Fairy Tales/Chaucer

Courtney M Eckhardt cme at MIT.EDU
Thu Apr 6 17:44:49 EDT 2000


In message <Pine.GSO.4.10.10004061625290.9178-100000 at log3.in.utoronto.ca>, alex
andra.bolintineanu at utoronto.ca writes:
>> 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.
>
>Ooh, it would be lovely if you could dig up the title--the names of the
>stories sound absolutely and positively enthralling.
>
>> 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.
>
>Indeed, if you should remember the title, I would be immensely and soppily
>beholden to you.  There is nothing finer on earth than a truly fine
>fairy-tale.

I remember these stories being in a book that my parents gave me when I   
was very small, called merely English Fairy Tales.  In fact, a search on
Powell's yeilded this result, with a pic of the binding that I had:
http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?inkey=1-048621818x-3

><  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. 
>
>If the new version was poem-like and harped on the formula "be thou bold,
>but not too bold" (how deliciously sinister), then it must have been the
>amazing Neil Gaiman.  (I've finally assented, after many friendly
>entreaties, to discover the Sandman series; and oh how FABULOUS those
>stories are--powerfully imaginative, stirring, disturbing, learned, and
>altogether delicious.)

"...lest thy heart's blood should run cold"? :)

This story was in one of the fairy-tale-retellings anthologies compilied
by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling.  There exist five of them now, with
beauteous dreamy cover paintings.  The stories are all retellings or
adaptations of old fairy tales or new fairy tales inspired by legends and
mythology.  The titles that I can remember are

Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears
Black Thorn, White Rose
Snow White, Blood Red

They're called "fairy tales for adults"; they're often dark, don't always
have happy endings, and they are populated with three-dimensional people
like the Gretchen mentioned above.  I love them, and can't wait for the
most recent two to come out in small paperback (since the large paperback
versions with bigger versions of gorgeous cover paintings are too
expensive, sniff).

Another collection that I like for fairy tales with real people is a book
called Feminist Fairy Tales by Barbara Walker.  The stories had very few
men in them, as one might expect, but they also (for the most part)
featured real women who had faults and virtues, not super-feminist
idealized perfect wymin (can you tell I dislike rabid feminists? ;).
Another thing that I loved about this book was that each story had about
three paragraphs preceding it written by the author that explained the
legends that the author dres from in her story, which included an amazing
amount of cultural history.

Courtney, wildly off-topic
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