Clever Gretchen/Patient Griselda (was RE: Pies)

McMullin, Elise emcmullin at
Thu Apr 6 10:35:42 EDT 2000

	Paul said:

	"I can't say without knowing what happens after she gets a job in
> kitchens, but it sounds like a story I've heard a couple of times.
> I think there's even a version of it in Jim Henson's _Storyteller_
> series.
> I always liked it because I felt that the leads *deserved* to live
> happily ever after - the heroine makes her own luck, and the hero
> finds her in the end by being observant and intelligent, not by
> carrying some stupid shoe around and hoping that the first person it
> fits will be the right one."
And Hallie said:

"You must have read this in Clever Gretchen, Elise, right?  Love that book,
except for the artwork.  CG is a collection of old fairy tales with female
heroes (to use F & H type description).  Not re-written PC versions, which
can be vile, IMO, but originals.  Tam Lin's in there too."

Hey, I didn't even know there were all these versions of it around - but we
must all be thinking of the same story.   I read it in the English Faery
Tales book I mentioned way back on the favorite books survey Nat put
together.  I came across it again as a translation from a french version.
In that version the heroine was much more delightful, charming, interested
in pretty clothes, full of sensibility.  It's possible she may have fainted
a few times in that one  =:o
I like the older version, where she is a tough cookie, better.  What gets
her in trouble is she tells her dad "I love you more than meat loves salt."
He is pretty insulted.  I recall this pronouncement by her seemed incredibly
strange and mysterious to me when I was a kid.  It made me experiment on my
dinner more than once.

There were some other stories in that book which were really powerful.  One
was The Laidly Wyrm of Spindleston Howe.  Even the title!  The Red Ettin,
Kate Crackernuts and my personal favorite - Mr. Fox.  I love Mr. Fox.  A few
years ago in one of the annual Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy
anthologies, I came across a new version of Mr. Fox - I remember the writer
was familiar, but I forget who.  I liked their version but I like the
English Faery Tales version better - it is so terse and powerful. 

Clever Gretchen sounds waaaay better than Patient Griselda!


To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list