goble, frog prince

Pandora & Idol Voting Up

Idol voting has gone up for the week. I'm in the bottom few votes of tribe RM so far...

Since my entry, mshades ' entry, and bewize 's entry have all talked about Pandora, I thought these might be appropriate. All are late-nineteeth/early-twentieth century works by British artists.

Henry Meynell Rheam, Study for Pandora, 1902

I find it interesting that in this painting, Pandora looks inevitably drawn to the jar, while in the Rosetti (below), she is a touch sad, but calm and resigned--the whole painting has a very fateful feel to me.

Dante Gabriel Rosetti, Pandora, 1879

John William Waterhouse, Pandora, 1896

Usually, I find Waterhouse's work overripe (think La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Apollo and Daphne), but I find this painting, with its whisper of escape, with Pandora's bare feet and bare shoulder, with her almost hunted-yet-still-drawn look perfect.

Henriette Rae, Pandora, 1894

This so very early twentieth century fairy painting that while it may not be exactly suited to Greek myth, I find it haunting, arresting even. Perhaps it's the photorealism of the model's face--I'm not sure. But I'm drawn to the picture all the same.



The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Mary Blair, and Voting

therealljidol has the voting list up again. If you liked Fat--I'm in Tribe Four, and you don't have to be a member of the community to vote this time around. Oh, and you can vote here. (It'll be good practice for November 9th.)

In other news...
He saw the walls of the church dimly glaring under the trees beyond. He recollected the place where Brom Bones's ghostly competitor had disappeared. "If I can but reach that bridge," thought Ichabod, "I am safe." Just then he heard the black steed panting and blowing close behind him; he even fancied that he felt his hot breath.

---From The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving

Mary Blair was a very influential animation artist who provided concept art for a number of Disney works including Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and, of course, Cinderella. She even influenced the design of the It's a Small World attraction at Disney!

Blair also worked as a children's illustrator, working on such titles as I Can Fly by Ruth Krauss (The Carrot Seed) and was posthumously honoured as a Disney Legend in 1991.

Check out some of her Cinderella work over at the Fees blog, or in the lovely Peko_chan's Mary Blair gallery.

goble, frog prince

Fairy Tale Friday: The Love of the Three Pomegranates

Melagrana frutto, Pomegranate fruit, Granatapfel-Frucht, by Pizzodisevo

This story is excerpted from Italo Calvino's marvellous Italian Folktales (translated by George Martin). It's from Abruzzo, and is a variant of the better known The Love of the Three Oranges. It's also part of the new Pomegranate Project (and possibly wiki) we're going to be starting over at Les Bonnes Fees.

Also, voting is up at therealljidol. If you liked my open topic entry this week, Fat, a play in one act, mosey on over and vote for me here.


A king’s son was eating at the dinner table. While slicing the ricotta, he cut his finger, and a drop of blood fell on the white cheese. He said to his mother, “Mamma, I would like a wife white like milk and red like blood.”

“Why, my son, whoever is white is certainly not red, and whoever is red is by no means white. But go out all the dame and see if you can find such a girl.”

The son set out. After some distance he met a woman, who asked, “Where are you going, young man?”

“How can I confide my secret to a woman? The very idea!”

On and on he went, and met a little old man, who asked, “Where are you going, young man?”

“You I’ll tell, respected sir, who will certainly ear further of me. I’m seeking a girl both milk-white and blood-red.”

“My son, whoever is white is not red, and whoever is red is not white. Take these three pomegranates, however. Open them and see what comes out. But do so only beside the fountain.”

The youth opened a pomegranate, and out jumped a very beautiful girl white like milk and red like blood, who immediately cried:
“Dear young man, bring me some water,
Otherwise I’m Mother’s dead daughter!”

The young man dipped up water in the hollow of his hand and offered it to her, but he was too late: the beautiful creature was dead.

He opened another pomegranate, and out jumped another beautiful girl, saying:

“Dear young man, bring me some water,
Otherwise I’m Mother’s dead daughter!”

He brought her water, but she was already dead.

He opened the third pomegranate, and out jumped a girl still more beautiful than the other two. The young man threw water in her face, and she lived.

She was as naked as the day her mother gave birth to her, so the young man threw his own cloak over her, saying, “Climb this tree while I go for clothes to dress you in and a carriage to take you to the palace.”

The girl remained in the tree beside the fountain. Now every day, this fountain was visited by the ugly Saracen[1] woman, who came there for water. As she went to dip up water with her earthen pot, she saw the maiden’s face reflected on the surface of the fountain from the tree, and sighed:

“Why must I, who am so beautiful,
Trudge home with water by the potful?”

At that, she slammed the pot down, smashing it to smithereens. When she got home, her mistress said, “Ugly Saracen, how dare you return with no water and no crock!” She therefore picked up another earthen pot and returned to the fountain, where she again saw that image in the water. “Ah, I am truly beautiful!” she said to herself, adding:

“Why must I, who am so beautiful,
Trudge home with water by the potful?”

Again she slammed down the crock. Again her mistress scolded her. Again she went to the fountain and smashed still another pot. Up to then the maiden had merely looked on from the tree, but now she had to laugh.

Ugly Saracen looked up and saw her. “Oh, it’s you? You are the one who made me smash three pots to smithereens? But you are truly beautiful~ just a minute, I want to do your hair for you.”

The maiden was reluctant to come down the tree, but Ugly Saracen insisted. “Let me dress our hair, so that you will be still more beautiful.”

Helping her down, Ugly Saracen undid the maiden’s hair and found a hairpin, which she thrust into the poor girl’s ear. A drop of blood fell from the maiden, then she died. But when the drop of blood hit the ground, it changed into a wood pigeon, which flew away.

Ugly Saracen went and settled in the tree. The king’s son returned in the carriage and, seeing her, said, “You were milk-white and blood-red when I left you. How on earth did you become so dark?”

Ugly Saracen replied:

“Out came the sun
And made me dun.”

“But how could your voice have changed so?” asked the king’s son.

She replied:
“The wind came up,
My voice came down.”

“But you were so beautiful, and now you are so ugly!” said the king’s son.

She replied:
“Also rose the breeze
And caused my face to freeze.”

That was that. He took her into the carriage and carried her home.

From the moment Ugly Saracen settled down in the palace as the wife of the king’s son, the wood pigeon would alight on the kitchen window ledge every morning and say to the cook:
“Cook, O cook of the cursed kitchen,
Tell me, tell me
What the king is doing with old Ugly Saracen.”

He eats, drinks, and sleeps,” replied the cook.

The wood pigeon said:
“Please, a bit of soup for me,
And plumes of gold I will give thee.”

The cook served her a plate of soup, and the wood pigeon gave a little shake and shed a few feathers of gold. Then she flew off.

The next morning she was back:
“Cook, O cook of the cursed kitchen,
Tell me, tell me
What the king is doing with old Ugly Saracen.”

“He eats, drinks, and sleeps,” replied the cook.

“Please, a bit of soup for me,
And plumes of gold I will give thee.”

She ate her soup, and the cook took the golden feathers.

A little later, the cook decided to go to the king with the whole story. The king listened carefully, and replied, “Tomorrow when the wood pigeon returns, catch it and bring it to me. I shall keep it.”

Ugly Saracen, who had eavesdropped and heard everything, knew only too well that the wood pigeon would be her undoing, so next morning she beat the cook to the window when the pigeon lit, pierced it through with a spit and killed it.

The wood pigeon died, but a drop of blood fell in the garden and right there a pomegranate tree sprang up at once.

This tree had the magic property that whoever was dying and ate one of its pomegranates got well. And there was always a long line of people begging Ugly Saracen for a pomegranate.

Finally only one pomegranate remained on the tree, the biggest one of all, and Ugly Saracen announced: “I will keep this one for myself.”

An old woman came to her, asking, “Will you give me that pomegranate? My husband is dying.”

“I have only one left, and I am keeping it for decoration,” replied Ugly Saracen, but the king’s son objected. “Poor old thing, her husband is dying, you can’t refuse her.”

So the old woman went back home with the pomegranate. She got home and found her husband already dead. “That means I keep the pomegranate for decoration,” she told herself.

Every morning the old woman went to Mass. And while she was at Mass, the girl would come out of the pomegranate, light the fire, sweep the house, do the cooking, and set the table. Then she would go back inside the pomegranate. Finding everything in order upon her return, the old woman was baffled.

One morning she went to confession and told her confessor all about it. He replied, “Know what you should do? Tomorrow morning pretend to go out to Mass, but hide somewhere at home instead. That way you’ll see who’s doing all your housekeeping.”

The next morning the old woman pretended to leave the house, but stopped outside the door. The maiden emerged from the pomegranate and started on the housework and the cooking. The old woman came back in and caught the girl before she could reenter [sic]the pomegranate.

“Where do you come from?” asked the old woman.

“Peace to you, ma’am, don’t kill me, don’t kill me!”

“I’m not going to kill you, but I want to know where you come from.”

“I live inside the pomegranate…” And she related her story.

The old woman dressed her in peasant garb like her own, since the maiden was still as naked as the day she was born, and on Sunday took her to Mass with her. The king’s son was also at Mass and saw her. “My heavens!” he exclaimed. “I do believe that’s the maiden I met at the fountain!” So he lay in wait for the old woman on the road.

“Tell me where that maiden came from!”

“Don’t kill me!” whimpered the old woman.

“Don’t worry, I only want to know where she comes from.”

“She comes from the pomegranate you gave me.”

“She was in a pomegranate too?” exclaimed the king’s son, who turned to the maiden and asked, “How on earth did you get into a pomegranate?” And she told him everything.

He returned to the palace with the girl, and had her tell the whole story once more in front of Ugly Saracen.

“Did you hear that?” the king’s son asked Ugly Saracen when the girl had finished her tale. “I don’t want to be the one to condemn you to death. Condemn yourself.”

As there was now no way out, Ugly Saracen said, “Coat me with pitch and burn me to death in the centre of the town square.”

So it was done, and the king’s son married the maiden.


goble, frog prince

Yet again...

Voting is up.

In other news, my computer is dying a slow, languorous death. I lost about three hundred words of work today which, fortunately, is not as bad as it could have been.

And now, bed. I'm doing the Tufts 10K on Monday, so I'm attempting to be healthy in the lead up to it.

Finally--there'll be a Fairy Tale Friday at the end of the coming week!


Bliss...LJ Idol, Topic Three

LJ idol
Week Three
Topic Three: A Moment of Bliss

Even across the room, I see them, vultures circling a carcass. First,  coke-bottle glasses lady, her wrinkled hands shoving books into a box, her tiny raisin eyes glaring at the crowd. Then the tall, grey-bearded man, his fingers running over spines, catching at the thickest, pulling a chosen few into his hempen bag. Between them is a sign, small, nondescript, black marker on white cardstock: Reference Section.

I pick my way through the bargain-hunters, (the people who won’t pay full price for even a favourite author, but will pay a dollar for a book it’s unlikely they’ll ever read), then hike past a troop of mothers (picture books in one hand, sticky fingers in the other). A posse of D&G knockoff toting teenagers struts toward me, their eyes on the romance table. I duck, I weave: the reference section is in my crosshairs now, my path clear.

Her raisin eyes narrowed, coke-bottle glasses lady swerves to block me; tall grey-bearded man shifts to the left, his feet edging away. “There’s an opening at the science-fiction table,” he mumbles, eyes already drifting over to the stacks of mouldering Asimov.  Her eyes follow his; she glances into her box, then glares at me. “I’ll be back.”

Something passes between us; she steps away.

The table is a tangle of broken spines and torn pages, but I sift through it all the same. Macquarie Dictionary—no, have it. Heinemann Dictionary—no, have it. Merriam-Webster Dictionary—no, don’t want it.  Poultry Equipment in India: A Strategic Reference— maybe want it. Roget’s Thesaurus—no, have it. I skim past the spines, faster, then faster still, ‘til my fingers catch on something tall, rough-edged.

A box. “One lot, four dollars,” it reads. I peer inside.

For some people, bliss is a piece of dark chocolate, a falling leaf, a child’s laugh. For me, bliss is this:

two volumes, leather spine, gold lettered The New Oxford Illustrated Dictionary. For me, bliss is Aac-Kan,  Kan-Zym.

Light-fingered, I slide Aac-Kan free. The leather is warm to my touch, but the leaves are cool. Mustiness pricks my nose; I breathe deep.

fluxion n. 1. Flowing (rare); continuous change (rare).

                 2. (Math) Rate or proportion at which flowing or varying quantity increases its magnitude; (method of) ~s, Newtonian calculus.  Fluxional, fluxionary adjs


Written for therealljidol  week three, "A Moment of Bliss".</lj>

Edit: you can now vote here.

From Folk & Fairy Tales

Out at a local used bookstore the other day, I came across a university course reader, Folk & Fairy Tales (3rd ed), edited by Martin Hallett and Barbara Karasek. From the introduction:

The distinguished American critic Leslie Fielder once observed that children's books introduce all the plots used in adult works and that adult responses are frequently based on forgotten or dimly remembered works from childhood. This is particularly true of fairy tales, which, in providing much of our earliest literary and imaginative experience, have surely exerted an enormous influence over us. [Our goal]...is to draw attention not only to the fascination inherent in the tales themselves, but also to the insights of some critics who have demonstrated, from a variety of perspectives--literary, psychological, and historical--that fairy tales have a complexity belied by their humble origins.

How true do you think it is that our childhood reading influences our adulthood reading?

goble, frog prince

Week Two Idol Voting Up

You can vote here.

In other news, my internet connection seems to have half resolved itself: although the connection still drops off quite frequently, I can get it back within a moment or two (in contrast to having no connection at all for long periods). I think my airport card may be dying...

Word and Scrivener, unfortunately, are still crashing on a daily basis. I've not lost work yet, mostly because I'm extra careful. Now I have semi-decent internet again, at least I can start working in Google Docs.

I know, I have to go to the Apple store and get my computer seen to. But I hate giving it up. Almost every time, they say, three days tops. Last time, I had to wait a fortnight. A fortnight!

Anyway, back to work while I can still do it...


Apathetically Ever After...LJ Idol, Topic Two

LJ Idol,
Week Two
Topic Two: Apathy - What I Should Care About, but Don't

Once upon a time, I believed in happy ever afters. Princess gets prince, evil stepmother gets comeuppance. Treasure seeker finds treasure, slays dragon, rescues entire family from poverty. Enchanted frog wheedles kiss, spell breaks, pomp ensues.

But happy endings are easy endings. So Cinderella marries the prince. Then what? She’s spent an awful lot of time sweeping and cleaning, biding her time as her unconscious and subconscious minds tick away, growing, maturing, becoming more aware. Yet, in a post-slipper world, there’s no need for Cinderella to do anything: there are people to cook and to scrub, to tend gardens and pick through dried peas. Perhaps this is an ideal way to live, for some. But I find it hard to imagine that Cinderella, or Snow White, or Rose Red, or All Fur, girls, women, who have worked, earned, achieved, would be so willing to lie back, put their feet up, and do nothing all day.

Why do women work? Because they need the income; because they’re asked to; because they see a need, and they’re drawn to it; because they have a vocation, because they simply are an artist, a writer, an architect, a chef, a stay-at-home mother, a CEO, a doctor, an electrician, and they have to be true to that. And although many of these positions have only become available to women in the past hundred years or so, real women have always worked. Real women have had ups and downs, good days and bad days. Real women have secrets and problems, scars and anger, sunlight-filled days and cool autumn afternoons. Real women don’t do happily ever afters.

Once upon a time, I grew apathetic about happily ever afters.

Once upon a time, I cut away the dead weight of glass slipper endings and days passed in idleness.

Once upon a time, I picked through a bowl of dried peas, went to the doctor, caught up with yesterday’s work, made dinner, cleaned the ferret cage, did some of today’s work, then collapsed on the couch to read a book with a high probability of a happily ever after ending.

And that’s okay. Because happily ever afters belong in books. Even if I know I should like them, love them like the fairy tale maven I am, kinda-sorta-sometimes happily ever afters are more me. And I’m kinda-sorta-sometimes happy with that.

Written for therealljidol week two, "Apathy - What I Should Care About, but Don't".

Edit: you can now vote here.