Fairy Tale Channel (fairytalechannel.com)

FAIRYTALECHANNEL.com Fairy tales following the seasons and bringing warmth to heart and hearth. Featured Fairy Tale: Fairy Tale of the Hinzelmann Hille Bingels' Wedding Party

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The German Fairy Tale of the Mysterious Bee Queen






Grimm’s Fairy Tale No. 62 The German Fairy Tale of the Mysterious Bee Queen


Two king’s sons went out looking for adventure and fell into a wild, dissipated life and did not return home. The youngest, who was also known as the dummkopf, went out looking for his brothers. But when he finally found them, they laughed and mocked him. He was a simpleton, they jeered. How could he succeed in life when they had failed so miserably and they were so much smarter? And so it was, the three brothers decided to go out together and soon they came upon an anthill. The two oldest wanted to stir up the sand and see how the little ants scurried fearfully around, carrying off their eggs. But the dummkopf said “Leave the animals in peace. I won’t tolerate your harming them.” The brothers continued on their way and came to a lake, where many ducks were swimming. The two brothers wanted to catch a few and roast them, but the dummkopf would not allow it. He said” Leave the animals in peace. I won’t tolerate your harming them.”

Finally they came to a bee nest. There was so much honey that it trickled down the trunk of the tree. The two older brothers wanted to light a fire under the tree and suffocate the bees, so that they could rob them of their honey. The dummkopf once more said “Leave the animals in peace. I won’t tolerate your harming them.” Finally the three brothers arrived at a castle. Here the stalls were full of stone horses. But not a single human being was found. They went through each room of the castle, until they arrived at the very last door. The door had three locks but in the middle there was a keyhole. Spying through the hole they saw a gray little man sitting at a table. They called to him, once, twice, but he did not hear. Finally they called a third time. He stood up, opened the locks and came out. But he never said a word. Instead, he led them to a richly set table. When they had eaten and drunk their fill, the old man brought each brother to a separate sleeping chamber. The next morning the gray little man came to the oldest, woke him and took him to a stone tablet. Three tasks were written on the tablet, and fulfillment of the tasks would redeem the castle. The first task was this: in the woods under the moss lay the pearls of the king’s daughter, one thousand in number. They all had to be gathered and if a single pearl was missing when the sun set, the person who was searching for them would be turned to stone. The oldest went out and looked the entire day. But when day was over, and he had only found one hundred, it happened just as the tablet had foretold. He was turned to stone. The next day the second brother took up the adventure. It did not go much better for him. He had found more than two-hundred pearls when he was turned to stone. Finally, it was the dummkopf’s turn. He searched through the moss but it was difficult finding pearls and took too long. He sat down on a stone and began to cry. And as he was sitting there, the ant king came, whose life the dummkopf had once saved. He arrived with five-thousand ants and it didn’t take long for the small animals to gather the pearls into a little pile. The second task was to fetch the key to the princess’s bed chamber at the bottom of the sea. As the dummkopf approached the water, the ducks came swimming, whose life he had once saved. They dove under and fetched the key from the depths. The third task was the most difficult. Among the king’s sleeping daughters the dummkopf had to determine the youngest and dearest. But they all looked the same and nothing distinguished them except for the fact that before they went to sleep, they each had eaten a different sweet: the oldest a sugar cube, the second, some syrup and the third a spoon of honey. The bee queen, whose lives the dummkopf had preserved against fire, arrived with her bees. The queen alighted on the mouth of each princess, but at last she lingered near the mouth of the princess who had eaten honey. In this way, the king’s son recognized the rightful princess. The magic was now over, everyone was freed from their sleep and the brothers who had been turned into stone, took on their human shape again. The dummkopf married the youngest and dearest daughter of the king and became king after her father’s death. But his two brothers married the other two sisters.




To read more fairy tales click on the link:


Translation Copyright FairyTaleChannel.com
Please read and enjoy this article.
Pass on to friends or link to.
Please do not plagiarize, copy or pilfer. Thanks and enjoy!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fairy Tale of the Supranormal Bride

Excerpt from "Hylas and the Nymphs", J.W. Waterhouse


The Supranormal Bride: Taboo, Impropriety and the Power of Language

In the Fairy Sister’s Wedding (see link at right) we encounter a common figure in fairy tales, the supranormal bride, a being who is really a goddess or demi-goddess but consorts with humans and longs to be mortal. The goddess in this fairy tale appears in duplicate form as twin in the propitious month of July, at the moment the corn has almost reached maturity and will soon be ready for harvest. Thus, her powers, which are aligned with plants and vegetation in the narrowest sense and with fertility, bounty and fecundity in a broader sense, are magnified. According to many folk traditions, twins had special powers that often included control over rain and weather. The goddess's powers would be especially potent if she were also a twin.

The twin fairies promise their prospective mates every boon an earth goddess can bestow. But from the very beginning we get an inkling that the masculine virtues of beauty, pride and courage will fall short when confronted with the feminine qualities of a supernatural bride. Even though they are paragons of virtue (“No one was their equal in all the kingdom.”) and as twins their strengths are also doubled, we know the marriage between the brothers and their fairy wives will culminate in disaster. The problem is not that the grooms are looking for love in all the wrong places (behind a bush in this fairy tale), but rather that they are incapable of fulfilling the strict conditions of their marriage. The fairy wives stipulate two taboos. The first is a food prohibition, tied to ritual cleansing in preparation for marriage. The second is a speech prohibition, tied to naming things and the power of language. The younger brother fails the test immediately. Chewing on a corn kernel barely seems to constitute an infraction. But this thoughtless impropriety has dire consequences, underscoring the frailty of human understanding while hinting at a higher world order that human beings fail to grasp. Punishment is swift and harsh, the sinner is relegated to a life of isolation cut off from his parents and clan. The last we hear of him, he is entering a monastery.

And so we come to what I believe is the heart of this fairy tale: the taboo. In his exhaustive study of magic and religion, Sir James Frazer defines charms or spells as a form of positive magic. A person believes he can regulate the course of nature or an outcome by acting in a certain way such as reciting a particular charm. Taboos, in contrast, are a form of negative magic. By abstaining from certain behaviors, a person hopes to align himself with the forces of nature, thereby promoting the fertility of the earth, the multiplication of plants and animals and promotion of his own kind. According to Frazer, by abstaining from doing certain things, people avoid infecting the earth with their own undesirable state or condition. The taboo prohibiting certain speech in the fairy tale seems like an easy precept to fulfill. But humans are frail beings and to some extent prone to failure. As the fairy tale illustrates, it is the shortcomings of humans, not of the gods, that brings calamity into the world.

The speech prohibition in this story is also interesting in and of itself. The word Fee means both fairy and crazy (fay and fey). The taboo prohibits the husband from naming the essence of his supernatural bride’s character, fairy, while also restricting the pejorative form of the same word, crazy. These diverging usages reflect alternate attitudes toward the deity. On the one hand, the earth goddess was beneficent, having the power to confer fruitfulness. But a contemptuous attitude toward these deities was also possible. The goddesses who had the power to control hail, rain and the weather were frequently likened to witches who rode broomsticks through threatening black hail clouds. These were thought to be essentially malign forces. It was in the best interest of all to harm these creatures whenever possible. Connecting the deity to these destructive forces was equivalent to calling the deity crazy: an act of profanity and desecration and a very serious offence. Naming was also viewed as a way to perform magic because there was a powerful relationship between the object or person and its name. A thoughtless remark could not only bring about the wrath of the gods but also inflict real harm.

The Fairy Sisters’ Wedding ends on a tragic note. The family loses its matriarch, who has brought countless blessings. In this tale the barriers to a union between a mortal and divine being are impossible to bridge. The Swiss folktale Gnome Wife Tirli-Wirli (see link to right) is more optimistic. The husband’s remorse suffices to bring about reconciliation. The couple is subsequently able to enjoy a long and fruitful life together.

There are many examples in which the gender roles of this story are reversed. Instead of a supernatural bride, we encounter an otherworldly groom who prohibits his wife from using certain speech. Frazer contends that it is often the person most intimately connected to the individual by blood or marriage that must adhere to the strictest taboos. The Swan Knight is one example of this form.

Fairy Tales on this Blog featuring a Supernatural Spouse:

Gnome Wife Tirli-Wirli
Life in the Castle

Life in Another Castle
Gerhard the Good, Swan Knight
Hans-My-Hedgehog

The Artist as Hedgehog
Fairy Sisters’ Wedding


Further Reading:
Sir James G. Frazer, The Golden Bough
Please read, pass on to others and enjoy.
Do not copy, plagiarize or pilfer. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

French Tale of the Fairy Sisters' July Wedding



A Fairy Tale from the French Alps:
Fairy Sisters Want to Marry


Once there lived two brothers who were twins, Each was as beautiful and handsome as the day itself. They were proud and courageous. No one was their equal in all the kingdom. One evening as they were returning home from the annual market, they had to traverse an immense forest. It was the summer month of July and almost nine o’clock in the evening. The moon was full. Suddenly the two brothers could hear bright, ringing laughter coming from within the bushes. They pulled on the reins of their horses and stopped. “Listen, brother, do you hear that sound!” the older one asked.

“Yes, it sounds like the laughter of a young maid, a bright, cheerful sound.”

In that very moment two young beauties emerged from behind the bush. They were dressed in gold and silk and were as lovely as angels. “Good evening, young gallants!” their voices rang out like bells.

“Good evening, young maidens!” was the reply.

“We are not maidens. We are fairies and twin sisters. You are twin brothers. If you marry us, we will make you as rich as the sea and will give you many children, who are as beautiful, strong and brave as you yourselves are.”

The older brother said “Let’s marry. I will take the older twin.”

“Yes, let’s marry. I will take the younger one,” the younger brother said.

“Good,” both fairy sisters replied. “We will marry tomorrow morning, bright and early. Now go home but at daybreak you must already be standing at the church door facing the forest. Make sure that you neither eat nor drink in the meantime. If you do, a great misfortune will befall us.”

“Fairy sisters, your words shall be followed!” And the twin brothers rushed home. They did not talk; they went to bed without eating or drinking. At two in the morning they got up and silently left the house. “Quickly, quickly! We have just enough time to reach the church at the edge of the forest.”

On the way, the twins passed a corn field. The corn was almost ripe. Without thinking, the younger brother picked an ear, took a kernel and pressed it between his teeth to see if it was completely dry.

Before day broke the two stood before the church at the edge of the forest. The doors were open, the altar was decorated and the candles were lit. Both fairies were waiting. They were dressed as beautiful brides , each wearing a white dress and veil, a wreath of flowers on her head and a fragent posy tied into her belt.

“My friend,” the younger of the two fairies said sadly, “You forgot that you weren’t supposed to eat or drink. Now you have caused a great misfortune to befall us. By marrying you, I would have become a woman like all others. But now I must remain a fay forever.”

With that the younger of the two fairy twins left the church and her groom never saw her again. The priest read the mass for the older twins. Then the younger brother spoke to the couple “Fare thee well! I am going far away and shall enter a monastery as a monk. Tell my father and my mother they will never see me again.” And with these words he departed, while his older brother took his bride home to his parents.

In the evening before they went to bed, she said to her husband “Listen! If you love me then pay heed. Never call me fey or crazy. If you do a great misfortune will befall us.”

“Dear wife, don’t worry, I will never call you fey or crazy.”

For seven years they lived happily as man and wife. They were as rich as the vast ocean, lived in a castle and had seven children.

One day the husband went to the annual market and the wife stayed behind to act on his behalf. It was mid-July. The weather was beautiful, the grain was almost ripe. The lady of the castle looked out and gazed at the heavens. “You man servants and maid servants, up and out!” she cried. “Quickly cut the grain! A storm and hail will soon be here!”

“But lady, what are you thinking? It is the most wonderful weather in the world and the grain isn’t even ripe.”

“Do what I say, quickly! Hurry, hurry!”

The farm hands followed her orders. They were still working when the master of the house returned from market. “Wife, what are the workers doing?” he asked.

“They are doing what I ordered them to do!” the wife replied.

“But look, wife, the cut grain isn’t even ripe. You must be crazy!”

As soon as these words were spoken, the wife got up and left. In the same evening, hail and storm ravaged the entire land. Despite it all, the fay returned to the castle every morning. She entered the room of her seven children, and while crying combed their hair with a golden comb. “You must never tell your father, that I come every morning at dawn to your room and comb your hair with a beautiful golden comb. A great misfortune will happen if you do.” The children replied “Mother, we will never tell!”

But the father was amazed at the beautifully combed hair of his children. Every morning he asked “Who combed your hair so beautifully, my little ones?” And his children always said “It was the servant girl.”

But the father remained skeptical. One evening when he went to bed he hid himself in the room of his seven children. When dawn broke their mother came and while crying, combed their hair with a golden comb. The man lost control “My poor wife,” he called. “O come home, I beg you, come!”

But she vanished as fast as lightening. From then on neither the husband or his children ever saw her again.



Translation Copyright FairyTaleChannel.com
Please read and enjoy this article.
Pass on to friends or link to.
Please do not plagiarize, copy or pilfer.
Thanks and enjoy!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Secret Lives of Gnomes Revealed Here: Tree Gnomes



Grimm's Saga No. 148: The Gnomes in the Tree


In summer months it often happened that a flock of gnomes would migrate from the upper mountain meadows down into the valley, where they banded together sociably. They either helped the farm laborers or watched them as they mowed and gathered the hay. They loved to sit on the long, thick branches of a shady oak tree and look down at the work. Once some mean-spirited people, who knew of their habit, came during the night and sawed the branches through so that they were only weakly attached to the tree trunk. When the unsuspecting creatures climbed up the next morning, the branches came crashing down in pieces. The gnomes likewise fell to the ground and were jeered by the onlookers. Thus enraged, they screamed:

“As high as the sky
Deception does fly!
Here today, tomorrow gone!”

They were as good as their word and were never seen again in all the land.


Read another gnome fairy tale:

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2009/08/summer-fairy-tale-to-catch-gnome.html

Translation Copyright FairyTaleChannel.com
Please read and enjoy this article.
Pass on to friends or link to.
Please do not plagiarize, copy or pilfer.
Thanks and enjoy!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Summer Fairy Tale: To Catch A Gnome


The Many Ways to Catch a Garden Thief:
Fairy Tale of the Smithy Riechert


On the east side of the Dardesheim mountain there is a place called Gnome-Berg where the fields are especially rich and fertile. These acres were once owned by a smithy by the name of Riechert, who planted a crop of peas there. He noticed that when the peas hung on their vine and were the most ripe and succulent, they were soon all picked. To catch the pea-thief, Riechert built a little hut in his field and watched over his crop night and day. During the night, he did not detect any change, but in the morning he saw that despite his watch, the entire field had been robbed of peas. His wasted efforts annoyed him to no end and so he decided to plow under the entire crop. When dawn broke, Smithy Riechert began his work. But he had barely plowed under half his field when he heard wretched crying. Looking down to find the source, he saw a gnome lying under the pea stalks on the ground. His skull had been bashed by the threshing blade and he was now visible because his haze or fog cap had been knocked from his head. The gnome got up quickly and fled back into the mountain.

Postscript

In fairy tale lore, gnomes are invisible because they wear a Tarnkappe or Nebelkappe (cap conferring invisibility). Nebel means fog or mist in German and connotes confusion or cloudy and muddled thinking. Gnomes love gardens and the acres they visit are always lush and bountiful. Even though they pinch the produce, it is very beneficial to have garden gnomes as regular visitors and very unlucky to drive them away. A wise farmer woos the gnomes and does what he can to keep them happy.


More fairy tales:

Translation Copyright FairyTaleChannel.com
Please read and enjoy this article.
Pass on to friends or link to.
Please do not plagiarize, copy or pilfer.
Thanks and enjoy!