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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Enchanted Maidens and the Changing Seasons of Our Lives


 A Lithuanian Fairy Tale of a King’s Son and an Enchanted Maiden

 (James Abbott McNeill Whistler, La Princesse du Pays de la Porcelaine, 1863-64)

And:
My favorite enchanted maiden:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rl3iaTUQQvY


The Lithuanian Fairy Tale of a King’s Son and an Enchanted Maiden

There once lived a king,  who had three sons. He decided that they should all marry at once so he said to them “Children, you have come of age. You shall all marry at once! As soon as you ride out to your intended ones, I shall shoot off my blunderbuss.  Wherever the bullet flies, ride in that direction. The person who catches my bullet shall be your bride. That is maiden you shall bring home.”


The oldest son decided to ride out to his maiden. His father went out and shot his blunderbuss. The bullet sailed slowly through the air and the son rode after it. He arrived at a kingdom. There at the king’s court a princess stood on a flight of stairs. She caught the bullet in mid-air. This daughter was not particularly beautiful because she had pock marks. The son led her home. He now had a wife. And so the second son wanted to ride out. The father went outside again and shot his blunderbuss. The son rode out and arrived in a kingdom. Here the king’s daughter held the bullet in her hand. She was slightly more beautiful and the king’s son led her home. Now the second son also had a wife.


The third son also wanted to ride out. The father went outside and shot his blunderbuss. The son rode after the bullet and arrived in another kingdom and king’s court. There stood a green frog on the stairs and held the bullet in its mouth. The king’s son was frightened. But what could he do? His father had commanded that he bring back the one who caught the bullet. He took home the frog and placed it under his bed. There it hopped around and croaked. Shortly before the wedding the brides opened their windows. All manner of royal presents flew inside. When the frog opened its window, gifts of even rarer beauty arrived.


During the day, the frog was a frog. But at night, it slipped out of its skin and became a beautiful woman. There was no one more beautiful in all the world. And every night the little frog lay down in the bed and how happy the son was when it became a beautiful woman! But when daylight came, the son was sad, because he knew what he had to do. 

Finally he thought of a way out of his dilemma. He must burn the frog skin so he fetched coal to do it. In the evening when his wife had removed the frog skin, the king’s son threw it onto the fire and it burned. The wife noticed the smell and jumped up immediately. “Now you have destroyed me.” She sat down and wrote a letter to her oldest sister and said to him: “Go to the smithy and have him forge iron shoes and a sack. He shall give you a piece of iron that is as large as a slice of bread! Place this in the sack and take this letter to my sister! You will find a bed made there for you. As soon as you are there, lay down immediately and place the letter on your neck! If you do exactly as I say, you and I can be together again. Otherwise I will not be yours and you shall not be mine. You have caused the greatest torment for me.” And she flew out of the window.


The king’s son immediately went to the smithy. He made him iron shoes, a sack and a piece of iron as large as a slice of bread. Then he took the letter and went out. He wandered and wandered and finally reached a court. There was nothing there, not even a dog. He went into the house and found a bed made. He lay down immediately and placed the letter on his neck. It wasn’t long before the sister flew inside with the sound of thunder crashing all around.  She was spitting and sputtering and screamed: “Who smells like man flesh here? O, brother-in-law, it is you! You are good bird for me to rip to shreds!” But she took the letter from his neck and read it. “So,” she said. “Get up! Come over here. I will give you something to eat! You have come a long distance and are tired.”

He stood up immediately and said: “Here is your iron bread.”


She cut it into little pieces and he ate it. Then she said: “Go into the garden back and forth!” He did this and soon saw that his shoes had become tattered to bits. He went back inside the room. Immediately the thunder roared again as someone approached. She said “Where shall I hide you?” She hid him behind the oven. Then someone entered the room and said mournfully “What did the evil one do? What torment I have suffered!” The sister replied: “If you saw your husband, what would you do with him?” “I would cut him into little pieces.” Then she flew away.


He crept out from behind the oven and the sister said: “Now go to the smithy and have another pair of iron shoes and sack forged. I will give you another letter for my other sister. When you arrive there, you shall find another bed made. Lay down, cover yourself to your chin, and place the letter under your chin. He did everything as commanded, took the letter and departed. He wandered and wandered. Finally he reached a court. Again he found nothing. Then he went into the house, saw a bed made, lay down inside and placed the letter under his chin. It wasn’t long before someone approached amidst great roaring of thunder, entered the house, spit and sputtered and screamed “Who smells here like man flesh? Oh brother-in-law, I would like to tear you to bits! But then she took the letter, read it and said: “Get up, come here and eat! Do you have your bread? He gave her the sack. As soon as she touched it with her knife, the iron turned into bread. She cut it and ate it. Then she said: “Go out into the garden and walk back and forth!” He did this too. Then he saw how his shoes had become tattered to bits. He went back into the house and listened how someone approached. “Where shall I hide you?”” the sister asked. “Creep behind the bed!” He crept behind it. Someone entered the room and said: “If you only knew how I suffer!” But the sister said: “If you saw your husband, what would you do with him?” She answered “I would tear him into four pieces.” After uttering these words, she flew away and he crept from behind the bed.


Then the sister said to him: “Go to the smithy and have iron shoes and a sack made. I will give you a letter for my youngest sister. When you arrive at court, you shall find a bed made. Lay down to sleep and cover yourself. Place the letter on your breast!” He went to the smithy, who made him the iron shoes and sack and he departed. He wandered and wandered until he came to a court and found nothing there, not a single living being. He went inside the house. There he found a bed made. He lay down, covered himself and placed the letter on his breast. It wasn’t long until someone rushed inside the house, removed the letter from his breast, read it and said: “Get up and eat!” Once again she took his sack. As soon as placed her knife on the iron, it became bread. She cut it into pieces and he ate. “Now go into the garden and walk back and forth!” He went into the garden and wandered back and forth. There he saw that his shoes had become tattered to bits. He went back inside the house and while they spoke, someone again approached in a roaring buzz. She said “Where shall I hide you? Creep behind my skirt!”


Immediately he crept behind it. His wife came happily into the room and the sister said: “If you saw your husband now, what would you do with him? “I would do nothing with him, nothing at all.” She immediately lifted her skirts and said “See, here is your husband.”
She welcomed and thanked him for redeeming her. They both returned to their homeland. When they reached the kingdom, they prepared the wedding feast. All three sons married at once and the father gave the youngest son the kingdom. His bride, the princess, had been enchanted before she was born. It was her fate to remain in frog form until her wedding day. If he had not burned her frog skin, she would have become a woman when she married.



Blondie: Maria/catches bullet


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoOG7LEyUJ0&feature=related


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Monday, July 1, 2013

Fairy Tale of Farmer Dilly and his Beautiful Garden



Farmer Dilly’s Garden


Farmer Dilly had a fair meadow, it was so lovely that farmers from far and wide admired it. Every spring his cherry trees were the first to burst into bloom and by mid-summer the boughs hung heavily with ripe fruits. And he had peach trees and nectarines, and all manner of flowers. But the prettiest part of the field held his vegetable garden, full of crisp little peas, turnips all in a row and clusters of vegetables hanging from the vine. 

Matron Melke liked to linger near Farmer Dilly’s garden fence, and peer across the wooden rails. “Oh, how I would like to taste just one of Farmer Dilly’s green peas,” she sighed. They are much greener and plumper than mine!”
And so one fair summer night she crept out across the meadow and traversed the wooden fence. She wriggled like a snake across the dark, moist ground of the garden and when she arrived at the peas she thought to herself “Now that I’m here, it would be a shame to try just one of these luscious little peas. And immediately she snapped off an entire branch, opened the first pod and gobbled up the succulent green peas. Then she wiggled back across the earth, climbed the fence and returned to her cottage. The next day she cooked the peas and made a hearty porridge. And the porridge was so succulent that her mouth watered the days after whenever she thought of it.  

But that night three sheep appeared in a dream. Each held up a hoof and admonished her:

“Pea-thief beware,
There is danger lurking there!”

After a fitful night, she woke the next morning and comforted herself, “Farmer Dilly hasn’t even missed his peas. Surely he won’t notice if I snitch a few of the other vegetables!”

And so that evening she slithered under the fence and headed directly for the turnip greens. After collecting enough for a meal, she slunk back home. The next day she prepared another scrumptious meal and when she had eaten her fill, she leaned back in her kitchen chair and murmured “I am content!” before dozing off.

Once again the three sheep appeared in a dream and holding their hooves in the air, warned her:

“Turnip-thief beware,
There is danger lurking there!”

When she awoke she scoffed at the sheep’s warning. “Perhaps I ate a bit too much last night and the hearty meal caused me to have such a strange dream! But surely there is no harm in it!”

But after a few days her desire for another delectable meal overpowered her better sense. She smacked her lips as she thought about the beautiful fruits she had seen in the garden. “Those apples, so red, so crisp, so perfectly shaped! Not a blemish on them!” And so that night she set out again to the corner of the garden where the fruit trees stood. She had no sooner twisted off the first fruit when Farmer Dilly himself appeared. He seemed much taller than she had remembered him. He stood menacingly while she squirmed under his gaze:

“Apple-thief beware,” he admonished,
“There is penance there!”

And punishment came swiftly. “Because you have loved this garden so well, you shall live in it always. You shall now guard my little plot and devour all those who threaten it. The mice you shall eat and the rat you shall bother. And you shall threaten all and be a belly-wriggler to the end of your days!”
And with that poor Matron Melke became a slinking snake who guarded Farmer Dilly’s garden till she finally found her rest under a stone, in the corner of the garden she loved so well.





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