Friday, April 19, 2013
You have officially been invited to a Hobbit birthday with Gillian Adams in the beauteous realm Of Battles, Dragons, and Swords of Adamant.
With holding to the traditions of Hobbits, Gillian is offering her readers gifts. Check out her blog for a fantastic short story from her own pen, The Fiddler's Tune, and enter the giveaway for a chance to win an awesome speculative fiction book! (Featuring such titles as The Wingfeather Saga and Tales of Goldstone Wood, some of my personal favorites.)
Those to whom the prizes are awarded shall be announced Wednesday, April 24th, so hurry on over and join in the festivities of the lively Shire.
Friday, April 12, 2013
The Goose Girl is a lesser-known fairytale. Perhaps this is because it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Even less sense than most fairytales.
The basic tale, as told by the Brothers Grimm, is as follows:
The Princess is betrothed to a Prince who lives far away, and her mother, the Queen, gives her a gift of a handkerchief stained with three drops of the Queen’s blood as protection. (Why? No one really knows.) So Princess sets of—riding her beloved talking horse named Falada—and looses the handkerchief. (Which really fails to have any purpose in the tale whatsoever.) She is soon coerced by a maid who forces Princess to trade places with her. Maid then switches horses and, upon arrival at the distant palace, the Prince sweeps her up and falls in love with her beauty and charm. (He has brains, that one.)
Princess, seen as a servant-girl, is sent by the King to a goose boy named Conrad for work. (It is interesting to note that in the storytelling realm where the main characters are know as Princess, Prince (or ‘young King’) and King (or ‘old King’), the goose boy and the talking horse are the only ones given names.)
Meanwhile, Maid orders that Falada be killed to keep her secret safe and Princess finds out about it. She pays the butcher to place Falada’s head on the wall where she will see it each day. (That one’s a bit disturbing.) When she and Conrad pass by with the geese, she laments to the dead horse and he replies that if her mother the Queen knew what happened to her, her heart would break. (How does the dead horse talk? No idea. It’s a fairytale, folks; give it room to breathe a bit.) Then Princess lets down her long, golden hair, Conrad sees it and wants a strand or two, and Princess begs the wind to pick up his hat and he has to chase after it. This happens several times. (You’d think Princess would stop letting her hair down with Conrad about, or that Conrad would clap a hand to his hat or, better yet, take it off. But of course none of those things happen.)
The Goose-girl is not one of the more popular fairytales—we apparently much prefer kissing frogs to dead horse conversations—so I’ve been unable to find a creditable illustrated version, apart from the illuminations I discovered online and used above. (Artist unknown.)
Since most of the old tales were supposed to have a moral along with them, what morals can we find in the Goose-girl? Aside from the injustice being justified, evil defeated and good coming out victorious—which happens in almost every story—there’s not a whole lot to say. Just don’t go pulling on people’s hair.
My favorite novelization of this tale—indeed, the only novelization I know of is, quite simply titled The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale.
She takes each of the bizarre details of the story and transforms them into a much more believable tale. The only thing that truly deviates from the original folklore is that the old King plays very little part in the proceedings. His position in the tale is given to the goose-girl, the prince, or some other character. And this makes a good deal more sense then having an aged monarch scrambling about after servants and listening in at stove pipe’s to someone’s confessional time. Ah, yes, and the stove has miraculously vanished in Hale’s retelling as well—thank goodness. Hale's The Goose Girl is by far one of my favorite fairy-tale retellings and one of my favorite all-time books. I highly recommend the reading.
What do you think of the Goose-girl fairytale? Or Hale's version? What lessons might we learn from the tale? Any other retellings of this particular fable you know of?
Title: Kenny and the Dragon
Author: Tony DiTerlizzi
Genre: Children’s Fantasy
Kenny and the Dragon is a wonderful, light-hearted, endearing tale of a little hare and a big dragon. DiTerlizzi, author of the acclaimed Spiderwick Chronicles, is a talented author but I enjoy his illustrations even more. (He is my current favorite artist after Justin Gerard, who illustrated such titles as the Wingfeather Saga, The Secret Zoo books, and a new novel Through the Skylight—review pending.)
Kenny, the hare, is an inquisitive, bookish, science-loving boy in the town of
. Grahame the dragon (like the cracker, but with an ‘e’), is a bookish, furry, goat-like dragon who has taken residence up on the Hare family’s hill. Kenny and Grahame quickly become fast friends and spend much of their time together in fun activities, reading new books, and experimenting with fire balls and hiccups. Roundbrook
When word gets around town that a ferocious devil-scourge now creeps in upon their borders, the country folk and townspeople take up arms, and the king calls in his best dragon-slayer, St. George. Tension mounts as Kenny, the dragon, the Hare family, and some friends plot to save Grahame from the dragon slayer, and the dragon slayer from Grahame, with the townspeople being kept in the dark.
I loved, just loved, reading this little book—one of many in a fast-growing stack of library materials—and passed it off to my younger brother for his enjoyment. He returned it the next day. Beaming.
It’s a simple and sweet story of fun and friendship and I highly recommend it for reading. Kenny and the Dragon finds that happy medium where it is completely enjoyable at any age, which is the best way for a story to be.