Saturday, June 02, 2018

Keep It Short #22

This week I read two more stories in the Blue Fairy Book.

The Water-Lily. The Gold Spinners.
First sentence: Once upon a time, in a large forest, there lived an old woman and three maidens. They were all three beautiful, but the youngest was the fairest.

Premise/plot: Is the old woman who she seems to be or is she hiding a dark secret? Do these three maidens need to be rescued? Perhaps. The three maidens spend their days spinning gold flax into yarn. All day. Every day. They are kept in isolation from the outside world. Even when the old woman disappears on one of her trips, the three remain faithful in their work and following all the rules. All but the youngest who dares to be different. She doesn't go seeking a man...but when one stumbles upon their cottage....she's not going to ignore him either. Befriend him, she will--no matter the cost. The old woman will show her true last.

My thoughts: I liked it. I did. It was a new-to-me story.

The Terrible Head.
First sentence: Once upon a time there was a king whose only child was a girl. Now the King had been very anxious to have a son, or at least a grandson, to come after him, but he was told by a prophet whom he consulted that his own daughter's son should kill him.

Premise/plot: What won't a king do to protect himself from a prophecy about his own death? The prophecy is this: his own grandson will kill him. It appears he has two choices: keep his daughter and his future grandson close by, to ignore the prophecy, to love them as is only natural or right OR to lock up his daughter so that there isn't any chance for her to have a child. He can't--he won't--ignore the prophecy. So it's bad news for his daughter, the princess. But fate is on her side--not her fathers. As is evident again and again and again.
No man ever saw her, and she never saw even the fields and the sea, but only the sky and the sun, for there was a wide open window in the roof of the house of brass....So the Princess would sit looking up at the sky, and watching the clouds float across, and wondering whether she should ever get out of her prison. Now one day it seemed to her that the sky opened above her, and a great shower of shining gold fell through the window in the roof, and lay glittering in her room....Not very long after, the Princess had a baby, a little boy, but when the King her father heard of it he was very angry and afraid, for now the child was born that should be his death.
 After the birth of this grandson, the King decides that his daughter and grandson must be dealt with. He puts them in a brass chest and sends them floating out to sea. Surely they will die and that will be the end of it. He's found a way to live forever. Right?! Makes perfect sense.

They don't die, of course. And when he's old enough to be a man he does go on a quest. Not to kill his grandfather. Not intentionally anyway. He goes on a quest to bring back THE TERRIBLE HEAD of legend. A head that will turn anyone to stone who looks upon it.

My thoughts: So many elements of this one were familiar. I kept expecting the book to give credit where credit is due, to mention the Greek myths it is so clearly based on, but no that never happened. It essentially is the story of Perseus without any proper names of people or places.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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