Sammy the Magical Flying Pig and I were web trawling today after watching Diane Lane being super-yummy in Unfaithful. Although adultery sorta rubs me the wrong way. But! That is a discussion for another time. Instead, let’s talk about fairy tales!
Now then. I was a little bored today (renewing one’s driver’s license, and waiting in a long, long line is never a picnic). So, I found two very interesting sites which I hope you all might enjoy.
The first one is a website called Trivia Park (doesn’t look promising, huh?) which very surprisingly has a rather intricate quiz on Fairy Tales that is actually very interesting. Did you know that Little Red Riding Hood was originally called ‘Biddy’ (Biddy?! HA!) in the earlier English translations? I scored 23/24, but not without scratching my head a few times. I highly recommend this quiz!
Site number two is something of a fairy-tale inside joke. It creates a make-your-own (rather nonsensical) adventure based on Vladimir Propp’s Fairy Tale Morphology. Propp believed that fairy tales were made up of a certain number of actions, and that to create a fairy tale, one merely had to choose the actions. This Proppian Fairy Tale Generator pokes light fun at Propp by letting you choose your own actions, and see what the generator comes up with. It also features the “storylines” of some classic tales like Cinderella, Snow White, and Little Red Riding Hood. Try it out! Here are the variables I put in: reconnaisance, trickery, villainy, receipt of a magical agent, struggle, pursuit, punishment, and wedding.
And here’s the (admittedly creative) response I got:
“Where did you get those shoes?” he asked me.
One of them who came forward looked nothing like the others. She was dressed in white fluff and smelled clean. Her eyes were like a child’s. “I’m in need of assistance,” she said softly. “I need some help and I think you can help me.”
As the cinnamon fell on my eyelids I felt a burden shift onto my shoulders. I could not open my eyes but could tell my knees were sunk halfway into the weak soil. I heard the old woman exhaust her laughter into my ears, filling them with tones of mockery and deceit.
The little man handed what looked like a small wooden piccolo. The small, thin object looked old but not dusty like the man’s worn garments. “A single note from this musical stick will bring rain from the heavens to satisfy this thirsty land,” the little man said to me. “But heed my words, should you be tempted to produce sweet melodies to entertain yourself and those around you, mother nature will heighten the aching of the earth around you: the sky will heave torrents of rain producing a monsoon that will be echoed by the quaking of the earth as it splits, spewing forth fiery magma that will consume you and your vanity.
As I approached the top of the mountain a white spectacle blinded me for an instant. When I blinked again I saw a white dragon shifting over the mountain like a layer of foam riding ocean waves. I could tell by its movement that it was a territorial creature; I could tell that it would fight me before allowing me to press further.
With each step I took, the people of soil tried to clench my feet harder and began to pull me down.
Suddenly a swarm of angry vultures swooped upon the ogre and began to peck at every pore and crevice of his body. Together, a mass of flapping and buzzing around a core of struggling flesh, they danced a violent dance. His pitiful screams were drowned in a sea of hundreds of angry screeches and the sounds of countless beaks piercing flesh. I ran from this bloody scene as quickly as I could.
I was offered a place in the palace, but I could not accept. I wanted to be with the mountain; I felt it move under my skin as I knew part of me was in the mountain too.
…Vladimir Propp, please don’t take it too harshly. You meant well.