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Books by Lawrence Light. Trivia About Too Rich to Live. No trivia or quizzes yet. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. No book I have written has ever dug so deeply into who I truly am. But - most of all - I hope you love the book! To celebrate International Women's Day, I thought I would spotlight the real and unjustly forgotten historical women whose lives I have drawn upon in my fiction. Today I am re-posting a blog about Dortchen Wild, the young woman who told the Grimm brothers many of their most famous tales and - after a long and difficult courtship - married Wilhelm Grimm.
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The Blurb From Goodreads: At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.
The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows. And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. The heroine of the tale is a young strong-willed woman named Vasya whose mother has passed on to her certain magical abilities, such as being able to see and converse with the magical spirits of the household.
When her father remarries a devout Christian woman, and a new priest begins to preach against the old beliefs, Vasya finds herself the only one who can protect her home from the gathering forces of darkness. I loved the Russian landscape, with its bitter cold winds and dark impenetrable forests, and the small details of medieval Russian life like the grandmother and children sleeping on top of the clay oven to stay warm.
Apparently she is writing another book set in the same world.
If you're interested in fairy tale retellings, check out this list of some of my favourites. Please leave a comment, I love to know what you think. The history of the Rapunzel fairy tale Wednesday, April 26, Here, for your delight, is a brief history of the tale Some early pages from my notebook.
Dortchen Wild, fairy tale teller Tuesday, March 07, I was fascinated by this, having always imagined the sources of the tales being hunchbacked old peasant women. Then I discovered that Dortchen and Wilhelm had fallen in love and - many years later — married. I knew at once that I had to tell her story! It was absolutely electrifying.
I could hardly sleep that night for excitement. Very little of her life was known — only her birth, marriage and death dates and people even argued about those. Of her own writing, there remained only a few letters and a brief autobiographical sketch that she dictated to her daughter on her death-bed. All I had to give me a sense of her inner life was the stories she told — and when she told them. Dortchen grew up next door to the Grimm brothers in the small kingdom of Hessen-Kassel. Hessen-Kassel was mashed together with a number of other small countries to become the Kingdom of Westphalia.
Napoleon put his dissolute young brother, Jerome, on the throne. He was only 22, and marked his ascension to the throne by playing leapfrog through the empty palace in his underwear. It was a dark and difficult time. Unable to find work, the two eldest boys in the Grimm family decided to collect and study the old wonder tales they had always loved so much. They were too poor to travel about and so asked friends and neighbours to tell them any old stories they knew. On 9 October — the day before the fairy tale collection was sent to the printers — Dortchen told Wilhelm another two tales.
The first was about a good sister who is given the gift of spitting gold coins, while her evil sister who is cursed to spit out snakes and toads.
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She had to tell Wilhelm her tales in secret. Kept apart by war, poverty, and patriarchal domination, the story of their forbidden romance is as full of drama, heartbreak and triumph as any fairy tale she told. I do hope that you will all find her story as fascinating as I did. Please leave a comment - I love to know what you think. Snow White Thursday, February 11, Snow White by Leilani Bustamente. The oldest seems to be the medieval Norse saga written by the 12th century poet Snorri Sturluson, which sets the tale in the time of Harald Fairhair in the 9th century.
When Snow-Beauty died, however, her body did not rot and her cheeks were as rosy as they had ever been. The king sat beside her, thinking she would soon come back to life.
He sat so for three years, neglecting all his kingly duties, until his wise councillor bade him lift up the dead queen so they could change the bedclothes below her. As soon as she was lifted up, a rank smell of rotting rose with her, the body turned blue, and worms and adders and frogs and toads crawled out.
So she was burned, and the king returned to his wits. A young woman became pregnant after swallowing a rose petal. She sent her daughter, named Lisa, to the fairies to give her good luck charms. However, the last fairy slipped and twisted her foot as she was running to see the child, and uttered a curse against her - when the child was seven, her mother would leave a comb in her hair, from which the child would perish.
At seven, the child died in this manner.
The mother lamented bitterly, and encased the body in seven caskets of crystal, each one within the other, which she put in a distant room and locked, keeping the key in her pocket. When she was dying, she gave the key to her brother, begging him to never open the last room in the house. The brother was faithful, but when he left on a hunting party, he gave the keys to his wife, telling her not to open the last room. The wife grew suspicious, and opened the forbidden chamber. Lisa had grown into a woman in her sleep, the caskets lengthening with her, and the wife found a beautiful woman hidden in the caskets.
Convinced she was her husband's mistress, she opened the caskets and dragged Lisa out by the hair, causing the comb to drop and Lisa to awake.
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The jealous wife began to beat Lisa, tearing her hair and clothes, giving her bruises all over, and kept her as a slave. One day the husband was going out of town again, and asked everyone in the household what presents they would like him to bring them, "even the cats. Lisa demanded a doll, a knife, and a pumice-stone, and added that if the husband forgot them, he would be unable to cross the first river he came to on his return.
The husband did initially forget the gifts, but upon being unable to cross water on his way home, he remembered, and bought the gifts for Lisa. When Lisa had her doll, she began to tell the doll her story, which the husband overheard. Lisa was weeping and sharpening her knife, telling the doll, "Answer me, dolly, or I will kill myself with this knife.
Fear & Greed
He then drove his cruel wife away and gave Lisa a husband of her own choice. Of most interest here, in regards to Snow-White, are the poisoned comb and the seven crystal caskets - motifs which later appear in Snow-White. However, this story also shares motifs with Sleeping Beauty the fairy's curse , Bluebeard the forbidden room , Cinderella the girl used as a slave , Beauty and the Beast requests for gifts and even the Goose Girl telling her tale to an inanimate object.
Snow White - John Dickson Batten. In this version, there is no huntsman — the Queen takes her daughter into the forest to gather roses and then abandons her there. A fuller version of the tale was then collected by the Grimm Brothers from three sisters — Marie, Jeannette and Amalie Hassenpflug - who lived near the brothers in the small town of Cassel.
Their version was published in the first edition of tales in The story begins with a queen who sits sewing by the window in winter. She pricks her finger with her needle, causing three drops of blood to fall on to the snow on the black windowsill. Admiring the beauty of the colours, she says to herself, "Oh how I wish that I had a daughter with skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony".
Illustration by Charles Santore from a gorgeous picture book of Snow White. Soon after that, the Queen gives birth to a baby girl who is named her 'Snow White' for her rare colouring. As the child grows her beauty makes her mother jealous.