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Newman
2011-12-19, 09:58 PM
I'm talking about fairy tales and stuff. Like what Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett keep recycling...

Dr.Epic
2011-12-19, 10:02 PM
LotR and everything directly connected to it.:smallwink:

Newman
2011-12-19, 10:13 PM
Yeah, but, I mean, how does it work? One pf the worst troubles I have when writing fiction is that I literally need everything to make sense. In real life, when something doesn't, all that means is that I don't have enough information, or that I'm looking at it wrong. But in fiction, I have everything. And I can't write fantasy without turning it into sci-fi. Because no matter how consistent you try to be with magic, in the end, at its core, it never makes sense, you'll always find out the point where the logic breaks.

And then what completely throws me is stuff like the Sandman where everything runs on dream logic and arcane obscure rules pop up where you least expect them. My brain just shuts down and ejoys the scenery.

LOTR on the other hand had it right, in that "magic" mostly felt like "technology"/"science" so advanced mortals just couldn't fathom it. It still was magic: technology doesn't have as many moral and thematic connotations.

And then there's the actual fairy tales and myths and such. I've been reading the Brothers Grimm. Their stories are WEIRD. I can't figure them out. What's the theme? What's the message? Why did Boss Frog help the Moron Prince at all?

Mauve Shirt
2011-12-19, 10:20 PM
There's no theme, it's just folklore. The Brothers Grimm didn't sit down and try to write fairy tales. They went out and gathered folk tales from areas around Europe. Nothing unifies them, except some common themes (princes, curses, god, death, etc) and the fact that the Grimms collected them.

AtlanteanTroll
2011-12-19, 10:32 PM
I'm talking about fairy tales and stuff. Like what Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett keep recycling...

What are you trying to say? Yes, Classical Fantasy exists ... But what about it? :smallconfused:

Newman
2011-12-19, 10:33 PM
Yeh but the folklore stands for something, right? What are those tales really about? What do they say about those who thought them, those who wrote them?

Tiki Snakes
2011-12-19, 10:36 PM
Many different things.

Narrow it down. Pick a story and we'll give you some (wildly inaccurate) answers.

AtlanteanTroll
2011-12-19, 10:38 PM
Yeh but the folklore stands for something, right? What are those tales really about? What do they say about those who thought them, those who wrote them?

You might want to add that to the OP. As is, it's sort of just a statement that doesn't mean anything, or at least, doesn't have much hope of getting a good response. Also, what Tiki Snakes said.

Dienekes
2011-12-19, 10:40 PM
Yeh but the folklore stands for something, right? What are those tales really about? What do they say about those who thought them, those who wrote them?

Not always. Some can just be fun little stories to entertain children. Now many do have a moral or message behind them, but it's not a universal truism.

erikun
2011-12-19, 10:44 PM
No one person wrong folklore, or even a particular tale of folklore. They are stories that have changed and adapted to the location, and are something like local myths. You wouldn't ask "Who wrong Herakles?" or "Who wrote what people say about that old mansion down the street?"

Newman
2011-12-19, 11:00 PM
63 The Three Feathers

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Once upon a time there was a king who had three sons, two of whom were clever and intelligent, but the third one did not talk very much, was simple minded, and the only name they gave him was the Simpleton.

When the king became old and weak, and thought that he was nearing his end, he did not know which of his sons should inherit the kingdom after him, so he said to them, "Go forth, and the one of you who brings me the finest carpet, he shall be king after my death."

So there would be no dispute among them, he led them to the front of his castle, blew three feathers into the air, and said, "As they fly, so shall you go."

The one feather flew to the east, the other to the west, and the third feather flew straight ahead, falling quickly to the ground after going only a short distance. The one brother went to the right, the other to the left, and they laughed at the Simpleton who had to stand there where the third feather had fallen.

The Simpleton sat down and was sad. Then he suddenly noticed that there was a trapdoor next to his feather. He lifted it up, found a stairway, and climbed down inside. He came to another door and knocked on it, upon which he heard someone calling out from within:

Maiden green and small, Hopping toad, Hopping toad's puppy, Hop to and fro, Quickly see who is outside.

The door opened, and he saw a big, fat toad sitting there, surrounded by a large number of little toads. The fat toad asked what he wanted.

The Simpleton answered, "I would like the most beautiful and finest carpet."

Then the fat toad called to a young toad, saying:

Maiden green and small, Hopping toad, Hopping toad's puppy, Hop to and fro, Bring me the large box.

The young toad brought the box, and the fat toad opened it, then gave the Simpleton a carpet from it. It was so beautiful and so fine, the like of which could never have been woven in the world above. He thanked the toad and climbed back out.

Now the other two thought that their brother was so stupid that he would not find anything to bring home.

"Why should we spend a lot of effort looking for a carpet?" they said, so they took some pieces of course cloth from the first shepherd's wife they came to, and took these back home to the king.

At the same time they returned home, the Simpleton arrived, bringing his beautiful carpet. When the king saw it, he was astounded, and said, "It is only right that the kingdom should go to my youngest son."

However, the two other sons gave their father no peace, saying that it would be impossible for the Simpleton to become king, because he lacked understanding in all things. They asked him to declare another contest.

Then the father said, "He who brings me the most beautiful ring shall inherit the kingdom." Leading the three brothers outside, he blew the three feathers into the air that they were to follow.

The two oldest brothers again went to the east and to the west, and the Simpleton's feather again flew straight ahead, falling down next to the door in the ground. Once again he climbed down to the fat toad and told it that he needed the most beautiful ring. The toad had the box brought out again and gave him from it a ring that glistened with precious stones and was so beautiful that no goldsmith on earth could have made it.

The two oldest brothers laughed at the Simpleton, who was going to look for a golden ring, and they took no effort at all. Instead, they drove the nails out of an old wagon ring and brought it to the king. However, when the Simpleton presented his ring, the king said once again, "The kingdom belongs to him."

The two oldest sons tormented the king endlessly, until finally he declared a third contest, saying that he who would bring home the most beautiful woman should have the kingdom.

Once again he blew the three feathers into the air and they flew in the same directions as before.

Without hesitating, the Simpleton went back to the fat toad and said, "I am supposed to take home the most beautiful woman."

"Oh!" answered the toad. "The most beautiful woman! She is not here at the moment, but you shall have her nonetheless."

The fat toad gave him a hollowed out yellow turnip, to which were harnessed six little mice.

The Simpleton said sadly, "What am I to do with this?"

The toad answered, "Just put one of my little toads inside it."

The he grabbed one of them from the group and set it inside the yellow coach. The little toad was scarcely inside when it turned into a beautiful young lady, the turnip into a coach, and the six mice into horses. He kissed her, raced away with the horses, and brought her to the king.

His brothers came along afterward. They had given no effort to find a beautiful woman, but simply brought along the first peasant women they had come upon.

After looking at them, the king said, "After my death the kingdom belongs to my youngest son."

However, the two oldest sons again deafened the king's ears with the cry, "We cannot allow the Simpleton to become king," and they demanded that the preference should go to the brother whose woman could jump through a hoop that was hanging in the middle of the hall.

They thought, "The peasant women will be able to do that very well. They are very strong, but the dainty lady will jump herself to death."

The old king gave in to this as well. The two peasant women did indeed jump through the hoop, but they were so plump that each one fell, breaking her thick arms and legs. Then the beautiful lady, that the Simpleton had brought home, jumped, and she jumped through the hoop as lightly as a deer.

After this all the protests had to stop. Thus the Simpleton received the crown, and he ruled wisely for a long time.

Am I the only one who sees the slew of problems with this story?

Shyftir
2011-12-19, 11:15 PM
The point of the story is clearly that you can in wisdom in simple things. Also that being smart is useless without diligence. The morals are pretty obvious don't you think?

Mewtarthio
2011-12-19, 11:37 PM
The morals are pretty obvious don't you think?

Magic frogs can fix anything. Also, if someone exceeds your expectations on a regular basis, you really should consider raising your expectations.

Zale
2011-12-19, 11:41 PM
I don't get what's wrong.

Frog Mama was just husband shoppin' for her daughter.

And she got a prince. Can't do much better than that in fairy tale land.

Newman
2011-12-19, 11:43 PM
But it falls apart at the seams! The brothers shouldn't have thought "the dummy is no competition" but "I got another brother besides the dummy and I have to do better than him!". The story behave as if they wanted to reign jointly or something. And what way is that to decide a successor? And why did the frog help him? In fact, how come the frog exists at all? And why did he want to be king in the first place? He seems like the sort that'd get stabbed in two weeks!

Moral of the story might be the same as the turtle and the hare. Don't try try to look so wise, don't try, cause you're so right, and you will hate yourself in the end. Ahem. Sorry, I mean don't get lost admring your own potential and focusing on how little others have, because with what little they have they can overcome you if only through sheer undeserved dumb luck. Plus, potential and other attributes are dumb luck in themselves, so it evens out.

In one phrase: work hard always, or lose to suckers.

Okay, here goes another one:


A woman had finished her baking, so she asked her daughter to take a fresh galette and a pot of cream to her grandmother who lived in a forest cottage. The girl set off, and on her way she met a bzou [a werewolf].

The bzou stopped the girl and asked, "Where are you going? What do you carry?" "I'm going my grandmother's house," said the girl, "and I'm bringing her bread and cream." "Which path will you take?" the bzou asked. "The Path of Needles or the Path of Pins?" "I'll take the Path of Pins," said the girl. "Why then, I'll take the Path of Needles, and we'll see who gets there first."

The girl set off, the bzou set off, and the bzou reached Grandmother's cottage first. He quickly killed the old woman and gobbled her up, flesh, blood, and bone - except for a bit of flesh that he put in a little dish on the pantry shelf, and except for a bit of blood that he drained into a little bottle. Then the bzou dressed in Grandmother's cap and shawl and climbed into bed.

When the girl arrived, the bzou called out, "Pull the peg and come in, my child." "Grandmother," said the girl, "Mother sent me here with a galette and a cream." "Put them in the pantry, child. Are you hungry? "Yes, I am, Grandmother." "Then cook the meat that you'll find on the shelf. Are you thirsty?" "Yes, I am, Grandmother." "Then drink the bottle of wine you'll find on the shelf beside it, child." As the young girl cooked and ate the meat, a little cat piped up and cried, "You are eating the flesh are your grandmother!" "Throw your shoe at that noisy cat," said the bzou, and so she did. As she drank the wine, a small bird cried, "You are drinking the blood of your grandmother!" "Throw your other shoe at that noisy bird," said the bzou, and so she did. When she finished her meal, the bzou said, "Are you tired from your journey, child? Then take off your clothes, come to bed, and I shall warm you up." "Where shall I put my apron, Grandmother?" "Throw it on the fire, child, for you won't need it anymore." "Where shall I put my bodice, Grandmother?" "Throw it on the fire, for you won't need it anymore." The girl repeats this question for her skirt, her petticoat, and her stockings. The bzou gives the same answer, and she throws each item on the fire. As she comes to bed, she says to him, "Grandmother, how hairy you are!"

"The better to keep you warm, my child," "Grandmother, what big arms you have!" "The better to hold you close, my child." "Grandmother, what big ears you have!" "The better to hear you with, my child." "Grandmother, what sharp teeth you have!" "The better to eat you with, my child. Now come and lie beside me." "But first I must go and relieve myself." "Do it in the bed, my child." "I cannot. I must go outside," the girl says cleverly, for now she knows that it's the bzou who is lying in Grandmother's bed.

"Then go outside," the bzou agrees, "but mind that you come back again quick. I'll tie your ankle with a woolen thread so I'll know just where you are." He ties her ankle with a sturdy thread, but as soon as the girl has gone outside she cuts the thread with her sewing scissors and ties it to a plum tree. The bzou, growing impatient, calls out, "What, have you finished yet, my child?" When no one answers, he calls again. "Are you watering the grass or feeding the trees?" No answer. He leaps from bed, follows the thread, and finds her gone. The bzou gives chase, and soon the girl can hear him on the path just behind her. She runs and runs until she reaches a river that's swift and deep. Some laundresses work on the river bank. "Please help me cross," she says to them. They spread a sheet over the water, holding tightly to its ends. She crosses the bridge of cloth and soon she's safe on the other side.

Now the bzou reaches the river, and he bids the women help him cross. They spread a sheet over the water — but as soon as he is halfway across, the laundresses let go. The bzou falls into the water and drowns.

Mewtarthio
2011-12-19, 11:48 PM
But it falls apart at the seams! The brothers shouldn't have thought "the dummy is no competition" but "I got another brother besides the dummy and I have to do better than him!".

Ah, but each brother knows that the other non-simpleton brother is a lazy, irresponsible bum who's doing the bare minimum to get by; thus, they don't have to try very hard to beat him! :smalltongue:

Newman
2011-12-19, 11:49 PM
i think them being smart is a bit of an informed ability...

Zale
2011-12-19, 11:53 PM
Alright, I can figure something out...


The Frog is batman. No, wait! Listen.

She masterminded this whole affair.

The Frog's motive is simple. She wants a nice husband for one of her daughters.

She decides on the youngest Prince, because he seems the least mean/nasty. So when they blow their feathers, she uses her magical powers to make the youngest's feather land near her home.

The Frog then uses her mystical abilities to ensure the Prince becomes a King, ending with her daughter marrying him.

The end result is her daughter living a cushy life with a (Doubtlessly) handsome husband, likely ruling the kingdom due to her husband's inabilities.

Makes sense to me.

Traab
2011-12-20, 12:01 AM
The first story would have made more sense with just two brothers, one "smart" one simple.

The second story was just kinda creepy. "Uh, grandma, is there a reason you want me to strip naked, burn my clothes then jump in bed with you? And why the hell are these animals talking to me?"

Vacant
2011-12-20, 12:31 AM
In the first story, the king's contest is a framing device; the goal isn't to be verisimilar, it's to give a framework for the allegorical significant/plot of the story. The frog helped him, as mentioned, to marry her daughter off to a prince. Asking why the frog exists at all is akin to asking why anything exists at all. Why does any character in any piece of fiction exist? Why would he not want to be king?

EDIT: The two wise brothers are essential for the reason Mewthario said; each can see the other for what he is, but not himself.

erikun
2011-12-20, 01:26 AM
One other thing to consider is that you are looking at these fairy tales very differently from the people who told them. For you, it's a story, and so you're criticizing the elements of the plot that could be different or better. For them, it was part of a history or lesson, and so they accepted it to be true in some way and sought to learn something from the characters.

Specifically:


Am I the only one who sees the slew of problems with this story?
You have one brother who is nice and polite, and two smart but mean brothers. By all rights, one of the two brothers should win the contest. However, the other brothers' own faults are what cause them to fail, while it is the one brother's good qualities that allow him to succeed. We can see from the nice brother that good people can succeed and be recognized for simply be considerate, even over others with talent. From the other brothers, we can see that having talent means little when you don't put it to use, that being lazy gets you nowhere, and that taking an honest look at yourself is better than an honest look at others. And from the frog bride, we see that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover (twice).


Okay, here goes another one:
Little Red Riding Hood has a pretty clear message of don't talk with strangers, mixed with don't blindly listen to others and trust your instincts (the talking animals warning her). Also, that werewolves are terrible swimmers.

Psyren
2011-12-20, 01:42 AM
The real dummy is the king. You'd think he'd know about the magic frog in his basement.

erikun
2011-12-20, 01:50 AM
Perhaps he did, and didn't want his selfish lazy sons to be the ones to succeed. :smallamused:

Although more likely, the king is just a yielding plot device to show that, even with the brothers' bluster and always getting what they want, they still manage to lose. The point, I think, is that whining about the results and never attempting to change will inevitably bring about the same conclusion.

Feytalist
2011-12-20, 02:26 AM
Way back in the day, when written language wasn't even a thing, there would be campfire stories. The elders of the community would tell stories to the children. Not to teach, but to amuse. The stories would be made up, rambling, easily acted out. In time, the grown-up children would tell the stories back to their children and grandchildren. Some they would remember, some they would make up from scratch. There being no written record, the stories would be misremembered, warped. It didn't make sense, it didn't have to make sense. These days, we call them fairy tales.

Sometimes, the children would ask questions. "Why does the buzzard fly so high?" "Why does the giraffe have such a long neck?" And thus the story of how grandfather giraffe got his long neck was born. Yes, the story is horrendously convoluted and illogical. No, it does not matter.


Aesop's tales have morals. The Orange Fairy Book's do not. Are they any worse? I, for one, don't think so. I love fairy tales.
Why didn't king Lion eat lowly brother Mouse right at the start? Otherwise there wouldn't be any story. And I'm fine with that.

Shyftir
2011-12-20, 03:13 AM
Also Fairy Tales != Classic Fantasy.

Classic Fantasy would be more in line with Homer and Beowulf, along with the Scandanavian epics and Morte 'd Arthur.

Obviously Folklore affects these things, but it's hardly the same thing.

Traab
2011-12-20, 09:13 AM
One other thing to consider is that you are looking at these fairy tales very differently from the people who told them. For you, it's a story, and so you're criticizing the elements of the plot that could be different or better. For them, it was part of a history or lesson, and so they accepted it to be true in some way and sought to learn something from the characters.

Specifically:


You have one brother who is nice and polite, and two smart but mean brothers. By all rights, one of the two brothers should win the contest. However, the other brothers' own faults are what cause them to fail, while it is the one brother's good qualities that allow him to succeed. We can see from the nice brother that good people can succeed and be recognized for simply be considerate, even over others with talent. From the other brothers, we can see that having talent means little when you don't put it to use, that being lazy gets you nowhere, and that taking an honest look at yourself is better than an honest look at others. And from the frog bride, we see that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover (twice).


Little Red Riding Hood has a pretty clear message of don't talk with strangers, mixed with don't blindly listen to others and trust your instincts (the talking animals warning her). Also, that werewolves are terrible swimmers.

The problem with little red riding hood was that it was insanely overconvoluted for no freaking reason.

1) Why didnt the werewolf just eat little red at the start?

2) Why did it matter which way she was going to go if you are that much faster than her AND already know where granny lives?

3) Why save some flesh and blood and trick a really REALLY stupid girl into eating them?

4) What the HELL was with the softcore porn in the middle?

5) Did reds glasses break or something that she cant tell the difference between her freaking GRANDMOTHER and a giant hairy werewolf?

6) Why did the werewolf let her leave after confessing he planned to eat her?

Look, im all about morals in stories and such, but that one posted was just plain stupid on too many levels to let me appreciate the lessons. It made no sense on any level. At least the first one would have made perfect sense if it was just the simpleton and a single smart brother, but even that isnt too bad. I can ignore the frog part because, while silly, its a standard part of these stories to get help from something unusual. Sort of like the end of the riding hood story with the cloth bridge. Thats also why i didnt bring up the bird and such this time around.

Newman
2011-12-20, 09:34 AM
Also Fairy Tales != Classic Fantasy.

Classic Fantasy would be more in line with Homer and Beowulf, along with the Scandanavian epics and Morte 'd Arthur.

Obviously Folklore affects these things, but it's hardly the same thing.

Well it's not like the Arthurian Cycles make much sense either. I mean, seriously, a strange pond lady gives you a sword, and this entitles you to rule over two huge islands? A guy hesistates a brief instant to do the most humiliating thing a person of their class could do for, the sake of finding their lover, and said lover gives them the cold shoulder, demanding of them quest after quest, because they had hesistated just one instant? Also, she was married, what are you doing going after a married woman, even platonically?

For some reason I have an easier time with Aesop's Fables, the Patchatantra (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panchatantra). and the Arabian Nights. Even mythologies: Greek gods may be *******s, but they're extremely human, understandable *******s. Same for greek heroes.

But folk lore... folk lore is weird...

kamikasei
2011-12-20, 09:48 AM
Folklore is an enormous, messy, layered, confusing area of study. You're not going to get a useful answer to "what's the deal?" that doesn't render the question itself largely meaningless. Folklore is what you get when myths and legends are told and retold and filtered and embellished and bowdlerized and retconned over centuries. It's basically crowdsourced fanfic with no original work, a remix culture. Any given story is going to mix together logically contradictory ideas about how the world works along with later explanations for and refutations of those contradictions. You're not going to get simple, straightforward answers. On the plus side, as a field to develop an interest in it's one that'll keep you going for a good long while.

(See also: Feytalist, above.)

Traab
2011-12-20, 09:50 AM
For some reason I have an easier time with Aesop's Fables, the Patchatantra. and the Arabian Nights. Even mythologies: Greek gods may be *******s, but they're extremely human, understandable *******s. Same for greek heroes.


Didnt zeus once decide a woman was hot, so he took the form of a BULL and seduced her? What the hell kind of twisted logic is that? Did he just want the chance to use the line, "Hey baby, im feeling horny, you want to spend the night with someone who is hung like a bull?" without any irony?

Lord Raziere
2011-12-20, 09:52 AM
Folklore is an enormous, messy, layered, confusing area of study. You're not going to get a useful answer to "what's the deal?" that doesn't render the question itself largely meaningless. Folklore is what you get when myths and legends are told and retold and filtered and embellished and bowdlerized and retconned over centuries. It's basically crowdsourced fanfic with no original work, a remix culture. Any given story is going to mix together logically contradictory ideas about how the world works along with later explanations for and refutations of those contradictions. You're not going to get simple, straightforward answers. On the plus side, as a field to develop an interest in it's one that'll keep you going for a good long while.



Like the world itself in miniature, no? :smallcool:

Newman
2011-12-20, 09:59 AM
Didnt zeus once decide a woman was hot, so he took the form of a BULL and seduced her? What the hell kind of twisted logic is that? Did he just want the chance to use the line, "Hey baby, im feeling horny, you want to spend the night with someone who is hung like a bull?" without any irony?

Zeus clearly had a thing for deviants and closet perverts. Notice how he didn't go for the mother of the Minotaur, who went out of her way to seduce actual bulls. No, he takes a normal, boring woman, living a normal, boring life, and he shows up making all her twisted secret fantasies real.

The shower of gold trick was particularly badass. I can only imagine he mutated into something that looked like molten gold but was actualy seminal or something... Nothing like what we mean nowadays with "golden shower", that's just gross.

Okay, here goes another one:


n olden times, when wishing still did some good, there lived a king whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful that the sun itself, who, indeed, has seen so much, marveled every time it shone upon her face. In the vicinity of the king's castle there was a large, dark forest, and in this forest, beneath an old linden tree, there was a well. In the heat of the day the princess would go out into the forest and sit on the edge of the cool well. To pass the time she would take a golden ball, throw it into the air, and then catch it. It was her favorite plaything.

Now one day it happened that the princess's golden ball did not fall into her hands, that she held up high, but instead it fell to the ground and rolled right into the water. The princess followed it with her eyes, but the ball disappeared, and the well was so deep that she could not see its bottom. Then she began to cry. She cried louder and louder, and she could not console herself.

As she was thus lamenting, someone called out to her, "What is the matter with you, princess? Your crying would turn a stone to pity."

She looked around to see where the voice was coming from and saw a frog, who had stuck his thick, ugly head out of the water. "Oh, it's you, old water-splasher," she said. "I am crying because my golden ball has fallen into the well."

"Be still and stop crying," answered the frog. I can help you, but what will you give me if I bring back your plaything?"

"Whatever you want, dear frog," she said, "my clothes, my pearls and precious stones, and even the golden crown that I am wearing."

The frog answered, "I do not want your clothes, your pearls and precious stones, nor your golden crown, but if you will love me and accept me as a companion and playmate, and let me sit next to you at your table and eat from your golden plate and drink from your cup and sleep in your bed, if you will promise this to me, then I'll dive down and bring your golden ball back to you."

"Oh, yes," she said, "I promise all of that to you if you will just bring the ball back to me." But she thought, "What is this stupid frog trying to say? He just sits here in the water with his own kind and croaks. He cannot be a companion to a human."

As soon as the frog heard her say "yes" he stuck his head under and dove to the bottom. He paddled back up a short time later with the golden ball in his mouth and threw it onto the grass. The princess was filled with joy when she saw her beautiful plaything once again, picked it up, and ran off.

"Wait, wait," called the frog, "take me along. I cannot run as fast as you." But what did it help him, that he croaked out after her as loudly as he could? She paid no attention to him, but instead hurried home and soon forgot the poor frog, who had to return again to his well.

The next day the princess was sitting at the table with the king and all the people of the court, and was eating from her golden plate when something came creeping up the marble steps: plip, plop, plip, plop. As soon as it reached the top, there came a knock at the door, and a voice called out, "Princess, youngest, open the door for me!"

She ran to see who was outside. She opened the door, and the frog was sitting there. Frightened, she slammed the door shut and returned to the table. The king saw that her heart was pounding and asked, "My child, why are you afraid? Is there a giant outside the door who wants to get you?"

"Oh, no," she answered. "it is a disgusting frog."

"What does the frog want from you?"

"Oh, father dear, yesterday when I was sitting near the well in the forest and playing, my golden ball fell into the water. And because I was crying so much, the frog brought it back, and because he insisted, I promised him that he could be my companion, but I didn't think that he could leave his water. But now he is just outside the door and wants to come in."

Just then there came a second knock at the door, and a voice called out:
Youngest daughter of the king,
Open up the door for me,
Don't you know what yesterday,
You said to me down by the well?
Youngest daughter of the king,
Open up the door for me.

The king said, "What you have promised, you must keep. Go and let the frog in."

She went and opened the door, and the frog hopped in, then followed her up to her chair. He sat there and called out, "Lift me up next to you."

She hesitated, until finally the king commanded her to do it. When the frog was seated next to her he said, "Now push your golden plate closer, so we can eat together."

She did it, but one could see that she did not want to. The frog enjoyed his meal, but for her every bite stuck in her throat. Finally he said, "I have eaten all I want and am tired. Now carry me to your room and make your bed so that we can go to sleep."

The princess began to cry and was afraid of the cold frog and did not dare to even touch him, and yet he was supposed to sleep in her beautiful, clean bed.

The king became angry and said, "You should not despise someone who has helped you in time of need."

She picked him up with two fingers, carried him upstairs, and set him in a corner. As she was lying in bed, he came creeping up to her and said, "I am tired, and I want to sleep as well as you do. Pick me up or I'll tell your father."

With that she became bitterly angry and threw him against the wall with all her might. "Now you will have your peace, you disgusting frog!"

But when he fell down, he was not a frog, but a prince with beautiful friendly eyes. And he was now, according to her father's will, her dear companion and husband. He told her how he had been enchanted by a wicked witch, and that she alone could have rescued him from the well, and that tomorrow they would go together to his kingdom. Then they fell asleep.

The next morning, just as the sun was waking them, a carriage pulled up, drawn by eight horses. They had white ostrich feathers on their heads and were outfitted with chains of gold. At the rear stood the young king's servant, faithful Heinrich. Faithful Heinrich had been so saddened by his master's transformation into a frog that he had had to place three iron bands around his heart to keep it from bursting in grief and sorrow. The carriage was to take the king back to his kingdom. Faithful Heinrich lifted them both inside and took his place at the rear. He was filled with joy over the redemption. After they had gone a short distance, the prince heard a crack from behind, as though something had broken.

He turned around and said, "Heinrich, the carriage is breaking apart."
No, my lord, the carriage it's not,
But one of the bands surrounding my heart,
That suffered such great pain,
When you were sitting in the well,
When you were a frog.

Once again, and then once again the prince heard a cracking sound and thought that the carriage was breaking apart, but it was the bands springing from faithful Heinrich's heart because his master was now redeemed and happy.

Eldan
2011-12-20, 10:03 AM
Didnt zeus once decide a woman was hot, so he took the form of a BULL and seduced her? What the hell kind of twisted logic is that? Did he just want the chance to use the line, "Hey baby, im feeling horny, you want to spend the night with someone who is hung like a bull?" without any irony?

Deniability towards Hera? "No, dear, that wasn't me. It was a bull."

Newman
2011-12-20, 10:11 AM
"BULLMANURE!" she'd have replied.

Now, seriously, look at that one last story. First thing we learn about the princess is that she's hot, and a princess. Nothing unusual there. Being hot, and her father's legacy, is all she's worth, back then.

Then we get to the well. Typical Nice Guy nerd-tries-to-woo-threatening-female-figure-with-gifts-and-favours. Amusingly enough, this one's somewhat unisex: remember Medea and Dido? He could have succeeded: idealistic end. Then they become friends. Very idealistic end. Or he could have failed: cynical end. She could have taken her ball and then squashed him to make sure he never reclaims her promise. Very cynical end.

What we get instead is that he manages to follow her into the castle... and knock at the door... and either the King is the weirdest in-law in history, or he really wanted to torment his daughter over something. One may assume she was a selfish, egotistic bitch despite having a principled dad. It happens in real life too.

Then the frog wants to sleep with the girl. No marriage or anything. And the dad insists he does.

Then they go up, and SHE FREAKING THROWS HIM AGAINST THE WALL.

Not only does he survive, but for some weird reason, THE SPELL IS BROKEN.

No true love's kiss, no revelation, no epiphany. She must have broken some component of the spell matrix or something.

And then he FORGIVES HER, and makes her his QUEEN.

WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO MARRY A MURDEROUS LIAR?

EDIT: Heinrich is the ancestor of Jeremiah Gottwald. I have spoken.

Traab
2011-12-20, 10:26 AM
"BULLMANURE!" she'd have replied.

Now, seriously, look at that one last story. First thing we learn about the princess is that she's hot, and a princess. Nothing unusual there. Being hot, and her father's legacy, is all she's worth, back then.

Then we get to the well. Typical Nice Guy nerd-tries-to-woo-threatening-female-figure-with-gifts-and-favours. Amusingly enough, this one's somewhat unisex: remember Medea and Dido? He could have succeeded: idealistic end. Then they become friends. Very idealistic end. Or he could have failed: cynical end. She could have taken her ball and then squashed him to make sure he never reclaims her promise. Very cynical end.

What we get instead is that he manages to follow her into the castle... and knock at the door... and either the King is the weirdest in-law in history, or he really wanted to torment his daughter over something. One may assume she was a selfish, egotistic bitch despite having a principled dad. It happens in real life too.

Then the frog wants to sleep with the girl. No marriage or anything. And the dad insists he does.

Then they go up, and SHE FREAKING THROWS HIM AGAINST THE WALL.

Not only does he survive, but for some weird reason, THE SPELL IS BROKEN.

No true love's kiss, no revelation, no epiphany. She must have broken some component of the spell matrix or something.

And then he FORGIVES HER, and makes her his QUEEN.

WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO MARRY A MURDEROUS LIAR?

EDIT: Heinrich is the ancestor of Jeremiah Gottwald. I have spoken.

Yeah, im pretty sure a few steps were skipped there. Like the frog being hurt, the princess eventually feeling bad and taking care of him, and all that redemption crap. Or did the prince get cursed along these lines?

Evil Witch: "/evil laugh And now I shall curse you! From now on you shall take the form of an ugly old frog! the only way to break this curse is to be physically assaulted by a hot spoiled princess you you rpeviously helped out in some fashion!"

"Handsome prince: "Uh, couldnt you at least make it true loves kiss? That sounds sort of painful to me."

Evil Witch: "THATS THE POINT YOU DOLT! Now SUFFER!"

Mewtarthio
2011-12-20, 10:29 AM
And then he FORGIVES HER, and makes her his QUEEN.

WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO MARRY A MURDEROUS LIAR?

Because she's a princess? I mean, what other reason could you possibly need?

Newman
2011-12-20, 10:32 AM
Because she's a princess? I mean, what other reason could you possibly need?

See, man, that's why the world is so wrong. I mean imagine reading these stories to your daughter (or son for that matter), what would she take from them? And how do you go about explaining all the subtleties of the nasty implications?

Man, thank God for Avatar The Last Airbender and Friendship Is Magic. Those are shows I feel safe showing kids without them getting horrible cultural and gender memes into their heads.

Mewtarthio
2011-12-20, 10:41 AM
See, man, that's why the world is so wrong. I mean imagine reading these stories to your daughter (or son for that matter), what would she take from them?

People don't really read that kind of story to their children anymore. Princesses are very rare these days, and marrying them generally just gets you hounded by tabloid journalists instead of ridiculous gobs of political power. The average child in a democratic society will look on the story with modern eyes, and mostly just take away the message "Fairy tales are weird." Now, if you've isolated that child from society and completely limited all external influences, using nothing more than fairy tales to form the basis of their morality, then, yes, they will be a little messed up, if that's what you're asking.

Telonius
2011-12-20, 10:43 AM
Man, thank God for Avatar The Last Airbender and Friendship Is Magic. Those are shows I feel safe showing kids without them getting horrible cultural and gender memes into their heads.

I suppose the Germans would have said something similar about the Grimm stories. Glad they had those, instead of those heathen stories about Zeus and Odin and whatnot...

Traab
2011-12-20, 10:46 AM
See, man, that's why the world is so wrong. I mean imagine reading these stories to your daughter (or son for that matter), what would she take from them? And how do you go about explaining all the subtleties of the nasty implications?

Man, thank God for Avatar The Last Airbender and Friendship Is Magic. Those are shows I feel safe showing kids without them getting horrible cultural and gender memes into their heads.

/agree, add in the redemption portion of the princess story and it actually becomes something worth reading to your kids. "See? When the princess finally learned to be a decent human being, she was rewarded with true love, and a handsome prince, and they lived happily ever after."

Instead the only lesson we learned here is, "Beat the crap out of random small creatures, maybe one of them will like it, turn into royalty, and marry you."

Newman
2011-12-20, 11:49 AM
Gimm stories are just as heathen, unless you believe in Christian frogs.

huttj509
2011-12-20, 03:45 PM
Didnt zeus once decide a woman was hot, so he took the form of a BULL and seduced her? What the hell kind of twisted logic is that? Did he just want the chance to use the line, "Hey baby, im feeling horny, you want to spend the night with someone who is hung like a bull?" without any irony?

And a swan (the product of which was Helen, that Helen, of Troy, you know the one).

And, ummm, a shower of gold.

He liked being animals a lot.

Tiki Snakes
2011-12-20, 05:46 PM
On Frog Princes;
First of all, this is clearly a not entirely subtle story on the subject of marriage, specifically the more arranged type common in all time periods other than our own.

Your new 'Companion', dear lady, may appear to be a cold, manipulative and slimey creature who you can barely stand to touch, who makes demands to sleep in the same bed with you but if you just stop being such a baby about it and do your duty(After all, you did promise), you never know. He may turn out to be your prince after-all.

Also, Via wikipedia the odder bits are quickly cleared up;


Shapeshifting

The violent act of the princess, throwing the frog against the wall, is a common folkloric trait of undoing shapeshifting magic, and not even the most violent; in The Tale of the Queen Who Sought a Drink From a Certain Well and the English The Well of the World's End, the heroine must behead the frog to transform it to a prince. See also The White Cat.[3]

Newman
2011-12-20, 06:23 PM
On Frog Princes;
First of all, this is clearly a not entirely subtle story on the subject of marriage, specifically the more arranged type common in all time periods other than our own.

Your new 'Companion', dear lady, may appear to be a cold, manipulative and slimey creature who you can barely stand to touch, who makes demands to sleep in the same bed with you but if you just stop being such a baby about it and do your duty(After all, you did promise), you never know. He may turn out to be your prince after-all.

Also, Via wikipedia the odder bits are quickly cleared up;

Wow, I totally did not see it that way. I mean, it's not like, in the story, the father had anything to do with arranging the marriage. Plus, the frog didn't manipulate her. He just demanded a hefty price for a trivial task, but she could have refused. Instead, not knowing how to deal with frustration, she chose the easy way, lied and cheated. And why does being a prince automatically make him an okay husband?

Mauve Shirt
2011-12-20, 06:30 PM
You really should change the title of this to "Fairy tales". They're not really classic fantasy.

I'm totally going to read these wonderful stories to my young children! They were good enough for me, they'll be good enough for them! :smallbiggrin: They're also getting the Oz books. Talk about weird.

Tiki Snakes
2011-12-20, 07:26 PM
Wow, I totally did not see it that way. I mean, it's not like, in the story, the father had anything to do with arranging the marriage. Plus, the frog didn't manipulate her. He just demanded a hefty price for a trivial task, but she could have refused. Instead, not knowing how to deal with frustration, she chose the easy way, lied and cheated. And why does being a prince automatically make him an okay husband?

It's almost certainly a wildly inaccurate theory but to be fair, the thing to remember with Fairy Tales is that they are deliberately obtuse and rarely state things openly. :smallsmile:

Newman
2011-12-20, 08:11 PM
On Frog Princes;
It's almost certainly a wildly inaccurate theory but to be fair, the thing to remember with Fairy Tales is that they are deliberately obtuse and rarely state things openly. this...
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4UdK0lBafM).
In my country, old people used to have a whole battery of ambiguous sayings to throw at each other, many of which were based on tales and stories everyone knew. See Pride And Prejudice and how extremely polite people were about passive-aggressively demosntrating their disapproval of relationship X or Y? Now imagine something similar, but with proverbs. You could have entire conversations going in in rhymes. Closest movie equivalent would be this...
.
It's not done anymore because, quite frankly, kids these days don't even know the proverbs nor the story. Our culture is dying and being replaced by the stuff that's catalogued in TV Tropes.

Xondoure
2011-12-21, 06:30 PM
On Frog Princes;
First of all, this is clearly a not entirely subtle story on the subject of marriage, specifically the more arranged type common in all time periods other than our own.

Your new 'Companion', dear lady, may appear to be a cold, manipulative and slimey creature who you can barely stand to touch, who makes demands to sleep in the same bed with you but if you just stop being such a baby about it and do your duty(After all, you did promise), you never know. He may turn out to be your prince after-all.

Also, Via wikipedia the odder bits are quickly cleared up;

That was how I read it as well. The whole thing made me shudder. Not that her treatment of the frog was particularly nice but that's because they're trying to associate not accepting the marriage with being heartless and cruel. Just… Ugh.

Traab
2011-12-21, 07:29 PM
That was how I read it as well. The whole thing made me shudder. Not that her treatment of the frog was particularly nice but that's because they're trying to associate not accepting the marriage with being heartless and cruel. Just… Ugh.

Well, considering that at the princess level, refusing to marry some prince or other noble could start wars over the insult, yeah, I can see the idea of a princess refusing to do her duty being seen as cruel. "I dont care if hundreds or thousands of people die, I refuse to marry that person to preserve the peace."

Xondoure
2011-12-22, 12:17 AM
Well, considering that at the princess level, refusing to marry some prince or other noble could start wars over the insult, yeah, I can see the idea of a princess refusing to do her duty being seen as cruel. "I dont care if hundreds or thousands of people die, I refuse to marry that person to preserve the peace."

Doesn't stop my disgust at the whole system.

Wardog
2011-12-23, 08:36 AM
Lots of folk-tales and legends explain the origin of various landscapes and terrain features in terms of the acts of a hero or his antagonist.

Roland tried to break his sword against a cliff to prevent it falling into the hands of his enemies, and in the process created La Brèche de Roland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Br%C3%A8che_de_Roland)

The Avon Gorge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avon_Gorge#Mythology) was dug by a giant to impress his girlfriend.

There was a Norse/Scottish myth about a hero who fought and killed a sea-serpant; a lot of the coves and channels around the North Sea were supposed carved out by the serpant in its death-throes, and the body of the monster became an island.

Various hills were supposedly formed when a giant scraped the mud off his boots.

etc.

I've recently begun to think that these sorts of legends probably originated as the ancient equivilent of Chuck Norris facts. And thinking in terms of more "modern" concepts, it strikes me that a lot of legends and folk-tales look like fan-fiction/cross-over fics based on older works.

Mistral
2011-12-23, 10:47 AM
Lots of folk-tales and legends explain the origin of various landscapes and terrain features in terms of the acts of a hero or his antagonist.

Roland tried to break his sword against a cliff to prevent it falling into the hands of his enemies, and in the process created La Brèche de Roland (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Br%C3%A8che_de_Roland)

The Avon Gorge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avon_Gorge#Mythology) was dug by a giant to impress his girlfriend.

There was a Norse/Scottish myth about a hero who fought and killed a sea-serpant; a lot of the coves and channels around the North Sea were supposed carved out by the serpant in its death-throes, and the body of the monster became an island.

Various hills were supposedly formed when a giant scraped the mud off his boots.

etc.

I've recently begun to think that these sorts of legends probably originated as the ancient equivilent of Chuck Norris facts. And thinking in terms of more "modern" concepts, it strikes me that a lot of legends and folk-tales look like fan-fiction/cross-over fics based on older works.

Paul Bunyan is also a good, if more modern example of how such folklore can come about, having such feats ascribed to him as accidentally carving out the Grand Canyon by dragging his axe behind him while walking, the ten thousand lakes being his footprints, and the Great Lakes being dug out as Babe's watering hole. For a far older example, Lancelot could basically be characterized as a self-insert Sue added into the preexisting Arthurian mythos courtesy of French troubadour tales centuries later.

Newman
2011-12-24, 10:09 AM
As far as I know, the oldest fanfic is the Aeneid, basically the Romans making up a story about how they were descended from the Trojans. Genealogy in general has been full of crap throughout history.

As for the "Hero carved landscape" bits... when I saw how big La Brêche de Roland actually was, I couldn't help but think: "Why hasn't anyone made a Sengoku-Basara style animated version of the Arthurian Mythos?"

For those who don't know about that show... it's a medieval "historical fiction" featuring the main players of the great Japanese civil war era and... well... if I could sum the concept up in one image...

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/NapoleonBike_6817.jpg

That is, all logic is abandoned for the sake of being as emotional and dramatic and awe-inspiring as possible, and characters open up canyons, dry up seas and clear the skies with their punches, not because of superpowers or training from hell, but simply as an expression of their enormous personalities. And, once you think of it, it's pretty easy to imagine chivalry stories in that light, I mean they're practically begging for it.

What fun it would be if a franchise of those was started, and once it's done doing the great classics, Roland, Arthur, Tirant Lo Blanc... do Don Quixote, reusing all the stylistic elements that'd have become standard, but playing them for laughs and drama rather than "mindless fun awesome".

The Durvin
2012-01-09, 10:08 PM
Didnt zeus once decide a woman was hot, so he took the form of a BULL and seduced her? What the hell kind of twisted logic is that? Did he just want the chance to use the line, "Hey baby, im feeling horny, you want to spend the night with someone who is hung like a bull?" without any irony?

On a meta-level, this happened because as the Greeks spread their political influence, they synchretized their deities with the local ones, and Zeus was the king, so he took over that role; that was why he had so many, uh, "consorts". And if that god happened to be, say, a cattle-deity, then, well...

But in-story, Zeus did this kind of thing because he had irresistable god-charm, but was terrified of his wife finding out. So he turned himself into a bull, and a goose, and a shower of gold--no, literal gold, you perverts--and so on.

Another problem with folklore is that it gets corrupted as the centuries go on; new tellers contort the story to support their own morals. The Grimms were pretty good about writing things down as they heard them, but Perrault added all kinds of stuff, Hans Christian Andersen got all romantic with stuff, and Joel Chandler Harris ("Uncle Remus") made the awful mistake of writing it all down in a horrifically offensive funetik-aksented dialect...so long as the black folks was a-tellin' the stories. And then there's translation problems, like how Cinderella's slipper might have been glass ("verre"), or it might have been fur ("vair")...

And while we're on the subject, if you enjoy fantasy, read the Ramayana. It's a sacred text of Hinduism, but it reads like LOTR directed by Zach Snyder or Tarsem Singh...the handsome hero and his fireball-throwing monkey sidekick must rescue his betrothed, a princess, from the hideous demon-king's island fortress. Ravana, the evil overlord of Sri Lanka, is both brilliant and ferocious; he's so smart he has ten heads just so he'd have enough brains to hold all his smartness. There's even one bit that sounds like something out of Final Fantasy--they fight a giant barrel-shaped torso that walks on its eight sword-wielding arms, and after they beat it discover that it's actually an angel-equivalent that pissed off a god and got punched so hard his head and legs were mashed into his torso. By beating him, they freed him from his curse, and he joins their party.

Anyway.

Lord Raziere
2012-01-09, 11:02 PM
well heres the thing, the magic was never the focus of the oldest tales, the oldest tales were explanations of why things are, inspired by what happened in real life, or were stories with a moral lesson behind it. the oldest tales were more about themes, and characters and what became of them as a result of their actions, the magic was just a plot device.

classic fantasy…is basically just focusing on the lesson and/or themes your teaching/exploring or whatever and have all the magic enhance things to better tell the story. so….pick a theme or a bunch of themes you want to explore, build the magic around it and you got classic fantasy.

Traab
2012-01-09, 11:37 PM
What fun it would be if a franchise of those was started, and once it's done doing the great classics, Roland, Arthur, Tirant Lo Blanc... do Don Quixote, reusing all the stylistic elements that'd have become standard, but playing them for laughs and drama rather than "mindless fun awesome".

Hmmm, I like it. Maybe do a sort of trilogy of the events to maximize the humor. For example, Every event is written in three ways. The way it actually happened, the way the bards tell it, and the way the don quixote main character saw it. As an example, take the whole black knight scene from monty pythons holy grail film.

The Way The Bards Tell It: Arthur had to fight a powerful and mysterious knight to earn the right to pass!

How Arthur Saw It: "The fearsome ogre stood in my path, grunting its rage, and slamming the earth with its club. I spurred my noble steed, Excelsior, and charged for the 12 foot tall beast! Even this dim creature was capable of recognizing my awesome might, as it threw down its club and ran for the hills! I grabbed my trumpet and blew off a mighty blast to signal my triumph, and my noble companions and I rode on towards the goal of our quest."


The Way It Really Happened: The bridge over the stream had a toll collector who wouldnt let arthur and his knights past free of charge, so they knocked the stupid peasant down and rode on.

Newman
2012-01-10, 03:15 AM
Hmmm, I like it. Maybe do a sort of trilogy of the events to maximize the humor. For example, Every event is written in three ways. The way it actually happened, the way the bards tell it, and the way the don quixote main character saw it. As an example, take the whole black knight scene from monty pythons holy grail film.

The Way The Bards Tell It: Arthur had to fight a powerful and mysterious knight to earn the right to pass!

How Arthur Saw It: "The fearsome ogre stood in my path, grunting its rage, and slamming the earth with its club. I spurred my noble steed, Excelsior, and charged for the 12 foot tall beast! Even this dim creature was capable of recognizing my awesome might, as it threw down its club and ran for the hills! I grabbed my trumpet and blew off a mighty blast to signal my triumph, and my noble companions and I rode on towards the goal of our quest."


The Way It Really Happened: The bridge over the stream had a toll collector who wouldnt let arthur and his knights past free of charge, so they knocked the stupid peasant down and rode on.

That's not quiite what I had in mind. Deconstructing and demythifying classical figures has been done to death. Reconstructing them into so much awesome that it becomes absurd could be very fun. Imagine El Cid (which already had a reconstruction in the Hollywood film), except his sword actually brings lighting and carves moutnains, and he blows enemies over as easily as Sauron did in the LOTR movie prologues. Opposed to him is the general of the Almoravid army, with the billowing, dark turbant and the black cape (so black seeing it is like gazing into an abyss) and the dark skin (not black though) and the black eyes lined with black eyeliner. The Cid would be a principles zealot, who is only credible because of his immense strength. The General would be, simply put, a Paul Mu'addib Atreides expy, a messianic figure of religious puritanism... with the Prince of Persia's acrobatic attitude to combat.

This will be a fight for the ages.

Hopeless
2012-01-10, 06:56 AM
The real dummy is the king. You'd think he'd know about the magic frog in his basement.

Or perhaps he was worried she'd turn into Granny Weatherwax!

(Bet I got her name wrong, better watch out for old ladies with iron hob nailed boots!)

Newman
2012-01-10, 01:15 PM
Or perhaps he was worried she'd turn into Granny Weatherwax!)

That's quite worrying, in fact.