“East of the Sun and West of the Moon” is the third entry in The Blue Fairy Book. This Norwegian fairy tale was originally collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe. It is Aarne–Thompson type 425A, Search for the Lost Husband. It is related to both the tale of “Cupid and Psyche” in The Golden Ass and to “Beauty and the Beast.” Beauty and the Beast is usually given its own subcategory as 425C which has the same name as the tale. East of the Sun and West of the Moon is usually placed in 425A: The Animal Bridegroom (Thompson 1945). You can read the entire fairy tale for free at Patreon.
“Prince Hyacinth and the Dear Little Princess,” a French fairy tale, is the second story in Andrew Lang’s The Blue Fairy Book. (Reference given in at the end of the story: “Le Prince Desir et la Princesse Mignonne”. Par Madame Leprince de Beaumont.)
This is a strange little tale about a prince with an extraordinarily long nose. Like many fairy tales composed by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont (26 April 1711 – 8 September 1780), this story is a moralistic one. While working as a governess in England, Madame Leprince de Beaumont recast French fairy tales as children’s fiction. She borrowed liberally from the writings that came out of the 17th-century French salons and recrafted them into stories that were both moral and instructive. Her most well-known fairy tale is the abridged version of “Beauty and the Beast,” which she adapted for young readers from Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve‘s original.
The complete fairy tale of “Prince Hyacinth and the Dear Little Princess” is available to read for free at Patreon (The Blue Fairy Book Project). There are also two public posts featuring the original art by Henry J. Ford: The king chases the cat and The enchanter steals the Dear Little Princess. For as little as $1 a month, Patrons have access to two additional posts with additional images, prompts, and poetry: Casting shadows and Pinocchio.
Note: Feel free to share links to your poetry or prose in the comments. Next up is “East of the Sun and West of the Moon.” See you soon. — Carina Bissett
“The Bronze Ring” is the first story in The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang. This version of this fairy tale from the Middle East or Central Asia and was translated and adapted from Traditions Populaires de l’Asie Mineure by Carnoy et Nicolaides (Paris: Maison-neuve, 1889).
The complete fairy tale of “The Bronze Ring” is available for general viewing along with two other prompts: The Gardener’s son meets the old woman and Fishes for an old ring. For as little as $1 a month, Patrons have access to three additional posts (so far): The mice have the ring, The Quixotic Quest of Three Blind Mice, and Magic Ring.
Note: Feel free to share links to your poetry or prose in the comments. This is going to be fun!
To kick off the new year, I’ve started a project revolving around Andrew Lang‘s The Blue Fairy Book (1889), which was the first of twelve “coloured” fairy tale collections published through 1910. There are 37 tales in The Blue Fairy Book, which includes seven tales from the Brothers Grimm, five from Madame d’Aulnoy, three from the Arabian Nights, and four Norwegian fairytales, among other sources. Every eight to ten days, I will be posting one of the fairy tales along with my notes of potential links, mash-ups, and outside sources on Patreon. Other posts will include commentary on the original authors and collectors of these tales, links to contemporary retellings, and classic fairy tale illustrations. It’s going to be a fun ride, and I hope you will join me on this adventure.
The Blue Fairy Book (1889) Table of Contents
- The Bronze Ring
- Prince Hyacinth and the Dear Little Princess
- East of the Sun and West of the Moon
- The Yellow Dwarf
- Little Red Riding Hood
- The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood
- Cinderella or the Little Glass Slipper
- Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp
- The Tale of a Youth Who Set Out to Learn What Fear Was
- Beauty and the Beast
- The Master Maid
- Why the Sea Is Salt
- The Master Cat or Puss in Boots
- Felicia and the Pot of Pinks
- The White Cat
- The Water-lily. The Gold-spinners
- The Terrible Head
- The Story of Pretty Goldilocks
- The History of Whittington
- The Wonderful Sheep
- Little Thumb
- The Forty Thieves
- Hansel and Gretel
- Snow-White and Rose-Red
- The Goose-girl
- Toads and Diamonds
- Prince Darling
- Blue Beard
- Trusty John
- The Brave Little Tailor
- A Voyage to Lilliput
- The Princess on the Glass Hill
- The Story of Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Paribanou
- The History of Jack the Giant-killer
- The Black Bull of Norroway
- The Red Etin
Saint Nicholas, or Santa Claus, is a well-known Yuletide figure. However, over the years we have seen some of the more… unsavory characters come into the spotlight. Krampus was one of those characters from folklore who became wildly popular after his 2015 horror/comedy debut on the big screen. However, there are still other mythic stories, legends and folktales of different Yule spirits and demons and elves and trolls. Today, we are going to be taking a look at one of these, a witch who punishes naughty children. Her name is Frau Perchta.
Frau Perchta comes to us from Austrian and Bavarian tradition, becoming more well known with her other name Frau Berchta which was popularized by the brothers Grimm. She is also associated with Berchta the Germanic goddess of abundance who was demonized by the Catholic church and referred to as a witch. Either way, Frau Perchta is generally depicted as a crone dressed in rage with a beaked, iron nose. Sometimes she carries a cane, but almost always she carries a long, sharp knife that she keeps hidden beneath her skirts.
You see, Frau Perchta — much like Santa Claus — will reward good children and punish the bad. She also punishes women for unkempt households and unspun flax. For those she deems good, a silver coin is left for them. If she deems you unworthy, if you forget to leave out a bowl of porridge for her, if your flax is half spun and unfinished, she slits open your abdomen, removes your organs, and replaces them with straw. She was also associated with the Wild Hunt, flying through the night sky while accompanied by her demonic Perchten — Krampus-looking creatures — and elves and unbaptized babies. During the last three thursdays before Christmas, you will hear the sounds of thunder and wind roaring, however it is really Frau Perchta leading her Wild Hunt.
Either way, Frau Perchta doesn’t seem like a woman to cross. Whether she is a crone who judges your housework, or someone who comes to punish the naughty and reward the nice, or even the leader of the Wild Hunt itself, Frau Perchta promises punishment for those who she sees as undeserving. One thing is for certain: whichever version of her tale you believe, be sure to have your house dust-free and stay indoors on the nights leading up to Christmas or Frau Perchta might replace your organs with straw.
For more reading on Frau Perchta (sources):
Imagine this: a winding river in Japan. The scenery is lovely, the day warm, and all of a sudden something near the water moves. It looks like a child, so you draw closer. But when it turns around you find yourself face to beak with a grinning kappa.
Kappa are a type of water spirit who are considered incredibly intelligent and lecherous creatures, inhabiting bodies of water all throughout Japan. In fact, there are still signs in certain areas warning people of the kappa who are said to dwell in that body of water. They are typically described as being about the size of a 10-year-old child, yellow-green in color, and looking like a scaled monkey or having a tortoise shell instead of skin. They are also said to have beaks on their faces and speak many languages as well. On the tops of their heads is an indentation filled with water that give the kappa their powers, and if they should lose that water they are rendered powerless.
They are known for drowning or devouring children who wander too near the water, waiting in toilets and assaulting women, and occasionally attacking men. However, if you can trick one into bowing, emptying the contents of its head, and offer to replenish it, the Kappa will be generous and grant the person a wish or a favor. They are also attributed to introducing the art of bone setting and salve creating to humans.
Though the benefits to helping one seem great, the majority of signs point away from the kappa, warning people from their habitats. One thing is for certain: if you happen to find yourself face to face with one, bow low and wait for your opportunity to flee, or refill his head and be blessed with any wish you could desire.
For more reading on the kappa (sources):