This story was quite clever. At the beginning, it felt like any tale with a trickster-like character. One in which their smarts, wit and penchant for trouble had gotten them into a spot of bother, and you knew that they would get out of it in the end. Which is kind of what happened… but the character actually was the trickster, and he was in trouble with death.
The Princess and the Pea has always been one of those stories that is kind of iconic for me. I’m not sure why, since I don’t often enjoy stories about princessy princesses. But, this version of it using tricksters and the desert is far more to my taste. Actually, I was incredibly disappointed when it was over.
Growing up, I always wanted to be part of the circus. There was something that just seemed so romantic and worldly about being a part of such a family that I couldn’t help but imagine how fun and adventurous my story would be. As an adult, I kind of realise that it’s probably not that romantic and perfect. And I kind of like the upbringing and life that I’ve had, but this short story still manages to encompass some of that fun and intrigue that drew me in as a young child.
This didn’t end the way I was hoping for / expecting. Which is probably not a bad thing. After all, I love a good story that surprises. Especially one that was as fun and descriptive as this one. We’ve all met that someone that we completely hate, that just strikes us as not good. The grandmother in this went that extra step further and seemed just downright evil, but Bright Phoenix’s responses and thoughts on the old hag were still completely recognisable.
I know next to nothing about Jewish beliefs and practices. And by next to nothing, I mean nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch. And that’s probably not going to change. But this short story made me seriously consider changing my outlook for about twenty minutes. It managed to bring to life an aspect of a belief system that (I’m assuming) is a slightly off kilter and different one to what is normally displayed on TV.
Cats are tricky, difficult and irritating creatures. They always have been. They’re also kind of fun, but, mostly irritating and tricky. Which means that it makes perfect sense to have a feline creature in a collection of trickster stories. I also love that although it is a cat trickster with extra powers, it’s not quite god-like and not quite mortal… but a glorious, contrary mix of something in between.
I love when you read a poem and it makes you want to dive right into the subject matter and find out more. The fact that this poem featured a trickster from folklore just tickled my fancy all the more. It was actually incredibly sad that it was only two pages long.
It fits that a trickster story would take place in a children’s classroom. After all, children are really good vessels of chaos. So having a bunch of the little darlings all crowded into one classroom would surely attract some kind of poltergeist to wreak a little havoc on our daily lives. Although I enjoyed this story, I did feel incredibly sympathetic towards the teacher. Not only does she have to try and corral a bunch of children who just aren’t interested in grammar. But she also has to contend with a poltergeist who is definitely not interested in grammar.
I’m really glad that this story didn’t have a sad ending. I was fully expecting it to, after all, Sofia had already lost her husband, and she was incredibly close to losing her son to cancer. Although this tale is in a collection about tricksters, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have trickster tales that are sad. Rather than their usual witty, entertaining journeys.
Crows are kind of fascinating birds. And although there are some more horror-inspired relations to them, I love their symbolic connection to tricksters. Anytime I read a story that mentions these birds in any way, shape or form, I feel completely drawn in. The fact that this short story not only included that aspect, but also a woman’s will to become something more than just a mother and a wife… well, I fell in love with it completely.