In which the Marvel universe comes to the aid of a damsel in distress...

Today’s fairy tale is a simple, fun one that features not one, not two, but THREE magical helpers: Long, Broad, and Quickeye. Each one of these fine fellows possesses a unique talent, much like the members of the Fantastic 4, or the X-Men. One of them even blows stuff up with his incredible eyesight, just like Cyclops!

If that’s not enough to pique your interest, there’s also a sad, enchanted maiden, a prince who falls in love with her (emotionally unavailable people are so attractive), and a mean, old wizard.

From Andrew Lang’s Grey Fairy Book.

LONG, BROAD, AND QUICKEYE

Once upon a time there lived a king who had an only son whom he loved dearly. Now one day the king sent for his son and said to him:

‘My dearest child, my hair is grey and I am old, and soon I shall feel no more the warmth of the sun, or look upon the trees and flowers. But before I die I should like to see you with a good wife; therefore marry, my son, as speedily as possible.’

‘My father,’ replied the prince, ‘now and always, I ask nothing better than to do your bidding, but I know of no daughter-in-law that I could give you.’

On hearing these words the old king drew from his pocket a key of gold, and gave it to his son, saying:

‘Go up the staircase, right up to the top of the tower. Look carefully round you, and then come and tell me which you like best of all that you see.’

So the young man went up. He had never before been in the tower, and had no idea what it might contain.

The staircase wound round and round and round, till the prince was almost giddy, and every now and then he caught sight of a large room that opened out from the side. But he had been told to go to the top, and to the top he went. Then he found himself in a hall, which had an iron door at one end. This door he unlocked with his golden key, and he passed through into a vast chamber which had a roof of blue sprinkled with golden stars, and a carpet of green silk soft as turf. Twelve windows framed in gold let in the light of the sun, and on every window was painted the figure of a young girl, each more beautiful than the last. While the prince gazed at them in surprise, not knowing which he liked best, the girls began to lift their eyes and smile at him. He waited, expecting them to speak, but no sound came.

Suddenly he noticed that one of the windows was covered by a curtain of white silk.

He lifted it, and saw before him the image of a maiden beautiful as the day and sad as the tomb, clothed in a white robe, having a girdle of silver and a crown of pearls. The prince stood and gazed at her, as if he had been turned into stone, but as he looked the sadness which, was on her face seemed to pass into his heart, and he cried out:

‘This one shall be my wife. This one and no other.’

As he said the words the young girl blushed and hung her head, and all the other figures vanished.

The young prince went quickly back to his father, and told him all he had seen and which wife he had chosen. The old man listened to him full of sorrow, and then he spoke:

‘You have done ill, my son, to search out that which was hidden, and you are running to meet a great danger. This young girl has fallen into the power of a wicked sorcerer, who lives in an iron castle. Many young men have tried to deliver her, and none have ever come back. But what is done is done! You have given your word, and it cannot be broken. Go, dare your fate, and return to me safe and sound.’

So the prince embraced his father, mounted his horse, and set forth to seek his bride. He rode on gaily for several hours, till he found himself in a wood where he had never been before, and soon lost his way among its winding paths and deep valleys. He tried in vain to see where he was: the thick trees shut out the sun, and he could not tell which was north and which was south, so that he might know what direction to make for. He felt in despair, and had quite given up all hope of getting out of this horrible place, when he heard a voice calling to him.

‘Hey! hey! stop a minute!’

How does the prince find Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters his way through the terrible forest? Find out.

Share SHARE

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Shop at therussianshop.com!

Kiss me, you fool! (And don't steal images. Only wicked people do that.)

 

“Tsarevna Frog” is a frog princess story, which means there’s some serious shape-shifting going on. There’s also a husband who makes a terrible mistake and has to pay for it by journeying the world over (we saw this same motif in “The Enchanted Pig” a few weeks ago), plus an appearance by my favorite fairy-tale character of all time: Baba Yaga. Not to mention the fellow who inspired this week’s selection: Koshchei the Deathless.*

Speaking of which, have you read the book Deathless by Catherynne Valente? Holy crackers, it’s so good. It’s a delectable fairy tale novel set in Stalinist Russia, just after the Revolution, and one of the main characters is the terrifying Koshchei the Deathless. (I posted “The Death of Koshchei the Deathless” around Halloween of last year, you might remember.)

Let’s see what Koshchei is up to this week, shall we?

Tsarevna Frog

IN olden time, in a time long before present days, in a certain Tsardom of an Empire far across the blue seas and behind high mountains, there lived a Tsar and his Tsaritsa. The Tsar had lived long in the white world, and through long living had become old. He had three sons, Tsarevitches, all of them young, brave and unmarried, and altogether of such a sort that they could not be described by words spoken in a tale or written down with a pen. During the long white days they flew about on their fiery, beautiful horses, like bright hawks under the blue sky. All three were handsome and clever, but the handsomest and cleverest was the youngest, and he was Tsarevitch Ivan.

One day the Tsar summoned his three sons to his presence and said: “My dear children, ye have now arrived at man’s estate and it is time for you to think of marriage. I desire you to select maidens to beloving wives to you and to me dutiful daughters-in-law. Take, therefore, your well- arched bows and arrows which have been hardened in the fire. Go into the untrodden field wherein no one is permitted to hunt, draw the bows tight and shoot in different directions, and in whatsoever courts the arrows fall, there demand your wives-to-be. She who brings to each his arrow shall be his bride.”

So the Tsarevitches made arrows, hardened them in the fire, and going into the untrodden field, shot them in different directions. The eldest brother shot to the east, the second to the west, and the youngest, Tsarevitch Ivan, drew his bow with all his strength and shot his arrow straight before him.

On making search, the eldest brother found that his arrow had fallen in the courtyard of a Boyar, where it lay before the tower in which were the apartments of the maidens. The second brother’s arrow had fallen in the courtyard of a rich merchant who traded with foreign countries, and pierced a window at which the merchant’s daughter-a lovely girl soul-was standing. But the arrow of Tsarevitch Ivan could not be found at all.

Tsarevitch Ivan searched in deep sorrow and grief. For two whole days he wandered in the woods and fields, and on the third day he came by chance to a boggy swamp, where the black soil gave way under the foot, and in the middle of the swamp he came upon a great Frog which held in her mouth the arrow he had shot.

When he saw this he turned to run away, leaving his arrow behind him, but the Frog cried: “Kwa! Kwa! Tsarevitch Ivan, come to me and take thine arrow. If thou wilt not take me for thy wife, thou wilt never get out of this marsh.”

Poor Tsarevitch Ivan. It’s like Fear Factor. Will he do what it takes to get out of the marsh?

 *If you love Russian tales, SurLaLune has a section called “Russian Wonder Tales,” where you can happily wander through a hand-picked assortment of Russia’s finest.

Share SHARE

Tags: , , , , ,

Many thanks to Jonathan Carroll for posting this in his blog:

ANTILAMENTATION

Regret nothing. Not the cruel novels you read
to the end just to find out who killed the cook.
Not the insipid movies that made you cry in the dark,
in spite of your intelligence, your sophistication.
Not the lover you left quivering in a hotel parking lot,
the one you beat to the punchline, the door, or the one
who left you in your red dress and shoes, the ones
that crimped your toes, don’t regret those.
Not the nights you called god names and cursed
your mother, sunk like a dog in the livingroom couch,
chewing your nails and crushed by loneliness.
You were meant to inhale those smoky nights
over a bottle of flat beer, to sweep stuck onion rings
across the dirty restaurant floor, to wear the frayed
coat with its loose buttons, its pockets full of struck matches.
You’ve walked those streets a thousand times and still
you end up here. Regret none of it, not one
of the wasted days you wanted to know nothing,
when the lights from the carnival rides
were the only stars you believed in, loving them
for their uselessness, not wanting to be saved.
You’ve traveled this far on the back of every mistake,
ridden in dark-eyed and morose but calm as a house
after the TV set has been pitched out the upstairs
window. Harmless as a broken ax. Emptied
of expectation. Relax. Don’t bother remembering
any of it. Let’s stop here, under the lit sign
on the corner, and watch all the people walk by.

~Dorianne Laux

Share SHARE

Tags: , , , ,

Now go clean your room.

"I don't care if I'm a tree. I'm still your mother and you need to listen to me!"

Today’s fairy tale is a variant of one of history’s most beloved stories: “Cinderella.” But you know what makes this story better than “Cinderella”? CANNIBALISM. And if you need more incentive to read it than that, well…you’re just not the person I married all those years ago.

From Andrew Lang’s Red Fairy Book.

THE WONDERFUL BIRCH

ONCE upon a time there were a man and a woman, who had an only daughter. Now it happened that one of their sheep went astray, and they set out to look for it, and searched and searched, each in n different part of the wood. Then the good wife met a witch, who said to her:

`If you spit, you miserable creature, if you spit into the sheath of my knife, or if you run between my legs, I shall change you into a black sheep.’

The woman neither spat, nor did she run between her legs, but yet the witch changed her into a sheep. Then she made herself look exactly like the woman, and called out to the good man:

`Ho, old man, halloa! I have found the sheep already!’

The man thought the witch was really his wife, and he did not know that his wife was the sheep; so he went home with her, glad at heart because his sheep was found. When they were safe at home the witch said to the man:

`Look here, old man, we must really kill that sheep lest it run away to the wood again.’

The man, who was a peaceable quiet sort of fellow, made no objections, but simply said:

`Good, let us do so.’

The daughter, however, had overheard their talk, and she ran to the flock and lamented aloud:

`Oh, dear little mother, they are going to slaughter you!’

`Well, then, if they do slaughter me,’ was the black sheep’s answer, `eat you neither the meat nor the broth that is made of me, but gather all my bones, and bury them by the edge of the field.’

Shortly after this they took the black sheep from the flock and slaughtered it.

Find out if our heroine forgets her manners and eats her mama for supper.

 

Share SHARE

Tags: , , , , ,

Pucker up!

Come write fairy tales with me!

After nearly two years on hiatus from teaching, I have just secured a fabulous classroom for a new Intro to Writing Fairy Tales class!

This is what I sent out to the mailing list:

Learn how to write your own fairy tales on Saturday afternoons from April 14 – May 19
(12 pm – 3 pm).

The Intro to Writing Fairy Tales class is a terrific choice for authors of all experience levels. I tailor the class exercises to meet the needs of each student, so everyone has fun, works just hard enough, and ends up with a complete fairy tale by the end of the class.

Visit http://www.writefairytales.com to learn more or register now.

This six-week class costs $250. But you can save $50 if you register before March 18.

Not sure it’s worth it? See what other people think about the class.

We’ll meet at the Phinney Neighborhood Center – my favorite place to teach in the entire city. Ample parking, gorgeous classrooms, and a lovely neighborhood to stroll around before or after class.

Class description:

Intro to Writing Fairy Tales
Spend six weeks in the land of Fairy. Learn the basic rules of the genre, plus a variety of approaches to fairy tales as readers and as writers. Study western European tales from the late middle ages to modern times. Write a lot! Writing exercises assigned after each class. By the end of the course you will have written at least one original fairy tale of your own. All experience levels welcome.$250.

I hope to see you there!

Share SHARE

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

“Snow White” is getting exhaustive play in the media right now, for reasons unknown. I’m not complaining, mind you, but I do enjoy watching stories rise to the forefront of the collective unconscious. The latest entry into the “Snow White” media maelstrom is an illustrated version from underground sweetheart Camille Rose Garcia.

Art dealer extraordinaire Kirsten Anderson wrote a feature article for art wonderland Hi-Fructose:

 

Hi-Fructose favorite Camille Rose Garcia (Volume Eight) is following up her successful interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s ” Alice In Wonderland” with a new illustrated version of the Brothers Grimm story “Snow White” and exhibition of the complete works for the book at Michael Kohn Gallery next month. Illuminating Garcia’s trademark witchy line art with her easter egg color palette- this book is sure to delight her legion of fans! Garcia will be signing books on her West Coast book tour at the end of March so check to see if she will be swinging by a city near you! View more preview images from the book and exhibition below. -Kirsten Anderson

 

Hop on over to Hi-Fructose to see more images!

 

Share SHARE

Tags: , , , , ,

Maria Popova over at Brain Pickings wrote a wonderful post about the fear (and importance) of failure, and I liked it so much I am re-posting it here:

Embracing what is, or how to fail like the world’s most successful creatives.

While failure may be an integral prerequisite for true innovation, the fact remains that most of us harbor a deathly fear of it — the same psychological mechanisms that drive our severe aversion to being wrong, only amplified. That fear is the theme of this year’s student work exhibition at Stockholm’s Berghs School of Communication and, to launch it, they asked some of today’s most beloved creators — artists, designers, writers — to share their experiences and thoughts on the subject. While intended as advice for design students, these simple yet important insights are relevant to just about anyone with a beating heart and a head full of ideas — a much-needed reminder of what we all rationally know but have such a hard time internalizing emotionally.

Paulo Coelho – on the fear of failure. from Berghs’ Exhibition ’11 on Vimeo.

 

When you put love and enthusiasm into your work, even if people don’t see it, they realize that it is there, that you did this with all your body and soul.” ~ Paulo Coelho

 

Stefan Sagmeister – on the fear of failure. from Berghs’ Exhibition ’11 on Vimeo.

It is very important to embrace failure and to do a lot of stuff — as much stuff as possible — with as little fear as possible. It’s much, much better to wind up with a lot of crap having tried it than to overthink in the beginning and not do it.” ~Stefan Sagmeister

 

Rei Inamoto – on the fear of failure. from Berghs’ Exhibition ’11 on Vimeo.

What it comes down to is accepting the fact that many ideas and many solutions that we provide to our clients may always, or sometimes, fail. The trick, I think, is to A) accept it and B) have the courage to accept it and move forward with what you believe in.” ~ Rei Inamoto

But my favorite has to be Milton Glaser:

Milton Glaser – on the fear of failure. from Berghs’ Exhibition ’11 on Vimeo.

 

A characteristic of artistic education is for people to tell you that you’re a genius. [...] So everybody gets this idea, if you go to art school, that you’re really a genius. Sadly, it isn’t true. Genius occurs very rarely. So the real embarrassing issue about failure is your own acknowledgement that you’re not a genius, that you’re not as good as you thought you were. [...] There’s only one solution: You must embrace failure. You must admit what is. You must find out what you’re capable of doing, and what you’re not capable of doing. That is the only way to deal with the issue of success and failure because otherwise you simply would never subject yourself to the possibility that you’re not as good as you want to be, hope to be, or as others think you are.” ~ Milton Glaser

Explore all the videos on the exhibition site and feel free to share your own recipe for dealing with failure in the comments below.

via Creativity Online

Share SHARE

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Kiss me, you fool!

Would you marry this pig?

Today’s fairy tale (a Romanian tale from Andrew Lang’s Red Fairy Book) is essentially a version of “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” but with a sweet, strong twist of “Bluebeard” at the beginning. Favorite motifs include: an enchanted pig!, self mutilation, a poignant explanation of why the sun is grumpy every night when he comes home, and did I mention the enchanted pig? Who brings all the pigs of the world with him when comes to woo the king’s youngest daughter? I love that part.

As an aside, the Folio Society released a heart-breakingly exquisite edition of the Red Fairy Book. Check it out.

THE ENCHANTED PIG

ONCE upon a time there lived a King who had three daughters. Now it happened that he had to go out to battle, so he called his daughters and said to them:

`My dear children, I am obliged to go to the wars. The enemy is approaching us with a large army. It is a great grief to me to leave you all. During my absence take care of yourselves and be good girls; behave well and look after everything in the house. You may walk in the garden, and you may go into all the rooms in the palace, except the room at the back in the right-hand corner; into that you must not enter, for harm would befall you.’

`You may keep your mind easy, father,’ they replied. `We have never been disobedient to you. Go in peace, and may heaven give you a glorious victory!’

When everything was ready for his departure, the King gave them the keys of all the rooms and reminded them once more of what he had said. His daughters kissed his hands with tears in their eyes, and wished him prosperity, and he gave the eldest the keys.

Now when the girls found themselves alone they felt so sad and dull that they did not know what to do. So, to pass the time, they decided to work for part of the day, to read for part of the day, and to enjoy themselves in the garden for part of the day. As long as they did this all went well with them. But this happy state of things did not last long. Every day they grew more and more curious, and you will see what the end of that was.

`Sisters,’ said the eldest Princess, `all day long we sew, spin, and read. We have been several days quite alone, and there is no corner of the garden that we have not explored. We have been in all the rooms of our father’s palace, and have admired the rich and beautiful furniture: why should not we go into the room that our father forbad us to enter?’

Sister,’ said the youngest, `I cannot think how you can tempt us to break our father’s command. When he told us not to go into that room he must have known what he was saying, and have had a good reason for saying it.’

`Surely the sky won’t fall about our heads if we DO go in,’ said the second Princess. `Dragons and such like monsters that would devour us will not be hidden in the room. And how will our father ever find out that we have gone in?’

While they were speaking thus, encouraging each other, they had reached the room; the eldest fitted the key into the lock, and snap! the door stood open.

The three girls entered, and what do you think they saw?

The room was quite empty, and without any ornament, but in the middle stood a large table, with a gorgeous cloth, and on it lay a big open book.

Now the Princesses were curious to know what was written in the book, especially the eldest, and this is what she read:

`The eldest daughter of this King will marry a prince from the East.’

Then the second girl stepped forward, and turning over the page she read:

`The second daughter of this King will marry a prince from the West.’

The girls were delighted, and laughed and teased each other.

But the youngest Princess did not want to go near the table or to open the book. Her elder sisters however left her no peace, and will she, nill she, they dragged her up to the table, and in fear and trembling she turned over the page and read:

`The youngest daughter of this King will be married to a pig from the North.’

Now if a thunderbolt had fallen upon her from heaven it would not have frightened her more.

She almost died of misery, and if her sisters had not held her up, she would have sunk to the ground and cut her head open.

When she came out of the fainting fit into which she had fallen in her terror, her sisters tried to comfort her, saying:

`How can you believe such nonsense? When did it ever happen that a king’s daughter married a pig?’

`What a baby you are!’ said the other sister; `has not our father enough soldiers to protect you, even if the disgusting creature did come to woo you?’

The youngest Princess would fain have let herself be convinced by her sisters’ words, and have believed what they said, but her heart was heavy. Her thoughts kept turning to the book, in which stood written that great happiness waited her sisters, but that a fate was in store for her such as had never before been known in the world.

Besides, the thought weighed on her heart that she had been guilty of disobeying her father. She began to get quite ill, and in a few days she was so changed that it was difficult to recognise her; formerly she had been rosy and merry, now she was pale and nothing gave her any pleasure. She gave up playing with her sisters in the garden, ceased to gather flowers to put in her hair, and never sang when they sat together at their spinning and sewing.

In the meantime the King won a great victory, and having completely defeated and driven off the enemy, he hurried home to his daughters, to whom his thoughts had constantly turned. Everyone went out to meet him with cymbals and fifes and drums, and there was great rejoicing over his victorious return. The King’s first act on reaching home was to thank Heaven for the victory he had gained over the enemies who had risen against him. He then entered his palace, and the three Princesses stepped forward to meet him. His joy was great when he saw that they were all well, for the youngest did her best not to appear sad.

In spite of this, however, it was not long before the King noticed that his third daughter was getting very thin and sad-looking. And all of a sudden he felt as if a hot iron were entering his soul, for it flashed through his mind that she had disobeyed his word. He felt sure he was right; but to be quite certain he called his daughters to him, questioned them, and ordered them to speak the truth. They confessed everything, but took good care not to say which had led the other two into temptation.

The King was so distressed when he heard it that he was almost overcome by grief. But he took heart and tried to comfort his daughters, who looked frightened to death. He saw that what had happened had happened, and that a thousand words would not alter matters by a hair’s-breadth.

Well, these events had almost been forgotten when one fine day a prince from the East appeared at the Court and asked the King for the hand of his eldest daughter. The King gladly gave his consent. A great wedding banquet was prepared, and after three days of feasting the happy pair were accompanied to the frontier with much ceremony and rejoicing.

After some time the same thing befell the second daughter, who was wooed and won by a prince from the West.

Now when the young Princess saw that everything fell out exactly as had been written in the book, she grew very sad. She refused to eat, and would not put on her fine clothes nor go out walking, and declared that she would rather die than become a laughing-stock to the world. But the King would not allow her to do anything so wrong, and he comforted her in all possible ways.

So the time passed, till lo and behold! one fine day an enormous pig from the North walked into the palace, and going straight up to the King said, `Hail! oh King. May your life be as prosperous and bright as sunrise on a clear day!’

`I am glad to see you well, friend,’ answered the King, `but what wind has brought you hither?’

`I come a-wooing,’ replied the Pig.

Find out what happens when a pig comes a-wooing.

Share SHARE

Tags: , , , , , ,

You can't imagine the naughty things he did with Anais Nin!

Henry Miller was a nasty old genius. He knew what from what.

 

In the early 1930s, as he wrote what would become his first published novel — the hugely influential Tropic of Cancer — Henry Miller wrote a list of 11 commandments, to be followed by himself.

The list read as follows.

(Source: Henry Miller on Writing Image: Henry Miller, c.1950, courtesy ofAnswers.)

COMMANDMENTS

  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
  2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to “Black Spring.”
  3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
  4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
  5. When you can’t create you can work.
  6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
  7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
  8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
  9. Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. ConcentrateNarrow downExclude.
  10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book youare writing.
  11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.
Share SHARE

Tags: , , ,

The Flower Queen's Daughter

 

Today’s fairy tale (from Andrew Lang’s Yellow Fairy Book) is a weird mashup of a traditional eastern European story with a dash of Greek myth (Persephone and Demeter) thrown in for good measure. The main motif is a young man who must tend a witch’s mare and foal despite her evil and tricksy attempts to thwart him. He accomplishes this task with the help of the animal kingdom, and is rewarded with the hand of a beautiful princess (natch)—the Flower Queen’s daughter. My favorite part is when the Flower Queen causes an impenetrable forest of flowers as high as the sky to grow up around her castle.

There’s a longer, stranger version of it here, which makes up for being WAY too long by employing such satisfying imagery as: a man who keeps two lions tied to his beard, magical fruit trees grown from the stolen seed of a woman who died after the theft, and an evil magician who rides around in a carriage drawn by owls.

Welcome to Friday, everyone. We made it. Let’s celebrate our good fortune with…

THE FLOWER QUEEN’S DAUGHTER

A young Prince was riding one day through a meadow that stretched for miles in front of him, when he came to a deep open ditch. He was turning aside to avoid it, when he heard the sound of someone crying in the ditch. He dismounted from his horse, and stepped along in the direction the sound came from. To his astonishment he found an old woman, who begged him to help her out of the ditch. The Prince bent down and lifted her out of her living grave, asking her at the same time how she had managed to get there.

‘My son,’ answered the old woman, ‘I am a very poor woman, and soon after midnight I set out for the neighbouring town in order to sell my eggs in the market on the following morning; but I lost my way in the dark, and fell into this deep ditch, where I might have remained for ever but for your kindness.’

Then the Prince said to her, ‘You can hardly walk; I will put you on my horse and lead you home. Where do you live?’

‘Over there, at the edge of the forest in the little hut you see in the distance,’ replied the old woman.

The Prince lifted her on to his horse, and soon they reached the hut, where the old woman got down, and turning to the Prince said, ‘Just wait a moment, and I will give you something.’ And she disappeared into her hut, but returned very soon and said, ‘You are a mighty Prince, but at the same time you have a kind heart, which deserves to be rewarded. Would you like to have the most beautiful woman in the world for your wife?’

‘Most certainly I would,’ replied the Prince.

So the old woman continued, ‘The most beautiful woman in the whole world is the daughter of the Queen of the Flowers, who has been captured by a dragon. If you wish to marry her, you must first set her free, and this I will help you to do. I will give you this little bell: if you ring it once, the King of the Eagles will appear; if you ring it twice, the King of the Foxes will come to you; and if you ring it three times, you will see the King of the Fishes by your side. These will help you if you are in any difficulty. Now farewell, and heaven prosper your undertaking.’ She handed him the little bell, and there disappeared hut and all, as though the earth had swallowed her up.

Then it dawned on the Prince that he had been speaking to a good fairy, and putting the little bell carefully in his pocket, he rode home and told his father that he meant to set the daughter of the Flower Queen free, and intended setting out on the following day into the wide world in search of the maid.

So the next morning the Prince mounted his fine horse and left his home. He had roamed round the world for a whole year, and his horse had died of exhaustion, while he himself had suffered much from want and misery, but still he had come on no trace of her he was in search of. At last one day he came to a hut, in front of which sat a very old man. The Prince asked him, ‘Do you not know where the Dragon lives who keeps the daughter of the Flower Queen prisoner?’

‘No, I do not,’ answered the old man. ‘But if you go straight along this road for a year, you will reach a hut where my father lives, and possibly he may be able to tell you.’

The Prince thanked him for his information, and continued his journey for a whole year along the same road, and at the end of it came to the little hut, where he found a very old man. He asked him the same question, and the old man answered, ‘No, I do not know where the Dragon lives. But go straight along this road for another year, and you will come to a hut in which my father lives. I know he can tell you.’

And so the Prince wandered on for another year, always on the same road, and at last reached the hut where he found the third old man. He put the same question to him as he had put to his son and grandson; but this time the old man answered, ‘The Dragon lives up there on the mountain, and he has just begun his year of sleep. For one whole year he is always awake, and the next he sleeps. But if you wish to see the Flower Queen’s daughter go up the second mountain: the Dragon’s old mother lives there, and she has a ball every night, to which the Flower Queen’s daughter goes regularly.’

So the Prince went up the second mountain, where he found a castle all made of gold with diamond windows. He opened the big gate leading into the courtyard, and was just going to walk in, when seven dragons rushed on him and asked him what he wanted?

The Prince replied, ‘I have heard so much of the beauty and kindness of the Dragon’s Mother, and would like to enter her service.’

This flattering speech pleased the dragons, and the eldest of them said, ‘Well, you may come with me, and I will take you to the Mother Dragon.’

They entered the castle and walked through twelve splendid halls, all made of gold and diamonds. In the twelfth room they found the Mother Dragon seated on a diamond throne. She was the ugliest woman under the sun, and, added to it all, she had three heads. Her appearance was a great shock to the Prince, and so was her voice, which was like the croaking of many ravens. She asked him, ‘Why have you come here?’

The Prince answered at once, ‘I have heard so much of your beauty and kindness, that I would very much like to enter your service.’

What happens after she hires him?

Share SHARE

Tags: , , , ,

« Older entries § Newer entries »