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Fairytales

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Sean King

on 29 August 2013

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Transcript of Fairytales

Folklore, Fairytales and the Macabre

by
Sean King

Fairy tale
Noun.
1. A fanciful tale of legendary deeds and creatures, usually intended for children.
2. A fictitious, highly fanciful story or explanation.

What is a fairy tale?
A fairy tale (pronounced /ˈfeəriˌteɪl/) is a type of short story that typically features folkloric fantasy characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants, mermaids, or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. Fairy tales may be distinguished from other folk narratives such as legends (which generally involve belief in the events described) and explicitly moral tales, including beast fables.
The older fairy tales were intended for an audience of adults, as well as children, but they were associated with children; the Brothers Grimm titled their collection Children's and Household Tales, and the link with children has only grown stronger with time.
Although the fairy tale is a distinct genre within the larger category of folktale, one universally agreed-upon matter is that fairy tales do not require fairies. (The term itself comes from the translation of Madame D'Aulnoy's conte de fées, first used in her collection in 1697.)
Originally, stories that we would now call fairy tales were not marked out as a separate genre. The German term "Märchen" stems from the old German word "Mär", which means story or tale. The word "Märchen" is the diminutive of the word "Mär", therefore it means a "little story".
Together with the common beginning "once upon a time" it means a fairy tale or a märchen was originally a little story from long time ago, when the world was still magic.
Roots of the genre come from different oral stories passed down in European cultures. The genre was first marked out by writers of the Renaissance, such as Giovanni Francesco Straparola and Giambattista Basile, and stabilized through the works of later collectors such as Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm.
In this evolution, the name 'fairy tale' was coined when the précieuses (French writers) took up writing literary stories; Madame d'Aulnoy invented the term conte de fée, or fairy tale, in the late 17th century.
Charles Perrault laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, with his works derived from pre-existing folk tales. The best known of his tales include Beauty and the Beast, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Puss in Boots, Bluebeard and Sleeping beauty. Many of Perrault's stories were rewritten by the Brothers Grimm.
Folk•lore
Noun.
1. The traditional beliefs, myths, tales, and practices of a people, transmitted orally.
2. The comparative study of folk knowledge and culture. Also called folkloristics.
The Brothers Grimm are best known for the fairy tales Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, The Frog Prince, Rapunzel, Cinderella and little red riding hood amongst others...
Another well known writer of fairy tales is Hans Christian Anderson. Unlike the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault, who took their stories from pre-existing folk tales, Hans Christian Anderson wrote original stories...
Some of Hans Christian Anderson's original stories include The Emperor's New Clothes, The Ice-Maiden, The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Pea, Thumbelina, and The Ugly Duckling, to name but a few.

Other famous fairy tales or what are more commonly referred to as folk tales have a much older origin. For example, Aladdin, is an old tale from the Arabic collection One thousand and one nights. It is one of many tales That has been adapted and updated by Disney
Another source of old folk tales can be found in Aesop's fables which were made popular by Jean de la Fontaine. These include the following-
Some of the most well known Aesop tales include - the boy who cried wolf, the tortoise and the hare, Androcles and the lion, the wolf and the crane, the fox and the crow as well as the lion and the mouse.
These fables were made popular
again by La Fontaine who published
a number of books between
1668 - 1694.
Many well known and much loved fairy tales are originally a lot scarier than the versions we know today through Walt Disney films and other modern interpretations...
Top 8 macabre details ignored by modern fairytales...
8. Rumpelstiltskin commits suicide.
It's common knowledge that after the miller's daughter-turned-queen guesses Rumpelstiltskin's true name, he's tremendously unhappy and disappears thanks to some unspoken magical restraining order. But in Margaret Hunt's 1884 translation of the Brothers Grimm, the impish gold-spinner leaves this plane of existence in a truly conversation-stopping manner:
"The devil has told you that! the devil has told you that!" cried the little man, and in his anger he plunged his right foot so deep into the earth that his whole leg went in; and then in rage he pulled at his left leg so hard with both hands that he tore himself in two...

7. Goldilocks is a wisened criminal.
She broke into the house of the
three bears and stole their food...
6. The Frog King has the magic beat out of him
True love's kiss doesn't always break amphibious curses. No, some earlier versions of The Frog King saw the princess chuck the needy croaker against the wall as hard as possible.
5. In Beauty and the beast, Beauty's jealous sisters conspire to see her eaten alive.
The 1757 version of Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont contained Beauty's two unpleasant sisters who plotted to see Beauty digested by the Beast while the former was on sabbatical from the latter's magic castle. "Sister," said the oldest, "a thought just strikes my mind; let us endeavor to detain her above a week, and perhaps the silly monster will be so enraged at her for breaking her word, that he will devour her."

4. Hansel and Gretel had murderous parents.
Everyone remembers the trail of breadcrumbs and the gingerbread house, but it's often glossed over that Hansel and Gretel's parents dump them in the forest because the family's starving to death during a famine. Their mother concocts this scheme, and by the time the children return from their candy cottage hostage crisis, she's inexplicably dead.

3. The prince from Rapunzel attempts suicide, goes blind
Upon learning that Rapunzel has been shorn and exiled from her tower by the evil sorceress, the noble prince tosses himself to his doom, instead goes blind when he falls face-first into the brambles, and wanders the wilderness, subsisting on grass and roots. He regains his sight after Rapunzel fires some magic tears squarely into his eyes.

Many versions of Rapunzel also leave out the fact that she is pregnant...
2. The Little Mermaid is in constant pain, contemplates murder, dies
Hans Christian Andersen's 1837 original tale of The Little Mermaid was completely devoid of calypso-singing crustaceans and a conventionally happy ending.
Instead the protagonist mermaid trades her tongue (it's chopped off) and fins for human legs that feel like they're constantly being stabbed with knives.
After the prince marries another woman, the mermaid considers stabbing him to death so that his blood will magically transform her back into an icthyosapien.
She rejects this plan, melts into sea foam, and becomes a "daughter of the air".

1. Cinderella's evil stepsisters mutilate their feet.
We all know that Cinderella's nasty relations try to hoodwink the prince by cramming their feet into the glass slipper. What you may not remember is that these two sisters chopped off their toes and heels to win to try and fit into the slipper to win his affections....

Group discussion
Discuss your favourite fairytales
Exercise

Watch and read 'The Stubborn Child' by the Brothers Grimm and answer the questions in pairs
1. Was the child buried alive?
2. What is the purpose of this story?
3. Is there a difference between “boy stories” and “girl stories” in fairy tales?

Modern fairy tales often have an
emphasis on the scary and night mare qualities of stories... Watch Street of Crocodiles by the Brothers Quay, adapted from a polish short story, this might be considerd as a Post-Modern Fairytale...
Having seen the short film
consider the following questions -
1. Do fairy tales reflect child or adult values?
2. What can we learn from fairytales?
3. What do fairy tales teach us about the nature of good and evil?
4. Should all fairy tales have happy endings?

Macabre
adjective
Disturbing because concerned with or causing a fear of death.

Fairy tales are always being updated for modern audiences. The film Shrek is an example of this. In groups, tell the following tales in your own words

1. Cinderella
2. Little red riding hood
3. Three little pigs
4. Hansel and gretel
5. Snow white
6. Sleeping beauty
Thank you!
Full transcript