I’ve never really questioned why there was a gingerbread house in Hansel and Gretel. Or why it seems to be something that is repeated across fairy tales. After all, it is a really impractical and useless way in which to make a house. And it kind of seems just… sticky to live in.
I never quite realised how weird a name ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ is. It’s just a name that has always been. But when you read a cute little short story about how odd that is, you start to realise that it is quite an absurd name…
There’s something about trolls that is always… I guess amusing. Probably because they are often cast as dumb, lumbering and far south of thoughtful. And, this short story really doesn’t do anything to dispel those ideas. What it does do is take a creature that is traditionally gross and smelly and making him… well, kind of cute.
While I really enjoyed this short story, what bumped up my great opinion of it was Black’s explanation for why she wrote it in the first place. On childhood vacations, she often wished that she could turn into a wolf and eat her family – so she wrote about a boy who could. And, honestly, who hasn’t felt like that on a family vacation?
I don’t think I’ve read the original tale of Puss in Boots. Although I have read a few retellings over time, and I thought that doing new take on an old classic using a poem was a quaint and attractive way in which to do so. This was quick, sharp, shiny and straight to the point. It was also well written, fun and great at highlighting the triumph of beast over man.
I haven’t yet had the chance to read the original Bluebeard fairy tale (I don’t think). But I did thoroughly enjoy Angela Carter’s retelling. So it was kind of fun to read a far more innocent and simpler retelling. One in which the villain suddenly becomes something completely different and offers an entirely new perspective to an otherwise dark and twisted tale.
I’m an older sister. And it doesn’t matter how old my younger sister and I are. It doesn’t matter where life takes us. I will always be her big sister. And I will always feel responsible for her. And protective of her. So it’s really nice to read a short story that reminds me that I’m not the only one in this position. That is uses the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses just makes it all the more fun and engaging.
I love different points of view on fairy tales. And Jack and the Beanstalk is an incredibly well-known tale. The fact that this story is told with him as a kind of villain made this thoroughly enjoyable. After all, if you think about it… how does the good guy end up killing someone and stealing things? There is nothing very virtuous and “good” about this at all.
I remember the story of the goose girl from my recent reading of Grimm fairy tales. But, it took me a little while to connect that storyline with Hoffman’s Rags and Riches. I just thought that this was a story that halfway explains the cruelty of a maid. It wasn’t until the end that I recognised her punishment and the actual storyline.
I really loved this poem. I tend to find with poetry, some things just strike me beautifully, and some don’t really pull me in at all. But, probably because this is a story that is based on the women of fairy tales, I adored it. There was a great passage of time throughout the three stanzas and they captured the ways in which we change over time.