all end at this village boundary. Other communal prayers with the help of a medium would take place here to protect the village from the outside. Indeed the world outside the village could almost be likened to an other world from which evil spirits, disasters and the like could attack. This is why people so often encountered such things at the edge of the village. Indeed the world outside the village was often considered an other world, and on occasion a person leaving the village might inadvertently stumble into this other world of spirits.

Having developed with so many isolated villages Japan doesn't have a single coherent folk religion but is divided into hundreds of related folk religions. It is true of course that when the Emperors clan defeated the others he began to issue decrees in order to solidify his control, which included making his own local folk religion into the national religion by codifying it as Shintoism. The Emperors would also pass decrees in 780 AD and 807 AD against the use of shamanism and similar magical practices outside of shrines. Despite the best efforts of the central government, however, independent shamans and magicians continued to play an important roll throughout Japan and were even the dominant force in many parts of Japan. This situation continued until 1873 when all forms of shamanistic ecstasy practices were outlawed, this law drove shamanism underground and likely played some roll in the intensity of peoples hatred of certain types of witch families. It was also largely responsible for the fact that by the 1960s most young people didn't believe in shamanism anymore, even in villages which had strong traditions and even still retained a few shamans.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Art of Sakimi Chan


Musics blooming by *sakimichan on deviantART

There is a flowing energy to Sakimi Chan's art, hypnotic shapes and lines which suck you into the painting, making you a part of the dream which the artist has created, for although Sakimi Chan states about her work of art “Silent Glow,”

“that she just wanted to paint something lose and colorful,”

the painting is so much more. The subjects hair within the painting twirls through the wind, creating a series of natural forms and paint strokes that tangle the views mind, directing them to a serene and and perhaps a bit pensive moment of the lone character within the painting. So we are invited to share this moment, to become a part of it. In many ways I'm reminded of the curved line forms and philosophy of Art Nouveau when I look at Sakimi Chan's paintings.


wild. by *sakimichan on deviantART

Much like the works of Art Nouveau Sakimi Chan's works contain dynamic and energetic movement, created through the artists careful use of syncopated rhythm, and their rich flowing lines. Further the artists work is inspired greatly by Japanese motifs just as the creators of Art Nouveau were inspired by the work of that country. Sakimi Chan's paintings have a brightness that defies description, the painting “Mini Dragon” does more than simply glow, it radiates light and friendship, making you want to be the character depicted for a moment. A character who is swimming so energetically among lily pads that she has become covered with their rich greens and solid pinks. Yet she pauses for a moment, a tiny dragon in hand.

Beauty and serenity matter because these are the moments we seek in life, it is perfect moments which the best poems try to capture, to allow us all to relive. Yet there are some moments, some dreams we can never truly live, moments that help to inspire our imagination. In “Dragon Boy" such a moment is captured between a young boy and the dragon who travels with him, a dragon which some ethereal energy radiates from, for dragons are in much of Asia's lore symbolic of deity of perfection. So through the use of fantastic, speculative scenes Sakimi Chan is able to enhance the dreamlike and meditative qualities of the moments she creates.

So it is that through Sakimi Chan's radiant paintings that perhaps meditation, that dreams are a higher state of being.



Come to life by *sakimichan on deviantART

The Bird Spirit by *sakimichan on deviantART

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Gingerbread Boy

Run, Run, Run as fast as you can
You can't catch me I'm the Gingerbread Man.

The story of "The Gingerbread Man" is based on a very interesting folk belief which could make for some interesting stories.

In some parts of Russia people would attempt to strengthen or heal weak and crippled children by wrapping them in a special dough and putting them in the large oven which was heated just enough to make the dough rise but not hot enough to seriously hurt the child. (In parts of Russia people used these large ovens as a sort of sauna for Pregnant women or those about to be married as well).

Such folk magic could lead to the child being obstinate so that like the Gingerbread Man of folktales they would run away from home. Further these children would  trust those they shouldn't while not trusting those they should.

In other words the person would become powerful, fast, in essence a superhero but they would loose their ability to gauge a persons honesty and they would grow ever more obstinate. Think about how the parents who tried to heal their crippled child only to have him turn into an obstinate child would feel. Further how might the "gingerbread boy" be manipulated by unscrupulous people. Imagine that the 'gingerbread person" wants to be a hero and so does good when they can, but since they can't determine whose lying to them they are heroic only when they work on their own. But part of their curse is that they can't see this.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fairy Tale Character Archetypes


A typical feature which runs through nearly every fairy tale is that the characters are one-dimensional archetypes. In other words their personalities are not well filled out. Most fairy tales seem to rely on the audience to fill in mood, personality, emotions, etc. just as they expect them to fill in visual details on how the characters look (and we seem to do a pretty good job with this). Fairy Tale Characters, as with fairy tales themselves are most often built on a number of fixed formulas which occur over and over again. Some of the more common fairy tale Archetypes include:

(Keep in mind that any given character can have more than one archetype – For example the hero of “The Giant who Had No Heart In His Body” is a trickster hero who uses hard work as part of his deception.) 

Heroes

Hard Working and Polite Hero
Many fairy tale heroes don't gain success through brilliance, strength, luck or fate; rather they gain success through hard work. Even when these heroes are given money by fairies or other magical creatures its because they worked for it, or because they were polite to the magical creature.

For example in “The Girl in the Well” a girl finds herself in the “Other World” which exists at the bottom of the well She is able to earn great wealth in this strange land by helping it's people with their jobs.

In “Grandfather Frost” the heroine is left in the cold by her wicked step mother to freeze to death. However, when Grandfather Frost comes she is able to survive and even get a great reward by being polite to him.

Most often politeness and hard work are the keys to success when dealing with the fairy realm and magical creatures.



Tricky Rouge Hero

There are many protagonists in fairy tales who have a questionable morality, who steal to get what they want. Sometimes they steal for the greater good, but often they simply steal to get wealth for themselves. One should bare in mind, however, that at one time trickery and deceit were considered acceptable in certain circumstances. Further rouges, bandits and thieves were often honored as folk heroes, even as they were arrested and hanged.

In “Thumbling as Journeyman” the Thumbling helps some bandits rob a royal treasury. There is no indication that the King in this story is wicked, or that he in any way deserves to be robbed.

In “The Raven, The Sun, The Moon and the Stars” Raven uses his magic to steal the sun, moon and stars from the sky deity who owns them. In this case, however, Raven is a Robin Hood like figure as he only steals the sun to bring light and warmth to humanity.

In “Jack and the Beanstalk” Jack climbs to a castle in the sky where he robs and ultimately murders a giant whose wife has been kind to him.


Outcast Trickster Hero
These are heroes who have fallen through the social cracks, or who have been kicked out of society all together. Tailors are common members of this archetype in German Fairy Tales as the industrial revolution left tailors with very little work because machines began to replace their jobs. Poor Soldiers or Veterans are another common member of this archetype as far too often Veterans are left poor and with no peace time skills when the war is over. In the modern day college graduates who can't find a job and veterans could fulfill many of these rolls.

The Valiant Little Tailor” tells the tale of a Tailor who sets out and through trickery and cleverness is able to defeat a giant and a unicorn in order to marry the kings daughter.

The hero of “Boots of Buffalo Leather” is the story of a soldier who has learned magical powers.


The Trusting Fool or Outcast Hero
Trust, kindness, and the ability to make friends are the means to success for some heroes. Typically these heroes as portrayed as foolish, as somebody who shouldn't be able to succeed such as the youngest brother, but who is able to become rich because they trusted the advice of a wise person, fairy, or other entity. In the modern day this archetype has gained popularity in Japanese Anime.

In "The Fool and the Birch Tree" the protagonist trusts a birch tree to pay him for a cow he's selling.

In "Puss and Boots" the impoverished farmers son spends what little money he has getting Puss a pair of boots.

The Selfish Hero
Although a rare character in fairy tales, The Selfish Hero occurs in one of the more popular fairy tales of “The Frog Prince” in which the Princess refuses to keep her promise to the frog and ultimately sets him free by trying to kill him. We also see a selfish hero character in "The Mari and the Lime Tree" in which a man threatens to kill a tree spirit if it doesn't make him rich.

Born Under a Lucky Star
Some heroes such as Cinderella have fairies, spirits, princesses or some other being looking out for them and so are able to achieve success simply because of this.




Dispatchers
The one who tells the hero that there is a problem or sends them out on their journey. For example their parents who can no longer take care of them...

Wicked Dispatcher
A cruel person who sets the protagonist on their journey such as the parents in "Hansel and Gretel" who abandon their children in the woods to die.

Foolish Dispatcher
Someone who creates the problem that sets the protagonist on their journey by being foolish, such as the many characters who agreed to give their children to beasts or devils by mistake.

The Mother in “The Old Dame and Her Hen” for example looses her hen and so sends her daughters out to find it.

Dispatcher In Need
Someone who send the protagonist on their journey because they need help. Often times this dispatcher will give the hero some reward for helping them, though not always.





Helpers

The Helpful Trickster
A trickster figure who aids another person in finding success through trickery such as the Cat from “Puss in Boots” who helped a young man become wealthy by tricking a king and an ogre.

Donor 
A magical character who gives more than just advice but also provides the hero with a magical object.


The Grateful Helper
Someone who the Hero helps. In return the grateful helper will come and help the hero when s/he needs it most.

In “The Giant With No Heart In His Body” the protagonist helps a raven which later comes to his aid.

Magical or Wise Helper
A wise person or magical being who provides the protagonist with advice or magical help when needed, but who isn't sought out specifically by the protagonist.

In “The Childe Rowland” Merlin tells the hero what he must do to save his love from the Elf King.

Oracle
This is a wise person who the hero seeks out, rather than one who simply appears when the need them.


Villains 
Read More about Fairy Tale Villains

False Donor
A character who starts out pretending to help the protagonist but which has their own ulterior  motive.

In "Rumpelstiltskin" Rumpelstiltskin offers to  save the protagonist but he only does so so that he can get her child later.

In "Cinderella" The Wicked Stepmother fools the protagonists father into loving her and trusting her with the care of Cinderella whom she mistreats.


False Hero
Someone who takes credit for the heroes work and so temporarily prevents the hero from getting their just reward.

The Devil
A figure which entices the person with something they want, such as The Devil in “Bearskin” who promises a soldier wealth in return for his soul.

Rampaging Villain
A villain who is incredibly destructive, who rampages about but does little more.

In “The Valiant Little Tailor” a Unicorn is rampaging about wreaking havoc across the countryside.

In “The Two Corpses” there are two vampire like monsters which seek to eat the soldier, but which do very little beyond attack, fight and yell at each other.


The Deceived Villain
An often larger than life villain who the hero is able to overcome through trickery by playing off of their pride or their evil.

In "Puss and Boots" for example Puss is able to trick the ogre by pretending to believe that it can't change into a mouse.

In “The Yokai” the protagonist is able to trick the monster into telling him what he is afraid of.


Rude and Lazy Villain

Rude and Lazy villains aren't usually completely evil, they're just bullies who refuse to work for what they get. However, in magical worlds where curses are real, being rude, lazy or attempting to bully others eventually causes them to suffer greatly.

For Example in “The Girl in the Well”  the Rude and Lazy Sister of the Heroine refuses to work repeatedly and so rather than being rewarded with wealth she is cursed with thousands of dedicating insects.

In “Grandfather Frost” the Rude and Lazy Sister of the Heroine is rude to Grandfather Frost when he comes and he causes her to freeze to death.


Evil Stepmother
In many ways the Evil Stepmother is like a false donor in that they promise something but turn out to be something else entirely. However, they are so common I thought they should get their own mention.


The Domestic Witch
A witch or other fairy figure who forces someone to work, but who in doing so teaches them how to be a better person.

In “Baba Yaga” the witch forces the protagonist to perform many household choirs for her in hopes that she will fail so “Baba Yaga” can kill her.


Prizes

Princess or Prize and her Father
The one who the hero seeks to marry and their parent.
The parent in this case can have put their child up for marriage but may try to prevent the hero from marrying their child in a way that can border on the evil (such as when they try to kill the protagonist to prevent the marriage).

These are the characters who the hero is striving for, the princess or prince they can wed and the character who sets the conditions by which such a wedding might happen.

In “Molly Whoopie” there are a group of princes who the protagonist wants her and her sisters to marry. In order to achieve this she must bring gifts to the princes father.

The Gossiping Animals
This is a knowledgeable character whom the protagonist overhears gossiping about what they need to do to become rich.

In “True and Untrue” the protagonist is hiding when he overhears some animals gossiping about various kings and lords and from the knowledge he gains he's able to get rich.

The Grateful Character
Someone who Gives the protagonist a reward for helping them out.


Antagonists and Failures

Antagonists
Often older brothers or sisters, these are characters who tease the protagonist and are certain they'll fail.

The Failures
These are characters who try to complete a quest before the protagonist can but who fail

The Greedy
These are greedy characters who try to replicate the protagonists success, but who fail because of their greed and so are punished.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Spruce Prigs and other Writing Prompts

During the Victorian Era something strange began to happen in England, it suddenly became popular for adults to show extreme emotions in public. As a result places like art salons, theatres, etc. became popular hangouts so that men and woman could start crying openly at the beauty of the art.

At the same time extreme poverty was rampant and thieves had the opportunity to become folk heroes (although if they were caught they were still hanged). One thief became so popular that the most famous boxer at the time asked to, and was granted the right to share his last drink with him before he went to the gallows.

The public art shows and balls came together with the rampant crime to form the Spruce Prigs.
The spruce prigs were a group of young thieves who were trained in manners so that they would work as footman and valets for the very wealthy in London, or even pass themselves off as upper class in order to attend balls, operas, art galleries, poetry readings, plays and other events with the richest marks.

So what you  have here is an amusing situation in which people are weeping, or laughing outrageously just to make a public spectacle of themselves, all will well trained thieves take advantage of this to steal from them, or perhaps to spy on them if you want to lend a more serious bent to this story and have the Spruce Prigs part of a rebellion.

See more writing prompts here.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Hansel and Gretel - Interpretation

Fairy Tale Interpretations for
Writers
Artists
And the Curious
My Hope is that this interpretation will prove useful as a way of providing ideas for writers, artists and the curious at heart.

Interpretation
When I was a child growing up in the an Alaskan village with only a few hundred people and a few hundred miles from any roads I heard a story from one of the village elders in which some children discover a witch in the wilderness by the good food she has, and than must eventually escape her with the help of a water fowl. So thousands of miles away, in an isolated place we find a story very much like the German Hansel and Gretel and in the symbolism of the bird is similar in both places.

In the past woodsman often had the the most trouble getting food during famines, after all farmers might have had less crops but as long as they had something they were better off than the woodsman who couldn't sell his timber. Part of the challenge that woodsmen faced was that they occupied a strange place in society. That is they were someone who entered the forest and civilization both. They lived between humanity and the other world of the woodlands, much as the fairies were seen to do.

Their outcast status and their need made them easy targets for stories like Hansel and Gretel, but before judging Hansel and Gretel's mother too harshly stop and think about what it means to be starving to death. During starvation the brain no longer functions properly, people are suffering intense pain. Consider also that at the end of this story the mother is dead. Many have interpreted her as being the witch, and their may be some truth to this, but she may also be the bird that leads the children through the woods as the souls of dead people often appeared in the form of birds. In either case one should keep in mind that the Mother likely dies of starvation shortly after the children leave for the last time. Consider how emotionally intense starvation is, for example, during a famine in Japan for example a wood cutter woke up to see his two children sharpening his ax. When he asked the what they were doing they told him that they couldn't stand being hungry any more and so they wanted him to cut off their heads... Starvation defies logic, reason, or even common emotions.

Once they are in the forest Hansel and Gretel must wait for the Moon to rise in order to shine off of the trail they left for themselves. The fact that the moon, that the night is their guide home in and of itself seems to lend to the idea that they themselves are at this point supernatural figures. This becomes even more apparent when a little white bird leads them to the witches house. White birds in legend are often the spirit guides of shamans in the spirit world which Hansel and Gretel have likely entered at this point as the forest itself was often considered to be an "Other World."

Some at this point have interpreted the Witch as being Hansel and Gretel's Mother, and she may very well be, for it's possible at this point that she has already died, and the undead of folklore most often come back to kill their families, especially their children first.

In any case what's important at this point is that Hansel and Gretel take from the witch, they do not demand from her or give gifts from her. Once a favor is accepted in the fairy realm, it gives the magical being power over the one who accepts the favor. Thus Hansel and Gretel now find themselves in the witches power. Rather than eating them right away, however, the witch locks Hansel up in a cage to fatten him up, however, he tricks her by using a chicken bone to make her think that he's staying skinny. This trick is a common theme in Ugric fairy tales in Finnland and Northern Russia which seems to indicate that part of this story comes from these lands. On the other hand in the stories from the Ugric lands the children are most often kidnapped or lost, not abandoned. Being abandoned by ones parents in the woods is a theme which is more likely to occur in England or France. So it seems likely that  Hansel and Gretel is a mixture of Western European and Ugric fairy tales. This is important because as the two children leave the woods they will encounter a large body of water which they cannot cross. Again the fact that they have to cross water to get home when they did not need to cross it to get into the forest, would indicate that they are now int he spirit realm, possibly the land of the dead, for perhaps they have very nearly died.

At this body of water they call a duck over to them and ride on it (one at a time) back home. Among the Ugric and other steps peoples it was fairly common for shamans to need to return home from the spirit world, especially the land of the dead, on the back of a spirit in the form of a water fowl. This means that Hansel and Gretel are now shamans, shamans who can enter the spirit world to save the souls of those who've had their souls taken by evil spirits (the cause of illness) and so they will likely return to the spirit world many times to rescue other children who find themselves in the clutches of evil.



Hansel and Gretel  

Hard by a great forest dwelt a poor wood-cutter with his wife and his two children. The boy was called Hansel and the girl Gretel. He had little to bite and to break, and once when great dearth fell on the land, he could no longer procure even daily bread. Now when he thought over this by night in his bed, and tossed about in his anxiety, he groaned and said to his wife: 'What is to become of us? How are we to feed our poor children, when we no longer have anything even for ourselves?'
 'I'll tell you what, husband,' answered the woman, 'early tomorrow morning we will take the children out into the forest to where it is the thickest; there we will light a fire for them, and give each of them one more piece of bread, and then we will go to our work and leave them alone. They will not find the way home again, and we shall be rid of them.' 'No, wife,' said the man, 'I will not do that; how can I bear to leave my children alone in the forest?—the wild animals would soon come and tear them to pieces.' 'O, you fool!' said she, 'then we must all four die of hunger, you may as well plane the planks for our coffins,' and she left him no peace until he consented. 'But I feel very sorry for the poor children, all the same,' said the man
The two children had also not been able to sleep for hunger, and had heard what their stepmother had said to their father. Gretel wept bitter tears, and said to Hansel: 'Now all is over with us.' 'Be quiet, Gretel,' said Hansel, 'do not distress yourself, I will soon find a way to help us.' And when the old folks had fallen asleep, he got up, put on his little coat, opened the door below, and crept outside. The moon shone brightly, and the white pebbles which lay in front of the house glittered like real silver pennies. Hansel stooped and stuffed the little pocket of his coat with as many as he could get in. Then he went back and said to Gretel: 'Be comforted, dear little sister, and sleep in peace, God will not forsake us,' and he lay down again in his bed. When day dawned, but before the sun had risen, the woman came and awoke the two children, saying: 'Get up, you sluggards! we are going into the forest to fetch wood.' She gave each a little piece of bread, and said: 'There is something for your dinner, but do not eat it up before then, for you will get nothing else.' Gretel took the bread under her apron, as Hansel had the pebbles in his pocket. Then they all set out together on the way to the forest. When they had walked a short time, Hansel stood still and peeped back at the house, and did so again and again. His father said: 'Hansel, what are you looking at there and staying behind for? Pay attention, and do not forget how to use your legs.' 'Ah, father,' said Hansel, 'I am looking at my little white cat, which is sitting up on the roof, and wants to say goodbye to me.' The wife said: 'Fool, that is not your little cat, that is the morning sun which is shining on the chimneys.' Hansel, however, had not been looking back at the cat, but had been constantly throwing one of the white pebble-stones out of his pocket on the road.
When they had reached the middle of the forest, the father said: 'Now, children, pile up some wood, and I will light a fire that you may not be cold.' Hansel and Gretel gathered brushwood together, as high as a little hill. The brushwood was lighted, and when the flames were burning very high, the woman said: 'Now, children, lay yourselves down by the fire and rest, we will go into the forest and cut some wood. When we have done, we will come back and fetch you away.'
Hansel and Gretel sat by the fire, and when noon came, each ate a little piece of bread, and as they heard the strokes of the wood-axe they believed that their father was near. It was not the axe, however, but a branch which he had fastened to a withered tree which the wind was blowing backwards and forwards. And as they had been sitting such a long time, their eyes closed with fatigue, and they fell fast asleep. When at last they awoke, it was already dark night. Gretel began to cry and said: 'How are we to get out of the forest now?' But Hansel comforted her and said: 'Just wait a little, until the moon has risen, and then we will soon find the way.' And when the full moon had risen, Hansel took his little sister by the hand, and followed the pebbles which shone like newly-coined silver pieces, and showed them the way.
They walked the whole night long, and by break of day came once more to their father's house. They knocked at the door, and when the woman opened it and saw that it was Hansel and Gretel, she said: 'You naughty children, why have you slept so long in the forest?—we thought you were never coming back at all!' The father, however, rejoiced, for it had cut him to the heart to leave them behind alone.
Not long afterwards, there was once more great dearth throughout the land, and the children heard their mother saying at night to their father: 'Everything is eaten again, we have one half loaf left, and that is the end. The children must go, we will take them farther into the wood, so that they will not find their way out again; there is no other means of saving ourselves!' The man's heart was heavy, and he thought: 'It would be better for you to share the last mouthful with your children.' The woman, however, would listen to nothing that he had to say, but scolded and reproached him. He who says A must say B, likewise, and as he had yielded the first time, he had to do so a second time also.
The children, however, were still awake and had heard the conversation. When the old folks were asleep, Hansel again got up, and wanted to go out and pick up pebbles as he had done before, but the woman had locked the door, and Hansel could not get out. Nevertheless he comforted his little sister, and said: 'Do not cry, Gretel, go to sleep quietly, the good God will help us.'
Early in the morning came the woman, and took the children out of their beds. Their piece of bread was given to them, but it was still smaller than the time before. On the way into the forest Hansel crumbled his in his pocket, and often stood still and threw a morsel on the ground. 'Hansel, why do you stop and look round?' said the father, 'go on.' 'I am looking back at my little pigeon which is sitting on the roof, and wants to say goodbye to me,' answered Hansel. 'Fool!' said the woman, 'that is not your little pigeon, that is the morning sun that is shining on the chimney.' Hansel, however little by little, threw all the crumbs on the path.
The woman led the children still deeper into the forest, where they had never in their lives been before. Then a great fire was again made, and the mother said: 'Just sit there, you children, and when you are tired you may sleep a little; we are going into the forest to cut wood, and in the evening when we are done, we will come and fetch you away.' When it was noon, Gretel shared her piece of bread with Hansel, who had scattered his by the way. Then they fell asleep and evening passed, but no one came to the poor children. They did not awake until it was dark night, and Hansel comforted his little sister and said: 'Just wait, Gretel, until the moon rises, and then we shall see the crumbs of bread which I have strewn about, they will show us our way home again.' When the moon came they set out, but they found no crumbs, for the many thousands of birds which fly about in the woods and fields had picked them all up. Hansel said to Gretel: 'We shall soon find the way,' but they did not find it. They walked the whole night and all the next day too from morning till evening, but they did not get out of the forest, and were very hungry, for they had nothing to eat but two or three berries, which grew on the ground. And as they were so weary that their legs would carry them no longer, they lay down beneath a tree and fell asleep.
It was now three mornings since they had left their father's house. They began to walk again, but they always came deeper into the forest, and if help did not come soon, they must die of hunger and weariness. When it was mid-day, they saw a beautiful snow-white bird sitting on a bough, which sang so delightfully that they stood still and listened to it. And when its song was over, it spread its wings and flew away before them, and they followed it until they reached a little house, on the roof of which it alighted; and when they approached the little house they saw that it was built of bread and covered with cakes, but that the windows were of clear sugar. 'We will set to work on that,' said Hansel, 'and have a good meal. I will eat a bit of the roof, and you Gretel, can eat some of the window, it will taste sweet.' Hansel reached up above, and broke off a little of the roof to try how it tasted, and Gretel leant against the window and nibbled at the panes. Then a soft voice cried from the parlour:
 'Nibble, nibble, gnaw,
  Who is nibbling at my little house?'
The children answered:
 'The wind, the wind,
  The heaven-born wind,'
and went on eating without disturbing themselves. Hansel, who liked the taste of the roof, tore down a great piece of it, and Gretel pushed out the whole of one round window-pane, sat down, and enjoyed herself with it. Suddenly the door opened, and a woman as old as the hills, who supported herself on crutches, came creeping out. Hansel and Gretel were so terribly frightened that they let fall what they had in their hands. The old woman, however, nodded her head, and said: 'Oh, you dear children, who has brought you here? do come in, and stay with me. No harm shall happen to you.' She took them both by the hand, and led them into her little house. Then good food was set before them, milk and pancakes, with sugar, apples, and nuts. Afterwards two pretty little beds were covered with clean white linen, and Hansel and Gretel lay down in them, and thought they were in heaven.
The old woman had only pretended to be so kind; she was in reality a wicked witch, who lay in wait for children, and had only built the little house of bread in order to entice them there. When a child fell into her power, she killed it, cooked and ate it, and that was a feast day with her. Witches have red eyes, and cannot see far, but they have a keen scent like the beasts, and are aware when human beings draw near. When Hansel and Gretel came into her neighbourhood, she laughed with malice, and said mockingly: 'I have them, they shall not escape me again!' Early in the morning before the children were awake, she was already up, and when she saw both of them sleeping and looking so pretty, with their plump and rosy cheeks she muttered to herself: 'That will be a dainty mouthful!' Then she seized Hansel with her shrivelled hand, carried him into a little stable, and locked him in behind a grated door. Scream as he might, it would not help him. Then she went to Gretel, shook her till she awoke, and cried: 'Get up, lazy thing, fetch some water, and cook something good for your brother, he is in the stable outside, and is to be made fat. When he is fat, I will eat him.' Gretel began to weep bitterly, but it was all in vain, for she was forced to do what the wicked witch commanded.
And now the best food was cooked for poor Hansel, but Gretel got nothing but crab-shells. Every morning the woman crept to the little stable, and cried: 'Hansel, stretch out your finger that I may feel if you will soon be fat.' Hansel, however, stretched out a little bone to her, and the old woman, who had dim eyes, could not see it, and thought it was Hansel's finger, and was astonished that there was no way of fattening him. When four weeks had gone by, and Hansel still remained thin, she was seized with impatience and would not wait any longer. 'Now, then, Gretel,' she cried to the girl, 'stir yourself, and bring some water. Let Hansel be fat or lean, tomorrow I will kill him, and cook him.' Ah, how the poor little sister did lament when she had to fetch the water, and how her tears did flow down her cheeks! 'Dear God, do help us,' she cried. 'If the wild beasts in the forest had but devoured us, we should at any rate have died together.' 'Just keep your noise to yourself,' said the old woman, 'it won't help you at all.'
Early in the morning, Gretel had to go out and hang up the cauldron with the water, and light the fire. 'We will bake first,' said the old woman, 'I have already heated the oven, and kneaded the dough.' She pushed poor Gretel out to the oven, from which flames of fire were already darting. 'Creep in,' said the witch, 'and see if it is properly heated, so that we can put the bread in.' And once Gretel was inside, she intended to shut the oven and let her bake in it, and then she would eat her, too. But Gretel saw what she had in mind, and said: 'I do not know how I am to do it; how do I get in?' 'Silly goose,' said the old woman. 'The door is big enough; just look, I can get in myself!' and she crept up and thrust her head into the oven. Then Gretel gave her a push that drove her far into it, and shut the iron door, and fastened the bolt. Oh! then she began to howl quite horribly, but Gretel ran away and the godless witch was miserably burnt to death.
Gretel, however, ran like lightning to Hansel, opened his little stable, and cried: 'Hansel, we are saved! The old witch is dead!' Then Hansel sprang like a bird from its cage when the door is opened. How they did rejoice and embrace each other, and dance about and kiss each other! And as they had no longer any need to fear her, they went into the witch's house, and in every corner there stood chests full of pearls and jewels. 'These are far better than pebbles!' said Hansel, and thrust into his pockets whatever could be got in, and Gretel said: 'I, too, will take something home with me,' and filled her pinafore full. 'But now we must be off,' said Hansel, 'that we may get out of the witch's forest.'
When they had walked for two hours, they came to a great stretch of water. 'We cannot cross,' said Hansel, 'I see no foot-plank, and no bridge.' 'And there is also no ferry,' answered Gretel, 'but a white duck is swimming there: if I ask her, she will help us over.' Then she cried:
 'Little duck, little duck, dost thou see,
  Hansel and Gretel are waiting for thee?
  There's never a plank, or bridge in sight,
  Take us across on thy back so white.'
The duck came to them, and Hansel seated himself on its back, and told his sister to sit by him. 'No,' replied Gretel, 'that will be too heavy for the little duck; she shall take us across, one after the other.' The good little duck did so, and when they were once safely across and had walked for a short time, the forest seemed to be more and more familiar to them, and at length they saw from afar their father's house. Then they began to run, rushed into the parlour, and threw themselves round their father's neck. The man had not known one happy hour since he had left the children in the forest; the woman, however, was dead. Gretel emptied her pinafore until pearls and precious stones ran about the room, and Hansel threw one handful after another out of his pocket to add to them. Then all anxiety was at an end, and they lived together in perfect happiness. My tale is done, there runs a mouse; whosoever catches it, may make himself a big fur cap out of it.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Fallen Star Longing to Return to the Sky

The Fallen Star
The Fallen Star sings it's sad song of longing outside an old church on the shores of Llyn Cwellyn, one of the deepest lakes in Wales. Although faint his, like he is as distant as the stars he wishes for his voice still sounds like a thousand different birds at once.

Read More about this Journey at The Traveling Folklorist

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pictures of Fairies and Spirits


        


The Pixie Wisp and the Sylfan



Life is made up of moments each of which builds on another. Happier, more positive moments lead to a better outlook which improves our perception of all moments.

This is why I seek to create a world of wonder, a world of better moments through my art.

Fairies and fairy tales are my way of doing this.

It's true of course that in fairy tales fairies, dragons, etc are rarely friendly, but victory, overcoming the obstetricals in fairy tales is one of the glories of these stories.









bunnik




Pixie Wisp Discovers that humans do exist     A teacher in Fairy Realm


Faun and the Snow Covered Cheery Blossoms

The Forest Mushroom

Pixie Wisp Reflection

Flying Sylfan Fairy




Big Foot the Fairy

Little Know Fact
Bigfoot is really a fairy like figure in folklore, which would provide a good explination as to why he's so hard to prove.

I bet he's just messing with us.

Analysis of Puss in Boots - The House Fairy

Synopsis: The story of "Puss in Boots" is the tale of a house fairy and or a shamans helper spirit manipulating events to kill a being from the land of the dead in order to make his lord wealthy.

Full Explanation
Of all the tales of fairies collected by the brothers Grimm, none shows such a close relationship between a human and a fairy-like creature as “Puss in Boots” does. It is clear from the story that Puss is no ordinary cat, although Briggs does assert that cats were a form of fairy in their own right having a fairy court and their own set of magical powers. Still, it's rare for a cat to be so closely involved with human affairs. According to Jacob Grimm, Puss shares many of the features that a household fairy would have (Teutonic Mythology). He asks for boots, a symbol of his status as a fairy creature. Grimm asserts that it is often such boots that separate ordinary beings from fairies. What’s interesting in this as it relates to the story, however, is that these are not special boots. They were not given to Puss by some fairy princess or ancient god. Instead, they were given to him by a poor boy. So if it is as Grimm asserts that these boots are, in fact, boots that provide Puss with his status and with power, we must conclude that humans can in fact give gifts to fairies which in turn become powerful because of the act of offering.

In return for the gift of the boots, and because of the love he held for the father of the poor boy in this story, Puss develops a complex plot to make “his master” wealthy. Puss plans and works towards putting his master in good favor with the king over the course of months. This is not just an effort to make his master wealthy, for he could have tricked and killed the ogre at any point in order to provide his master with treasure. Puss is working to have his master marry the princess knowing the two would like each other. Puss then is more than simply a bystander; he is a true weaver of fate. We must wonder why? Why does he offer to help a boy who at the beginning of this story has threatened to eat him and wear his fur? Is Puss truly owned despite his apparently being some form of fairy who is able to speak? Does this ownership in turn mean that he can’t escape, or does his loyalty go deeper than this?

Generally, household fairies come in two forms; those who are related to those they help, and those who are forced from their home in the wilderness because of a poor relationship with the other fairies or who choose to live among humans for some other reason. The latter tend to leave homes quickly at the slightest insult so it seems unlikely that Puss could be one of these because Puss stayed even after the boy threatened to eat him - unless he took some oath to the boy’s parents. So it seems more likely that Puss’s concern comes from the fact that he is an ancestral spirit, a family deity.


Turning our attention now to the ogre, we must first recall Jacob Grimm’s assertion that ogres were remnants of Medieval and Roman beliefs in Orcus, a deity or at times also the dark and cruel aspect of the ruler of the
afterlife who was lowered to the status of a shape-changing monster. It’s interesting to note that this ancient deity could live in a palace among humans and with human servants as though he were nothing more than another noble. Even more interesting to realize is that this same deity could fall prey to the deceit of a house fairy. Such ogres and hags were, of course, common in folklore as ancient deities peppered the land, terrifying and or ruling the remnants of the people who had once worshiped them. Such beings, while clearly magically and physically superior to humans, were more susceptible to arrogance much like we might imagine a faded sports star or some other person who has long since passed their prime would be. The fact that so many fairies who are supposed to be ancient and powerful fall prey to stupid tricks in fairy tales may not be a result of people believing that these creatures were stupid. Rather, it may simply be that people believed that they are unable to admit that they had truly faded. In this sense, then, these ancient deities had grown senile in their old age by the time fairy tales were told to the Brothers Grimm.

The Snow Woman in Spring Time



Wanting to see the cherry blossoms the snow woman descends upon a beautiful orchard, but winter always follows her.

One of many things The Wandering Folklorist sees in his travels.

Understanding the Fairies of Sleeping Beauty Fairy

Similar Articles: Fairy Stories    Woodland fairies   Forest Fairies    Types of Fairies

"Sleeping Beauty" is the story of a water fairy who is an artist and a story teller. A water fairy who manipulates events to make the story of "Sleeping Beauty" possible.

The story of "Sleeping Beauty" opens with a water fairy providing the king and queen with a child. In “Briar Rose,” the water fairy appears in the personified form of a frog to tell of the child that will be born. In “Sleeping Beauty in the Wood,” the version collected by Perrault, the king and queen take a much more active role in seeking help from the water fairy with the opening lines; “They went to all the waters in the world; vows, pilgrimages, all ways were tried.”
By the time the story was collected, of course, churches had long since rededicated fountains and waters to saints. However, such a rededication is merely a change of form rather than of function. What we see in the king and queen’s search is that despite the fact that the king-dom in which they lived had 13 fairies (or 7 in Perrault’s version) the king and queen chose to seek help in having a child or ultimately received it from the spirit of the water. Water fairies have a unique ability to see the future so this spirit of the wells would have foreseen much of the epic tale that was about to unfold because of its action of helping the king and queen to have a child. Certainly, the story that resulted has been with us for hundreds of years and is now one of the most popular stories in the world. The well fairy then is creating a form of art by setting this story up, and so one could argue that all the other characters are simply bystanders in what happens next. The fairy who lays the curse on Briar Rose/Aurora has no real choice but to be spiteful given her nature. The king and queen are simply humans prone to stupid mistakes. The good fairy is limited in her capacity to help and so had few options open to her. The prince does very little but get curious about what’s in the palace. When he walks up to it, the way is made for him, presumably by the fairy, who said that Briar Rose would be awakened after a hundred years. The princess is blessed and cursed from birth so she has no choice in anything that happens to her.
The only character with a choice in this story then is that of what could be called its writer, the water fairy. The water fairy did not need to grant the king and queen’s wish in either ver-sion of the tale. In one story, most wells refused the king and queen showing that it could have done so easily as well. In the other the frog simply shows up and grants the wish of its own accord. Yet despite the fact that this is the one character with a choice in the story, the one character who sets things into motion, the water fairy is the most ignored of all the characters. So as with many fairies, the one who begins this tale is the anonymous artist who sets every-thing into motion.
Let us consider now the next set of fairies to enter the stories, the norns, the fate bringers. They are in many ways similar to the three norns which come to make important children he-roes. In “The Edda,” the majority of the norns are kind and helpful, but one of them is spiteful and curses the child to die. In “The Edda,” this occurred because the norn tripped and hurt herself as she approached the child whereas in “Sleeping Beauty” the fairy cursed the child with death because she felt slighted by the king and queen. This difference is important be-cause while the norn in “The Edda” only curses the child with death, the fairy in “Sleeping Beauty” is angry at the king and queen so she does much more than this by cursing the child and the kingdom’s source of power over its fate. A spindle, the item the fairy says will ulti-mately kill the princess, is more than just a way to make clothes in folklore; it’s a way to make fate. Fate is spun, and magic is woven by women. Jacob Grimm’s “Teutonic Mythology” notes, “Women gain their power, their heroic respect at this time from the magic that comes from the spindle.” In “The Golden Bough” it’s stated that “Women become very nearly or perhaps in some ways more than gods from the power over fate that they have, a power which comes from spinning.” By saying that Briar Rose will die from the spindle that provides power, the fairy has effectively denied Briar Rose this power. So while
she may grow up to be rich and beautiful, she is powerless; she is meaningless. Further, for fifteen years after this the whole kingdom must suffer the same fate because the king and queen outlawed all spindles. The insulted fairy/spinner of fate then curses the kingdom to not have fate spun for their children for fifteen years. She curses the women to lose much of the magical power they might have. She has cursed the men to do without these powers as they go to war. Finally, she has cursed these women and the princess to live meaningless lives unable to affect the world around them the way the women in other kingdoms can. Cursing someone to die because of a spindle, cursing a kingdom to live without their spindles for over a decade then is perhaps one of the worst curses imaginable.

The Wandering Folklorist's exploration of Wales begins around Snowdon Mountain, where there's over a hundred lakes with tales about them, including one which is the current home of Excalibur.

You can start to follow his journey Here.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Land of Merlin


The Wandering Folklorist is now in the land of Merlin and Wales, and land teaming with fairies and many of the most inspirational legends there are.

Gaining Fairy Wisdom

A teacher in Fairy Realm

The best dreams the dreams of fairy land grand us wisdom, grant us hope.
In lore there were some few people chosen to have these dreams not once, but many many times, over and over again. People chosen to be able to enter the dream world of fairyland at will.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

CUTE FAIRIES: Whispering Rain


Glimpsed





I've been playing around with sandstone as a medium for my art for a while and this is one of the figures I've sort of come up with. Being wistful and nostalgic this cute fairy is sappy and kiddily but that's what I like most of the time and I hope you do to

Whispering Rain

Deep in the small set of trees standing in your back yard a smell drifts up over the lawn from the trees or the rain. You take a deep breath and in that moment of calm clarity you see this cute little fairy for just a moment, both playful and nostalgic.



Groggy Forest Vision




Tippy Toed Dream
Walking Quietly, no distractions, your free roaming thoughts soon spot this spirit and you're filled with a rush of excited energy, a desire to grab up your note book, or open your oven, to create something for you have been inspired to do something beautiful







You can see more of my cute fairies here