Sunday, August 29, 2010

Holmes and fairy tales!

Hi, everyone! It's been raining for three days straight now and I'm longing for some sunshine. I've spent the weekend shopping for upcoming birthdays and lounging around watching The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection on DVD starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.

I've also finished reading The Complete Fairy Tales by Charles Perrault. My favorite tales were Tufty Ricky and Bluebeard as I've never read them before. The morals for each story in the collection were interesting. Tufty Ricky's morals:

"This tale is not so very fanciful
For what's true is true forever;
Those we love are always beautiful,
Those we love are always clever."

"Though nature paints some people's features
In lovely tints beyond the reach of art,
Still there's something hidden in all creatures
For love to find, and melt the heart."

Bluebeard is a strange tale of a nobleman with a blue beard who marries several times, but no one knows where his wives are. He marries a young lady in the village with strict instructions that she can have everything and do anything, but she must never use his house key to open a forbidden room. He goes away for several weeks and the lady's curiosity gets the better of her. She opens the door to find the bodies of Bluebeard's previous wives hanging from the wall.

She tries to hide the fact that she has been in the room, but the key is her downfall. It is a magic key that stains with blood when the door is opened, the blood cannot be washed off. When her husband finds out that she has disobeyed him, he says that he must kill her. Luckily, her brothers come at the last moment and kill Bluebeard. She inherits his fortune and land. She uses her money to help her family and eventually marries a good man.

One moral of the story:

"Curiosity has its lure,
But all the same
It's a paltry kind of pleasure
And a risky game.
The thrill of peeping is soon over;
And then the cost is to discover."

It is quite an odd tale that doesn't explain the matter of his dead wives or his blue beard. Academics have theorized that the tale might be based on Gilles de Rais or Conomor the Accursed who were known for their cruelty.

Always a favorite with children, fairy tales were originally intended for adults while children were a secondary audience. Fairy tales began to be adapted for children in the 19th and 20th centuries.

An example of a tale that every child knows, but was intended for adults is Little Red Riding Hood. Based on earlier oral stories, Charles Perrault wrote a version of the story in 1697 to be included in his Tales of Mother Goose. His intended audience could have well been the court of Louis XIV, especially with the second part of his moral for the tale.

"And this warning take, I beg:
Not every wolf runs on four legs.
The smooth tongue of a smooth-skinned creature
May mask a rough and wolfish nature.
These quiet types, for all their charm,
Can be the cause of the worse harm."

I loved reading fairy tales as a child. My favorites were the 'Fairy Books' by Andrew Lang. Unfortunately, my local libraries only have two books from that series left in their holdings today, The Rainbow Book of Fairy Book and The Yellow Book of Fairy Book.

Re-reading fairy tales as an adult is just as enjoyable. The morals of the story take on a different meaning for you as an adult than they did as a child.

Take some time and have fun re-reading some fairy tales!

Until next time ^____^

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