Once upon a time, there worked a young woman in a newspaper office, who thoroughly loved to travel…okay, so that’s probably not much of a fairy tale—though I do really enjoy my job and I have been blessed with many travel opportunities.
Recently at the office, fairy tales were a topic of discussion so they are fresh on my mind--and a lovely novel with a spin on Snow White was released yesterday by my sweet writer friend, Melanie Dickerson. It's called "The Fairest Beauty."
A daring rescue. A difficult choice. Sophie desperately wants to get away from her stepmother's jealousy, and believes escape is her only chance to be happy. Then a young man named Gabe arrives from Hagenheim Castle, claiming she is betrothed to his older brother, and everything twists upside down. This could be Sophie's one chance at freedom---but can she trust another person to keep her safe?
Dickerson has once again crafted a beguiling tale in her third novel, which intertwines romance, adventure, and faith with a twist on a classic story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to women of all ages--especially if, like me, you're enjoying episodes of "Once Upon a Time."
Now...back to the story at hand. When my co-workers and I discussed fairy tales, we ended up mixing up a lot of them. So was the girl who pricked her finger on the spinning wheel the one about Rumpelstiltskin or was that the princess with the pea?
To set the record straight—because sometimes things just bug you until you find out, we consulted an old copy of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” that a co-worker has had since childhood.
We were introduced to several tales we had long forgotten about, such as Rumpelstiltskin, The Princess and the Pea, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel. Three of their tales that are a little different from their Disney counterparts are: Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty), Cinderella and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
Other tales that I am familiar with, but had forgotten were: Han Christian Anderson’s “The Ugly Duckling” about a baby duckling that is teased for his differences to the other ducks until he grows up and realizes that he’s actually a beautiful swan and “Thumbelina” about a miniature girl who is kidnapped by a toad and then discovers a fairy prince just her size, who rescues her.
As I looked the classics up, I thought of some of our Louisiana fairy tales/folk lore and began searching them out too. One of them is called “Jean Sot Guards the Door.”
“One day, Jean Sot's mother wanted to go to town. ‘Now Jean,’ she said, ‘I want you to guard the door.’ ‘Yes, Mama,’ Jean Sot agreed. Jean's mother left for town. Jean waited and waited for her to get back. But she was gone a very long time. Jean got worried, and decided to look for her. But he remembered he had promised to guard the door. So Jean took the door off of its hinges and carried it on his back when he went to look for his mother.
Along the way, Jean Sot saw some robbers coming along the path, carrying a heavy sack of money. Jean Sot was frightened. He adjusted the door on his back as best as he could and climbed up a nearby tree to wait for the robbers to go by. But the robbers stopped underneath the tree! They sat down and began to count their money. The chief robber counted out the money for each man, saying: ‘This is for you, and this is for you, and this is for you.’ ‘And that one's for me,’ Jean Sot cried. The robbers were startled. They looked around, but couldn't see anyone. The chief robber began counting again: ‘This is for you, and this is for you, and this is for you.’
Again, Jean Sot said: ‘That one's for me!’ ‘Who is that?’ called the chief robber. ‘I will wring his fool neck!’ Jean Sot was so scared he began to shake, and the door fell off his back and down onto the robbers. ‘The Devil is throwing doors at us!’ shouted one of the robbers. They were so frightened that all the robbers ran away without their money. So Jean Sot climbed down the tree, picked up the money and the door and took them home to his mother.”
Fascinating...not only are there prominent morals and lessons to be gained from many fairy tales and folk tales, but there is the thrill of entertainment and a sense of pride in the stories infused with local culture that are passed down year after year to a new generation of children waiting to be inspired.
For more information on Dickerson's novels wih twists of faith on several classic fairy tales, visit her website here. See her new book's feature in USA Today here. Congrats on your new release, Melanie!
What is your favorite fairy tale? For writers, do your stories tend to have a moral or lesson?