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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Legend of Charlemagne and the Snake


Grimm’s Saga No. 459: Charlemagne and the Snake

When King Charlemagne lived in Zurich in the house called Loch, he had a column erected with a bell on top. Attached to this bell was a rope, which anyone desiring justice on a certain matter could pull. Every day when the King sat for his noon meal, he made himself available to those seeking fairness and just treatment. One day it happened that the bell rang. The servants went outside but could not find anyone ringing the bell. When they returned inside, the bell rang again. Now the King commanded the servants to go out and find the source of the ringing. Following his command, they found an enormous snake wrapped around the rope, ringing the bell. The servants, who were deeply dismayed, reported the situation back to the King. He immediately got up from his meal and insisted on speaking justice for the creature, like he would for any human being. After the worm reverently bowed before the monarch, it led him to the banks of a body of water, where, on its nest and its eggs sat an enormous toad. Charlemagne examined the state of things and decided the dispute between the two animals by damning the toad to fire and conceding the snake was right. This judgment was spoken and executed. Several days later the snake returned to court, bowed, and turning toward the King’s table, raised the cover of the goblet standing there. It took from its mouth and placed a costly gem into this goblet, bowed again and went its way. At the place where the snake’s nest had stood, the King erected a church and named it Wasserkilch. But the gem he gave to his dear wife, whom he loved dearly. This stone had the secret power of attraction and the King was now irresistibly drawn to his wife. When he was not in her presence he felt only sadness and a deep longing for her. That is why at the hour of her death, the empress placed the stone under her tongue, knowing that if it came into the hands of another, the King would soon forget her. The empress was now buried with the stone but poor Charlemagne could not take leave from her corpse. He had her body disinterred and carried it around with him for eighteen years. In the meantime a courtier had heard about the hidden powers of the stone. He searched the corpse and finally found the gem lying under the empress’s tongue. He removed the stone and kept it hidden on his own person. Immediately the King’s love was transferred from his dead wife to the courtier, to whom he now was irresistibly drawn. In indignation the courtier threw the stone into a hot spring on a trip to Cologne. After that no one was able to recover it. The King’s fondness for the knight did indeed cease, but now he felt himself miraculously drawn to the place, where the stone lay concealed. Here he founded the city of Aachen, which became his favorite place of residence.

To read another tale about Charlemagne:


http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2010/06/legend-of-charlemagne-and-strong-bonds.html


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Monday, June 21, 2010

Bevy of Butterflies





The butterfly is a symbol of transformation and rebirth in many folk traditions. Emerging from its cocoon as a beautiful, winged being, the butterfly underscores the impossibility of our seeing things as they really are. When we gaze upon cocoon or larva, we can barely grasp the creative energies at work below the surface. It is this astonishing process of transformation that is the heart of many a fairy tale. Some folk tales view the butterfly as a manifestation of the soul and in this capacity butterflies are also tied to elves and fairies.

I can only encourage you to take up the task of making your own butterflies. The pictures provided here do not really express the sheer joy conveyed by a bevy of such winged beings. Hand-made butterflies are the perfect token to commemorate all manner of life changing events. The good-humored butterfly looks gorgeous as a valentine, great as a birthday greeting and delightful around the anniversary cake. In short, it is appropriate to give a butterfly for any of life’s transformative events. All you need is paper, scissors and pipe cleaners. In some cases a bit of glue. Or if you prefer, order a butterfly-making kit. But do make the butterflies.



More Pictures of Fairy Tale Butterflies
How to Make Paper Fairy Tale Butterflies

FolkloreofButterflyproject.blogspot.com

Step-by-step, fool-proof instructions, make in minutes!

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Friday, June 18, 2010

A Bevy of Butterflies




























































































































For complete instructions how to make paper butterflies:


folkloreofbutterflyproject.com

More fairy tales can be found at:
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Saturday, June 12, 2010

The perfect husband found in this fairy tale from Latvia.



From Latvia: The Little White Dog


A stepmother treated her adopted daughter in a vile way. Although the girl did everything precisely as instructed, she could never satisfy the woman’s demands.

One day the stepdaughter was told to fetch water from the spring well, but in such a way that the pail would not get wet. The poor girl was desperate and cried bitter tears. Suddenly a little white dog came running up to her, as if it had sprung forth from the earth itself. The dog said “If you take me as husband, I will take care of the water.” And so the girl promised. The little dog ran out to do what it had promised, then vanished.

After some time another groom came round and requested the girl’s hand in marriage. She didn’t want to accept his offer, but her stepmother urged her to take him. There was nothing that could be done. On the evening before the wedding, the bridegroom arrived. Everyone rushed out to meet him, even the little white dog. The wedding guests all entered the house, but they left the little dog standing outside. All at once the animal began to sing:

“Let me come inside, my dear little girly,
For I am none other than your dear little burly,
At the well, remember the day,
When you gave to me your heart away?”

Everyone chuckled at the cheek of it all, but for the sake of a good laugh, they let the little dog come in.
The animal trotted into the parlor, gazed upon the bridegroom standing near the bride and began to sing once more:

“Take me as your own, my dear little girly,
It is I, your dear little burly!
At the well, remember the day,
When you gave to me your heart away?”

The bridegroom thought to himself: “What a sweet but odd little creature! We will have to let him sit with us, if he asks in such a polite manner!”

The little dog sat at the feet of the bride and was as quiet as a mouse. The next morning the engagement party began. Once again the little dog began to sing:

“Dear girl, take me as your groom,
Me, your little burly….”

The bride gave the little dog his portion of the feast, and it soon became quiet. After breakfast, they all got into their carriages and rode out to the church to celebrate the wedding. The little dog began to sing again:

“Dear girl, take me in your carriage,
Wed me, in marriage!”

[The groom had permitted his bride to take the dog along with her in the carriage as they rode to church. So they all drove out together.] When they finally arrived at the church, the clergyman began the wedding ceremony. At once the little dog began to sing in loud voice:

“Dear girl wed me in marriage,
Me, your little burly man….”

The pastor asked the bride: “What did you promise? Tell me everything because I can’t marry you until you do!”

The girl now admitted everything, from A to Z. The stepmother stamped her foot in rage, but nothing could be done. The pastor now refused to marry the couple, and the stepmother was momentarily constrained from taking out her anger on the girl. The groom was a compassionate fellow, he said: “Why my dear girl, didn’t you tell me the truth immediately and serve up pure wine? How was I to know your predicament?”

“I would have liked to tell you, but I was afraid of my stepmother!”

When the stepmother heard the accusation, she ran out of the church in rage and the little dog followed her. The stepmother wanted to seize the animal violently, but in that very moment, a beautiful coach arrived pulled by eight horses. A servant jumped down from the step, opened the carriage door and the little white dog jumped inside. Immediately it was transformed into a strapping young prince. The stepdaughter was then married to him and he took her away to his golden castle. But because the first groom had a good heart, he was elevated to the king’s closest advisor, because he had let the little dog in, allowed him to sit at the feet of the bride and took him in the carriage to the church.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Legend of Charlemagne and the Strong Bonds that Bind Us


June is the month of brides and rings and the ties that bind us.

Grimm’s Saga No. 458: A Legend of Charlemagne

The Ring in the Lake near Aachen

Petrarch, on his trip through Germany, heard a story told by priests in Aachen. The holy men purported it was true, for the story had been circulated by word of mouth for many years. In ancient times Charlemagne fell in love with a woman of lowly birth. The Kaiser’s love raged so violently for this woman, that he forgot all his worldly affairs and dropped all earthly pursuits. He even neglected his own body and appearance. His entire court was soon in disarray and many of his subjects became embarrassed by his passion, which showed no signs of diminishing. The beloved woman soon fell ill and died. The people now hoped that the Kaiser would abandon his love for the woman, but these hopes were all in vain. Instead he sat for hours with her corpse, kissed and caressed it and talked to it as if it were still alive. The dead body began to smell and decay but the Kaiser would not take leave from it. Finally Turpin, the archbishop, realized that some sort of magic must lie behind it all. When Charlemagne left the room the archbishop therefore carefully ran his hands over the corpse of the dead woman to see if he could not discover the source of the enchantment. Finally he found a ring in her mouth concealed under her tongue and he secretly removed it. When the Kaiser returned to the room he acted surprised, like someone who had just awakened from a deep sleep. He asked:

“Who carried this stinking corpse in here?” and in that very hour he ordered its burial. This was also carried out immediately. But instead of alleviating the problem the king’s strong affection was now re-directed to the archbishop, whom the Kaiser now followed incessantly. When this wise and pious man noticed the change, he recognized the power of the ring and feared it might fall into the wrong hands. That is why he threw it into the lake near the city. After that, the Kaiser loved the place so dearly, he could no longer find it in his heart to leave Aachen. He had a royal castle and cathedral built and spent the remainder of his days there. It was also in Aachen that he desired to be buried. He decreed that all royal successors would be anointed and inaugurated in that city.



To read a tale about Charlemagne and the Snake: