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

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ideas of Good and Evil in Jorinda and Joringel


The old woman in Jorinda and Joringel (full text provided by clicking here) is no ordinary sorceress. In fact she is a magician of the highest order, an arch-sorceress or Erzzauberin. She has gruesome physical characteristics and other unusual attributes, including red eyes and yellow skin, the ability to spit poison and bile and the power to transform herself and others into birds. She is also able to cast spells, which transfix people. Clearly she is aligned with a malignant force. But curiously she is also aligned with Zachiel, who has the power to break her spells and does so at her request. Zachiel in this fairy tale is probably a reference to the archangel Zadkiel, the Biblical angel of mercy (alternative spellings: Zachiel, Zadkiel or Zachariel). Zadkiel is the Patron Angel of all who forgive and according to Judaic tradition, it was Zadkiel who prevented Abraham from sacrificing Isaac.

The relationship between arch-sorceress and archangel is an interesting one. The witch seems to have authority over the archangel Zadkiel for it is at her request that Zadkiel releases Joringel from the spell. It seems they are working together in some capacity. Or, are they merely representatives of the two forces acting in creation, light and darkness or good and evil? In the Middle Ages these powers were frequently described as angelic or demonic beings. The Biblical portrayal in the New Testament (Pauline Epistles, Colossians, Romans and Corinthians) emphasizes that God has created these powers and they are under his dominion. Some religions claim that there is no omnipotent good power, but rather good and evil are equal forces acting in the world and the human being and creation itself are seen as their battleground.

To read about the fairy tale Jorinda and Joringel, click on the link:





More fairy tales can be found here:
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!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ideas of Good and Evil / Vorstellungen von Gut und Boese

An die (deutschsprachige) Leserschaft des Fairy Tale Channels:


Willkommen! Ihre Meinung ist uns wichtig. Bitte ihren Kommentar unter Comments eintragen. Leserbriefe auf Deutsch oder Englisch sind erwuenscht.
Vielen Dank fuer Ihre Bemuehungen! Besonders interessant waeren Ihre Vorstellungen von Gut und Boese bezueglich des Maerchens Jorinde und Joringel. (Siehe unten fuer vollen Text)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Grimm's Fairy Tale No. 69: Jorinda and Joringel




As Walpurgisnacht is approaching (evening of April 30th to May 1st), it might be appropriate to read a fairy tale about a witch. This tale is remarkable for many reasons, also because it contains both archangel and arch-witch, personifications of ultimate mercy and ultimate evil. The link between the two is especially interesting in this tale.





There was once an old castle in a deep and impenetrable forest. An old woman lived alone there and she was an arch-sorceress. During the day she took the shape of cat or night owl, but at night she took the form of an ordinary human. She would lure wild animals and birds into her snare and when she caught one, it was cooked or roasted. The wanderer who came within one-hundred feet of the castle was brought under the sorceress’s spell. With feet frozen to the ground, the person could not move from the spot until the enchantress released him. When a chaste maiden entered the castle perimeter, the old witch turned the girl into a bird, which she immediately snatched up and locked in a basket. She carried the basket to a chamber deep inside the castle. The sorceress probably had seven-thousand baskets containing such rare birds in her castle.

Now there was once a maid called Jorinda; she was more beautiful than all other maidens. She had promised herself to a handsome young man by the name of Joringel. Each took enormous pleasure in the company of the other for they were still celebrating their engagement. They loved to walk by themselves and whisper softly to each other so that no one else heard while they spoke. And so it was that one day they took a walk in the forest. “Be careful,” Joringel warned “that you don’t come too close to the castle.” It was a beautiful evening and the sun shone between the tall trunks of the majestic trees and the bright yellow light pierced the shadows of the deep green wood. Overhead a turtledove sang a mournful song among the last May buds of the beech tree.

Before long Jorinda began to cry, sat down in the sunshine and was inconsolable; Joringel did the same. They were deeply distressed and cried like one going to die. They looked around and were lost and did not know the way home. The sun could still be seen illuminating half the mountain, but the other half was already in shadow. When Joringel peered through some underbrush, he saw the old wall of the castle and became deathly afraid. Jorinda began to sing:

“My little bird, with ring so red
Sing of sorrow sorrow sorrow:
For the dove sings of her death
On the morrow morrow morrow – zickuth, zickuth, zickuth.”

Joringel turned to Jorinda but Jorinda had been turned into a nightingale who sang Zickuth, Zickuth, Zickuth. Suddenly an enormous owl with glowing eyes swooped out of the bush. It circled her three times and cried out three times “Schu, hu, hu, hu.” Joringel could not speak: he stood as still as stone, he could not cry out, he could not talk, he could not move hand or foot. Now the sun was sinking: the owl flew into the bush and an old and crooked woman, yellow and lean emerged. She had enormous red eyes and a crooked nose that extended to the tip of her chin. She murmured and caught the nightingale and carried it away in her hand. Joringel could say nothing and could not move from the spot; the nightingale was gone. Finally, the old woman appeared again and spoke in a muffled tone “Greetings to you Zachiel, when the moon shines in the basket then unbind, Zachiel, in good time.” Joringel was released from the spell and fell to his knees before the old woman. He pled for the return of his Jorinda, but in vain. The sorceress replied that he would never ever see her again and walked away. He called, he cried, he lamented but all for naught. “Uu, what shall happen to me?” he cried.

Joringel walked until he arrived in a strange village: there he took on the job of sheep herder for many years. Often, he walked around the castle but never came too close. Finally he dreamt one night that he found a blood-red flower and in the center was a beautiful large pearl. He broke the flower, and walked toward the castle. Everything that he touched with the flower was released from the spell. He also dreamt that Jorinda returned to him in this way. In the morning when he awoke, he began to search hill and dale for the flower. He searched and searched until the ninth day, when he found the blood-red flower in the early morning. In the center was a large dewdrop, as large as the most beautiful pearl. He carried this flower day and night until he arrived at the castle. As he came within one-hundred steps of the castle, he did not become frozen fast in his tracks as last time but instead could continue walking to the castle door. Joringel was overjoyed, touched the gate with the flower and it fell open. He went inside, through the courtyard and listened for the warbling of many birds. Finally he heard the trilling sound. He followed it and found the hall and the enchantress feeding birds in seven-thousand baskets. When she saw Joringel she became very angry, so angry that she scolded and spat poison and bile at him, but she could not come within two feet of him. He did not turn back at the sight of the sorceress but walked around, peering into each basket with a bird. But there where many hundreds of nightingales, how could he find his Jorinda again? As he looked he noticed that the old woman secretly took away a basket with a bird and was walking to the door. Quickly he jumped toward her, touched the basket with the flower and also brushed against the old woman. Now the sorceress could no longer cast spells and in the same moment Jorinda stood before him, her arms fell round his neck, and she was as she had always been. Joringel now returned all the other birds to their prior maidenly form. He then returned home with his Jorinda where they lived happily together for many years.


To read more about this fairy tale, click on the link:

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/04/ideas-of-good-and-evil-in-jorinda-and.html


Or, to read more fairytales:

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!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Reading and Understanding Folk Tales & Fairy Tales



Fairy Tale Factum:

Hooting Ursula is a wonderful illustration of elements commonly encountered in German folk tales. At first glance, the narrative offers a confusing combination of Christian images and pagan beliefs. Despite a complex story line and a rather dark sub-text, the tale remains witty and fun.
What we modern readers take from the story is probably quite different from what the earliest audience would have understood. If we accept the premise that such tales, based on an oral tradition, reflect values and attitudes of a time long past, we come a step closer toward deciphering the original meaning.
In 12th century Europe pagan sentiments still persisted: demons and other malevolent spirits took nightly flights through the woods. In some traditions, these apparitions were said to be the wild huntsman led by a hooting owl; in others, an entire army of ghosts and spirits assembled and rampaged through the forest. Frouwa was the Norse goddess of war, love and magic. She had numerous powers including the ability to change into a hawk or owl and the cat was her sacred animal. As patroness of witches, it was likely Frouwa who initiated the annual assembly on Walpurgisnacht, the night of April 30 to May 1st. On this night witches flew from all directions on broomsticks to dance, drive away the last remnants of snow and herald the beginning of spring.
This story starts with the ancient pagan notion of witches and devils taking flight through the air but gives it a Christian explanation: Hooting Ursula was originally a nun gone bad. In fact it was the church that exorcised and banished such spirits and in the end it is the Christian God that is shown to have power over life, demons and creation.


More fairy tale factum:

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/03/vernal-equinox.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/03/fairy-grotto-and-palm-sunday-fairy.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/03/saga-123-woman-in-white.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/fairy-tale-factum_22.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/01/more-than-fashion-faux-pas-white-dress.html

Read more fairytales by clicking on link:

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, April 6, 2008

Grimm's Saga 312. Hooting Ursula

At midnight in storm and rain the Hackelnberg Huntsman races through the Thuringia Wood. His wagon, horse and hounds make a crackling and creaking noise as he breaks through the brush of his favorite haunt: the Hackel Forest. A night owl flies ahead of him and folk call it Hooting Ursula. Wanderers who happen to meet this terrible pair fall down flat on their stomachs and let the wild huntsman pass by. Soon they hear the barking of hounds and the call: Uh-hu!

Many years ago in a remote cloister in Thuringia there lived a nun named Ursula. During her lifetime she always disturbed the choir with her shriek-like singing. For that reason they called her Hooting Ursula. But things only got worse after her death. Each night starting at eleven o’clock she stuck her head through a hole in the church tower and hooted wretchedly. Every morning at four she came uncalled and sang with the sisters. They could endure it for only a few days; on the third morning one nun said softly and full of terror to the nun singing next to her “That is most certainly Ursula!” Suddenly everyone fell silent, their hair stood on end and the nuns ran screaming from the church crying: “Hooting Ursula, Hooting Ursula!” No punishment would induce the nuns to enter the church again until a famous exorcist was called from a Capuchin monastery on the Danube. He banished Hooting Ursula in the form of an owl to the Dummburg region of the Harz Mountains. It was there that Ursula met the Huntsman Hackelnberg. She became charmed by his Uh-hu and he in turn was charmed with her Uh-hu! And now they both go out together, flying through the air on the wild hunt.


Read more fairytales by clicking on link:

FairyTaleChannel.com

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Buxtehude Hedgehog


April Fool’s Day

On this day, tricks are played on the April fool: a credulous person who suffers some hoax or conspiracy, often to make him look ridiculous. The deception frequently involves sending the fool on a fruitless journey or bogus errand, with many back-and-forths. This Fairy Tale of the Brother’s Grimm is a cautionary tale for the proud and arrogant, who might view themselves as refined and distinguished. It is precisely this sort of person who is especially susceptible to becoming an April fool.


The Buxtehude Hedgehog

This story is really a lie, but there is some truth in it, for my grandfather who told the story to me, always said the following when he told it: “True it must be, my son, or you wouldn’t be able to tell it.” The story happened this way. It was a Sunday morning in autumn, just when the buckwheat was blooming, the sun had risen on the horizon and the wind blew softly through the stubble. The larks sang as they soared high in the air and the bees hummed busily round the buckwheat. People wore their Sunday best to church and all creatures were cheerful, the hedgehog too. He stood in front of his door with his arms crossed and looked out into the morning sunshine. He warbled a little song and sang as beautifully as any hedgehog can sing on a Sunday morning. While he stood there and trilled like a little bird, he suddenly had the idea that while his wife was washing and dressing the children, he would go out and take a little walk in the field to see how the turnips were doing. The turnips grew quite close to his house and it was his habit and that of his family to eat them. That is why he considered them to be his own.

No sooner thought than done. He closed the front door behind him and took the path to the field. He had not gone very far and was just about to go round the blackthorn bush, which marked the edge of the field, when he saw the hare. The hare was walking on ahead engaged in similar pursuits, namely looking after his cabbage. When the hedgehog saw the hare, he wished him good morning in a cordial way. But the hare, who in his own right was a distinguished gentleman and furthermore, was terribly conceited, did not respond to the hedgehog’s greeting. Instead with a scornful countenance he replied icily: “How is it that you are already running about so early in the morning?”
“I’m going for a walk,” the hedgehog replied.
“A walk?” laughed the hare. “You should use your little legs for better things.”
This remark annoyed the hedgehog very much, who was a very good-natured fellow. He could tolerate anything except disparaging remarks about his legs, because they were naturally crooked.
“You imagine that you could do more with your legs?” he said.
“I do indeed,” the hare replied.
“Well, we will have to try it then,” the hedgehog said. “I bet that if we run a race, I will run faster than you.”
“You – with your crooked little legs?” the hare said. “That’s rich! But if you have such a keen desire let’s have a go at it – what shall we wager?”
“One gold coin and one bottle of brandy,” the hedgehog said.
“Accepted,” replied the hare. “Go ahead and we can start the race right now.”
“No, there is no need for such haste,” the hedgehog replied. “I haven’t had anything to eat. I want to go home first and have some breakfast. I’ll be back in an hour.”

With that, he left and the hare was satisfied. But on the way home he thought to himself: “The hare is counting on his long legs to win the day, but I will show him. He is indeed a refined gentleman but a stupid rabbit, and for that he will pay.” When he arrived home he said to his wife: “Wifey, dear, get dressed quickly, you must go with me to the field.”
“What is it?” his wife asked.
“I have made a bet with the hare for one gold coin and one bottle of brandy that I will win a race with him. And you will be there.”
“O my God, husband,” the wife began to cry, “Have you lost your mind? How can you race the hare?”
“Woman, silence your blabbermouth,” the hedgehog said, “that is my concern. Don’t interfere with a man’s business! Go now, get dressed and come along!”
What else could the wife of the hedgehog do? She had to comply but she did not like it. When they were walking together the hedgehog said to his wife: “Now listen very carefully to what I say. I will run the race up there in the long field. The hare will run in one furrow and I in the other. We will start up there. You have nothing else to do but to wait down here in the furrow. And when the hare comes running in his furrow, call out to him as he approaches and say: “I’m already here!”

And so they arrived in the field. The hedgehog indicated the spot to his wife and went up the hill. When he arrived at the top, the hare was already there. “Can we begin?” he asked.
“Of course,” the hedgehog replied.
“Then let’s go.”

Each positioned himself in his furrow. The hare counted: “On your mark, get set, go!” and off he ran down the hill like the rushing gale wind. But the hedgehog ran only three steps, then he crouched down in the furrow and sat there calmly. And when the hare arrived down below at the finish line at full speed, the hedgehog wife called out to him “I’m already here!”

The hare was astonished not a little, but believed that the hedgehog stood before him. For it is well-known that Mrs. Hedgehog looks exactly like her husband. “Something is quite strange here,” he cried out. “Let’s race again, in the opposite direction!”
And once again the hare took off like the storm wind and his long rabbit ears were pressed down to his skull. The wife of the hedgehog remained sitting calmly in her place, and when the hare arrived Mr. Hedgehog called out to the hare “I’m already here!”
The hare was beside himself with rage and cried “Once more, the other way!”
“All right,” the hedgehog replied. “As often as you wish.” So the hare ran seventy-three times, and the hedgehog always kept up. Each time, when the hare arrived at the top of the field or arrived at the finish line at the bottom, the hedgehog or his wife called out “I’m already here!”.

But the seventy-fourth time, the hare did not arrive at the finish line. He fell to the ground in the middle of the field, blood came out of his nose and he lay dead. The hedgehog took the gold coin and bottle of brandy that were his prize and called to his wife at the end of the furrow. Cheerfully they returned home. And if they have not died, they are still living today. And so it happened that on the Buxtehude Heath the hedgehog ran the hare to death and since that time no other hare has dared to run a race with the Buxtehude hedgehog.

The moral of the story is, first, no one (regardless of how distinguished he might be) should make fun of a small man, even if the small man is only a hedgehog. And second, it’s a very good idea to marry a woman of your own stature, one that looks exactly like you. Whoever is a hedgehog must make sure that his wife is also a hedgehog.



Read more fairytales by clicking on link:

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!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

On this day March 27, 1686:




Fading March flowers and the last gasps of winter.


Grimm's Saga 266: For whom the bell tolls.

In a famous free town of the Holy Roman Empire the so-called “Market Bell” rang three times on its own on March 27, 1686. A prominent gentleman of the town council, who was distinguished and bore the title Marktherr, died immediately.

The solemn tones of a bell began to sound six or seven weeks before the death of a gentleman of a prominent German house, and at two different times. Because the gentleman was still young and healthy, but his wife lay sick in bed, he forbade the servants from saying anything to her out of concern she would become fearful and being seized by melancholy, would become even sicker and perhaps die. But the warning was actually for him; he soon went to the grave but his wife recovered to full health. Seven weeks later, when she was cleaning her dear spouse’s garments and coats and was brushing them out, the Tennen Bell began to swing by itself and sounded out the familiar ring. Eight days later the oldest son became ill and died in a few days. When the widow married again and had several children with her second husband, they died and were buried a few weeks after birth; they faded just like the March flowers. The bell had been pulled three times in a row, although the room in which it hung was locked and no one could reach the cord.
Some believe this ringing is done by evil spirits (often, the ill and dying do not hear the tolling bell, it is only heard by others). But others believe the bells are rung by benevolent angels. Still others say guardian angels ring the bell and remind people to prepare for their coming end.

Fairy Tale Factum

The wife in this saga is following a folk tradition that apparently was prevalent in the Ansbach region of Germany. According to custom, the clothing of a deceased person must be promptly washed and cleaned. If this does not happen, the departed will not find eternal rest.

More fairy tale factum can be found:

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/03/saga-275-shrieker.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/03/saga-123-woman-in-white.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/fairy-tale-factum_22.html

Hit the link to read more fairytales:

Copyright fairytalechannel.com


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Vernal Equinox and Easter

Wild Flowers at Anza Borrego Desert State Park, Southern California, Spring 2008


Fairy Tale Factum

Easter is the most important Christian feast day and it is traditionally celebrated at the end of March or the beginning of April. The precise date is determined annually and it falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox (approximately March 21).
There are diverging views about the origin of the word Easter. By some accounts, Easter can be traced back to the old Germanic Goddess Ostara, whose symbols were the rabbit and egg. According to another explanation, Easter is derived from an Indo-Germanic word áus, which means shining, brilliant or luminous. Apparently the deity Ostara (Old High German) or Eastre (Old English) represented the radiant morning and the rising sun and the concept may have been applied to the Christian theme of resurrection. According to ancient Germanic tradition, Easter is the time the woman in white appears on cliffs and crags announcing the return of spring. Symbols include the Easter Lily or any of the white spring flowering plants and of course, the Easter bunny and Easter egg.



To read more fairy tales:

FairyTaleChannel.com

More fairy tale factum:

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Fairy Grotto and the Palm Sunday Fairy

The Fairy Grotto
Excerpt from The Age of Gold by Lucas Cranach
National Gallery, Oslo

In fernyear there lived many bewitched and enchanted women, who meant well by folk and even offered help in times of need or disaster. In particular, the goodly Queen Berta is well- known for the many beneficial things she did for the earth. She especially liked to hover round the Sourze Tower in Waadt Land. Every winter she was said to appear there in a white, radiant gown. Swinging a winnower filled to the brim, she broadcast seed over every mountain and valley. At Christmas she appeared as huntress with magic wand in hand, and processed through the village accompanied by many spirits. She circled the houses and dwellings to find where industry, diligence and order ruled.
But the good wife Berta was not the only beneficent woman. In the steep rocky cliffs of the Jura Mountains near Vallorbes there is an enormous cave. In olden times many kindly and beautiful fairies lived there, but no one was allowed to intrude into their underground dwelling without punishment. This did not mean you could not see them. One fairy always showed herself from a distance every Palm Sunday. She led a white lamb on a string when a fertile year lay ahead, but in times of misfortune or famine a pitch-black goat followed her. Another fairy bathed at the midnight hour in the blue pools of the Orbe Spring. Two powerful wolves always circled the pool to keep people away.
When it snowed in winter and became cold, the fairies came into the village and entered the empty smithies as soon as the workers had left. They warmed themselves by the fire and a rooster crowing loudly announced the return of the forge workers. Then the fairies vanished from the work place. The appearance of fairies was well-known throughout the entire land. Every herder boy knew that there were tall and beautiful women in white gowns that flowed down to the ground, which carefully concealed their feet. The fairies also sang beautifully. But their abundant and rich hair was the finest attribute of all, for their golden tresses fell round their shoulders and enveloped them like a golden mantle.

Fairy Tale Factum
The German expression in teueren Zeiten (Teuerung) is used in this Swiss saga and appears in other saga of the Brothers Grimm. Its antiquated meaning refers to a time of disaster, famine or need. The modern translation is inflation or a rise in prices. At first glance this modern usage seems to have little to do with the older meaning. Teuerung is a term from economics and describes the cost of living index or the price of commodities. Its ancient meaning often meant death from starvation and its causes included failed crops, mismanagement of agricultural resources or unsustainable economic or farming practices.


Queen Berta is spreading the seed for planting using a Futterschwinge. I would guess that 75 years ago, people were still familiar with this exact implement. Since the word is not included in any of the dictionaries at my disposal, I must derive its meaning from its parts, on the one hand, and a pictorial encyclopedia of early American farm tools on the other. Futter = dried food for cattle such as hay or grain and schwinge = something swung back and forth or a shallow, oval basket. The Museum of Early American Tools by Eric Sloane describes a winnower or winnowing scoop as a tool used to throw flailed grain into the air to separate the lighter particles of chaff. The process of winnowing beats or diffuses something through the air. I suspect the tool was something similar for dispersing seed during the spring planting, perhaps by swinging a shallow basket back and forth.
Fernyear is a now obsolete term which means in olden times or past years. Fern means remote or distant in German.



Read more fairy tale factum:

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/03/vernal-equinox.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/04/reading-and-understanding-folk-tales.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/01/more-than-fashion-faux-pas-white-dress.html

Or more fairy tales:

Translation 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!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Grimm's Saga 275. The Shrieker


March 12th
On this day in 1753:
Johann Peter Kriechbaum, mayor of the Upper Kainsbach Zent, told the following on March 12, 1753: “In the district called Spreng a ghost or spirit resided, who made all kinds of shrieking noises, like the sounds of deer, fox, donkey, swine or other animals, even every type of bird. For this reason, the people called him the shrieker. He has led many astray and no one dares linger in this meadow, especially herders.” This is what the mayor recently encountered when he was walking at night in his meadow in Spreng. He had used up all the water for watering his herd when a pig squealed in the little woods on the Langenbrombach side. It screeched as if a knife were stuck in its throat. The ghost has been seen as far as the Holler Forest, where they used to burn charcoal seventeen years ago. The coal burners complained bitterly at the time that many had been frightened by this ghost because he appeared in the form of a donkey. The deceased Johann Peter Weber said the same thing. He had loaded coal there at night to take it to the Michelstadt Hammer. Heinrich Germann, the old mayor of the Zent stated that when he was once tending his oxen in the Spreng field, it was as if a fox ran at him, but when he beat him away with the whip, the fox immediately vanished.

Fairy Tale Factum:The Cent was an administrative and judicial unit created in the Middle Ages. It roughly covered 100 families. The spelling was subsequently changed to Zent and was said to cover an area including ten villages (some accounts say 20). The Zent was governed by a count (Zentgraf, usually a farmer) or presiding judge (Zentschoeffen), often the village mayor or sheriff. These districts were marked off with border stones (Grenzsteine or Zentsteine), some of which have survived to the present day.


Read more fairy tale factum:

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/04/reading-and-understanding-folk-tales.html


http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/fairy-tale-factum_22.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/01/more-than-fashion-faux-pas-white-dress.html

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Grimm's Saga 123. Woman in White

Marc Chagall, Madonna of the Village




A woman in white appears in woods and meadows. From time to time she even enters horse stalls carrying a burning wax candle. She combs and brushes the horses and droplets of wax fall on their manes. It is said that when she goes out, she can see clearly, but when she is in her own dwelling she is blind.



Fairy Tale Factum
The woman in this saga is described as a “schlossweisse Frau”, which can mean she is white like a castle or white like a hailstone. Another possibility is snow-white (schlohweiss). Radiantly white women are common in German mythology and are frequently depicted wearing a long white dress and having very pale-white skin. The color white was of central importance in ancient ceremony. It represented divinity and was associated with kings. Apparently the purpose of such weisse Frauen was to serve the gods and to prophesy to mankind. This contrasts with the Christian and Jewish traditions, where the role is primarily left to prophets and angels. In the traditions of ancient Germanic tribes, prophecies foretold by women have higher sacredness and significance. According to Jacob Grimm, Germanic tribes esteemed men for their acts, but women were honored for their wisdom.

The horse was considered to be the most noble, intelligent and trustworthy of all animals. The Germanic hero frequently conversed with his horse, the horse empathized with his master’s troubles and celebrated his victories. Horses were used in sacred rituals and their manes were carefully tended and adorned. Apparently gold and silver bands were often woven into their hair. The hair of sacred horses was said to have magical properties and was often preserved as an object of veneration.


Bronze Horse, c. 750-800 BC. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC


Read more fairy tale factum:

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Dark, Starry Night with Singing Fir Tree


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, March 1, 2008

The Singing Fir Tree

In Switzerland, a story is told about a man named Hans Kreutz, who lived with his wife on Thun Lake in Ralligen. In the year 1555, a thick black fog descended on the village and it would not dissipate. The alarmed villagers retreated to their homes, closed doors and sealed the windows tightly. But a light blue vapor crept under the window sill and the wife breathed in this vapor and in the evening she lay in bed motionless. Hans looked into her eyes and saw no reflection there and in the morning she was dead. Many villagers died that year and the survivors buried their loved ones in the church yard at the outskirts of town, where the mountain and forest swept down abruptly into the valley. While the bells in the church tower were ringing, Hans buried his wife and returned home. For days he did not leave his house. He neither ate nor slept but could not forget the vacant stare of his beloved wife and the sound of the church bells as he lowered her into the grave.

One evening when Hans sat by the fire, he heard the church bells ring out the Ave and they rang and rang and he lost track of the time. He raised his head, for he thought he heard wonderful and sweet singing up high in the Hohlbach Forest near the tree line. But when the church bells stopped ringing, he heard it no more. The next day he sat with longing and waited for the evening church bells to ring out the Ave. At first he heard only the faintest sound of distant singing, but then the melody grew stronger until there could be no mistake. A woman’s voice sang a mysterious and beautiful song, the words of which he could not quite decipher.

But Hans spread word among the townspeople. At night the entire village listened while the church bells rang and soon everyone heard the wonderful singing daily. The singing was soothing and the villagers listened at the edge of the village until the snow began to fall and then they returned to their homes. All but Hans, who wanted to know where the singing came from. The next night when the church bells were ringing, the villagers assembled in the church yard. Hans lit a torch and climbed the mountainside, following the mysterious melody. He did this every evening until one night he finally found a giant fir tree, and its voice was sweet and clear. He shyly gazed upon the tree and in amazement listened to its gentle song.

But Hans could find no rest. The singing fir tree occupied his waking and sleeping hours and he wanted to be in the presence of its song always. In secret he climbed up the mountain during the day and spent long hours near the tree. Some time passed and Hans was called away to visit his family in the next valley.

While he was away, a wood carver from among the villagers, who had seen the beautiful fir tree, decided he needed it to make a wood carving. Because the tree was so magnificent, tall and straight, with perfectly formed branches and trunk, he had it felled and brought down to the valley. From the wood, he selected an enormous block of the trunk that had no scars or branches. From this piece of wood he began to carve an image of the Virgin Mary. He worked day and night on this carving and saw nothing more beautiful than the image of the Virgin growing out of the wood. And after some time, the villagers came to his workshop and marveled at the beauty of the image, its heavenly countenance and mild authority.

When Hans returned to the village after some months, he climbed the mountain and went directly to where the singing fir tree had stood. In its place was only a stump and Hans was gripped by such melancholy, that a loud moan issued from his lips. It was like the howling of a wounded wolf or the shriek of an eagle flying overhead. The loud cries filled the valley, echoing off the cliffs and rocks. When the villagers heard the loud cries from above, they gathered below near the church. And soon in the distance they heard the beautiful, long-missed song. They turned and saw the woodcarver, carrying his statue and saw that it was singing. He placed the statue in the church, where it stands today. And some say, they have heard it singing when a loved one dies. The place where the tree once stood is now called Marienstein. There is a smaller rock nearby, where Hans once gazed upon the fir tree. It is said that in his grief, Hans turned to stone and the place is now called the Kreutzantisch.

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!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

February Fairy Tale: The Frog King and Iron Heinrich



The following 3 articles deal with themes, symbols and images found in The Frog King and Iron Heinrich. Because of the blog format, you will need to scroll down to find the translation of the fairy tale. The comments on meaning/interpretation appear above the translation. Helpful reading tips for this fairy tale can also be found at Understanding Fairy Tales. See table of content at right.

The lower and higher angels of our nature.

The Sacred Grove


The Frog King and Iron Heinrich. Who are they?

Heinrich is a frequent name for an Elbe (sprite), house spirit or poltergeist in ancient German mythology. The diminutive form Heinz is also commonly associated with these spirits, which are almost exclusively male. The house ghost of folktales is often a talkative, inquisitive fellow, who is friendly, well-meaning but irritating. Such a spirit is often encountered as a cold and clammy presence but usually not seen. He is described as having thin hands like a frog, with cold, moist skin. Like the little Frog King, these ghosts often demand to sleep in the same bed as household inhabitants, insist on a place at the table and want to eat the same food. They assist in doing household chores but are best known for offering unwanted and sometimes comical advice. Once entrenched, it is extremely difficult to get rid of these spirits.

As more and more people in Europe were Christianized, the old deities that lived in water wells or inhabited trees may have gradually come to be considered rustic, unsophisticated or even powerless. The new faith needed to be appealing to potential converts; it offered a vision of justice, forgiveness, redemption and eternal life. The princess in the story rejects the frog king, whose realm is that of water sprite or house spirit. In a fit of irritation, she attempts to smash the little frog and destroy all that he represents. This absolute rejection of the old faith, magically transforms it and yet preserves its most sacred elements.

Iron Heinrich is a more mysterious and complex character. When taken out of his pagan milieu, he is very puzzling indeed. Germanic tribes believed that every person possessed a good and bad angel, (not unlike the later concept of the lower or higher angels of our nature). These spirits brought about good or created evil for their masters. In The Frog King, it is the evil spirit or hex which transforms the prince into a frog. Iron Heinrich, it would seem, is the higher angelic being, interested in preserving and saving the prince. These benevolent angelic beings were apparently thought to be connected to each person with bands or chains that could be severed only by death. By the same token, the malevolent angel could only be subdued by being chained to a pole. At the conclusion of the fairy tale the bands that connect Iron Heinrich to the prince are heard breaking. In the end, the redemptive power of love has prevailed and brought about a startling transformation.

The heart bound by chains is a powerful image. I am not aware of any sources indicating that this symbol was common in ancient mythology. However, it is reminiscent of the Christian symbol of the sacred heart of Jesus, which conveys the idea of death and redemption through the power of love.
The traditional, valentine-shaped heart is an ancient symbol, going back to at least Cro-Magnon hunters who painted it in pictograms. It's precise meaning probably had more to do with fertility than with romantic love. The symbol may have conveyed a stylized female form often seen in representations of fertility goddesses. Only in the Middle Ages did the heart become a symbol of romantic love. For an excellent history of the heart as symbol see Expressions of Innocence and Eloquence, Selections from the Jane Katcher Collection of Americana published in association with the "Made for Love" exhibition that ran at Yale University in 2007.

Links:

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/frog-king-or-iron-heinrich.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/fairy-tale-factum_22.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!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fairy Tale Factum



The Enchanted Landscape of the Frog King
Pagan Symbols and Themes: Water Well, Linden Tree and Sun



The early Christian church forbade the veneration of groves, trees, stones and wells. Veneration of such things did not figure prominently in the Christian religion, so presumably the intent of such laws was to end pagan cult practices. Places where water sprang from the earth were considered to be sacred to the pagan. Folktales and saga are filled with the remnants of ancient beliefs concerning the water cult, which are difficult to fully understand today. We know from early historical accounts that ancient Allemanic and Frankish tribes prayed at the edge of springs, lit candles and peered into the reflected light of the pool. They left sacrifices on the banks or threw offerings into the water. Incantations to the water spirit were often recited there. Water had healing, strengthening and redemptive properties and Nordic tribes blessed and sanctified newborns with water. Similar to the Christian custom of Baptism, pagans also believed in human redemption and transformation brought about by water. An ancient rite required that newly married women throw an offering into the water of a well located in a sacred grove, often made up of oaks, ash or linden trees.
The linden tree (British English = lime) is a frequent pagan marker in sagas and fairy tales. Germanic tribes assembled under the linden tree and held celebrations and dances there. But most importantly, judicial or thing meetings were held under the linden semi-annually. It was believed the tree facilitated the discovery of truth and it has been associated with justice and jurisprudence ever since. In rural Germany during the Middle Ages, courts were frequently held and verdicts read under the linden tree (See The Stone Table of Bingenheim).
In ancient mythology the sun frequently appears as a god. A distinctly pagan sentiment is that the gods enjoy gazing at human beauty and often like to mingle with humans. This pagan element is prominent in the first paragraph of Frog King. The sun, which had seen so much in its day, was amazed whenever it gazed upon the princess’s face.


Links:
http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/lower-and-higher-angels-of-our-nature.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/frog-king-or-iron-heinrich.html

Fairy tale factum:
http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/03/saga-123-woman-in-white.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/fairy-tale-factum_22.html

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, February 14, 2008

The Frog King or Iron Heinrich


A wonderful and strange fairy tale for valentine's day: only iron bands can keep a true heart from breaking.

In times of old when wishing still helped, there lived a king, whose daughters were all extremely beautiful. But the youngest one was so beautiful that the sun, which had seen so much in its day, was amazed whenever it gazed upon her face. Near the king’s castle lay a dark wood and in the wood underneath an old linden tree there was a water well. If the day was very hot, the king’s child went out to the forest and sat at the edge of the cool spring. And if the child was bored, it took a golden ball, threw it in the air and caught it; and that was the child’s favorite plaything.

Now it happened that the golden ball of the king’s daughter did not fall into her little hands, but rather hit the ground and rolled directly into the water. The king’s daughter followed it with her eyes, but the ball disappeared and the well was so deep that it was impossible to see the bottom. She began to cry and cried louder and louder and was inconsolable. And as she cried, some one called to her “You, daughter of the king, what are you doing? You are crying in a manner that even a stone would take pity.” She looked round to see where the voice was coming from, and there she saw a frog that poked its hideous head out of the water. “Oh it’s you, you old puddle splasher,” she said. “I am crying over my golden ball, which fell into the well.” “Be still and do not cry,” the frog replied. “I can help. But what will you give me if I fetch your plaything?” “Whatever you want, dear frog,” she said. “My clothes, my pearls and jewels, but also the golden crown that I am wearing.” But the frog replied “I don’t want your clothes, your pearls or jewelry. And your golden crown, that I surely don’t want. But if you will love me and I will be your mate and play fellow, I will sit at the little table next to you, eat from your little golden plate, drink from your little cup and sleep in your little bed. If you promise me that, I will dive down and fetch the golden ball.” “Oh yes,” she answered. “I promise you everything you want as long as you bring me the ball.” But she was really thinking “How that simple frog prattles on. He sits in the water with his own kind and croaks and can never be the mate of a human.”

The frog, when he had received her promise, dipped his head below the surface, sank deep into the water and after a while he swam to the top again. He held the ball in his mouth and threw it on the grass. The king’s daughter was filled with joy when she saw her wonderful plaything. She picked it up and jumped away with it immediately. “Wait, wait,” the frog yelled. “Take me with you, I can’t run like you.” But what good did it do that his loud croaking followed her, cry as he may! She didn’t listen, hurried home and soon forgot about the poor frog, who had to climb back to his water well.

The next day, when she sat down with the king and his entire court to dinner and ate from her little golden plate, something crept up the marble steps, plitsch, platsch, plitsch, platsch. When it reached the top it knocked on the door and cried “King’s daughter, youngest one, open the door for me.” She ran and wanted to see who it was. But when she opened the door, there stood the frog. She shut the door hastily and returned to the table and was very frightened. The king saw that her heart was pounding and said “My child, what do you fear, is a giant standing at the door to snatch you away?” “Oh no,” she answered, “It is no giant but a loathsome frog.” “What does the frog want with you?” “Oh dear father, when I went to the wood yesterday and sat by the well and played, my golden ball fell into the water. And because I cried so, the frog fetched it. And because he demanded it, I promised that he would be my mate. I never thought that he would creep out his water. Now he is outside and wants to come in.” And the frog knocked on the door a second time and called

“King’s daughter, youngest one,
Open the door for me,
Don’t you remember yesterday?
What you promised me
By the cool water well?
King’s daughter, youngest one,
Open the door for me.

The king said “What you have promised, you must also keep. Go now and open the door for him.” She went and opened the door and the frog hopped inside, followed right behind her feet and went to her chair. There he sat and called “Lift me up to you.” She shuddered, until finally the king commanded it. When the frog sat on the chair, it wanted to be on the table and when it sat there it said “Now slide your little golden plate over to me, so that we can eat together.” She did it, but one could see she did not do it gladly. The frog ate heartily but almost every bite lodged in the princess’s throat. Finally he said “I’m full now and tired. Carry me into your little chamber and make up your silk bed, where we can lay down.” The king’s daughter began to cry and was scared of the cold frog, which she didn’t even want to touch. And now he wanted to sleep in her beautiful clean bed. But the king became angry and said “Whoever has helped you when you were in need, you should not forget later.” She picked him up with two fingers and carried him up and put him in the corner. But when she lay in bed, he crept over and said “I’m tired, I want to go to bed like you. Lift me up or I will tell your father.” She was seized by such a bitter rage that she snatched him up and threw him against the wall with all her might. “Now you will have the rest you seek, you loathsome frog.”

But when he fell down, he was no frog but rather a prince with beautiful and friendly eyes. It had been her father’s will that he become her dearest mate and husband. He told her he had been hexed by an evil witch and no one but she could save him from the water well. Tomorrow they would go to his kingdom . They fell asleep and the next morning when the sun woke them, a carriage drove up with eight white horses. The horses had white ostrich feathers on their heads and walked in golden chains and behind stood the servant of the young king. It was True Heinrich. True Heinrich was so aggrieved when his master had been turned into a frog, that he had three iron bands placed round his heart so that it would not burst for pain and sadness. The carriage now fetched the young king to take him to his kingdom. True Heinrich lifted up both, stepped behind and was filled with joy over the prince’s redemption. And when they had traveled some distance, the prince heard a loud sound behind him, as if something was breaking. He turned and called

“Heinrich, the carriage is breaking.”
No, dear sir, not the carriage,
But the band round my heart,
In pitiable suffering,
Whilst you sat in the spring
And were a frog.”

Again and again the sound was heard and the prince thought the wagon was breaking. But it was only the bands around the heart of True Heinrich, as they broke, because his master was redeemed and was exceedingly happy.



Links:
lhttp://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/lower-and-higher-angels-of-our-nature.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/fairy-tale-factum_22.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!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Reading Rapunzel

Very Reverend Vegetables

The earthy hag Mistress Gotel condemns Rapunzel in the severest manner and her accusation is telling: “Ach, you godless child,” she cries. Rapunzel’s crimes are apparently lying and godlessness, strange concerns we might think coming from a sorceress. Mistress Gotel seems to know that where God is not seen or even glimpsed, failure and misery follow. The fairy tale does not prescribe or explain a precise understanding of God. But rather it is the affront on faith itself that is so corrosive.
Here is how the poet Thomas Gray described the area where he lived: “Both vale and hill are covered with most venerable beeches and other very reverend vegetables…” Mistress Gotel would have certainly approved of this sentiment.


Very Rapunzel Salad:
In the spirit of Frau Gotel and her garden, the ingredients for a Very Rapunzel Salad should be all organic, seasonal produce, grown in your own community wherever possible. To make the Michigan version of a Very Rapunzel Salad I add dried cherries, sliced pears, locally made goat’s cheese, and toasted chopped walnuts. To make the Most Rapunzel Salad: I use greens that have been grown in my own garden (or a community garden or garden of your choice that you can visit and where you can harvest the herbs yourself). The greens must be cut in the very early morning hours before it’s too hot and the ground is still cool. How you approach the herb is entirely up to you and your local ordinances.

1 bunch organic greens, washed and dried
½ cup toasted and chopped walnuts (or locally grown nut)
1 apple, sliced into ½ inch pieces OR
1 pear, sliced into ½ inch pieces (OR: a locally grown fruit)
1 handful Michigan dried cherries
1 tablespoon chopped red onion
Crumbled goat’s cheese or stilton cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 teaspoons vinegar

For the Most Rapunzel Salad:
Germanic tribes considered Herbs potent healing agents, but even more potent were words.
Incantation while cutting the herb:
If you’re still reading you must have an inkling that only you alone can write the incantation. Use the same incantation as the prayer before eating the salad.


Further reading, the fairy tale Rapunzel:

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2015/02/happy-valentines-day-rapunzel.html

FairyTaleChannel.com

Friday, February 8, 2008

Reading Rapunzel

The many ways to approach an herb: clothing and shoes may be optional.
Reminiscent of a monastic environment, the garden in Rapunzel has a mysterious aura and quietude. Tucked safely behind a garden wall, its cultivated beds are tended by a very secretive and forbidding caretaker, who follows ancient customs and shuns modernity. In this regard Mistress Gotel shares the traditions of many Christian monastic orders, who valued the tending of a garden as the perfect complement to the spiritual life.
According to Deutsche Mythologie, ancient pagan rules specified the way each herb was to be cultivated, harvested and used. Certain herbs were picked only with the right hand or only with the left hand, but never with a bare hand. Some plants were never cut, only dug up. The exact time of day for the harvest was specified. Most plants were cut in the early morning hours when they were believed to be most potent. For other plants strict rules were in force about when and how they could be harvested: many before sunrise, in the hour when neither sun nor star was shining. Only a specific part of the plant could be harvested and then the precise type of blade used for cutting was designated: no cold iron should touch the herb, only annealed iron or a golden blade. The cut branch or leaf must not touch the ground and certain incantations must be recited during the harvesting. In some places, the harvester must approach the plant naked and without wearing shoes. These rites express veneration and respect for nature and underscore the power the plants were believed to possess. One herb by the name of Jungfrauhaar was said to have a beautiful golden color and its properties supposedly included giving or taking away manhood. Most herbs were gathered by wise and experienced women, who were renowned herbarists. In Rapunzel it is interesting that the husband does not follow any of these ancient rules nor does he seem to care much about them and his wife eats the herb greedily. But when the sorceress cuts (the hair of) Rapunzel, the exact hand she uses is described
.


Very Reverend Vegetables in the Fairy Tale Rapunzel

The earthy hag Mistress Gotel condemns Rapunzel in the severest manner and her accusation is telling: “Ach, you godless child,” she cries. Rapunzel’s crimes are apparently lying and godlessness, strange concerns we might think coming from a sorceress. Mistress Gotel seems to know that where God is not seen or even glimpsed, failure and misery follow. The fairy tale does not prescribe or explain a precise understanding of God. But rather it is the affront on faith itself that is so corrosive.
Here is how the poet Thomas Gray described the area where he lived: “Both vale and hill are covered with most venerable beeches and other very reverend vegetables…” Mistress Gotel would have certainly approved of this sentiment.

Read more fairy tales buy clicking on the link:

FairyTaleChannel.com


Fairy Tale Factum

Reading Rapunzel

Mistress Gotel: Who is She?

Before Europe had been widely Christianized, devout pagans believed food offerings were necessary to placate the gods. It was thought that pestilence and plague were sent by spirit deities who had been offended. An example of the persistence of this folk belief is provided by Jacob Grimm in Deutsche Mythologie. In certain areas of Germany when the harvesters went out into the fields and bound bundles of grain, it was custom to leave some of them behind as gift to the earth goddess Frau Gauen or Frau Gode. In Rapunzel, the sorceress is called Frau Gotel. Gotel is an old German word for godmother and is related etymologically to Gode, Gott, Gud, God, Cot, Gup, and Gote. It was believed that the earth goddess’s power affected fertility and nature’s abundance and that her realm included all types of domestic work commonly performed by women. When the earth goddess was appeased, peace and prosperity ruled on earth. When angered, danger and calamity threatened. In Rapunzel, Mistress Gotel or the godmother is imbued with the magical powers of an earth goddess. It is stated that “she had enormous power and was feared throughout the entire world.” Given the description of her splendid garden, it seems reasonable to assume that this hex’s special powers were linked to the fruits of the earth, the harvest, crops and especially healing herbs.



More fairy tales:

FairyTaleChannel.com

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Fairy Tale Factum


Hag, Hex, Harpy or Hierophant?


Three types of Pictish stones in North Eastern Scotland bear witness to a changing worldview as Christianity spread across Europe, displacing paganism. The earliest Pictish stones contain only carvings of pagan symbols that are mostly indecipherable today. Animals both fantastic and familiar along with domestic utensils seem to have preoccupied the imagination of early Picts.
The second type of stone occupies a middle ground and reflects a transition period when the old faith collided with the new religion. Pagan motifs and the Christian cross sit comfortably side by side on these stones. The third type of Pictish stone, and presumably the most recent, contain only the Christian cross.*
Pictish stones are a good metaphor for understanding the fairy tale. Best represented by the second or middle type of stone, the fairy tale contains both pagan symbols and Christian imagery and often reflects the early church’s endeavors to combat unbelief expressed in polytheism and superstitious myths and cults. In 500 A.D. the majority of people living in Europe were not Christian. But by 1000 A.D. most but not all of the population had been Christianized. As Christianity spread it may have crossed the minds of many pagans to preserve at least part of their old traditions by combining them with the new. In fact early accounts of the Anglo Saxons report that there were people among them who believed both in Christ and the pagan gods, or at least continued to call upon these pagan deities if they had been helpful before. To convert an often reluctant population, early missionaries simply transformed pagan festivals into Christian festivals and gave them a new name. Many pagan religious sites, temples and courts were retained, built over and given Christian significance. Pagan deities were depicted as being weak but not without some power. They became malevolent forces and continued in oral traditions as devils, sorcerers, giants and witches. If benevolent, they were linked to the saints or the Virgin Mary. The earth goddess, a powerful deity in pagan ritual, was transformed into hag, hex or harpy. Instead of keeper of esoteric knowledge and principles, the earth goddess or priestess is often depicted as witch, evil fairy godmother or woman with magical powers. To find the last vestige of paganism in a fairy tale, look to the character imbued with magical powers, quite often a woman.





* To read more about Pictish stones in Scotland see: The Traveller's History of Britain and Ireland by Ricahrd Muir, 1987, Mermaid Books



Click on the link to read the fairy tale Rapunzel:

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/rapunzel.html

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Reading Rapunzel

If reading a fairy tale with pen in hand sounds clunky, I encourage you to first read Rapunzel out loud for the sheer pleasure of it. Then print out a copy and try the clunky approach. This fairy tale is remarkable in many ways that I think are worthwhile noting in a systematic way. Pagan and Christian elements, fantastic twists and turns and references to a long forgotten cultural history make this story both strange and delightful. In the pre-narcissistic world of Rapunzel, the characters move around without any angst or self-consciousness. This primitivism reflects a world where things are different but yet some things are the same. With pen or marker in hand, underline any words or phrases that surprise you, details that seem unnecessary to the plot or words that seem to be markers or indicators of something else… but what? At the end of the week, I will share my list and jottings with you.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Rapunzel, Grimm's Fairy Tale No. 12


The Fairy Tale of Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm

There once lived a man and his wife who yearned for a child of their own. But their longing remained fruitless. At long last, the wife began to entertain hopes that God would fulfill her wish. The couple had a small window in the back of their house from which they could see a splendid garden full of the most beautiful flowers and herbs. But this garden was enclosed by a high wall and no one dared enter because it belonged to a sorceress. She had enormous power and was feared throughout the entire world. One day, the woman stood at the window and looked down into the garden. She saw a vegetable bed planted with the loveliest Rapunzel: it looked so fresh and green that she felt an enormous desire and great craving to eat some Rapunzel. Each day her appetite increased and because she knew that she could not get any, her countenance fell and she became pale and miserable. Her husband became frightened and asked “What is wrong dear wife?” “Oh,” she replied, “if I don’t get any Rapunzel from the garden behind our house, I will die.” The man, who loved her dearly, thought “before I let my wife die, I will fetch her some Rapunzel, cost what it may.” In the evening twilight he climbed over the wall into the garden of the sorceress, quickly cut a handful of Rapunzel and brought it to his wife. She immediately made a salad and ate greedily. But it tasted oh so good that the next day she had three times the yearning. To have any peace at all her husband would have to climb into the garden once again. At dusk he made his way. But when he climbed down the garden wall, he received a terrible shock, for he saw the sorceress standing before him. “How dare you,” she said her face filled with rage, “climb into my garden and like a thief steal my Rapunzel? You shall live to regret it.” “Ach,” he replied “Temper justice with mercy! I only acted out of dire need: my wife saw your Rapunzel from the window and was seized by such a powerful craving that she would perish if she did not get some of it to eat.” The sorceress’s wrath abated somewhat and she replied “If things are as you say, I will allow you to take some Rapunzel, as much as you desire, but under one condition: you must give me the child that your wife shall bear. The child will do well and I will care for it like a mother.” The husband in his terror promised everything and when his wife lay in childbed, the sorceress appeared immediately, named the child Rapunzel and quickly snatched it away.

Rapunzel was the most beautiful child under the sun. When she was twelve years old, the sorceress locked her in a tower in the forest. It had neither stair nor door, only at the top was a very small window. When the sorceress wished entrance, she stood at the bottom and called

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair.”

Rapunzel had long, gorgeous hair, as fine as spun gold. When she heard the voice of the sorceress, she untied her plaits, bound them round a window hook and then her hair fell down twenty ell and the sorceress climbed up.

After a few years, the king’s son was riding through the forest and passed the tower. He heard a song so lovely that he stopped and listened. It was Rapunzel who in her solitude passed the time sounding her sweet voice. The prince wanted to climb up to her. He looked for a door to the tower but there was none. He rode home but the song had touched his heart so deeply that he went out to the woods every day and listened. When he was once standing behind a tree he saw the sorceress come and heard how she called

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair.”

Rapunzel lowered her plaited hair and the sorceress climbed up to her. “If that is the ladder which you climb to get in, I will try my luck, too.” And the next day, when it began to get dark, he went to the tower and cried

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair.”

Immediately the hair was lowered and the prince climbed up.

At first Rapunzel was violently frightened that a man, such as she had never seen before, had come to her. But the prince began to speak cheerily and said that her song had moved his heart. He had no peace and had to see her for himself. Rapunzel lost her fear and when he asked whether she would take him as husband and she saw that he was young and handsome, she thought “He will love me more than old Mistress Gotel does.” She said yes and placed her hand in his. She replied“I will happily go with you but I don’t know how I can get down. Each time you come, bring a strand of silk and I will weave a ladder. When it is finished, I will climb down and you will take me away on your horse.” They arranged that he would come to her every evening, because the old woman visited during the day. The sorceress noticed nothing until Rapunzel chanced to say “Tell me Mistress Gotel, how is it that you are much harder to pull up than the young king’s son, who will be with me in a moment.” “Ach, you godless child,” the sorceress cried. “What must I hear from your lips. I thought I had kept you separate from the world and still you lied to me!” In her rage she grabbed the beautiful hair of Rapunzel, beat her a few times with her left hand and grabbed scissors in her right. Snip - snap, her hair was cut off and the beautiful plaits lay on the ground. She was so merciless that she cast poor Rapunzel out into the wilderness, where she was forced into a miserable and wretched life.

The same day that she banished Rapunzel, the sorceress tied the severed plaits to the window hooks and when the prince came and called

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair”

she lowered the hair. The prince climbed up. But he did not find his dear one, Rapunzel, but rather the sorceress, who greeted him with evil and malice in her gaze. “Aha,” she cried scornfully, “You want to fetch your dear wife, but the pretty bird no longer sits in the nest. She sings no more. The cat caught her and will now catch you and scratch out your eyes. Rapunzel is lost to you, you will never see her again.” The prince was gripped by such pain that in his despair he jumped from the tower: his life was spared, but the thorns into which he fell pierced his eyes. He wandered through the woods blind, ate only roots and berries and did nothing but lament the loss of his dearest wife. Thus he roamed several years in misery until finally reaching the wilderness where Rapunzel lived in wretchedness with the twins she had borne, a boy and a girl. He heard a voice thatt sounded so sweetly familiar: he went toward it and as he approached, Rapunzel recognized him and flung her arms round his neck and cried. As two tears fell into his eyes, they became clear again and he could see as before. He led them back to his kingdom, where he was received with joy and they lived a long time thereafter cheerful and gay.

For further reading:
http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/reading-rapunzel_08.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/reading-rapunzel_09.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/fairy-tale-factum_08.html

http://www.fairytalechannel.com/2008/02/reading-rapunzel_08.html

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